Today was my birthday. I turned 26. This year had been full of wonderful things and life changing events. I married my husband in May, and we moved to North Carolina. I took on my very first general manager position, where I learned quite a bit. We also adopted our second dog, June, in September. It had been quite a year, but unfortunately, the life changing events weren't over yet.
I got home late from a long day of work. Lots of customers were hustling to get their last minute holiday party essentials. I was exhausted to say the least. I came home to my two sweet pups and my dear husband, who had a surprise for me! Ben had made me a nice dinner and even bought me a birthday cake. It was so sweet of him! After dinner, I was exhausted. There was no way I would make it to midnight for the ball drop, so I headed off to bed.
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Right before midnight, Ben headed outside to smoke and take the dog's out one last time before bed. He ended up outside as the new year hit. Then came the fireworks. June panicked. She absolutely freaked out. She ran around in our fenced in backyard looking for an escape. She had to get away from that scary sound. She found a hole under the fence about the size of a large grapefruit. Ben & I both thought it was much too small for our dogs to fit through. We were wrong. June was trying to get through it. Ben almost got to her in time, but she slipped through the fence and was gone.
I shot up in bed after only a couple hours of sleep at the sound of Ben yelling. Ben's voice was stricken with panic. "June got out!" I flew out of bed and threw on the clothes closest to me which just so happened to be Ben's clothes. I went to run out of the house without even thinking about shoes. I almost went without them, but realized it was the middle of winter. Even in North Carolina, it gets a little chilly. I ran over and threw my work shoes on sans socks. Out the door I flew!
Ben jumped into his car so he could search for her, too. I tore off on foot in the direction he saw her flee. I saw the neighbors across the street outside around their fire. I had a moment of hope. Maybe she was with them. I called to them, "Have any of you seen a foxhound?" They said they saw one run off in the direction I was headed. I kept going. I tried to keep my voice as calm as I could so June wouldn't be afraid to come to me. I am sure it was not very calm though. I was having an inner meltdown. Where is my baby? What might happen to her? What if it already happened.....? I pushed on. My out of shape body was no match for the love I had for my daughter.
I was three streets over in my subdivision, and it was a ghost town. No June. No people. No sounds at all except the yells and panting coming from me. Ben drove up to me. "Do you have her?" I yelled. He didn't. I jumped in the car with him so we could look together. We pulled out of the subdivision to search the main road. We went down a little ways and saw nothing. I suggested we turn around. Maybe she headed back home. As we were turning around, I caught a glimpse of white in my peripheral vision. "Stop!" I yelled. I told Ben I thought I saw her. I jumped out of the car. A car was coming towards us and I motioned for them to slow down. After they passed I ran to the white mass I had seen on the side of the road. I was terrified. A million thoughts ran through my head as I ran to her side. Will she be okay? Will she be horribly injured? Will I be too late?
It was an agonizing run to her, but I finally made it to her side. She was alive! I was overcome with relief. But why had she decided to lay down right next to the road? It didn't make sense. Then I realized what had happened. June had been hit by a car.
She was breathing heavily with her tongue hanging out. Upon closer inspection, she was bleeding from her mouth. It was dripping from her tongue. She was scuffed and scraped all over her beautiful white coat. There was a horrible smell as well; she had expressed her anal glands upon impact.
Ben pulled up to us in his car. I yelled at him that she was alive. We needed to get her into the car. I was beyond terrified to move her. What if I hurt her worse? Ben helped me get her into the backseat, where I sat with her. We rushed back to the house to get my cell phone and Ben's wallet. Poor Cooper was so worried. He knew something was wrong. We left him home and rushed off to the vet.
I called our vet's office and listened to the answering machine for the after hours number. Either I misheard the number in my panic, or it was on the machine incorrectly. It was most likely my error, but none the less I dialed someone's home number at 12:30 at night asking for the vet. Why hadn't I prepared for an emergency? Why hadn't I programmed the appropriate numbers into my phone? I felt like a complete failure of a mother. I didn't have a smartphone yet, so I couldn't look up the nearest emergency vet on my phone. I dialed 411. They sent us to the closest 24 hour emergency vet in Chesapeake, VA. It was over an hour away. I hoped and prayed that we would get there in time.
We also didn't have our GPS with us in our haste to leave. I called my parents for help. My mom immediately knew something was wrong by my voice. I explained to her what happened and asked her to look up directions. She told us how to get there and to call her to let us know what the vet said.
I sat in the back with June the whole way up. She was panting, bleeding, and constantly moving in circles. She couldn't get comfortable. I called the emergency vet and spoke to a helpful young man. He told me to just keep her comfortable and they would be waiting for us. On the ride up, I told Ben that no matter what happened, I didn't blame him. I could just feel the guilt emanating from him. It wasn't his fault. It was an accident. We flew up to Virginia as fast as we could. I prayed that we wouldn't get pulled over. It was New Year's Eve after all. The cops were out, and so were the drunks. Please let us make it to the vet safe and sound. Please!
We pulled up to the vet after 1:00am. I picked up June and we rushed inside. I held her while Ben got help. They took her back immediately to check her vitals and assess her. Someone came out and had us sign that we would pay for treatment before they could start. Where do I sign? No matter the cost, we just wanted our little girl back!
After what seemed to be an eternity. A vet came to get us. She took us in a little room and told us the grim news. June probably wouldn't make it. I couldn't fathom what she had just told me. I just couldn't process this devastating comment. It couldn't be.
The vet went on to tell us that she had broken her shoulder as well as crushed her forearm. Although these were awful injuries, they weren't the worst. She had been struck so hard, that her lungs had filled with blood. Although they were giving her oxygen, there was nothing else they could do for her. Her body had to recover on her own, which wasn't likely due to the extent of her injuries.
We at least got to see her. We had to be calm so we wouldn't upset her. We walked back and saw her surrounded by vet techs. She was on a metal exam table with a bloody oxygen mask on her face. It was plain to see that it was hard for her to breathe. We pet her. We talked to her. We told her how much we loved her and that we would be back tomorrow to see her. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do to pick myself up and walk away from my baby girl. It was out of my hands.
I immediately collapsed onto a bench outside of the exam room. The emotions were too much. I was weak. I had been strong for the past few hours for my girl. Now I was drained. We paid our down payment and quietly went back to the car. I called my mom and told her the prognosis. She felt so bad for us. I told her she could tell my siblings if she wanted, but I just couldn't talk about it. Ben and I drove home, hand in hand. We were exhausted but couldn't sleep. The life of our baby girl was up in the air.
Please be safe during fireworks! They can be so very scary for your dogs. Please be prepared for an emergency. You never know when tragedy may strike.