One part of last week’s story I left out of the last post: Paco was kicked in the head by a horse.
Here's the story:
It snowed about three inches last Thursday (a precursor to the weekend deluge) and, since classes were cancelled at the Community College, Dad came over to hang out with Owen and me (and Paco). We had lunch and went for a walk.
Our landlords, they have horses. And dogs, very big dogs (unlike my Paco), who stay in the pasture with the horses, so that they all are pretty well used to each other--the big dogs and big horses, that is. Plus they have a pretty secure fence and, although their Newfoundland frequently escapes it, Paco has yet to gain entry.
And he would certainly want to get inside. Paco loves horses. He's fascinated by them. He excitedly greets them through the fence, sniffs their noses, licks their eyes, fiercely wagging his stub of a tail the whole time. I think he wants to play with them, as he does with the big dogs.
This day our walk took us down the hill and to the neighbor’s pasture, where two of their horses greeted us in a friendly manner. Paco was off exploring the hill below, while Owen and Dad and I stroked the horses necks and soft noses, letting them sniff us.
I had a brief thought that the fence and gate seemed pretty open, and that Paco could easily get through, but he wasn’t closeby, so I didn't think any more of it.
Paco came back to where we were standing. Thrilled beyond belief to see the horses, he quickly discovered that he could easily breach the fence.
He started dancing his excited little jig around their feet, his stub wagging his entire backside.
I called to him, trying to get him to come out, and I said to my Dad, “He’s going to get kicked.”
Seconds later, I heard a sickening thump as a hoof snapped back, Paco cried out and fell over, his teeth bared, his legs in the air, twitching.
I thought he was dead or surely brain damaged. I yelled out and Owen started to cry.
Dad leapt through the gate. We both feared Paco would be trampled after the kick. The horses scattered and Dad was able to pick him up and hand him through the gate to me. Luckily my car was parked at the bottom of the driveway and I only had to carry him a short ways.
By the time I got him to the back of the car, his eye was full of blood and he was so quiet, but it appeared that he could stand on his own. I thought that if he lives, he might lose that eye. Dad grabbed Owen, who was upset, probably at my reaction as much as what had happened to Paco.
During the ten minute drive to the animal hospital, I thought about Paco dying. How I would tell Paul? How would I deal with it myself? I love that damn dog.
I thought about how much I love him, how he is truly my dog, and not just because he was a Valentine’s Day present from Paul the year we became engaged. He’s my dog because Paco and I, we have bonded, deeply. For nine years, he has slept mostly at my side, his warm body against my thighs. By morning he has usually worked his way up until his head is beside mine on the pillow. Whenever I am sad or sick, he cuddles me, nuzzles me. I truly think he would protect me if someone were to threaten me. I’ve been told he looks for me when I am away overnight. My mother said he paced and searched for me the entire five days I was in the hospital after Owen’s birth. When I came home, he barely left my side for more than a week and grew anxious when I left his sight. He loves me, he trusts me, he's there for me.
He’s my boy. My first child. We connect. I’ve never loved another animal so much. It was horrible to see him get hurt so seriously. It was awful to think I might have been witness to his death.
By the time we arrived at the vet, he was definitely on his feet, and although he was bloody, his wound was no longer bleeding. His eyelid was cut, but his eye looked as if it might be okay.
The vet was wonderful. Dad ran inside to see if they could take us, and the vet sent his tech out to me. They were all so kind, to me and to Paco.
In the end, he only needed stitches. One cut on his brow and another, larger cut at the inside corner of his eye. His skull was intact, his eye okay.
By the time I got him home, he was, and is, fine, as you can see below. I know he won’t live forever, but I’m not ready to let him go just yet. I'm glad to have a repreive for now.
Stupid dog. My boy. My bug. My buddy. My Paco-man.
The incident clearly made am impression on Owen. She will tell the story at odd times through the day, as if just remembering it. On the way home yesterday, she was chattering along in her usual manner, when she said, "Paco, Eye, Horse, Kick."
That's her version, although sometimes she moves the words around and adds, "Boo-boo" to the mix.