Last night, Scarlett and Chelsea were playing under our coffee table. It has a glass top with curved metal legs. All of a sudden, I heard her screaming in pain. I looked over to see her front paw, twisted and stuck in one of the metal legs. It was absolutely horrific. Instincts took over and I threw myself on her, trying to push her body forward. She was trying to pull her paw out with every ounce of strength; she was twisting her body, yanking herself and yelping in a way I never, ever want to hear again. Her paw needed to be twisted and properly slid up, to where the curved metal got wider and would free her. It took everything I had to push her towards the table, relieving the pressure. Thankfully, at that point, my boyfriend ran out of the bedroom (this was like 15 seconds from when it started but felt like an eternity). He got behind her, pushing her forward. This allowed me to get to her paw, properly twist and slide it out. She was biting me, yelping and throwing herself all over. I thought her foot was crushed for sure. Finally when I slid it out, she cowered and jumped on the couch, moving away from us. She wasn’t holding her paw but looked terrified of both of us. We backed off for a minute, observing from a distance. When we asked if she wanted to go out, she sprang off the couch, using the front paw normally. She ran around outside and circled back to us, licking our faces and wagging her tail.
We brought her in and looked at it. She had a small cut by her nail from where the metal sliced into her as she tried to free herself. It was bleeding a little bit but she was not licking it or anything. We decided to wait it out and take her to the vet if anything got worse or if she seemed to be in pain. Today she is completely normal, running, playing and eating. She still has a small cut but it is nowhere near what I thought. Thankfully, her reaction to being trapped was much worse than her actual injury. I’m glad she’s alright but it broke my heart to see her reaction. Here’s a little about Scarlett’s past you may not know.
When we rescued Scarlett amidst a Distemper outbreak at our local shelter, she was severely neglected and abused, at 10 months and 28 pounds. She actually tested positive for Distemper but symptoms never started and she survived the disease (only 20% of puppies infected overcome it). The past abuse and neglect came with physical evidence: she was severely underweight, had missing teeth, a few canines were grinded down, open wounds on her paws, “armpits”, head and body and scars all over. This is how “Ruby” came to be Scarlett. Her emotional scars were much worse. She was terrified of any person, besides myself. It took a week for her to warm up to my boyfriend. There were other things that terrified her: cars, loud noises, men, yelling, snapping, making a kissing noise and a lot of other stuff. It was so sad. Her ears and tail were down the first two weeks she was with us; we didn’t know they actually went up. But sure enough as she got comfortable, up they went 🙂 She got considerably better as time went on and she learned we were not going to hurt her. And oh yeah, she’s 50 pounds now!
Besides being terrified, she was very animal-aggressive. Although it wasn’t that way in the shelter, in a home environment, that changed in an instant. Despite being properly introduced to Harley and getting along for the first few hours, she snapped when he ran over to me in the yard. She rushed him, bit his neck and held him, pinned. Off to the hospital we went, and a few stitches later, Harley was better. This terrible event put everyone on edge: “give her back”, “have her put down”, “give up on her”, “she will never learn”. We felt awful for Harley because honestly, the fight was my fault but we also knew we would not give up on Scarlett. We vowed to do whatever it took to rehabilitate Scarlett and keep our home safe for Harley and our kitty, Roory. It was three and a half months of very intensive training; we used Leerburg’s method, catering it specifically to our situation. As most of you know, Scarlett is now the most gentle, well-trained girl of the bunch. Besides loving Harley, Roory and Chelsea, she loves all dogs now. And she is a beautiful dog inside and out.
Though we will never exactly know the extent of Scarlett’s past, we understand it was terrible. Last night’s accident gave us a glimpse into that reaction of sheer terror. I will never understand how people can mistreat dogs and after hearing those blood-curdling yelps, I don’t know how anyone could live with themselves when they are the source of the inflicting pain. For those of you wondering, we’re getting rid of the coffee table ASAP. It was a freak accident but we’re not taking the chance.