the day my dog was shot
this week marks the one year anniversary of my precious, sweeter-than-honey 5 lb yorkie bundle of love getting shot. not shots like vaccines. shot like with a 9mm pistol.
this was just one in a month-long series of events that should have indicated to me that something was very, very wrong. it was not only that my dog was shot, but the event did not impact me the way that it should have. i was sailing on another planet, too high to come down.
there were a lot of events like that last summer.
it’s hard to say what exactly took place that night. looking at my old bank statements among the fast food joints, bars, liquor stores, and overdraft fees, it appears to have been a bender. dinner out with a group to celebrate a friend’s going-away to a new job. a $30 cab fee (??) which is really confusing because this town is NOT that big and you would have to try to get a cab fee that high. a total of FOUR trips to liquor stores. two different bar tabs totalling over $60.
all i know is i was shit-faced drunk out of my mind and I had painted the town fire-engine red that night.
at some point, Beautiful Disaster had joined me. if i had to guess, i’d say we made another pit stop at his bar to do shots in the back too.
i got home, somehow, with Beautiful Disaster in tow. what happens next has been seared into my memory for the rest of my life.
i was changing into pajamas while Beautiful Disaster sat on my bed. out of the corner of my mind, i recognized that Beautiful Disaster was inspecting the 9mm pistol that i kept on my night stand. it didn’t really concern me, in part due to the alcohol i’m sure, but also in part because he had given me a thorough lesson on gun safety the night before.
a shot rang out.
it was surprisingly quiet, kind of like one of those party poppers (albeit a big one…). i looked at him, confused. my heart was racing because i was about 5 feet away from the bullet trajectory. his eyes were wide and he had the ‘oops’ look all over his face. but, i didn’t think it was loud enough for the neighbors to hear, so they were unlikely to call the police.
i was on the verge of a fit of mad laughter when my little dog began squealing. i remember thinking the sound must have scared him. i saw him hopping around on the bed.
suddenly i saw a trail of red follow where ever he landed.
plop, plop, plop
somehow my whole room seemed to be covered in blood. it was on the floor, my bed, the walls. i started to scream as i envisioned my dog, my light of my life, my partner in crime, my sidekick, dying.
i fucking LOST IT. somehow between the tears and wails of agony, i managed to wrap up my little guy in a towel and apply pressure to the wound. (thank god i love crime shows) once he was in my arms, he quieted down. i looked at him, and he looked at me. i could just hear him saying ‘mom, what’s going on?’ and my heart was breaking.
‘FUCKING DO SOMETHING!!!!!’ i screamed at Beautiful Disaster, who thought removing pressure and looking at the wound was something to be done. i think i may have told him to fuck off and to call a cab and look up an emergency vet. i don’t really remember. i remember yelling and screaming and crying, and trying not to imagine my dog dying, and wondering how i turned into such a shit show.
for some reason, he decided to call police. i don’t know why. in hindsight that was a pretty fucking bad idea. but i was out of my mind and i didn’t care. i needed someone with a motor vehicle at my house NOW.
they arrived shortly thereafter and interrogated us about the incident. i was told they would give me a ride to the vet, but they just kept waiting and waiting and talking amongst themselves. my baby’s blood was soaking into the towel. every minute counted. i walked up to the police and said, take me to the vet now, please. liquid courage, indeed.
they took me to a nearby emergency vet. (side note: it is VERY uncomfortable in the back of a police car.) Beautiful Disaster was still getting interrogated at my house. I remember hearing him say that he was my boyfriend and lived with me, but i had priorities and his stupid lie to the police wasn’t one of them. little did i know he would also say that the pistol was his and then would hand it over to them. keep in mind this is my EX-live-in-boyfriend’s gun.
upon arrival at the vet they took my dog in the back. i looked down and saw my arms, hands, and shirt were covered in blood. my heart was pounding. it was very early in the morning, maybe 6am. i hadn’t slept. i had been scared sober but there was still alcohol coursing through my veins. i felt dirty and trashy. i didn’t deserve my dog.
a police officer remained with me for a while, trying to get information about the incident. i remember not giving a flying fuck about his authority or badge, and when he asked about Beautiful Disaster, i told the officer he’d have to go ask him and lit a cigarette and ignored him for the rest of the time.
can i just mention that i actually like police officers? i’ve heard horror stories, sure. no doubt, some people suck and they end up as police officers. but i normally appreciate their public service. and here i was, acting like an impudent 15-year old girl.
eventually Beautiful Disaster showed up in a taxi. he was freaking the fuck out too but trying to play it cool. it didn’t work. it just so happens that he also has brain damage, of the frontal lobe variety, and apparently intense stress makes him black out. he kept fading in and out. when he was conscious he’d tell me i need to call his neuropsychologist, and then he’d pass out again. i smacked him a couple of times with no luck (although it did make me feel a little better).
i called the doctor he mentioned during one brief period of lucidity. the doctor wasn’t in but the guy i spoke to told me i needed to bring him to the hospital immediately.
i was freaking the fuck out AGAIN.
my dog was in the back of the vet, SHOT. they are telling me that i need to take my dog to a different vet with a surgeon on staff. suddenly the seconds are ticking again. the front desk lady tells me she will call to let the next emergency vet we are coming.
Beautiful Disaster is in the front, who might be having serious issues with brain damage, and i have explicit instructions from the hospital’s neuropsychology department to bring him in NOW.
i’m calling a taxi and calling 911. the fire department and ambulance show up. by this time, Beautiful Disaster has stumbled outside. he’s vomiting and passing out, interchangeably. i am feeling like i’m on another planet. i felt 100% alone, because i thought no friend deserved to deal with this level of bullshit. i made my bed and needed to lie in it.
Beautiful Disaster is telling the 5 firemen and EMTs to fuck off and he’s not leaving the vet. he’s repeating over and over again that my dog is his priority and he’s going to save the dog. they force him to sign a waiver that says if he dies they aren’t responsible. it turns into a pissing contest among the men. somehow they have all formed a semi-circle around me. i light another cigarette.
the next cab is taking forever. i called back the cab company twice and eventually called another one all together, i think. after what feels like a fucking eternity, the cab arrives and Beautiful Disaster and I head to the second vet. he’s begging me to talk to him, to forgive him. he’s apologizing non-stop. i don’t give a fuck.
we walk into the vet and the strangest thing happens. i tell the front desk the situation. and i start laughing. hysterically, with tears. and i’m trying to say, but wait, no, no…i don’t actually think this is funny at all. i can’t figure out why i’m laughing. i decide to let Beautiful Disaster handle it.
they tell us that the previous vet never called them and that they don’t have a surgeon either. the clock is ticking again. i’m ready to curse the previous vet, who did virtually nothing, including NOT calling the vet they told me they had called, and still charged $500.
thankfully, the cab is still outside, or nearby, or something, where we don’t have to wait long. we head to a third vet. by this time, my dog is not looking so good. he’s weak and quiet. i’m getting ready to cut a bitch if i don’t get somewhere with a fucking doctor who can help.
we arrive at this giant hospital-looking vet. i knew this was going to be the place. they take my little champion in the back, and i sit in the little room, waiting. eventually i start to nod off.
Beautiful Disaster is off doing something. getting something to drink. calling his family to tell them what happened. calling his lawyer, who is now somehow also my lawyer in this situation, if it turned out that i needed one. he’s trying to figure out where to get money for the vet bill. he’s calling relatives asking for money. finally he shows up to the room where i am with drinks, cigarettes, a stuffed animal, and a bunch of other shit to cheer me up.
he tells me he’s going to need to pull the money out of the settlement he received when he was hit by a car (hence the brain damage). for some reason, he’s telling me he needs to transfer all of it into MY account, and then transfer it back out to his own account. i don’t get it but i don’t really care. i just want my dog taken care of.
the thing is, this settlement is non-trivial. i mean non-trivial in the sense that i could fully retire along with the rest of my family, non-trivial. lots of zeros. i’m wondering why the fuck this kid wants to transfer all of the funds to me, even for an hour. i mean, i’m not going to steal it or anything but it just seems incredibly risky. i admit, i was satisfied at the prospect of saying i was a millionaire for a day.
it never happened though and he ended up telling his grandmother how much he loved me and that shooting the dog was his responsibility and he wanted to cover the vet bills.
the vet came in and said, luckily, the bullet wound had only punctured tissue. there was no damage to bones or organs. they had cleaned it and wanted to hold my little guy over night for observation. i would probably be able to pick him up the next day. i couldn’t believe it.
they also said we could call to periodically check in to see how my dog is doing at any time of the day. Beautiful Disaster called every hour, on the hour, and sometimes in between.
when i got home, i looked at the wreckage. blood spatter covered everything. my arms were still spotted with blood. i was so tired, i just collapsed on my bed, lying among the dried spots. i fell into a deep, deep sleep.