A Side Splitter

Chloe was pulled from the shelter by Half-Way Home Rescue

I wouldn’t have made a good nurse. Or doctor, or phlebotomist. I wouldn’t have even made a good vet tech.

I get queasy at the sight of blood. I hyperventilate and sometimes, depending on the situation, I get physically ill.

When I was a teenager, I somehow managed to cut a small piece of the tip of my finger off with scissors.

“Go run it under cold water,” my mom said, helping me hold a towel to the wound.

The feel of the cold water as it hit my hand and the red washing down the sink was the last thing I remember before waking up on the kitchen floor.

We had yet another medical emergency at our house yesterday, the worst of them all to date.

Chloe came home from her morning run and laid next to my desk at The Belle Writer’s Studio while I tapped away on the keyboard.

After about a half hour, her licking was driving me crazy.

“What in the world are you licking?” I asked her.

Not getting a reply, I bent down to feel the underside of her belly where she was licking and drew back a bloody hand. I also felt raw meat.

She wasn’t bleeding profusely, but enough for me to know there was something very wrong.

“Stand up,” I told her. When she did, that queasy, fade to black feeling hit me. That same feeling I had when I clipped a tip of my finger off.

Her skin was hanging off of her side, exposing raw flesh underneath. I ran to the bathroom to wash my hand and slap some ice cold well water from the tap on my face.

When I was sure I was not going to pass out or get sick I came back out, careful not to look at the gaping wound.

I picked up the phone and called Dale and told him of the emergency.

“This is getting ridiculous,” he said. “Are you sure you’re not over-reacting?”

Dale is not cold-hearted, but really, these vet bills are getting ridiculous.

To recap, in the past 5 months, our dogs have sustained serious foot and mouth injuries (Abbi, 2 surgeries on the foot and 1 set of stitches to the mouth for a different injury), a dog or wild animal attack (Dexter, who came home with so many holes they had to nearly completely shave him), a serious ear infection (Sade this past Friday) and of course, Molly’s chronic heart problem, as well as medication for Dakota’s dry eyes and routine bloodwork for a thyroid condition.

I could go back a year when Sade lost a couple of teeth and Chloe was snake bit, but I think you get the idea.

The good news is that I made it to the vet without getting sick or passing out and so did Chloe, who sometimes experiences car sickness, even when she’s feeling her best (Dale didn’t have that luck bringing her home).

But not before stopping to show Dale I really wasn’t hysterical and this definitely was another needed trip to the animal doctor.

“Good God,” he said, wincing and taking a step back from the Baby Blazer after seeing her side.

Better news is that Chloe should be fine. She had surgery to repair her side and they removed the drain so she could come home last night.

We have no idea what might have happened, but we suspect barbed wire.

We lived here for 3 years, first with two big dogs, Emma and Sade, without one single injury, but it seems since Emma left us in August 2010, it’s been one thing right after another.

We’ve not been allowing Chloe and Abbi out together to run at night and now that will extend to the daytime. They like to roam and survey the woods together, but having already removed Dexter from that danger by leashing him when he is out, we’ll also be limiting the other two. They don’t seem inclined to roam farther than the driveway when they’re not together.

Through all of this, I still take stock of the beauty that surrounds us and count our lucky stars in our bright, starlit sky that it wasn’t worse.

How has your week started?  

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38 Responses

  1. Jane Boursaw says:

    Good to hear Chloe should be fine. I’ve never been one for blood, but that all changed when I had to become my hubby’s nurse after his liver transplant about 10 years ago. I think a higher power definitely took over that gave me the strength to clean his wounds and become an expert on various meds and bandages!

    • Kerri says:

      I think, as someone else pointed out, we just do what we need to do, Jane. I’m glad you have been able to take care of your husband. I continue to send you good thoughts each day.

  2. That’s awful. Usually the sight of blood doesn’t get to me, but certainly that sight would! Our dog has cost us quite a bit this year too. Thankfully, no gaping wounds, but he’s a small dog and he’s had to have nearly all of his teeth removed. I had no idea doggy dental bills could be sooo pricey. I hope things are improving in your neck of the woods.

  3. Merr says:

    Love that pix of Chloe and am so glad she is on the mend.

  4. Alisa Bowman says:

    You just convinced me to finally get pet insurance.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Yikes! I have a Chloe dog, too, and she’s had her share of problems, but never the raw-meat-bloody kind. I would have passed out. Glad she’s on the mend, but I must admit that right now, i’m feeling a bit weak…

  6. Mary Brown says:


    Glad Chloe is on the mend.

    My week didn’t start so well either. Our 11 yr old cat, Mica (thyriod issues & stroke or seizures for 2 years) had lost so much weight, he went from 23lbs skin and bones in a couple months. Last Saturday our daughter (Mica was hers) came to visit Mica because I didn’t think he had much longer. He really had only been eating a little every 3 to 4 days and Sunday he was vomiting every 2 hours through the night so, Monday I took him to the Vet and he ran some test, we decided to put him down. The last 2 years our Vet tested Mica and consulted with 8 other Vet 8 Vet at 2 hospitals and no one could ever figure out anything other than his thyriod condition which was causing all the problems.

    We get a cat or dog and before you know it they are one of our kids, family and although we know they won’t live forever it’s very hard losing them.


  7. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    I can imagine what a dreadful shock it was. Isn’t it amazing how sanguine and uncomplaining dogs are? I am glad that Chloe is OK now…we are very lucky about vet bills here in our area of Greece. We have a wonderful vet who will answer all emergency calls 24/7 and he is very reasonable. We took one of our dogs last year who was all ripped up from an encounter with wild boar and he had to stitch her up in 4 areas and then he charged us 50 euros..

    Anyway, once again, so glad that Chloe is going to be OK.

    • Kerri says:

      Vida, I think our vet is taking pity on us. The bill this week wasn’t near as expensive as I had expected, although still not good. We had a very reasonable vet in the city. 50 euros, wow. That probably would have been at least $200 here. Thanks for the well wishes and it is amazing how resiliant dogs are. She was jumping up and down yesterday for her “peanut butter pill.” (We give them their pills in blobs of PB!

  8. Alexandra says:

    I react the same way to blood. Could never have been a doctor. Hoping Chole’s wound is healing well.

  9. Carol says:

    Just an aside, I went back and read your snake bite story. Here in So.Calif. we have lots of rattle snakes and there are trainers who do rattle snake avoidance training. It is a shock process, but after having a beautiful rescue boxer bit, a $2000 vet bill, and we lost him anyway to the snake bite, it’s worth it. We have Mojave Green rattle snakes that have a neurotoxin as well as venom. Must get the dog to the vet within 20 minutes and we’re at least 40 minutes from the vet.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, yikes, Carol. Do they have a vaccine for it? We have snake vaccine here, but not sure which one it is for.

      • Carol says:

        No, no vaccine for that particular snake. My best fix is to train them to stay away from the snakes. A big worry on my desert property.

        My folks built our cabin in 1954 and this was the only dog that has ever been bit, so I guess we’ve been so lucky and, hopefully, will continue to be.

  10. Heather L. says:

    So glad you’ve decided not to let the dogs run. Hope Chloe heals quickly and thoroughly.

    • Kerri says:

      We never have wanted them to run, necessarily, it was just trying to figure out how to prevent it without having them chained, which I do not believe in. I think this will curb their running tendencies.

    • Kerri says:

      We never have wanted them to run, necessarily, it was just trying to figure out how to prevent it without having them chained, which I do not believe in. I think this will curb their running tendencies.

  11. Deb Berning says:

    So sorry, hope she recovers completely from her wounds. the animals ar part of our family too. I have had some bad vet bills in the past, but with no income now except UE we can’t afford anything beyond minor bills and if they’re suffering too much have to send them to the Rainbow Bridge unfortunately. I’m glad to see she’s doing better.

    • Kerri says:

      Deb, I’ve never had to make that decision based on finances and I’m sure it is truly a heart wrenching one. Hugs to you.

  12. Ouch. Poor sweetie girl. Indeed barbed wire can be a real beast. There is a lot of it around here, including at the top of our own fence. My sympathies on the vet bills.

  13. Oh poor Chloe and your poor bank account! Glad that at least they were able to stitch her up and that she’s doing well. We have gone a few months with no trips to the vet for our dog, TJ. It’s a good thing because prior to that, we seemed to be at the vet’s office every other week with something! She had a urinary tract infection one week, then an eye infection, then a hot spot that didn’t respond to over the counter treatment.

    Sounds like you’ve got a plan for keeping Chloe and the others close to home so I hope that works out and that they stay safe! I like your positive attitude and ability to enjoy the beauty around you, despite these bumps in life’s road!

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Kathleen. I did calm myself last night by going out and staring up at the bright stars. That always helps. We had a pretty bad night last night as Chloe kept crying, not from pain, but because she didn’t like that E-collar on her (the conehead contraption). We also have a weather front nearing, which made for a bad night for Molly. Changes in the weather and the pressure in the atmosphere affects her breathing. It will be another early night to bed tonight. Hopefully, for a better night’s rest.

  14. You aren’t the only queasy person. I used to be fine with blood and all sorts of other injuries until I had a serious injury (amputated two fingers on accident…one was repaired and one wasn’t) After knowing what shock feels like and how disorienting it is to be seriously injured I now PANIC at the thought of anyone or anything being injured!I hope your doggy recovers quickly and there are no more mishaps! 🙂

  15. Vicki says:

    I am sending healing to Chloe and you. And yes, I totally understand vet bills, that is all I’ve had since January, with ill and dying pets.
    Even I, an ICU pet nurse, gets ill at some things I have seen and worked with. And I won’t go into great details, but some were beyond gross,even my own vet gets ill over some things also! I managed to get through it, then, after its over, I can go to the little girls room and hurl or be ill for a little while and get over it and then I’m ok and can continue. So see, your not alone in the ill department.
    I think that I would build a kennel run, things I think are getting dangerous now, even in the country and it may end up very badly. You love your pets too much to let anything happen to them.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Vicki. It is good to know I’m not the only person who gets sick! I misunderstood the vet, though, the drain was not removed. It’s still there and as you know, does exactly as it describes. I can take the sight of that blood, and there seems to have been a lot of it overnight, but I think it’s coupled with raw meat that gets me all grossed out! Thanks for the good wishes. We already apent about $200 on a run. Sade and Emma were out of it in less than two hours while we were gone one day. The rescue group who took in Abbi (she was originally only to be sponsored by us) had to build her a special run and she still escaped it. So, runs do not work for these dogs (a branch from the ice storm destroyed ours anyway). I do love my dogs and don’t want anything to happen to them. I think letting them out separately is the key, they do not wander off alone, thankfully.

  16. Carol says:

    Poor Chloe, so glad she’s going to be fine.