Saving the pooch in peril
Be wary of the laconic veterinary clienthe just might have your craziest case of the day.
The phone rang at the house around 5:30 a.m. That wasn't too big of a deal; around here many people are up that hour, feeding animals and preparing for the day-and therefore increasing their chances of discovering some of the more unfortunate aspects of the animal world. But my friend Steve had a strange tone in his voice as my sleepy brain processed his early morning phone call.
“I need you to stop by my house on your way to work. I have a problem with my dog and I can't bring him in. Come by as soon as you can, please.” His tone was not that of a man with a huge emergency. He was fairly calm with just a hint of “hurry if you don't mind” sprinkled in. I tried to quiz him a bit about what was wrong with the dog, but he just kept saying I would have to see it because he really couldn't explain it.
I rolled out of the sack and thought about taking a quick shower. Even though Steve didn't seem to be too up in arms about the problem, something told me I should skip the shower and just head on over there. Steve is not a very emotional fella. I have known him for years and don't believe he would change his expression if his pants were on fire. So I slipped on some clothes and texted I was on the way.
His house is just a few miles down the road from me, and as I arrived in the driveway I found him ambling down the path from his house to the barn. He was moving at the usual snail pace with his arms hanging limp by his waist. I pulled up beside him, managing to get the window down and greet him before he even looked up.
“Where's the dog, buddy? What's wrong? How come you couldn't bring him in? Do you need a ride to wherever we're goin'? I asked all these questions and even paused between them, waiting for a response, before he said a word. And then he really didn't even say a thing-just pointed toward the barn and motioned for me to follow him.
Now, I'm a hyperactive, “let's-get-things-done” kind of guy. When I get around the laid-back, slow-going people, it just wears me out. I know I need to be more like them and smell the roses a bit, but I just can't. We crept along at the speed of ... smell, until we finally rounded the corner of the barn to find his pickup truck parked in the soft plowed dirt on the edge of a freshly worked cotton field.
He pointed over to the pickup with a concerned look on his face. I examined the pickup and found nothing out of order. It did appear to be parked in a strange way, with the front tires turned all the way to the left. I tried to understand how this could involve a dog-the windows were rolled down, so he couldn't be trapped inside. The tailgate was down and no dog was visible in the bed. It just looked like a normal truck. We walked around until the front wheel on the driver's side was visible.
There, pressed under the front wheel, was Steve's dog. He had run over the dog and somehow actually stopped right on top of it. “What?” I said. How can someone actually run over anything and stop on top of it? The dog was pinned in the soft dirt and, other than having a pitiful look on his face, appeared to be just fine. The problem was if the truck went forward it would crush the dog's head; if it went backward, it would run over his abdomen and hips.
At this moment you might be trying to get a picture in your head of how that dog was pinned so I'll do my best here: the tire was kind of resting on the skin at the nape of the dog's neck as well as on his back foot. That pooch was curled up in one really strange position.
“I just don't see any way to move that pickup that won't kill that dog, do you, Doc?” Steve asked in his usual monotone.
I examined the situation closely and determined that he was correct. The dog was in the worst possible place. Steve was hopeless. I, on the other hand, was still trying to figure out how he had done it. How slow must he have been going? I had a picture in my mind of the steamroller scene from that Austin Powers movie.
I went to the back of Steve's truck and got a shovel. I started digging in the soft dirt under the dog. As I moved a shovelful of dirt, the dog would wiggle a bit. I removed another shovelful and he would wiggle some more. After about five minutes of shoveling a wiggling, he finally popped free and ran off, relieved to be free.
Steve was as happy as Steve could be-he smiled and even shook my hand. I asked him how in the world he managed to stop right on top of the dog. He told me that was going really slow (no kiddin'!) and the dog just ran under the wheel, so he slammed on the brakes. When he got out to check, there was the dog-just what I saw when I arrived.
The dog went on to live happily ever after. Steve went on moving at the speed of a three-toed sloth. I went on and decided I was gonna write a story about how someone could actually run over a dog, stop on top of it and then, after that dog stayed under the tire for an entire hour, go on like nothing ever happened.