For about two years, I was the caretaker of a little girl that belonged to a family friend. We would take care of her roughly three to four days a week and had to regularly deal with her parents who were split up. It was difficult dealing with them because they didn’t get along at all and stress seemed to always be heightened. If she would get a scraped knee, or a bruise, I always felt like I had to have this explanation to prove everything because her parents were hyper-vigilant. Living in the country, you just expect that your kids are going to have injuries sometimes from running around in the woods or getting into things. In general, kids get injuries no matter where they live. I finally decided that after two years of babysitting, I needed to stop. I told her parents that they would have to find someone else for a caretaker because I couldn’t handle the stress anymore and felt that I needed to concentrate on my own life and children. I decided at that point that I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s child anymore.
Then, last September, our dog Cynder had puppies. Those who follow my posts know that we kept one puppy (Bowie), and the other two have homes not far from ours. When Fig was purchased, his owner mentioned letting us see him again and I finally got the text last week asking if we wanted to dog sit for the weekend. The kids were elated and after discussing it with my husband, we decided it would be okay. We were going to see Fig again! How lucky could we be?
When Fig arrived, it was as I thought–Cynder remembered him and it didn’t take Bowie long either. They did their sniffing and it was like old times again. The only issue was Winston (dad), because he never really got to bond with the puppies like Cynder and the other litter mates did. We decided for safety we would keep Winston away from Fig for the weekend–which was difficult–but it worked out okay. It was wonderful having the family together again, minus Lotus of course.
From Thursday morning until Saturday morning, the pups ran and played in pure happiness. Fig is so massively energetic and cannot be slowed down. We were out on the trails and he was consistently meeting with our outdoor cats and looking for something to get into. He always loved the outdoor cats and our two 10-year-old cats (Rambo and Ishmael) still remembered him. They were best buds before he left and here they were having a wonderful reunion. All was well.
Saturday morning we were hanging out in the living room and the kids pointed out that Fig had some blood on his left shoulder. It didn’t look so bad and I glanced at it thinking it wasn’t a big deal. As more time went by, I noticed that he was licking it more and it seemed to be getting worse. I got a closer look at it and it looked like a laceration about one inch long and seemed to be growing. I could actually see that the skin was completely separated. I immediately contacted his owner to let him know that we found a cut on him and I explained that I would clean it and keep an eye on it.
Things seemed to get worse pretty fast. It started to bleed a little more and he seemed to be in distress. I noticed his breathing had picked up and he wasn’t wanting to get up and play anymore. I began to worry and thought there was no way I was going to send him home like this and risk infection. From the picture it doesn’t seem to be very bad, but after inspecting it more closely, it was a gaping wound and I could tell it was going to need to be closed. I started calling around to vets and because it was Saturday, most were closed. I found an animal hospital close to an hour away that could see him, the issue was I had to leave that instant. They were going to close at 2 pm and I didn’t have much time.
My youngest son and I were on the way and I didn’t take the road closures into consideration. We had massive flooding last week and it became difficult to navigate. I ended up trying to drive down a closed road which was open to local traffic only, only to find that the next road that I needed to use adjacent to it was completely flooded. Not only that, there was a state police officer present and he decided to follow me the rest of the way to the animal hospital. I felt like I was on high alert. If I were to get pulled over now, I wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Luckily, I got there fifteen minutes before closing and they were willing to take him in.
The doctor came in to see him and knew right away that he was going to need stitches. The cut was bad enough that she couldn’t just give him staples, she had to do stitches and this would require sedation. I hurried outside to call his owner, who didn’t even know we were there at that point, to see if he would be okay with sedation drugs. I explained the cut was worse than I thought and the doctor told us that it would definitely not heal on its own. He said okay and Fig went into surgery. It only took about forty minutes or so and now he was being sent home with a plastic cone, pain medication, and antibiotics. In the end it ended up costing right around $240 out of my pocket.
On the way home Fig got sick about four times. He was still falling asleep because of the meds and breathing weird. I’m not going to lie–I was worried about him all the way home. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that Fig wasn’t my dog anymore. If this were my dog, I don’t think I would be as stressed out. Fig belonged to someone else and I was in the position of responsibility for someone else’s loved possession once more–a position I said I wouldn’t put myself back into again.
We got Fig home and set up in a pen that would keep him separated from the other dogs. He was hating his cone, but pretty much slept for a few more hours as the medication wore off.
I contacted his owner to give him an update. He let me know that he would be picking up Fig the next day when he was done with his business trip. He didn’t appear to be overly angry or anything, but I could tell that he was a little perturbed. Who wouldn’t be, right? I never once thought that we would be dealing with this. I mean, accidents happen, but why did it have to be Fig? After talking with my friend about it, I felt a little better. I also called my mom to let her know and she said, “Things happen in the country and he’s a dog.” It’s true that we’ve had minor injuries with the kids and animals before, but we’ve never had any injuries quite this bad. We’ve luckily never had a broken bone or cut that’s required stitches. Regardless, I feel like I did the right thing by taking him in to the vet. I certainly wouldn’t want to send him home and risk infection with this wound like it was. I would rather be safe than sorry.
I sent a text to his owner yesterday and he sent me a brief update. He was short and didn’t reply to my second message, but I understand. I don’t think he’ll be sending Fig to visit anymore, but I’m happy for the time that we had with him. I gave him big squeezes before he left and I know he still loves us. ❤ He should get his stitches out in five days or so and he’s on the road to recovery.
This whole ordeal has set me back a bit because my body doesn’t deal with stress well. Even good stress causes me to have a few days of chronic fatigue with aches and pains. Luckily, it only lasted for a few days and I’m feeling better now. However, I’m reminding myself, once more, that I don’t ever want to be in this position again.
What do you think? Have you ever been responsible for someone else’s child or pet and had an accident?