Lessons from Smokie

Lessons from Smokie

Last Tuesday, my pooch and I experienced something so crazy that he’s still recovering physically and I’m still recovering emotionally. Smokie, although he is a lot more clingy, seems to be remembering life before “The Incident” more and more every day, as evidenced by his new willingness to cross the street to relieve himself (as I keep him right in front of my house because I’m still wary of even being outside especially if the sun is not at its peak).

Ok, so by now, I’m sure you’re like will she tell the story already? Lol, okay, here goes.

So Tuesday night, after a night of creating my first painting just for my baby and signed mommy, I came home and took Smokie out for his routine last walk of the night in the nonexistent safety of my own partially gated subdivision. I always let him off the leash to poop because he doesn’t like pooping on the street (and neither do I). After he turned the corner, a coyote, yes, a coyote, jumped out the bushes across the street to where Smokie was. I ran in the house to find a weapon all the while fighting the urge to hyperventilate because pregnant girls who don’t tote guns don’t have many options and although I wanted Smokie to be okay, I didn’t want to put myself or my baby in danger. Running back outside armed with a boot (smh), I saw the coyote had dragged Smokie to the other side of the street and was trying to carry him back into the brush, but Smokie was giving him trouble. Although he was way bigger than my little brave honey pie, Smokie wouldn’t just lie there and let him kill him. So what did I do? While crying because Smokie’s screams were breaking my heart, I stood in the street in front of my house screaming over and over for Smokie to just get to me. Smokie squirmed enough to get out of its mouth one more time–this time his neck was in its mouth–and outran the coyote to get to me and we went inside where I started the process of figuring out what the hell to do with this dog who was scared and shaking, with holes all over his back bleeding.

We eventually (quickly but it didn’t seem like it then because since Animal Control was NO help I had to go upstairs, get on the Internet, find my own after hours pet hospital while shaking and trying to keep my eye on Smokie to make sure he was alert even though he was hiding and call to make sure they would take him and could help him) got to The Ark Animal Hospital, where after I completed a load of paperwork, Smokie was put under and rushed to surgery. A little over a week later, Smokie is doing better, finally off pain meds (read: doggie morphine), not limping anymore, and I can see some of the wounds healing, although the deepest ones are still presenting problems. Yesterday, I had to take him back in because one was wide open and needed to be restapled. Since I was told by Animal Control that they don’t handle wild animals regardless of the clear danger to public safety, I’m extra uncomfortable to be outside for over the couple of minutes it takes me to check my mailbox and let Smokie use it right by my driveway. Any time I have an errand to run, I prefer to just take him with me so he can pee and poop without fear of a coyote going at his neck.

But since I’ve had a week to stop seeing the coyote jump across the street and hearing Smokie’s screams every single night when I close my eyes, there are a couple of lessons I’ve gotten from Smokie.

1. No matter how big the problem, don’t just lie there and take it. When we got to the hospital, the nurse said Smokie lived because of his will to get away. She said she’s seen many pets who play possum when in the same situation, which of course doesn’t really work–it just guarantees death. Smokie took that coyote head on with all odds against him, and although he definitely suffered from the battle (and so did my wallet), he’s alive to tell about it to keep me inspired. I can’t believe how brave he was, but I’m so grateful he’s a fighter because Butterbean and I need him around. 🙂 Don’t give in just because your problem seems monumental. You have to fight and pray to make it to the other side of it.

2. Run to the one you know you can count on. Sometimes, and I know this currently, we focus on the problem and shut down and close everything and everyone out. But when we’re weak, we have to run to the people we know have our backs. I will admit I’ve been kinda distant in my spiritual relationship but that’s a whole other post, but my pastor and my mom have been right there to remind me who to turn to and to remind me that I’m going to be a-ok because I have them and I have God. It seems hard, but it definitely was only instinct for Smokie to know what direction safety was in. I wonder what I can do to make my instinct clearer/stronger.

3. You have to leave the wound alone a little to let it heal. Part (not all because the doc left it partially open for it to drain–but definitely part) of the reason Smokie has this one particular wound that just won’t start looking any better is because it irritates him so and he licks it when it’s at its worse. It’s hard, but I’ve had to be more intentional in steering my thoughts from my issues to other things when I can make myself do that because giving my issues so much of my energy just makes it worse. And the point here is not to say ignore the issue–one of my main gripes with people who think they’re being good friends is that they like to say oh you’re making it a big deal, just get over it, buck up, or just pretend they don’t know anything is wrong with me, etc. when it’s not something I can switch on and off and it’s not as easy as welp, whatever, let me move on now as if my life is hunky dory. The point really is that you have to acknowledge the issue–find help, get it stapled up like Smokie’s wound if possible, and then try to steer your thoughts to better things that give you hope when your mind wants to linger at the source of your hurt. Don’t at all pretend you don’t have a gaping wound–but don’t spend the day licking it. If you can ignore the sting even a little bit a day, it’ll help bring you out of the fog.

Here’s a song I keep humming so I decided to go ahead and listen to it when I started writing this. So of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t share. (And I particularly like this version because he’s got Corinne on the background vocals!)

So, just pray for my sweet thang Smokie and for me. Trouble don’t last always, right? And one day, he will look normal again and maybe I’ll figure out a solution to this coyote problem in my neighborhood. Who knew that when I moved I would be moving to a hood AND forest? *raised eyebrow*

And since my mom just texted it to me, I’ll share:

Only God can turn a “Mess” into a “Message”, a “Test” into a “Testimony”, a “Trial” into a “Triumph”, a “Victim” into a “Victory”!!!

Just another experience to share in my memoir one day. 🙂 Happy almost weekend!

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3 thoughts on “Lessons from Smokie

  1. Wow….so glad you, nephew, and Smokie are all alright. That’s so crazy! Also, thanks for sharing the ‘lessons learned.’ Needed to *hear* that today…..

  2. I got all teary-eyed reading that!! I could see little Deuce in the place of Smokie!! Chile…that was too crazy! ((hugs)) for you and Smokie!

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