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Dogs Bite

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When I was in the fifth grade, at the measly age of ten years old, I was attacked by a dog. I suppose that “attacked” isn’t the right word; the dog didn’t just jump on me for no reason. It was provoked. I’m sure that you’ve heard the expression “let sleeping dogs lie.” Well, a ten-year-old me didn’t heed this warning properly.

At the beginning of that year, my dad brought our dog-loving family home a surprise: an adorable, pure-bred Siberian husky pup. It took us almost a week to name him, but we finally decided to name him Dawson. Normally, he had a very pleasant disposition: cuddling with us, licking people, and running around wanting to play. But he had a dark side. If you tried to pet him while he was eating, you’d receive a menacing growl; if you attempted to pet him and your face got too close to his, he’d give you the evil eye.

So one night, I walked downstairs – where the dogs sleep, because my mom refuses to let them in the bedrooms – to say goodnight to my dad and, of course, Dawson. I sat down to pet him, and he didn't move from his slumber. Then I leaned down to kiss him, and he pounced.

Now, I’m positive that Dawson didn’t actually mean to split my lip completely open – he had a snaggle-tooth that got hooked into my skin, and when he tried to pull away, his tooth just tore down my face until it came free. Right after it happened, the look on his poor face was heart-breaking: his ears were bent back, his tail was between his legs apologetically, and he was howling a sad tune. At first, I couldn’t even comprehend what had happened, because I thought I was fine: nothing hurt. My dad was looking at me, his mouth open in shock, and he was saying “oh no,” over and over again. I ran into the bathroom to look in the mirror, and then the pain hit me fierce and staggering. My upper lip, on the right side, was split into two parts, and dripping bright red blood.

I heard the basement door open and close, and when I looked Dawson wasn't there anymore. My dad pulled a washrag out and put it over my lip, leading me up the stairs. I heard Dawson howling from outside in the pen we reserved for when he was bad, but I didn’t have time to look: my dad was basically dragging me up the steps, two at a time. My mom took one look at me, and she bolted outside to start the car. My older sister asked what happened frantically, and when my dad told her, she started to bawl.

I ducked into the car and we drove to Dearborn County Hospital, and we rushed into the ER, getting odd looks from the other patients waiting. We were priority, though – not many people had blood gushing from their faces. I got a hospital bracelet and my mom started filling out paperwork, and then they sent me back into a room where a doctor was waiting.

I thought the worst part of my hospital experience would have been the seven stitches I got on my lip and chin. I was wrong. The worst part was the twelve shots I got in my face so I was completely numb. They felt like big, fat bees, stinging me repeatedly. When the doctor stitched me up, I barely felt anything at all, just the tugging of string through my lip.

I sat up, feeling no pain at all, and saw my parents looking at me like I was a bomb, ready to explode. At first, I didn’t realize why, but now I do: I don’t have the highest pain tolerance, and I’m sure that getting my lip split open is pretty high on the pain scale. But with the local anesthetic coursing through my face, I felt fine. That was, until I saw my face.

Five big, black stitches, oily with antibiotic ointment, lined my lip, making me look like a zombie. I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t smile too wide. For two weeks, I’d be an emotionless mummy, the doctor told me. Actually, he didn’t. He just said to take it easy, but that’s how I interpreted it.

At the time, I thought this was the worst thing in the world. Looking back, I realize it wasn’t. My parents could have had to put Dawson down, but they didn’t. Things could have been much, much worse. I guess this is just one of the lessons in life that I had to learn the hard way. So, the next time somebody says to “let sleeping dogs lie,” take it seriously. It could save a trip to the hospital.




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