It’s noon on a Saturday, and I am anticipating heading home in an hour or so. I have plans to school my oldest child on the basketball court.
But you know what they say about plans.
I’m finishing an exam in a room when an assistant knocks on the door and leans in to call me to the phone. Her face is pale.
“Lemmy was in a fight,” she said. “They’re on their way. They said he’s dying.”
To my staff’s credit, the emergency supplies are ready before I even get to the back room. We get the last appointment checked out and sit in nervous silence for another 10 minutes.
My pulse races when Lemmy’s owners pull into the parking lot. They open the back of their SUV, and our familiar pal hops out, his tongue lolling and his tail wagging. But his head is a mess of dirt and dried blood. It is caked in his yellow fur, obscuring most of the left side of his face.
He looks stable, and most of his exam is normal. But one injury is evident. His left eye has been crushed, ruptured when a larger dog bit him as they vied for the same ball at the park.
The eye is a lost cause. Luckily, no deeper wounds to the face or neck occurred. Even if you haven’t taken anatomy, you probably know deep throat wounds can be fatal.
Emergency blood work shows all is well internally. Then I sedate Lemmy, clean his wounds, remove the damaged eye and clean his teeth.
I would rather have done his teeth on a weekday with forewarning. I hate that I had an opportunity to do them today.
Lemmy is discharged the next day with antibiotics and pain control medications. His recovery is uneventful.
The dog that bit him had bitten multiple times before, but its owners thought they could control him at the park. Their hubris cost Lemmy his left eye. He’s as happy as ever, despite losing his depth perception.
Still, even if Lemmy doesn’t hold a grudge, his doctor will do it for him.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.