I still don’t know what happened or how, or even what everyone did in the few seconds it took for the screaming to start. All I know is that one minute I was playing with the dog, and the next minute the dog was howling.
Lucy is her name. Half beagle, half dachshund, wholly sweet. Three months old. Rescue dog. Everybody loves Lucy, and I mean everybody. If you’d see her, you’d love her too.
Playful little thing, always fetching and running and wagging, and that’s what the two of us were doing the other day when it happened. And again, I still don’t know what “it” was. Or “happened,” for that matter. There was a tennis ball and then I turned my back. Then the howling.
Piercing, blood-curdling howling. A howling like you’ve never heard in your life.
Everyone came running from all corners of the house. They freaked. I freaked. My daughter was screaming, my wife, my son, and they didn’t know why. Lucy was screaming, too, and the look on her face was one that told me she didn’t know why she was screaming either but it HURT, something on her HURT, and then all of a sudden Lucy could no longer walk.
Friday evening, this was. Six o’clock or so. Vet closed for the weekend. There was an emergency vet clinic in a town about thirty minutes away.
What to do? That was the question. A million things run through your mind in times like this (not the least of which, to me anyway, was that having a puppy in the house isn’t really all that different from having a baby in the house, and that’s something I’d never considered), but it was hard for me to think—hard for anyone—because everyone was still freaking out.
My daughter was crying now. Lucy was still crying. My wife the teacher was trying to keep everyone calm but everyone wouldn’t be calm, my daughter and me especially, and my son, my boy, just stood there and started praying.
Now, I’m all for praying. Every morning, I pray. Every meal, I pray. I pray coming home from work and I pray before going to sleep at night. God and I, we talk. A lot.
And yet I am religiously-minded enough to understand there are times when praying should be set aside. There’s a time to talk and a time to DO, and this is a time to DO. No talking. And so my wife is finding the phone number to the clinic and my daughter is trying to calm Lucy and Lucy is still screaming because she can’t walk and I’m slowly having a breakdown, but my son now has both of his hands on Lucy’s back and he’s calling down the Spirit.
Crazy, right? I mean, I can’t be the only one who thinks this is crazy.
The phone number is found. The call is made. I think my daughter is about to swallow her own tongue. Lucy’s right hind leg is drawn all the way up to her stomach, turning her into a furry stool. Whatever black hair is left in my beard is slowly turning white, and I think my son is starting to speak in tongues.
To the best of my recollection, that’s what happened.
Long story short, we made it to the vet. It was nearly ten o’clock that night when we brought Lucy out of the exam room. We paid and spoke briefly with a heart-stricken man whose Pit Bull had been brought in with “woman problems.”
Lucy’s fine. Not even the vet could really figure out what had happened, but by the next morning our little pup was running around chasing tennis balls again.
My son’s convinced it was all the praying. That’s what made Lucy better. And thought none of us can really know for sure, I have it in my head now that he’s right. It was the praying.
“Ain’t supposed to just talk to God when things are quiet,” he told me. “You gotta talk to God when things are loud, too.”