Love Bites

So… almost a month after the incident, I decided it was time to write about the little hiccup we had with our blind, anxious rescue dog, Henry. If you’re curious about what exactly happened and why he’s still sleeping in our bed every night, look no further! I’ll warn you, this is a long post because I’m a) a dog lover and b) a rambler. I really wanted to talk about what I learned from the incident. Was a dog bite to the face life-changing? I mean, it sounds melodramatic… but it kind of was.

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After a week of healing… wow!

Let me start from the beginning. When we rescued Henry, we knew he was pretty blind. We weren’t sure how blind, but a few collisions with the trashcans around our apartment complex let us know he was pretty darn blind. It didn’t seem to affect his day-to-day, so it didn’t affect us. It also became pretty clear that he was super anxious, because he would pace and whine daily. When Jeremy left for work, when I wasn’t paying attention to him, when anything felt “off”… he was whining. I’m an anxious chick myself, so I tried to be patient with him.

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Those sweet eyes!!

On the night in question, Henry’s whining was out of control. Jeremy volunteers on Thursday nights, and Henry doesn’t appreciate the break from routine. Our vet had prescribed a sedative for when he’s extra rattled, and I disguised one in a treat and gave it to him. It went to work quickly, and Henry conked out until Jeremy got home.

The three of us were hanging out on the couch when it happened. Henry was curled up in a cute little ball to my side, and I went in for a kiss. Confused from the meds, blinded by the dim evening light, and surprised by my sneak kiss attack, Henry bit. Guys, it was scary! I heard his snarl and felt his teeth go into my forehead and below my eye, but it didn’t really hurt. After all, I was mostly shocked that my precious chocolate lab had just done that. Henry was shocked too – he immediately jumped off the couch and started cowering in his crate, which is his “safe space” in the apartment.

For the first few seconds after it happened, I sat on the couch blinking to make sure my vision was fine. When I realized my eyeball was unscathed (hallelujah!) I had to get straight to the other important question.

         “Are my eyebrows okay?”

I laugh about this part now. I have white blonde eyebrows and had just spent a small fortune (in freelance writing terms) on getting them microbladed. If Henry had just ruined my brand new, on fleek brows… oh baby. I was about to get riled up. Don’t worry, dear readers, my brows are just fine!

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At the permanent cosmetics salon earlier that day… like c’mon. Those are gorgeous.

If you’ve ever gotten a dog bite (or any animal bite), you know that the biggest issue is potential infection. After a call to my wise, wise mother, Jeremy and I were off to the E.R. Not so shockingly, we had to wait for hours to see a doctor, and we were at the hospital until the next morning. It was a long night!

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Tired, delirious, and sterilized!

There was a moment of comedic relief as we sat in the emergency room that night. There was a female security guard on duty and we were sitting near her. I’m examining the gash in my forehead, underneath my eye, and on my nose, already freaking out about how the scars will look at our wedding and in the upcoming engagement photos. As I’m having a superficial meltdown, the security guard approached Jeremy and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ryan Gosling?” HEY, COOL, THANKS! We’ll just change our wedding theme to Beauty & the Beast.

After my wounds were rinsed and bandaged and I had a prescription for some precautionary antibiotics, we could finally go home. Oddly, I couldn’t wait to get home and see Henry. After he bit me, chaos ensued. There was a lot of yelling and tears, and I assumed Henry was traumatized and it was breaking my heart that he was alone in his crate all night. Turns out, he had zero recollection of the incident. He was wagging his tail and covering us with kisses when we got home, just happy to see us. Dogs are wonderful.

I spent the first week locked in my apartment with bandages on my face and covered in antibiotic goop. A month out, the cuts have healed and now I’m constantly covered in scar gel. When I’m feelin’ fancy, I’ll put a little bit of concealer on the scars and they’re pretty unnoticeable. All in all, I feel SO LUCKY! Now that I can put the physical aspects aside, I can reflect on the emotional aspects of the situation.

Don’t ask for a special needs pet unless you can actually work with their special needs.

Duh, right? This should be obvious, but I had a major epiphany after this whole thing happened. I sought out a dog that would be considered “unadoptable” by other people. I actually thought having a blind, deaf, or three-legged dog would be “my thing” – I’m shortsighted, I know. We have to be careful with Henry, making sure we put him on the right medication and help him to feel safe and calm in our home. He is going to make mistakes. The situation isn’t black and white, and one bite doesn’t mean he’s kicked out of our home.

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FAMILY.

People are way more understanding and empathetic than I ever imagined.

I posted a pic of my battle wounds and didn’t go into a ton of detail about what happened. People immediately started messaging me about similar experiences they’ve had. I got a boatload of tips and advice about minimizing scarring, and no one made me feel superficial or dramatic about being so worried about that.

Honestly, Jeremy and I both assumed we’d get a lot of questions about Henry, and we thought everyone would expect us to get rid of him. Quite the opposite. Multiple people told us we made the right choice by committing to working with him. A lot of people told us stories about “problem pets” they’d had in the past, and they totally understood that it wasn’t an easy situation.

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…for you guys!

 Bad stuff isn’t as bad with the right person. 

Warning: this is where I get a little bit sappy. I’m sorry but I have to. There are multiple times a week that Jeremy makes me feel unspeakably lucky to be his fiancée. That night, Jeremy was my MVP. I alternated between bawling over the fact that we might need to re-home Henry, to sobbing over my “grotesque” injuries, to laughing about looking like Harry Potter, and then back again. Jeremy held my hand and rode the rollercoaster with me. He took care of me all night, and even took off work the next day to be my personal nurse. I woke up at 5 a.m. crying from pain and uneasiness about the entire situation, and he made me breakfast and settled in for an Office marathon. He cleaned my wounds multiple times daily, all while insisting I’m still pretty.

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MVP.

I’m sure that we will go through much worse things than a dog bite to the face. I’m sure anyone who has been married for years will vouch for that. This situation just made me feel confident that I have a teammate, a nurse, a best friend, and a shoulder to cry on whenever shitty stuff happens. Whatever I needed, Jeremy gave me – and then some. Have I mentioned how damn lucky I am?

If you’ve made it to the end of this novel… thank you. I know it might sound crazy that all of these feelings arose from a little dog bite, but hey, I’m an emotional gal. Thank you to the people who told me what scar cream to buy, thank you to the people who told us we made the right choice by keeping Henry, and thank you to everyone who understood that a facial injury can really take the pep out of your step for a few days! You’re all amazing.

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