it happens.

About a decade ago, good lord a decade?, Big Red and I took a motorcycle riding class.  We spent two Saturdays on borrowed bikes in a mall parking lot, and two Wednesdays inside a classroom.  After passing a driving test, we were issued our licenses to ride.  It was exhilarating being able to ride my own motorcycle. There's nothing like it.  There's also nothing like dumping your bike, and according to almost every rider - male or female - when asked if they've dumped their bike, they'll either reply yes, or no, but it's bound to happen sooner or later.  Such is life. I would dump, in the summer of 2003, an anniversary edition Harley Sportster that happened to belong to a woman holding the office of mayor. Thankfully, I wasn't going that quickly, and thankfully she had good insurance.  I haven't been on a bike since.  Call it whatever you'd like.

There are just some of those things in life that happen to everyone. Dumping a motorcycle is one, and apparently, so is cutting your dog's nail too short.  I am nauseated as I write this and still can't get over the trauma.

Yesterday evening, while Big Red was out doing some side work, I decided it would be a perfect time to trim Olive's nails.  I've done it a bunch of times, and pride myself on how careful I am not to cut too close to the quick.  Would you believe that on the last paw, the last god forsaken nail, I screwed up.  And I knew it immediately too. She gave a quiet little yelp and ran over to her bed. After apologizing profusely and petting her generously, I noticed the crimson trail seeping from her nail.

Enter the panic stage.

I freaked out and ran to the kitchen to get some paper towels, and Olive sensing my panic, ran from me leaving her bloody paw print everywhere.  The blood just would not stop!  I finally corralled her back on her bed and was trying to gently get at her paw to apply some pressure to the wound - she was so nervous she peed the bed.  Not thinking straight I let her out to go to the bathroom and the trail of blood continued.  I got my wits about me, and called her back in, but by then she was totally freaked out, probably confused and didn't want to come back in the house. She remained on the sidewalk cowering, her tail between her legs and blood dripping from her paw.  I had to make a mental note to go back and clean up the blood after I'd taken care of Olive, because if the neighbors saw our sidewalk, they probably would think someone was murdered.  I immediately straightened out, called her in like nothing was wrong and sure enough, she trotted right back in through the door.

After a few minutes of applying pressure to her god-awful wound, I called Big Red.  I told him what happened and asked if he knew of any particular protocol that I should follow.  He just said to look it up online and make sure it wasn't fatal.  Great thanks, dude. That's exactly what I want to hear-FATAL.  Then he made a comment about how the back nails don't even really need to be cut.  And that's when I got mad. Thanks a heap.  I already feel like an asshole, no need for you to jump on that wagon.  And I hung up. I opened my laptop searching the internet for what to do.  9 out of 10 sites just said to apply pressure and pack the nail with a powder called quick stop, or use styptic powder, neither of which I had. Turns out cornstarch is a perfect agent in coagulation. There was also one site that said the wound needed to be washed to ward off infection.  Fearing an imminent gangrenous infection in my sweet puppy's paw, I decided I would need to clean her wound.

I grabbed a traumatized Olive and stuck her in the tub to wash her paw. Soon as the water hit, she started bleeding again.  I swear if there were sharks nearby, they'd have attacked.  After quickly cleaning her paw, I put some antibacterial ointment on it, and wrapped it in gauze.  I carried her 50 lb. ass down the stairs to the family room, and laid her out on the couch like a recovering princess.  That is where she remained for the rest of the night.

When Big Red and I went to sleep last night I had some anxiety about what might happen over night.  Visions of a lifeless dog laying in a pool of blood were all I could envision.  I was also worried that Olive would remember me as her assailant and never want anything to do with me ever again.  I was sick to my stomach and had a raging headache.

This morning came and Olive was chipper as usual as if nothing had ever happened. I had to leave to go help a friend finish up a tile project, and the vision of a lifeless Olive would not leave. I finished up the tile job just after 12 noon, and had to force myself to make one other necessary stop. All I really wanted to do was rush home and make sure she was still alive.  Sure enough, she was - wagging her tail and looking at me with those trusting brown eyes.  What a wonderful little beast.

Clearly the whole ordeal was a much bigger deal to me than it was to her.  Let's just say I don't plan on cutting her nails for a while.  I'm not saying that I won't ever do it again, I'm just going to take a long break from it. I still catch myself looking for trails of blood, as I'm concerned she'll start bleeding again. The cornstarch is on the counter outside the cupboard where it's usually kept, and there may or may not be a few extra treats in Olive's near future.

post script: Big Red apologized for what he calls his "knee-jerk" reaction on the phone. I forgave him.

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