State of the Emme

Monday night one of my greatest fears became reality.

I arrived home from work and let my dog Emme out of the basement, we went to the backdoor and I opened it for her to go outside. Normally when it’s raining and it’s been a long day at work, I leave her and go back to the kitchen for a few moments, looking outside to make sure she hasn’t wondered off and isn’t harassing too many squirrels. However, lately at night she’s been wondering over toward my neighbor’s porch (we live in a duplex) and I have no idea why! She did it again Monday so I stepped out onto the porch to watch her to see if I could find what was so interesting since it was light out.

I noticed a quick grey movement near his (neighbor’s) trash cans. My immediate thought was “Oh God, it’s the possum from last year!” Followed by “Oh no, what if it’s a coyote?” Well, before I could even think to call her over a medium/large grey dog came running into my backyard. We have a partially fenced in backyard. My side has a gate, the other does not which is how the dog entered. We have A LOT of dogs in our neighborhood and at 5 pounds Emme is by far always the smallest. Every dog usually comes over and sniffs her and she quivers and they either lay down to not scare her, come over to me because I’ll clearly be more fun or run back to their owner. I HATE how many people don’t leash their dogs. Countless times Emme has been scared to death when a Golden or Lab has charged her while walking on the sidewalk.

At any rate, this strange large grey dog with a silver metal chain collar came up to her and she did her normal ball of quiver. I told the dogs to be nice dogs and everything seemed OK for a split second when all of a sudden the other dog bit Emme and began to shake her and growl and run around the yard. I completely flipped out and jumped on the dog and I’m fairly certain I punched it which is why my hand is slightly busted up. He dropped Em and I quickly scooped her up to run into the house to get my keys and rush her to the vet. Only the dog started jumping on me and attacked me. When I made it to the door it lunged and pulled me down by I think the hood of my hoodie. I lost balance and dropped Emme, at which point he grabbed her again, by what looked like the throat and again began to shake her and run around. This is when she stopped crying and totally went limp and I was convinced he snapped her neck. Again I jumped at the dog screaming and hitting and kicking and trying to throw myself on top of her if I couldn’t get her into the house.

Seeing her lying in the mud, in the rain, limp and bleeding was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.

I managed to finally get her away from the other dog and ran toward my door. The grey dog continued to chase me and tried to break its way into my house. Once past the screen door, even with his face entering I slammed the wooden door and I honestly don’t care if I hurt the other dog or not.

With Em in my arms I ran through the house screaming, grabbed my phone and keys and jumped into the car, no shoes or purse or anything. I sat there screaming at the top of my lungs for a moment before I remembered to put the keys into the car, turn it on, get to the vet’s and call Mom. She had NO CLUE what I was saying as I ran stop signs and cut people off. All she gathered was “Emme is dying” and went to my house. When I wasn’t there she came and met me at the vet’s.

At our vet’s (which luckily is maybe 1 mile away) they managed to get her stabilized  but she was in terrible shock and had already had a seizure. Mom took me to get my purse, some shoes and warmer clothes before we picked up Em to take her to the hospital.

The hospital said they were very concerned about her condition and she was in ICU from the start. Her vitals were stable, but low and it was anyone’s guess how severe the brain damage or internal damage was. It’s hard to gauge on such a small dog and some stuff doesn’t show up until later.

Over the next 24 hours we were given good news and bad news. There were points where she was in good spirits and points where she wasn’t responding visually and they wondered if she was going to be blind. Points where her blood work was normal, but she had the risk of falling into a depression. I was able to visit her 2x Monday night and 1x yesterday afternoon.

By a miracle. A complete miracle the other dog did not puncture her throat or other critical areas. Over the night her brain did not swell and she slowly gained back her strength and responses. As of this morning (Wednesday) she is set to enter surgery. During the attack her pelvis was shattered in 3 places. It’s hard to see on the x-ray, but hopefully once they repair the ball and socket joint she will regain full use of her leg over time. Last night she was attempting to use her other side, which is a very good sign.

I’m so scared about her having surgery. She’s so tiny to be put under anesthesia and it makes me sick to think we’ve come this far to lose her. The doctors assure me though, they have state of the art equipment and they would not do it if it was not safe. If we don’t do the surgery she will not heal comfortably, she will be in pain and eventually will need amputated…I can’t do that to her. She’s come so far and has been so brave, I need to give her her best shot. This is not me not wanting a 3 legged dog or anything like, this is me knowing my dog and knowing she would want to take this risk. Knowing she would want her shot at as normal a life as possible. Besides the doctors keep promising me it’s a safe procedure and she will be OK.

That is where we stand. The next time you hear from me, Emme should be home and resting.

Oh and me and the other dog? Since I was wearing such a thick hoodie, the attack didn’t break any skin. I keep having flashbacks and knowing if I wasn’t wearing it, he would have had my neck/throat and that makes me sick to my stomach. My hand was badly bruised and scraped, but I didn’t need any meds or treatment. I have NO IDEA who the other dog was or its owner which means the police and animal control can’t do anything. Even if I find it, then it’s my word against theirs. I now have to live with this memory and fear, as does my baby girl. I now have to spend the next who knows how long paying for the THOUSANDS of dollars this has cost me. I can’t put a price on my best friend though, so in the end I don’t care that I now have given up shopping, eating out, Christmas and who knows what else for the next 1-2 years.

All that matters is the health and happiness of those I love, myself, my family and my doggie.

Update: As of 100 PM on 10/31/2012 Emme has made it out of surgery and is looking to make a full recovery. Her fractures were too severe to save the ball/socket of her hip, so she had to have a FHO procedure. They said it means her joint now works more like a shoulder socket. With physical therapy she should be back to walking/running/normal life. All that is just details though…she’s going to be OK and she’s coming home tomorrow. <3

18 comments

  1. Angie @ Losing It and Loving It says:

    Oh Julie, I am so sorry. I am praying that all goes well with Emme’s surgery and that you both will heal from this. I do know how it is when one of our pets is critically injured and the cost really puts a dent in our life (our adopted kitten broke his leg twice) but you are right it IS worth it. I wouldn’t have done anything different.

    I know you don’t know me but please reach out if you ever need to talk.

  2. Kim says:

    Wow, I am so incredibly sorry. I don’t know what else to say. My dogs say they are very sorry too. Sending lots of positive energy WAY your way.

  3. Louise Cunningham says:

    All I can say is OMG. As an owner of 2 small dogs I could totally envision this as I was reading your post. Please email me your address as I’d like to send you a few dollars to help towards Emme’s surgery and vet bills. I’m hoping other dog owners/lovers will step up and do the same!

  4. Amanda @RunToTheFinish says:

    OH GIRL!!!! I am so sorry you are going through this how completely terrifying on so many different levels. I am glad to hear that you are ok and that she should be ok.

    I hope you can find the owner and make them pay up! Have you called animal control or anything?

    • Julie @ ROJ Running says:

      I called police and animal control, neither can do anything since I don’t know the dog or owner. Very frustrating

  5. eric says:

    I know how this feels. I was involved in a very similar incident just this summer. Hang tough, your lil pup looks like a survivor to me!

  6. Mindy Artze says:

    You are so brave and so strong. I cried reading your story. Our doggies are our babies and it must be horrible living through this. I am so glad she is so strong and brave. I think it is fundraiser time! You have saved her life. A lot of people wouldn’t be able or willing to help her. You did! You deserve help! Let us know how we can help!

  7. Pavement Runner says:

    I’m happy for you both… sending positive thoughts and vibes for the little buddy.

    I’m pissed you don’t know who’s dog it is. WTH? I would ask neighbors if they have seen the dog, etc. I would do my hardest to find out who’s dog it was. When my dog was bit, broke the skin enough to visit the vet, I was in front of the owners house, luckily. We were both safe, but I felt so bad for her. I really hope you find out who’s dog it is, even if it’s just for letting animal control know this dog has a history. Also for helping to pay, would be great.

  8. karyn says:

    omg julie, i’m so sorry!!!! :( i know how scary it is to be so close to losing an animal. i’m really glad emme is doing well, and i know you will make sure she recovers as best she can. best wishes to both of you!

  9. Leana says:

    I just found your blog through a round up post about holiday exchanges and I read your post about your puppy. I’m glad to hear she is going to be alright. Such a scary situation and I hope you two will be alright!

    • Julie @ ROJ Running says:

      Thank you very much. Yes, she’s doing much much better now and should be totally back to normal in the next month or two. I’m also doing a lot better, still like leaving a light on at night though!

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