Day of the Dog

I remember the day like it was yesterday. My sons first day of preschool in an elementary school. She was standing there holding her baby boy, they both looked so sweet. I decided to strike up a conversation. Little did I know at the time, she would be one of the best friends I would ever have….until the day that all changed.We did almost everything together, from shopping, to trips to the park and to the movies with our kids, nights out, cookouts, birthday parties, you name it and we were there together. We also endured almost 2 tours together while our husbands were overseas. When my absolute best friend went to prison, she was there holding my hand and helping me deal with the loss. In 2010 I lost a baby and had to have a procedure that I never thought I would survive without my husband who was in Iraq at the time, yet she was there to take care of my kids while I was recovering and taking care of me as well. She would do almost anything for anyone if it was within her means.

In August 2011 I had my third child, a beautiful baby girl named Emmakate. Having three kids is definitely different to say the least. However, for appts and things where they would end up being a handful, my friend would keep them for me. On September 30, 2011, I had my postpartum check up at the women’s clinic at the hospital on post. I couldnt take the older ones with me so I left them with my friend while the baby and I headed out for the appt. About 1/2 way through my appt my cell rings, however, my feet our in stirrups so I dont answer it. It rings again so I look at it and its my friend so I answer. She is in a panic and I can hardly understand her, she calmed down enough to say Rileigh was eating popcorn and watching a movie with all the kids and her dog attacked Rileigh in the face while she was eating. Fear. Panic. I throw my clothes on and rush out of the office to my van with hardly an explanation to the dumbfounded doctor. As I pull out of the parking lot with my tires on fire she calls me again and says the ambulance is on its way with my daughter to the ER so I should stay at the hospital.I asked her about my son. Being he has Aspergers, he does not handle things like this well AT ALL. She said that he wet himself during the incident and wouldnt let go of his sister. When the paramedics came he was literally trying to fight his way into the ambulance to be with her but they wouldnt allow it so he had to stay where he was. He all but shut down. So now I had 2 of my kids to worry about health wise, a baby who was feeding off of my stress and screaming bloody murder, a husband who was in Afghanistan and had no idea what was going on, a heart that was pounding, and a mind that was racing. “How bad is it?” I kept thinking. “It must be horrible if she had to call an ambulance.” I figured. So, not knowing what I was going to see I tried to prepare myself for the worst. The nurse finally comes in and tells me shes here. She grabs my shoulders and says “Its not as horrible as you think, but it is bad. You need to clean your face, calm down, breathe, and then I will take you to her.” I did what I was told and had to force myself to walk behind this nurse taking a year to get down the hall when all my feet wanted to do was run to the screams I heard and knew were coming from my daughter.

As soon as she sees me she tries to run to me but the paramedic had a vise grip on her. The biggest part of the injury was being covered by a huge gauze being held by the paramedic. I saw a puncture wound under her left eye where the dog merely misssed her eye ball. Then a small puncture wound on the right corner of her mouth. I walked to the paramedic and touch his hand so I could pull back the gauze. My beautiful baby girls face beside her mouth was shredded. It took all I had not to break down, but I knew she needed me to hold it together. From there it became a whirlwind.  I had papers thrust at me to fill out, MPs (Military Police) wanting my statement, and doctors and nurses asking me questions. My phone is ringing off the hook. And Im trying not to lose it. Before this we had never had such a thing happen. I didnt know what to do or how to feel, all I knew is that I needed my daughter taken care of so we could go home and sort this out. They gave her stitches to the major wound and covered it. Both sides of her mouth were punctured all the way through. They gave her some meds for pain and antibiotics for infection. After hours in the emergency room, I went to pick up my son up. My friend, still wearing the shirt covered in my daughters blood, opened my van door and pulled me out into a hug. We stood there and sobbed together for what seemed like hour. She sobbed “Im so sorry. I promise I will fix this. He will go back to the Husky Rescue.” I couldnt say anything except “Just call me soon.”

Three days pass, my friend never called to check on Rileigh. When I did finally get that phone call, she called to inform me that they were not doing anything to the dog and that they were keeping him.  As soon as I heard this so many feelings shuddered through me, Anger, Fear, Injustice,  and Pain. I knew that with this simple statement it was all over. My husband wanted the dog dead, I was a little more understanding and just wanted him gone. There were other incidents with him biting her husband and nips at her own kids that she wouldn’t admit to the MP’s that questioned her. But I knew them, because we shared everything with each other. I prayed…hard. I decided that I did not want to lose this friend who was such a huge part of my life. I reached out, I called, I texted, I wrote her on Facebook. Nothing. She gave up and was done. I was in such pain. I felt pain because I felt she did not accept any personal responsibility for what had happened in the least bit. I felt pain because I was losing yet another dear friend to unforeseen circumstances. I sent her a message on Facebook. It was polite and curtious, with no harsh words and no ugliness at all. I only wanted her to step into my shoes and see things the way I saw them. To feel the anguish I felt every single time I looked at my daughters face. To feel the ache in my heart every time my daughter was in pain and I couldnt fix it. To understand this wasnt just a scratch, but something that had a long road of recovery, not only physically but mentally for my daughter as well. No reply. Instead I found myself blocked. “Well, God, I tried.” was all I said and walked away from it. To this day I havent heard a single word from her. This friend of 3 years who was with me through thick and thin, who promised me as she sobbed into my shoulder that she would fix this, is gone. Ive been unfriended. This “friend”, this woman, could walk away from this free and clear with her dog in tact. My precious little girl sees that entire day flash before her eyes in the scar that sits across her face. She will never be able to forget it. She sees it in the eyes of every dog that crosses her path. It took us a while for her to get used to being around our very own Husky. She will still flip out if our dog kisses her anywhere near her face or tries to jump on her while just playing. And you can forget about her being comfortable around anyone elses dogs. Its been 4 months and my daughter is still not fully healed from this. And neither am I.

This has been a hard 4 months. My husband still refuses to look at the pictures I have of her injury and healing process. He was strong, but spoke to her about it with tears in his eyes. This accident made an imprint on all of our lives. And one of my best friends, walked away. Although this happened, I still love her and miss her. Maybe one day we will be able to be friends again. Maybe one day I will be able to forgive her, fully and completely. “God puts people in our lives and takes some away. If we are lucky, those that He took will cross our paths again.” -Unknown

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