Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What almost dying feels like

So, I'm on the deck reading a book and Bern is out in the back yard working on things that I know nothing about because I am forbidden to work in the back yard (which is fine with me!) Bela is sleeping on the deck.

Bern has been moving from the back yard to the front yard and going through the gate that keeps Bela from going out front, where there's no fence. He can go in back at will because there are fences and wattle that Bern has made from tree limbs that keep him in.

The gate from the deck to the front yard opens inward, toward the deck. Bern and I have discussed this several times because the gate is sometimes a few inches open. My thought was that Bela could put his nose through the opening and turn his head and open the gate. Bern's argument was that he knows how to push but not to pull.

Well, yesterday, we found out I was right about that.

I turned around from my Adirondack chair to see where he was and the gate was open and he was gone.

(Here's what you need to know: we've had dozens of animals in our life together and Bern loves Bela more than she loved any of the others...perhaps as much as she loved them all put together. I have slight anxiety when I walk him because I don't want something to happen to him on my watch for fear she'll blame me.)

I leap from my seat and out to the front yard. (I really don't remember crossing the space except that I was holding my coffee container and threw it somewhere and haven't went to find it yet.) He was still in our lush front yard (Bern's handiwork) and I lunged for him and pinned him to the ground. I had no illusion of picking him up because he weighs 50 some pounds and I was on the ground and felt like I was dying.

What almost dying feels like is this: you have difficulty breathing, don't think you can move, know you can't pick up a 50-something pound Puli and can't think.

I yelled for Bern to come and get his leash. I was beside one of her blackberry bushes and it was puncturing my arm over and again. She finally heard me and came and went inside got his leash and led him away.

What almost dying feels like is thinking you can't get up from the ground and wondering how long it can take to get a leash.

Of course he could have gotten hit by a car. Of course that. But he is a very bad dog that would most likely bite a stranger and there were people in our neighbor's drive way I didn't recognize and then a whole SUV full of kids I didn't recognize pulled into the driveway.

I think Bela was as freaked by my having him pinned down in the blackberry bush as I was freaked for having pinned him down. He never tried to get away to bite one of those strange kids.

If he had, Animal Control would have come and took him away. They probably should--he's bitten at least three people and none of them turned him in. It's like living on borrowing time as careful as we are with him.

But Bern's heart would be broken if he were taken away and killed. So I  held him on the ground in the blackberry bush until she came and leashed him and took him away.

I laid there for a while, catching my breath and knowing what it felt like to almost die.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.