About a Dog
November 04, 2004
It’s raining today, which means my leg hurts. Or aches. Or throbs. It’s hard to describe.
And no, I never broke it and I don’t have arthritis and I can’t predict the weather with it like a trick thumb or something. (Though I do have double-jointed fingers, which are really cool and also disgusting.)
The story of my leg goes back to high school (at least for this story, anyway, as I believe my leg was present some time before high school as well), when I was dating the captain of the football team at a school that was not mine.
(My school didn’t have a football team. There was soccer, but only if no one lost the school’s one ball, and we just used kindergartners for goal posts.)
The Captain of the Football Team went to a big and gorgeous high school with cheerleaders and art class and a Glee Club. I really meant to write a story about him for the Many Loves of Amalah series that I started and then abandoned when someone distracted me by jangling their shiny, pretty keys. It would make a really good story, except that I’d be super-torn about linking to the photo I found while Googlestalking him, because it is HILARIOUS. There's bad hair and a gut and everything. Google jackpot, for real. I also found his harrowing testimony about finding Jesus and repenting from a life of sin at the bitter age of five.
Let’s just say, Captain of the Football Team ended up becoming someone who would do shit like this.
(I was a little bummed that I wasn’t mentioned in his testimony as I was responsible for many, many sins.)
ANYWAY. Captain’s family big German Shepherd named Duke. Duke was big and scary. And did I mention big?
He was big.
The first time I met Duke I backed away and hid behind Captain. (Not that I was being a chicken, but this was also the first time I met Captain’s mom and she was also scary.)
Captain’s Family: Don’t be scared! Duke is a sweetie!
Amy: Am not scared! Am just…enjoying the feel of the carpet in this other room.
Captain: Duke is my boy, my good good boy, aren’t ya fella, good boy!
Captain's Mom: Duke is a baaaaaaaaby. He would never hurt a fly. He’s a big old chicken.
Amy: Okay, will tap him gently on head so y’all shut up now.
Captain's Mom: Also? I hate you.
Captain's Mom: What?
Captain: Good good buddy boy!
So that’s how I met Duke, the gentle giant, the wussy wolf, the sweetest dog ever.
Liars. Dirty stinking fundamentalist Baptist liars.
After Captain and I got serious, he offered to give me one of his football jerseys so I could wear it to his games. And anywhere else that I wanted to be identified as the girlfriend of a football player. Which was everywhere.
So one night I drove to his house to pick him up and bring him back to my house, because that’s where the Approved Parental Chaperones would be for the evening. (Captain did not have a car, but sometimes got to use his parent’s minivan, but most of the time they said no so I ended up hauling his ass all over creation which pissed off my mom but didn’t bother me at the time because I was in lurvvvve.)
(*gasps for breath after that long-ass sentence*)
He came out to the car, sans the jersey he had been promising me for weeks.
Captain: D’oh! Be back in a jiffy.
(Yes, he really said stuff like jiffy.)
Amy: *sits in car*
Captain: *is taking a really long time*
Amy: *has to pee, like she always does whenever she is further than 10 feet from the nearest bathroom*
Amy: *decides to run in to pee*
Duke: BARK BARK BARK BARK
Amy: *calls out* Duke is my boy, my good good boy, Amy’s good boy who she pretends to like…
Amy: *opens door*
Duke: INTRUDER ALERT KILL KILL KILL
And with that, Duke attacked me. I was wearing shorts and he went right for my thigh. He latched onto my flesh and shook his head violently, enough to knock me off my feet and onto the ground. I remember throwing my hands over my face. I remember him releasing his jaws only to bite me again as I tried to slide away.
Then the damn dog sniffed me. And remembered me. And started to cry and lick my arm.
Did you ever have a nightmare where you’re trying to scream but no noise comes out? The takedown to the floor knocked the wind out of me, and the shock and pain and bloodbloodblood left me gasping. I tried to call for Captain and couldn’t even whisper, so I ended up just curled up in a little bleeding ball in the tile foyer.
Captain came downstairs, freaked out, carried me to the kitchen and handed me a box of band-aids.
Captain: We really need to leave. My parents will kill me if they find out we were alone in the house.
Captain: Why didn’t you stay in the car?
Amy: *sees pretty colors*
Captain helped me back to my car and handed me the keys. I drove back to my house while he alternated between apologies and chastising me for being so stupid.
Captain: Didn’t you hear him barking?
Amy: Dude, all dogs bark. My dog barks. My dog sounds like she’ll rip out your spinal cord as you walk up our driveway but then rolls over the minute you walk in the door.
Captain: Well, Duke is different.
Amy: Duke? The baaaaaaby? The dog I am stupid for being scared of?
Captain: Well, yeah. He’s got this…territorial thing.
Amy: *wishing she dated that nice boy at school who keeps all the prescription painkillers in his locker*
Captain: You’re kind of the third person he’s bitten. Which is why you can’t tell anyone about this.
When I got home, Captain seriously tried to downplay the injury in front of my parents. It’s a scratch! A flesh wound! Duke was just playing! Haaaa, funny, right?
Amy’s Dad: I am going to kill you. Kill!
Amy’s Mom: See? This is why you need to date a boy who has his own damn car.
Needless to say, I ended up in the emergency room later that night. I had a lot of cuts and deep puncture wounds that wouldn’t stop bleeding and a fever and a bad case of shock. I had to give the hospital the name and address of the Captain so the Health Department could issue them a warning or something.
Amy: Oh shit, am I going to get my boyfriend’s dog put to sleep?
Social Worker: Oh no, not because of one bite. It takes three attacks before we’ll destroy an animal. This dog hasn’t bitten anyone else, right?
Amy: Oh shit.
Turns out, the first two people Duke bit never reported the attacks, since they were also Big Strapping Football Players who did not feel “pain” or “whatever.” They also may have weighed as much as Duke, which was an advantage I did not have.
So Duke was fine. Captain’s family got a call from the Health Department to verify that Duke didn’t have rabies or anything, which was like, soooooo totally my fault and dude, what a BITCH I was. Captain’s dad called my mom soon after.
Captain's Dad: So. How’s the bite?
Amy’s Mom: Well, if you mean those mosquito bites she got last weekend, those are fine. If you mean the HUGE GAPING HOLE IN HER LEG, that’s not so good.
Captain's Dad: Hmmpf. Maybe she shouldn’t have walked in the house.
Amy’s Mom: Maybe you shouldn’t have told her your dog was a big softie with teeth made of marshmallows gumdrops.
Captain's Dad: I suppose we should offer to pay for her medical bills.
Amy’s Mom: *waits for the offer*
Captain's Dad: Well?
Amy’s Mom: You know what? We’re fine. No thanks.
Captain's Dad: OK then! Goodbye! Peace in Christ!
Amy’s Mom: *censored*
Oh the plus side, I had a really bitching wound for awhile. And it was still warm out so I could wear shorts and show it off. Captain bought me things and was not a total asshat about it afterwards, although he did tell me that it "hurt him" when I told everybody we met about how his dog bit me and he "felt bad."
But now? Ew. I still have these weird scars from the bite and from where the puncture wounds didn’t close up right. My veins were damaged and I have a cluster of old-lady varicose veins right where Duke’s bottom jaw clamped on. And my whole thigh sort of throbs when it rains.
I'd take a picture of it but even I have some sense of Internet decency. Maybe tomorrow I'll show you my double-jointed fingers. Right now I'm off to Google the Pennsylvania Health Department's Animal Bite Division to see if it's too late to sue for laser surgery.