Worrying About The Dog

Talking about animals fighting below the fold.

Tonight, I didn’t want to cook dinner. Today, I had an awful experience on a bus and this morning I had a lousy wake-up and a headache. So, tonight, when we walked the dog, I thought, we should walk him to either KFC or McDonalds and I could maybe have some cheap trashy food that maybe squeaks at our finances in ways it shouldn’t but which might make me feel a bit less awful.

We often walk Elli at night, but if we’re going to the shops, we just walk along the main street of our suburb and up onto the bike path by the highway. This is no big deal. There is rarely anything going on at night that is a bother. The roads are empty. Occasionally, he’ll see a possum and feel a desire to chase it, but he won’t, because he’s on a lead. There are rarely any other people, so his obssessive friendliness won’t matter.

Tonight, two people, one on a bike, one on foot, were walking in the opposite direction. They had dogs. Neither were on leads. Elli barked at them; he wanted to play. They did not.

In the chaos I can only remember a few moments. The horrible sound of Elli whining and yelping as he was snapped at or bitten or something. Fox yelling something, but I don’t know what. The guy on the bike dropping the bike and trying to help stop one of the dogs. I remember grabbing a short, squat wedge-headed dog by its tail, lifting it so its back legs couldn’t touch the ground and yanking it backwards so it wasn’t biting Elli any more, then dropping onto the road with my body braced over it, an arm around its throat to keep it lunging forwards, but careful not to choke it. I felt my knee and my chest ache. And when we had them sorted, I took Elli from Fox – who was holding him up off the ground – and we walked him to the bus shelter to investigate.

The dog I tackled didn’t even yelp when I yanked on its tail and didn’t seem to even notice when I was holding it.

As best we know, Elli was grazed and bitten but not hurt seriously. But at that moment, he had blood in his fur, on his thighs, on his tail, and I felt terrible. We walked a little further and he seemed fine, but we were scared, and we brought him home and we cleaned him.

He seems fine. Really. He shuffles around – as he always did. He changes seats a lot – as he always did. He lies in one position with a mournful look on his face guilting me into playing with him – as he always did.

But right now because of the blood and because I feel, in some way, responsible, I feel as if every last one of these gestures is portentious, full of hidden meaning, full of fatal missteps. As if my desire to not cook, as if my desire to have a trashy meal, as if my violence against a stupid dog that doesn’t know any better or my inadequate pain at having hurt myself protecting Elli is all just painted together in some mural that shows this whole mess is my fault.

I feel awful. I hope that other dog’s okay. It seemed okay.

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