Saturday, 12 September 2015

Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite

Today we popped into town and on our return, as we got out of our car we could hear screaming. We both looked at each other and stood and listened as we weren't quite sure what we were hearing. It started off quietly and got louder and louder. We left the kids in the car whilst we walked down the driveway to see if we could find where the noise was coming from. I walked along, towards my neighbours house to find the front door open and two people screaming. I asked if they were OK and an oldish lady came out of the house, covered in blood screaming at me "no, no I'm not". 

It took a moment or two to establish what had happened. The woman, A, staggered from the drive towards me and as she did, the front door slammed shut. She screamed at me that my neighbours dog had bitten her. It wasn't until later that I realised my neighbour was trying to keep the dog from escaping.  

I'm afraid that I didn't deal with things too well. I immediately got on the phone to call 999 and gave them what info I had, managing to get some from A. It turned out she was 70. Once I got off the phone, the operator asked me to keep her sat down and still but she was in shock, pacing up and down. She was obviously, and quite understandably, upset and worried and kept coming up close to me.  It was at this point that I realised I'm not very good seeing blood (I knew but this just confirmed it to me).  It was dripping from her hands  and I couldn't see where the wounds were.  I became anxious that I would get blood on me and I was worried about the girls becoming upset by that. D could see me becoming anxious and took over, managing to get A somewhat calmer (blood doesn't bother him) and flagging down a police car that just happened to be passing, thank god. He stood with her, talking to her and keeping her reassured and just generally doing a better job than me.

As it was, she had some pretty nasty puncture wounds but the police and the first responder seemed pretty confident that all would be OK. A asked us to go to her house and let her mother know what had happened, which we did - she was worried the police going to the house would upset and worry her mother but she was OK with us going for her - her mother was 92 and was much calmer than I expected! 

It turns out that A had gone to our neighbours, who I think is of a simillar age to her, to drop off some apples from her garden. He had opened his door and the dog, a Jack Russell. lunged at her and wouldn't let go. He was smacking it with his walking stick whilst grasping his walker. We had arrived just as it happened.  

As I'm sat here tonight, I feel quite embarrassed at how I reacted and ashamed that I didn't do more to help. I said to D that I should have tried to stop the flow of blood but he reassured me that the cuffs on her sleeves were tight enough to help slow it down, proven when the first responder undid them to bandage the wound and the blood started to flow. 

And, I can't help but feel grateful. So very, very grateful. Grateful that I didn't take my girls next door to introduce ourselves when we moved in. That I kept putting it off until weeks had passed and I felt a bit daft having left it so long. Grateful that my neighbour managed to keep the dog in and didn't get out to the woman, me or my children. 

The "what ifs" just don't bear thinking about. 
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