Read about what happened when Sassy bit me here.
Now, the “after” part.
For a few days, I couldn’t walk Sassy. Not only was my hand all bandaged up and painful, I just couldn’t do it. I kept my distance, as much as it hurt to do so.
I’ve walked her at least twice per day, every day, for the nearly 13 years that she’s been living with me. It’s part of my life. Even though she doesn’t get excited about walks anymore because of her dementia — in fact, sometimes she appears like she really doesn’t want to leave the house — I still take her.
We had one rough morning where we got back from our walk and I was trying to put her diaper back on and she wouldn’t cooperate.
With gritted teeth, I whispered under my breath: “You bit my fucking hand and I was in the hospital for two fucking days, you fucking dog. Let me put this fucking diaper on you.” Hey, at least I didn’t yell.
Gradually I began felt more and more comfortable petting her and cuddling with her again. I kept reminding myself that although she’s always been a biter — ask any of my friends or family members, because they all have stories — she’s always defended me, she’s always been gentle with me, and I think she loves me, and when she bit me it was an unusual situation and she had no idea what she was doing. She didn’t mean to hurt me.
I think I’ll always have my guard up somewhat, though. I wish I could forget about what happened, but I can’t.
Sassy still seems traumatized. When we’re on a walk, she will slow down and sometimes even stop if she sees another person. If she sees another dog, she won’t budge an inch until the dog moves out of view. The night of the attack, Wednesday, Jan. 6, she barked in her sleep.
I took her to the vet to get her eyes checked — she has glaucoma — last Wednesday and I mentioned to her veterinarian what had happened. She understood that the extreme circumstances made it unlikely that Sassy would do this again. After all, another dog was attacking her and I was just trying to pick her up when Sassy bit my hand
Still, she brought up the subject of euthanasia for the first time in light of her age and her dementia, which has only gotten worse over the last six months despite being on meds. I’m sure there will come a day when this has to happen. After all, she’s 16. She’s okay now, but if she continues to decline, it might be something we’ll have to face.
I asked Dr. L. how to make that judgment about “when.” She told me it’s not an easy call to make, and every person and pet is different. It hinges upon her quality of life above all, and if that goes into such a decline, it might be more merciful to let her go then make her continue.
I’m reading a book now (thanks again, Emily, for sending this to me!) called Speaking for Spot, which is about how to advocate for your dog as you navigate health issues, and I’m finding it helpful. If you’re going through something similar, of if you have a dog, period, I recommend it.
All of this is tough to write about, talk about and think about. I hope we won’t have to face this anytime soon.
My hand is pretty much all healed. I had a follow-up visit Monday and the infection is gone, and I don’t have to wear that cast/brace thing anymore.
If only emotional healing could be as clean and quick as physical healing.