St. Patrick’s Day has special meaning for our family. My descendants were instrument-toting members in St. Patrick’s legendary snake raid. During my college years I religiously celebrated with green eggs and ham at an infamous eatery. In 1994, I proposed to the teacher (who accepted). Every year between and since we found a party or created a party to celebrate what St. Patrick’s Day meant to us or symbolized for us. But in 2009, I spent St. Patrick’s Day with the veterinarian.
This was Hershey’s first St. Patrick’s Day walk. I greeted her at the gate, asked her to perform the sit and stay ritual and released her. We leave before sun-up and overcast skies made it darker than usual, but she still chased everything that moved. I never worry whether she’ll return because she always does. We were marching down the hill and she spotted some animal that was faster than she is and disappeared into the brush. Then I heard one sharp, quick bark. She doesn’t bark much so I called her to see if she was ok. She seemed fine. We finished the walk and I commended her on stellar behavior (a rare treat) and returned her to the pen.
Later the same day, I checked on her when I retrieved the trash and recycle receptacles. She was her usual spirited-self. That means she doesn’t react to voice or prescience unless she thinks you will release her. I didn’t have time to play and knew the family would be home soon so I went back to work.
After the family arrived home, the prodigy played with Hershey, but reported she was “hurt real bad”. I investigated and discovered she had two large wounds. One was a deep hole the size of half dollar in her left shoulder and the second was a 4″ long scratch on the inside of her right leg. Despite the gruesome description, it didn’t look as horrible as it sounds. The teacher called the vet and they demanded we rush her to the office. The vet said it looked like she pulled herself through brush.
Several hours later, they returned the dog — stitched, shaven, drugged and wearing a cone. To make a long-story short, I predict she will remove her own stitches, the hair will grow back thicker, the drugs won’t be strong enough and the cone won’t make it through the night.
We are not sure when or how she injured herself, but here’s our reenactment. It didn’t happen on the walk because I would have notice a gaping wound when I bent down to congratulate her for a well-behaved walk. It didn’t happen before I retrieved the receptacle, because I would have seen it when I coaxed her to greet me at the fence. It obviously happened in the pen and a few twisted branches are the only clue. We think she climbed on top of the igloo dog house and tried to jump out of the pen, but landed in the tree. I guess she wasn’t wearing green.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Hershey. Next year, don’t be so lucky.