Bushington and I had just gotten home from work. What a day. Oy veh, but Bushington’s still a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. So, after work, we drive home, I open the garage door, put Bushingtom on my lap, put the car in park, and turn off the ignition. He’d been such a good boy today. I pick Bushington up with my left arm by his chest and pick up my briefcase from the passenger floor with my right hand. We (Bushington and I) go to my front door where my wife and kids would be waiting. I close the garage door, put down the briefcase, take my keys out of my pocket, and open the front door. I put Bushington down and he runs to see my son, Sean.
Sean loved Bushington from the moment they met. Sean and my other kids are at school all day, though, which is one reason why Bushingtan can’t stay home. But, after petting Bushingtan for a minute, Sean asks, “Can I take Bushington for a walk, Dad?”
I thought about it for a moment and, after handing Sean a poop bag (to pick up Bushington’s poop), I say, “Sure. I’ll keep him on the leash for you.” Now, I have three children: Sean, who’s 12, a seven year old named, Bob, and a fourteen year old named Roberta and Sean is the most responsible.
See, every week I give the children reasonable chores like taking the trash out, watering the plants, making their beds, etc. and Sean’s the one who always gets his chores done, gets A’s and B’s in school, and plays football. So, I let Sean walk Bushington as a reward.
Meanwhile, I start the mise en place for dinner. I chop up the sweet yellow onions, chop celery stick, Juliette potatoes, check that the meat defrosted, preheat the oven; the usual preps for meatloaf.
Then, I hear a loud bang from the front door and crying. So, I put the knife on the cutting board and see what’s going on. I see Sean inside the house at the front door holding Bushington, crying. I need to assess the situation.
“What happened? What’s wrong?” I ask and hear Bushingon whimper, too.
Sean starts shivering and Sean’s lower lip shakes. Then, after a pause, Sean says, “There were two cars going really fast, like on NASCAR, and Bushingtan and I were on the street and I looked both ways like I ought to, but I didn’t see them, so we crossed the road and then I saw them, the cars, and I froze ‘cause I was scared and Bushington froze, because he was scared too. Then, I snapped out of it and went to the sidewalk and pulled Bushington too, but Bushington was still in shock and wouldn’t move, so I pulled on his leash and got him outta the way, but the car ran over his hind leg and he’s hurt.”
There was another pause then, “I’m sorry, Dad.”
I have to think and so I do. Then it comes to me: because I work as an Executive Assistant, I hear side conversations and sometimes I write down small notes on yellow post-its which I put on the fridge at our home. So, I tell Sean to hold Bushington gently and I find the emergency number for dog/cat injuries: 912. The people at Pet Emergency wanted to be referred by the 911 operators, but the state voted against that. So, I pick up the phone and call 912. A woman with a hoarse voice answers:
“912 operator. What’s your emergency?” she asks?
“We need an ambulance. Bushingtom just got run over by a car,” I say.
“Is it a dog or a cat?” she asks.
I wonder why that would matter, but answer, “He’s a dog”.
I tell her my address over the phone and she says a pet ambulance is on its way.
Sean, my family, and I wait and pray. Sean gently hugs Bushington in the chest and my daughter kisses Bushington, the other boy pets him. I’m ten minutes, the pet ambulance arrives with a stretcher. The petametics (that’s what they call themselves) put Bushington on the stretcher and tells our family the ambulance will be going to Love Paw Hospital, which is 5 miles from home. I look at Bushingtom and look at his leg and wonder if it’ll be amputated.
Our family decides Bushingtom is more important than dinner, so we take the minivan to Love Paw Hospital. It’s 6:00 pm. We get out of the minivan, go in the vet’s office and my family sits in the waiting room, and I go to the receptionist and ask how Bushingtom’s doing.
“All things considered, he’s doing well,” she says, “but I’m going to have to have you fill out these forms”. She hands me a clipboard with questions about Bushington, like our address, meditations he’s taking, his age, etc. I sit down with my family, fill out everything and go back to the receptionist. I hand her the forms and I whisper, “Will they need to amputate?”
She takes the forms and says, “They don’t know yet, Sir. They’re waiting for the X-Rays.”
Now, the vet’s office has a play area with books, a small table, crayons and paper, but none of my kids want to play. Instead they pray that Bushingtam will be ok. My wife and I both got cups of coffee and wait.
I ask for updates on Bushington’s condition and am repeatedly told the vet will let me know when the surgery’s complete.
After 2 hours, Bushingtam comes out with a small white cast on his back left leg. The vet says Bushingtan can keep his leg, but Bushingtan has to wear a cone that looks like an old fashioned record (LP) amplifier, so he won’t lick his wound because licking causes infections.
The bill was expensive. I’m going to look up pet health insurance later, but Bushingtam is worth it. Then, though, me and my family all go home in the van. When we get home, everyone walks in the house for dinner except for me and Bushingtam. I take my keys, open my car door and put Bushingtam in the passenger seat. I start the ignition, but then turn it off. I take out the keys, grab Bushingtam and go inside to make dinner. I wish I could drive back in time but can’t.