Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Attack (Part Two)

     I didn't sleep a wink that night as I lay in bed with Molly by my side. Thankfully, after being thoroughly examined, Molly had been lucky enough to get away with some minor punctures on her back. I thought about that question that had been repeated to me over and over by anyone I had spoken to within those hours, "How did you not get hurt as well?" I had no answer. I had no explanation to how after kicking and screaming, and pulling my dogs out of that German Shepherd's mouth, that it did not make a nice Jewish meal out of me. To be honest, I had such an adrenaline rush to save my dogs, that it never even occurred to me that I could get hurt too. Maybe I had a guardian angel protecting me. I'm not sure.
     The next morning, while suffering through the wait of Lucy's surgery, I called Toronto Animal Services and told them about what had happened. They said they would send someone in a few days. I tried to describe the urgency of this situation, and they told me they were backed up and would get here as soon as they could. So the sit around and wait game began again. Luckily I work in film, so it's a game I've gotten to know very well.
   A few hours later Dr. Miller, the vet at the VEC, called to say Lucy's surgery had been successful and explained that even though they had to put all her organs back into place, they were expecting her to make a full recovery. Except, as my mother was on the phone with the Dr., he suddenly had to go because Lucy went into cardiac arrest. My body froze with fear as I waited for him to call back.  He finally did and told us that they had revived Lucy and she was now stable. I cried tears of relief and was told to wait another 24 hours before I came down to visit her. Every time we called to check in, she was still stable and doing ok.
   I needed to find out why that dog had been outside without his owner. The woman who had witnessed the attack had thought that the dog jumped off the second story balcony because she had seen it jump before. My dad went to the building after work that night and spoke to the superintendent, who was already aware what had happened. She gave my dad the owner's name and apartment number. When he got to the owner's door there was a big "Beware of Dog" sign on it. No one was home when he knocked, but he could hear the dog on the inside, which was good, because I was nervous the guy would flee before we got to him.
     The next morning I was able to go visit Lucy in the intensive care unit at the VEC. When I saw my poor dog hooked up to the IV, with an oxygen tube in and most of her little body shaved and bandaged, the tears came pouring out. She woke up when she sensed me there and dragged herself over to me. She put her head down in my lap and sighed. She was also making a whimpering sound and the vet technicians told me that the pain killers she was on were probably making her a little loopy. I sat on the floor of her cubicle patting her, crying, and apologizing over and over that this had happened to her. The vet tech told me how lucky I was to have such a strong dog. She said that they had all been saying what a miracle it was that a 14.5 year old dog could survive both the attack and the surgery.
"She's a really special dog," I said, mimicking the same words that Joanne the breeder, had uttered to me nearly fifteen years ago when I had gotten her.
     On my way home from visiting Lucy, I happened to see the superintendent outside the building where we got attacked. She was standing with her small son as they loaded up the recycling bin. I got out of my car and went to go speak to her. She didn't speak English very well, but I explained to her who I was and wanted to know what had happened. I asked her if the dog had jumped off the balcony. She laughed that off and said, "No, no. He had taken the dog to the park and the dog wouldn't come when he called so he left it there and went home."
Those words knocked me down harder than the German Shepherd had. Was she kidding me? He left his German Shepherd in the park to find his way home himself? This woman would have been better off telling me the dog jumped off the balcony. What kind of negligent jerk was he? I asked her if she understood how serious this was. What if it had been her little boy? I asked, pointing to her son who was playing in the same grass where my dogs were attacked. "No, no. That dog likes people. He just doesn't like other dogs. I'm not afraid." 
I went home furious. It then took Animal Services a week to show up at my house. Lucy was already home from the hospital by the time they finally did come by. When the woman saw her she freaked out at how awful the attack was.
"Yes," I said. "This is why I have been trying to stress that it was an emergency situation for the past week." The woman examined Lucy, looking for the puncture wounds. She said she couldn't see any.
"It's been a week," I said, completely agitated. "They have healed. you can see the scabs."  She apologized for how long it had taken for them to get out to see me and assured us that they would take action. The first thing she would do is issue a muzzle order for the dog, then they would press charges and yadda, yadda, yadda.
It has now been four months since the attack and the dog is still running around Earl Bales Park without a muzzle on and any small dog he comes across he lunges at. Needless to say, I am not impressed with Animal Services, nor do I feel any safer. Thankfully, as far as I know, there have been no other attacks. Everyone on my street and in the area knows to keep a careful watch out for the dog and his owner, who is just as vicious.
    Lucy is doing better than ever. She has even more energy and is more alert than she was before the attack. She races up and down the hall of my parents house and has a comparable energy and zest, that she had as a puppy.  Her recovery was quick and her hair grew back within a month. She is a survivor. She is a miracle.
  It has taken me a long time to find a silver lining from this situation. I mean, for months I had not been able to understand why this careless incident happened to us. However, even though I still do not have that answer, I do know why Lucy and Molly were meant to survive, when all odds would not have been in their favor. You see, since my Dad died last month, these dogs have not left my side. They have been so much comfort to me and sometimes the only reason I have had to leave the house, or  just to get up in the morning. In a way, as cheesy as it may sound to a non-animal loving person, I feel they are saving me every day and keeping me strong.
This week I will meet with my lawyer, and I will do all that I can to not only get the 10K that it cost for Lucy's surgery, but in hopes of preventing this from happening to anyone else. I will fight, just like Lucy did, and I will win, just like Lucy did.

1 comment:

  1. The conclusion made me cry. Even though I lived the story through you when it happened, reading it now, makes me realize how special your dogs are, you are (and what a great writer you are!). Bravo!