Monday, April 16, 2012
An accident waiting to happen
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?”
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.