Farley's Foot In The First Snow
I apologize for the poor quality of this picture of Farley. I used the camera on my phone to take a picture of an old Polaroid photo. Today was our first snowfall of 2020. I was going through some old pictures and found this one. It brought back memories of another first snowfall, many years ago.
Farley stood by the back door to let me know that he needed to go outside. Most times I went out with him, but sometimes I let him be out by himself. I always looked out the window to make sure the gate was closed. Sometimes people forgot to close it. There were three lanes of heavy traffic at the front of the house, so I wanted to make sure he was secure in the fenced backyard.
The gate was closed, so I let him out. I puttered around for a bit and then went to check on him. I thought enough time had passed for him to do his business and sniff around. If he was done, he’d sit on the step at the back door. He wasn’t there, so I went outside and called his name. He usually came right away, but not this time.
I started to walk towards the back of the house and stopped when I heard a sound behind me. I turned to see Farley sitting on the other side of the gate. I was confused for a second because I didn’t know how he got there. He was sitting with his left paw raised, a pained expression on his face, and I heard him whining. There was a thin layer of snow on the ground. When I looked down, the white contrasted with all the red. He was bleeding.
I ran to the gate and opened it. He ran to the back door. I ran again to let him inside. I told him to sit and then I looked at his paw. One of the pads was almost sliced off. I told him to stay, and I ran to the bathroom to get a towel. Of course, he ran after me. There was blood everywhere on the carpet. I was surprised at how much there was. I decided to deal with that later.
I used the towel to apply pressure to his wound. Then I called the veterinary hospital and talked to the veterinary technician. I asked her if I could bring him in. She told me to come right away. I wrapped the towel around his paw and then wrapped it with something, I can’t remember what, around the towel to keep it in place. I didn’t want dirt or debris to get into his wound. Then I put the harness on him and took him out to my car.
I helped him into the backseat and clipped the tether to his harness. I got into the driver’s seat and started the car. I turned to see how he was doing and saw that the towel was no longer on his paw. And there was blood all over the backseat and floor of the car. Oh well, I’d deal with that later, too.
We arrived at the hospital. I got out of the car and opened the back door. I put the towel back on his paw and we went inside. The technician told me to take Farley into an exam room. Shortly after, the veterinarian came in. He examined Farley’s paw and he told me that the skin of the pad was too thin to stitch back on. It would heal better if he cut it off. He assured me the pad would grow back, and eventually, it did.
He cleaned the wound, cut the skin off that was hanging, and gave Farley an antibiotic injection to prevent infection. Then he told me that I would have to change and dress the wound every day. Of course, this led to a lesson in how to properly dress a wound on a dog.
I took Farley home, with a sense of relief. After we were inside, there was a knock at the door. I looked and saw that it was the next-door neighbour. I opened the door. She asked me if Farley was okay because she saw a lot of blood. A light bulb went off in my brain. She used to knock on the front door every day, asking if Farley could be let in the back yard to play with her dog at the fence between the properties. Eventually, I grew tired of this and said no. I told her he was fine and closed the door.
My suspicion was aroused. I left Farley inside and went out to check the gate on the other side of the garage. Yep, wide open. It was rare for anyone in the house to use that gate. I suspected that the neighbour had opened it to let Farley onto her unfenced property. I put a lock on the gate after that. I didn’t bother to say anything because she was the sort of person who would deny it even if she had done it.
Farley would lie on my bed with me in the evening, while I read or watched television. He stayed until he was ready for bed and then he would usually jump down. I wouldn’t let him jump with his injured paw. At first, he was compliant with my lifting him down onto the floor. As time went by and he was feeling better, he would try to assert his independence. It was a struggle for both of us. And then one night, he quickly jumped down before I could get to him. I checked his paw and it was good. That was when I knew he was healed.
P.S. Hydrogen peroxide takes blood out of carpets and car seats.
© Debra J. Bilton. All rights reserved.
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Debra J. Bilton: Author, blogger, lover of animals & nature, martial artist & sensei (teacher), Buddhist.