As the door opened, I heard a woman’s voice say, “No! Don’t let the dogs out!”
Strolling in my neighborhood with my own dogs, I turned my head just in time to see two snarling beasts hurling themselves at us from over a stone wall. And then they were upon us, growling, gnashing, biting.
My Golden Doodle tried to hide all 95 pounds of her frantic self between my legs, but my little guy – a Schnoodle named Bandit – was at jaw level and took the brunt of this unexpected attack. Someone later told me he could hear Bandit’s scream a block away.
A few minutes-that-seemed-like-hours later, the owner was able to get her vicious beasts under control. Shaken, but mostly okay (so I thought), we straggled back home to assess the damages.
Klejne, the Golden Doodle, seemed to have escaped harm but there was a bloody gash in the grey fur on Bandit’s backside – scary, but hopefully not enough to warrant the expense of a weekend vet visit.
He crept into a dark corner and refused to come out the rest of the day. Not even for meals.
Even in Asheville, bad things can and do happen. What happens in the wake of bad experiences, however, can be interesting.
The first stitch toward mending the upsetting rent in the fabric of the day came, unexpectedly, in the form of another dog –
– a 165 lb Mastiff named Cupcake who was snoozing peacefully in the sun when I happened to pass her by later that afternoon walking down to the market. There were tiny blue ribbons on her ears.
Surprised by the ribbons, I leaned over the fence to ask Cupcake’s owner, Meg – a neighbor I barely knew, for permission to take a few photographs.
Cupcake just got back from the groomer, Meg said, explaining the ribbons. And so began an entirely pleasant conversation that ended with an invitation to stop back by that evening for a house party. Sirius.B, a popular local band who describe their genre as Absurdist Gypsy Folk Funk Punk, would be there playing a house concert.
Curious to know what Absurdist Gypsy Folk Funk Punk sounded like, I returned later, along with a number of other neighbors.
The day had already improved immeasurably, but concerns over my little Bandit still hovered in my mind. Unsure whether or not his wound needed professional attention, I sought out advice from other dog-owning neighbors between songs.
Meanwhile, the strains of Absurdist Gypsy Folk Funk Punk – like musical incense – floated out beyond Meg’s house, up the block and over to another street, reaching into the ears of a young nurse sitting on her front porch six or seven houses away – a nurse who just happened to be a big fan of the band.
Hearing what she knew right away was the music of Sirius.B, she wandered over to join the little throng enjoying the music inside and outside the house of Cupcake.
When I discovered she was an emergency room nurse, I told her about Bandit’s misfortune. Should I take him to the weekend vet clinic? I asked. By then it was quite late in the evening.
“Let me take a look,” she offered.
Two other neighbors, having heard the story, tagged along on our short walk back to my place, stopping along the way at the nurse’s house for emergency medical supplies.
And that is how, a short while later, the four of us came to be performing a spontaneous Schnoodle triage on my sofa by the light of a handheld iPhone.
This compassionate care by three people who only hours earlier had been complete strangers to me, resulted in a happy and mended little Bandit.
After they left, I watched him snoozing peacefully, thinking of the day’s unexpected kindnesses – the invitation to a house party with great music, meeting new friends and neighbors, the midnight nursing to fix him up –
none of which would have happened but for the luck of encountering a giant Cupcake with little blue ribbons on her ears.