Miss Meggie Whitestripe, the family beagle, decided to shake things up this morning.  I wish she’d let me know these things ahead of time.

The day started as normal.  Matthew left for class early, leaving Meg and I to our leisurely Monday routine of sleeping until 9am, checking email, making coffee, and going outside for the morning walk.  I had an Arabic exam later in the afternoon, so I had planned to spend the morning studying.  With Meg outside and safely occupied, I got my coffee ready and gathered my study materials.  After about 15 minutes, I called her back inside before the cram session began.

Now, Meg is a beagle, so her stubborn nature is pretty standard, breed-wise.  She sometimes takes her sweet time getting back around to the porch, unconvinced that you really do mean it when you command her to come “Inside!”  This was such a morning.  Also pretty standard, the longer she takes to get in the house, the louder I yell, and I was getting particularly frustrated this morning as she was cutting into my Arabic time.  By the time she made it back, I had a pretty good volume going and made sure she knew how mad I was once she was inside.

Except this time, not standard at all, she simply cowered at my feet, holding her left paw in the air.  Baffled by this, I reached my hand out toward her…and then I saw it: one of her poor little toe nails had twisted backward and was pointing up at her.  It took a second or two to register what I was seeing.  I thought maybe she had just chipped it, that it wasn’t as serious as it looked.  Until I saw the blood pouring off her foot.

When I was little, my dad insisted that I go to medical school.  He figured that since I was a good student, I should be a doctor.  The fact that the sight of blood and gruesome wounds make me light headed and prone to fainting didn’t seem to be a factor for him.  I was destined for medicine.  That random memory was one of the many things flashing through my mind as I watched the drip, drip, drip coming from Meg’s toes.  It was all I could do not to pass out right next to her.  But looking at her big, brown eyes begging me to fix her toe, I realized it really was up to me to figure out what to do.  Ok.  Whooo.  Breathe.

She had to go to the hospital.  That fact was clear.  I called Matthew and told him to meet us there.  Meanwhile, I put Meg in her crate, got most of the blood cleaned up (no small feat, I might add, as it was everywhere), then I somehow managed to carry her safely into my car, despite the fact that she fought me. The. Entire. Way.   This is a dog who refuses to be carried.  Remember the stubborn thing?   She also happens to weigh about 30 pounds.   In an epic battle of wills, despite her constant wiggling, fighting and a few near crashes, I managed to get her into the car and on our way to the emergency care vet.

It took 30 long minutes to get her in to see the vet.  30 minutes of whining, barking, wiggling, yelping, bleeding, and all other manner of doggy drama.  When the vet arrived, I’m not sure who he was more concerned about, I was so clearly frazzled.  Thankfully, despite its gory appearance, Meg’s toe was fine but the nail bed was destroyed.  The vet took her immediately into surgery to remove the nail and fit her paw with a cast, complete with hot pink bandages and covered with purple hearts (for bravery – ha!).

All told, she’ll be given pain medication and anti-biotics for a little over a week to help her recover from surgery.  The nail will never grow back.  We’ve already started calling her “Stumpy.”  The best part of the fiasco was that I’m pretty sure doggy pain meds are at least as awesome as people meds.

As soon as she got home,  she limped straight to the couch, where she basically face planted into the back cushion and slid down until she collapsed.  She’s pretty much been there all day.  We were instructed to watch her closely as she came off the medication, so I never did make it to class today.  Technically speaking, that means I had a day off.

I think the Arabic exam would have been more restful.  Oy.