Ruben as a pup at the Cliffs of Mohair in County Galway.
(yes I bought him home from 2 years living in Ireland!)
In this instalment of the D – Book we’re looking at D for Debt and D for Dog.
In January last year Ruben decided he would take a toddle across four lanes of traffic in the pouring rain. At night.
To this day we are still unsure just how he managed to get out. He’s a pretty clever dog, when I say clever what I really mean is he’s determined. Now even at the time I could see that this was going to be one of these profound learning curves. I just gosh darn wish it hadn’t come quite so close on the back of all the other inspired learning curves. Disaster loves company was one of my less pleasant mantras at this time.
Anyways that night I came home, Sarah aka Wifey and Ruben weren’t home. She often took him with her so that wasn’t unusual, Ruben was often requested for puppy dates so I messaged her to check. “Scuba with you?” (Ruben became ruby, became ruba became scuba… you know how it goes)
Just as the phone goes there is a knock at the door, in the pouring rain, there is man quite animatedly trying to get me to come to the door. Now I’m a pretty easy going gal but I’m not feeling particularly inclined to open that door.
Then I hear him say the word dog.
Then I look down at the phone in my hand “No wifey I don’t have him”
I run out into the rain with nothing but my phone with a strange man who said he’s with another guy who pulled Ruben off the road.
Adrenaline is in full swing pretty quickly.
I stop, pivot back to my front door grab my hand bag. I assume I must have some how locked the door and continue with the man.
To this day I don’t know his name. I can recall thinking that its a pretty dangerous thing to head off with two unknown men into the night but off I went anyway.
The second guy is pulled up on the side of the highway with Ruben in the passenger seat, he’s called the after hours vet hospital.
I get in. He drives. The other guy vanishes. I wish I had had the wear withal to get his name or something but I didn’t.
Ruben is shaking but responsive, I curl him up in my lap and hold him close to keep him warm from going further into shock.
He shakes. I shake. The guy puts the heater on full even though its January.
I went completely totally numb from head to toe. All I knew was that I needed to call Sarah so she knows where I am and it took me damn ages to get my fingers to press the right buttons. I had trouble telling her the address of where we were going and I could hear her distress at my distress and the absolute heartbreak that I was terrified of losing the one final thing that would completely undo me.
I also knew that I was going to have to find a fuq load of money, really quickly from out of thin air.
Everyone with a pet who doesn’t have pet insurance stop reading this blog immediately and go and sort some out. Yes I mean actually, right now.
At Aghadoe Heights in Killarney down the road from where we lived on the Ring of Kerry
The guy drops us off at the Vets and I thank him a million times. The vet nurses take Ruben and shortly Sarah and Dan turn up. I’m a mess Sarah isn’t much better. I truly can’t comprehend just how people with children cope in situations like this. This experience taught me a zillion things. The big one of course was empathy for others going through hard ship. Where you draw your strength from in situations like this is beyond me but you find it. Some how you have to deal with the practical needs of the situation and function. The emotional fall out will be dealt with later. We’re told they need to observe him. They’ll call me in a few hours and let me know how things are looking. I fill out a what feels like a million pieces of paper. Sarah has to help me remember our address.
After a long night to make sure he didn’t have internal bleeding, x-rays and all sorts I get a call in the middle of the night to say that he ‘only’ has a broken leg, right up the top of the femur near where the hip joint is. My little love is going to be ok! Decisions have to be made about what sort of surgery to do. How much to they try to do with his leg? Do I want to have a 3 legged dog? Big scary decisions that I didn’t want to make. I just wanted my dog back. In one piece. So I said yes to all of it. Yes to all the surgery the pins the whole kit and caboodle. Cause you know what, the minimum it was going to cost was 5 grand and that was with the ‘simple’ operation to have his leg cut off! Ugh! I’ve tried to type that sentence 4 times it just doesn’t sit well.
I find the secret in case of emergency empty credit card that’s in the bottom of the filing cabinet that I had meant to cancel as I never use it and I fill it ALL the way to the top. I feel absolutely sick at the thought of how on Earth (or more accurately when) I am going to pay it off, but you know what, you do what you have to do. I have my love back!
I can’t say I dug deep into some spiritual faith and trusted I honestly can’t. This was a really dark time for me because it felt absolutely like I had been betrayed in the highest order. I felt very much like I was being punished for crimes I didn’t recall committing. I struggled to find meaning behind it all. What was I meant to be learning… seriously lets get this one done so I can get to some good stuff some time soon! In times like this I think its really hard not to take it all personally. Perhaps there isn’t a reason. Perhaps there was no higher order with it all.
It took Sarah and I 12 weeks of initial rehab with him in a crate as we tag teamed between work and home. Carrying him in and out for the toilet. I worked in the play pen with him to keep him still and quiet and we mopped and mopped and mopped up so much Ruben wee as he became more and more disgruntled about being cooped up!
We took very slow timed walks over the next few months from 5 mins per day per week all the way up to half hour beach walks on the leash.
I lost weight, I lost sleep, I thought my heart would break every time he squealed in pain. But this is us now!
So my news this week people is that in just under two years I have finished paying off Rubens credit card! I am free to plan a holiday, buy appliances and occasionally actually purchase a pair of shoes that aren’t from Kmart! I have to say that I’m pretty damn overwhelmed with the prospect. There is going to be champagne and no doubt some tears! Theres also a bunch of people I really need to thank.
Thank you to Sarah who looked after us, and made tea and mopped tears and more wee than she should ever have to. Thanks to all my Sydney clients for your support I couldn’t have done it without you all. Thanks to my parents for buying me tyres, and to my friends for not tiring of hearing that I couldn’t do something because I was paying off Rubens Credit Card!!
I’m a stronger more resilient more financially competent women and I’ve been taught the true nature of unconditional love every day for last two years. This is not something I am ever going to forget.
And to Ruben, your unconditional love over the last 5 years has kept me afloat, reminded me who I am, kept me fit and active and every day that I come home to you my belief in magic is reconfirmed. I love you.