Monday, April 16, 2012

An accident waiting to happen

Murdoch is a bit of a train wreck. Not a day goes by that he doesn't sustain some sort of physical injury, the way he rushes blindly through life. I wonder sometimes if he has a death wish or if he really considers himself to be invincible. And then I think, perhaps he is.

He slammed into a tree the other day. Ran right into it. I threw a stick for him in the woods and instead of going right he went left and launched himself sideways into the pinkish brown trunk of a spruce tree. The thud was loud and hollow and sort of sickening and I swear I felt the vibration along the ground beneath my feet. My hand flew up to my mouth and I gasped. I expected Murdoch to stagger sideways, maybe stop for a minute, stand still perhaps give his head a gentle shake. But after bouncing off the tree trunk, he spun around on his heel and bolted up the trail after the stick. Not even dazed, or at least putting up an excellent front.

“Murdoch, are you okay?” I called to him. He looked at me as if to say, “What on Earth are you talking about?”

It’s an enviable trait, this “bring it on world, you can’t take me down,” bravado with which Murdoch approaches life. Everything is an adventure, every minute there is something to be conquered and damned if he will let a few skin abrasions or puncture wounds slow him down.

Well, the puncture wound was the only thing that did slow him down, but only for a few hours. Every day he dashes headlong into the woods around our house, bullying his way through a minefield of downed trees full of dangerously spiked branches sticking up in all directions. It was just a matter of time before he impaled himself on one.

Even after he sailed over a mess of branches, landing amongst them with a crunch and a yelp, he still played hard until we got back to the house where he lay, despondent, on the deck for the rest of the afternoon. The next morning it was as if nothing had happened, as if the dime-sized hole in the soft skin where his back leg meets his body didn’t exist.

And then there are the endless skinned knees, the mystery scabs I find weekly on his body, sometimes discovering quite lengthy scars hidden beneath his shaggy fur, the lump that grew beneath his tongue that we decided with the vet was probably an abscess of some sort with stick debris in the middle of it, and that time he came back after a crash through the bush with his eyebrows missing, great pink streaks of raw skin in their place where the fur had been scraped from his face.

A couple of weeks ago while once again flying over downed trees in pursuit of a stick, Murdoch got poked in the eye. He returned with the stick and dropped it at my feet, jumping back like he does to prepare for the next throw. He stared at me with one eye, the other one he could barely open. His eyelid fluttered in a desperate attempt to look normal as I moved in to take a look. “Never mind the eye, there’s nothing to see here. Just throw the stick. I’m fine.”

The eye got better over the next few days. The lump under his tongue eventually disappeared, the hole where his leg meets his body knitted neatly closed, his eyebrows grew back. But even if those things hadn’t healed, somehow I’m sure Murdoch would continue to play just as hard, because according to his philosophy, it isn't fun until somebody loses an eye.


  1. wow sounds like murdoch thinks he is invincible!!! :) he is definately living life to the max!!! xxx

    1. Murdoch truly is a character and when I'm not attached to him at the end of a leash, he can be quite fun to watch!

  2. Toby did that once, only it was a picnic table. With Toby it wasn't so much the balls-out attitude toward life as it was his divided passions--me, and the tennis ball. So he chased the tennis ball but wouldn't take his eyes off me and WHAM.

    By the way, thanks for your observations on my blog. I do see that Rosie will turn out much like Murdoch, if i'm lucky...

    1. Poor Toby. Dogs are great when it comes to that sort of slapstick stuff (when they don't get hurt that is), they are so oblivious sometimes!

      And I do hope Rosie does NOT turn out like Murdoch (except maybe in his enthusiasm for life).. He's a car chaser, growler, grumpy guts and he has absolutely no manners when it comes to playing with other dogs. He's a bulldozer. Rosie definitely has traits that remind me of Murdoch, but she is getting the early training that Murdoch never had so I'm sure she will be much better behaved than he.