Two weeks ago Mac was playing in her BFF’s backyard. Layla and Mac are both retired racing greyhounds and live across the street from each other. They love to sniff butts, run, and just stand next to each other.
Mac started to dig in the dirt, which was very adorable, and Layla thought it looked like fun too. As Layla’s parents and I watched the dogs play, Layla’s mom said, “Oh no, Mac is limping.”
I noticed it, but was not too concerned as this has happened before, and Mac just walks it off and is perfectly fine. I did go to check on Mac, and noticed blood on my hand after touching Mac’s leg. I braced myself, as concern started to set in.
I looked for the source of the blood, and was taken aback when I found it. On Mac’s upper right leg, there was an exposed bloody patch of skin. It appeared as if the fur had been ripped right off and a bare patch was left. I tried to stay calm as Layla’s mom was worried enough for the both of us.
For the year and a half I have had Mac, I have been to the vet quite a few times. From hookworm, to eating fried chicken she found on the street, to running into a dogs’ tooth at the dog park. Every time I go, the answer is typically just watch her for signs of infection or a new round of antibiotics is prescribed. With this experience, I didn’t rush to the vet after the accident as it was a Sunday and they were closed. I cleaned the wound and kept an eye on her.
I already had a vet appointment on Tuesday to get her heartworm injection, so I figured they could take a look then. On Tuesday, the vet took Mac to the back for her injection. She came out before she brought Mac back to me, and told me the wound needed to be stitched up. Mac’s muscle tissue was exposed, meaning this was a much worse wound than she’d had before.
My heart sank as she described in detail what they would have to do to repair the damage. I held back tears as I tried to calmly ask questions about the procedure. We scheduled the surgery for two days away, and the vet told me not to let Mac lick the area.
This became a new stress, because Mac had been licking the wound! She has always licked her wounds, and I had never been able to keep her from doing so. We tried many things*, but ultimately Mom customized a human plaid shirt that worked perfect at keeping Mac from licking, and also allowed her to move and roach.
The day of the surgery Mom and I busied ourselves with projects, just to keep our mind off of Mac. I got the call at 1pm that she did well, and I could pick her up after 3pm.
At 3:01, I was at the vet’s office to get my puppy! Anesthesia for greyhounds can be tricky and dangerous if not done right (I might have read TOO much about greyhounds before I adopted Mac). So I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Mac.
When they brought Mac to me, she seemed pretty alert. She was walking fine and looked good. Next, I looked at the wound. I could not have imagined what I saw. It was a bloody mess! Nothing covered it, it was in full view and it looked angry. I got light headed for a moment as I took it in, but also tried to stay calm as I finished paying and asking about the after care.
I took each step I needed to get her home and resting, and then I broke down. All the emotions hit me and I let the tears flow. It finally hit me why the stitched up area affected me so much.
The last time I saw a bloody, stitched up area was my arm, 13 years ago. I didn’t have a flashback, but a heaviness. The heaviness of the present pain I felt, having no control of the situation, not able to explain to Mac what was happening, or why it happened. And the past pain of what I felt when I was locked in a mental hospital, my bloody arm wrapped tight and pulsing in pain. Memories of having no control of the situation, not able to understand what was going on, and no one willing to talk to me as a human and tell me it was going to ok.
Mac has been a rock star through the recovery. She has left the wound alone and did well with the meds and not being able to run before the stitches were removed.
Today is day 16 since the wound appeared. Today the stitches get removed and I will take Mac to the woods to run! She loves the woods.
This journey drained me.
This journey derailed my work.
It brought up brand new, and past emotions.
Mac came into my life with a large scar on her side that people tend to ask me about when they first meet her. I have no answers to how it occurred, or even when in her life it happened. But when people see this new scar, I know the facts. I was with her every step of the way. Mac was living and loving life, playing with her friend, and an accident happened. No one’s fault, it just happened. And we got through it together. And we grew together. And we will continue to live and love life, together.
* I bought three different options for keeping Mac from licking the wound. Two I bought from Chewy.com didn’t work, and when I went to return them, Chewy emailed me and said they had refunded my credit card, and I didn’t need to return the items. I could donate them or give them to someone that could use them. I continue to be impressed with Chewy's customer service! A few months ago they sent me a hand painted portrait of Mac, just because! I have had a lot of bad customer service experiences with various companies lately, but never had an issue with Chewy. I highly recommend Chewy! I have and will continue to order my pet supplies from them.