I was recently caught in a conversation about Jackson, the wonder morkie, and I was asked about how he died. Never an easy story to tell, I mustered through it and tried to remember that although his life was too short he taught me many vast lessons.
I shared with the neighbors one of the most important ones..
It was one of those evenings or moments when everything seems right with the world and you are taken completely by surprise when everything goes horribly wrong…
I was walking Jackson and trying to hurry him along when I saw a couple and their dogs ahead. Jackson noticed too and we both just kind of stood there trying to figure out if we should turn back or just stop and let them move on… The larger dog they had suddenly locked eyes with me and as I turned Jacks around to go home he started bounding from about 60 yards away…before I knew it he was there and he went into full attack mode and began biting Jackson…I began screaming, and pulling Jackson’s leash to get him away, but I couldn’t fight off the dog fast enough before I saw his jaws clamp down on Jackson..the other owners were running towards us and finally they were able to pull their dog off, but not before Jackson pulled off his leash and began running for his life…literally.
I took off running too , and as tears streamed down my face, I watched my best friend head for the road..Continuing to scream Jackson’s name and run up the hill, I kept catching glimpses of him here and there but he was scared and I am sure my blood curdling screams didn’t help…just then I realized I couldn’t breathe…I was hyperventilating and I thought for sure I was going to be eating grass myself in a moment… but I stopped , tried to take a deep breath, made a mental note to always carry a paper bag and pushed on..I finally made it towards the street only to see a stopped car with their lights on…I know my heart did in fact stop, and I screamed Jackson’s name one last time and tore through the bushes to the curb on the cul de sac…the driver was standing there. She had Jackson in her arms and handed him to me. For some reason he had stopped running and she was able to catch him.
I thanked her profusely with my Tammy Faye Bakker tear mascara stain face combo and turned around to run back to the condo. …crying even harder now.. I got to the front door and the owner was there waiting for me and wanting to make sure Jackson was ok…I told him to wait that I needed Jon to come home …I got in the house and as I saw the blood streaming down my arms from Jackson’s wounds , I feared the worst. I picked up my cell phone and screamed, Jacksons been attacked, he’s bleeding , come home now…later I learned Jon only heard “bleeding” and that’s why when speeding through the parking lot he almost ran over a neighbor getting his mail…
At this point I was in full on shock, and I wouldn’t hand Jackson over, finally Jon had to threaten to take Jacks to the emergency vet without me if I couldn’t calm down…yes I was now scaring the dog…
We get to the emergency vet and they took him immediately and I am pretty sure they considered admitting me for a mo …and I watched as my best friend was carried down the hallway ….
The couple who owned the other dog and who were genuinely worried, embarrassed and incredibly nice had followed us to the vet and we four sat there waiting for the news…as we tried to make small talk avoiding subjects like so, how often does your mean dog attack 5lb puffs of joy (I held that one back), we found out they were both lawyers, engaged, and in a weird coincidence I briefly dated one of his college room mates….as the small talk continued I kept an eye on the hall…I knew soon they were going to come back with a verdict and as I looked down at my blood stained arms, I got scared all over again and thought, the world is so cruel to little things…
Soon we found out that Jackson had a severed artery that would need to be stitched, he was bruised and battered pretty badly on his rib cage and back leg but that he would be ok after surgery, pain meds and antibiotics. I don’t think I have ever been so relieved…after a couple more hours, we finally left with a very stoned dog who didn’t care that he was wearing one of those cone collars on his neck…the meds they gave him must have been really good because seriously those collars drive down your street cred immediately.
Back at home, I put Jackson in his bed and he looked up at me….I am sure he was seeing kaleidoscopes, rainbows and beef jerky but I saw something else. It was that look we all get when we have been unexpectedly hurt by someone we thought would never do so…I was scared Jackson would get worse or we would find out his injuries were more damaging, but what I really hoped was that he didn’t lose a particular quality…because I recently had.
You see Jackson and I were a lot alike personality wise…we entered each new day feeling pretty good about others intentions…I would be heartbroken if this incident took away Jackson’s best feature, his belief in others…
As I watched him slowly drift off to sleep, I recalled my own recent experience…
Months ago I met a singer songwriter on FB after I posted some Meatloaf vids , after a few messages, I discovered we had exactly the same taste in music and a deep abiding love for the lyrical skills of Jim Steinman…in typical Kim fashion, I hopped, skipped and jumped into the deep end and decided that between his musical talent and my writing background, we could write a concept album. And we started doing just that…since we lived over 400 miles apart, everything had to be done by email or phone…but I was having a blast..I was realizing that I actually could write a song and having yet another creative outlet was exhilarating… and I thought I was developing a very real friendship.
I never expected it all to turn on me…but, after writing a combined 15 or 16 songs, everything started going down hill—…. Fast. And just like Jackson I was caught completely unawares. Everything I thought was real was false. I realized I had been lied to and used and so…..I walked away.
I said to myself that’s it, after everything I had been through it was the last straw…feeling defeated and even worse made a fool of, i decided that I was never going to trust anyone again, too many disappointments…and as a writer, I had shared a private part of me only to see it all go up in smoke…that hurt the most.
At some point Jackson and I both drifted off to sleep….and in the morning, we gazed at each other. Jackson still had that look we all get of “what the hell happened? Why me…?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any answers for myself much less him… Still I knew the real test was yet to be passed. Jackson was going to be scared, I knew that, but he was going to have to face the outdoors again and unfortunately a world that might disappoint him again.
I just didn’t know that so would I.
Limping and moving kind of slowly , he and I walked out and at the bottom of the steps, he had a choice to go left, towards the building where his attacker lived or choose the safer route and go right. I stood patiently and finally Jackson moved.
He walked with more timidity than usual, but he made it all the way to the spot where he was attacked, he paused and then he held up his head and moved forward. We moved slowly, not only because of his injuries on the outside, but because of his injuries on the inside. I was patient and let him explore.
Finally he looked over to the building where the other dog lived and then he looked at me.
I leaned down and gave him a snuggle and told him it would be ok and that I loved him. He followed me back to our home, and as we walked I thought, well if Jackson can survive a near death experience and not be any worse the wear for it, maybe I can go back to being the real me.
The fact is, I have always trusted people first and sometimes I have been disappointed, and as much as I hated to admit it, if I changed then that meant the people who had lied, cheated, and stole from me would be the winners.
That just didn’t seem right.
I decided then and there that I was going to start writing songs again…
So as we walked back into the building, I looked out and I thought, yep, Jackson is one smart dog.
Sometimes no matter how scary it is, or how much you have been hurt, you gotta go left.