Saturday at the Maul

Today, two dogs attacked Iris. Ima try to tell you all I can remember, although it's already turning into a blur, thankfully.

Since before my Year Abroad, I haven't been sleeping with the cats. Ned wouldn't allow it, although he and I did have a tradition with Iris. Often I'd go to bed before Ned did, cause he's one of those freaks who retires at 1:00 on a worknight, and I'm more of a 10:30 gal. So I'd get into bed and Iris would come with me. He'd tuck us both in, and Iris and I would press spines all night till Ned's weird-ass retirement time, when he'd pick her up and unceremoniously toss her out of the room. At least that's how I picture it, kind of like how Fred Flintstone would toss that dinosaur cat out, or whatever that thing was. Was it a saber-tooth tiger? I guess so. Dinosaur cat.

The point is, since I moved back home to my double bed, I kept it dogs-only in the bed, lest I be overrun with varmints. If I'd let all the cats in, I'd wake up sideways. I know this from personal experience.

Last night when I crawled into bed, Iris was in there. I didn't have the heart to move her, so she and I pressed spines all night.

I'm so glad now that we did.

Those dang cats want in and out constantly, and Iris probably ran out while Edsel had his morning toilette. He has a little outdoor shower, with a mirror, where he brushes on his shaving cream and slaps on a little French cologne and ties his cravat just so.

I was set to meet one of the Alexes today at noon, because my plan was to head to Kernersville today, a nearby rather stupid town, to see the pit bull who needed a home. I just wanted to SEE her. It was up in the air whether the extremely serious nature of my latest health malady would allow that, but armed with Afrin, I texted Alex, I text Alex, at 9:00 to say, "We're on!" It was gonna be the pits!

Then it really was.

I was just getting out of the shower when I saw Edsel acting insane, which, you know. But he was standing on a chair, growling out the window, hackles up. I still had on a robe and my hair in a towel and I heard all kinds of yelling. I put on my glasses, because I was ready to Gladys Kravitz the shit out of whatever drama was happening outside my house.

A couple were getting out of their car, and their car was parked crookedly right outside my house. "Are they in some sort of fight?" I wondered hopefully. See, this is why bad things happen to me. But they both kept yelling and ran into the corner of my yard.

That's when it got a lot less fun.

I was already full of dread when I whipped open my front door. "Do you have a cat?" the husband yelled. Right away I stated to cry. I mean, right the fuck away. My neighborhood is sick with cats, though, and mine stick to my yard. This was in the bushes at the SIDE of my yard, so old Dee Nigh, over here, kept hoping it was that one orange kitty, or maybe the human-face kitty I like so much. Sometimes there's a tuxedo cat as well. I was opening the door hoping for the tuxedo cat, like I won the prom guy on Mystery Date.

"There's a gray and white cat here who needs a vet fast," the guy said.

"No," I said.

I could not make myself move from my porch. "No," I said again. I couldn't look. I couldn't. "Let me get some clothes on," I said, and shut the door.

I didn't really care that I was in my robe. You know what an exhibitionist I am. I just didn't want it to be true. I was hoping if I shut the door, the whole nightmare would be gone.

I put on a chawed-by-Steely-Dan shirt and some jeans and ran outside with wet hair.

"Two dogs attacked a gray and white cat," the man said, as I ran outside with a towel. "Is this your cat?"

It was Iris. As hard as I kept wishing, Don't let that be my cat, don't let that be my cat, it was my cat. And don't tell anyone, but Iris is my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e. Oh, god, not Iris. I was like the mom in La Bamba, saying, "NOT MY RICHIE."

A weird thing happens to me in situations like this. I dry up. I had initially been deny-y and then shaky and then weepy, but once I saw her little body on the grass under my bushes, I dried right up. I got her in a towel, realized I sorta knew these neighbors (when you have a dog you get to know a lot of neighbors), thanked them and took her inside. I canceled with Alex–can't remember what I told her–brushed my teeth and swooped Iris back up and into the car.

She was panting and drooling and she'd pooped on herself. I don't even want to think about how terrified she must have been during the attack.

(And let me say something right here. If you're going to be the smug asshole who wants to tell me THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T EVER LET CATS OUT, JUNE, just fucking save it. I see one line of it, I'm deleting it, blocking you forever, and I'm not even gonna read the whole thing. Seriously, I am so not in the mood for that.)

The emergency place is really close, thank god, and they saw her right away, because special June Gardens wing of emergency vet. Henry has been there, Tallulah was there, and now Iris. "Her color looks good, so we're gonna have you stay with her in the lobby while we take care of some other emergencies," they told me. I know they put a dog to sleep while we were waiting–they had the "be quiet" candle lit, and I saw the weeping family leave. Horrible.

Iris stayed on my lap, panting, and a few minutes later those neighbors showed up! "We found the owners of the dogs," they told me. "It was a pit bull and a Corgie type dog. The Corgie was just kind of along for the ride, but he participated," they said. Then they told me details about what they saw, which are awful. They really viciously attacked my poor girl.

They also said the neighbors didn't seem to care that much. "Oh, we've been trying to get them back in for 30 minutes," they apparently said, as they gardened in their yard.

Eventually, the vet called me in, and there was a horrifying few moments where they thought she had head trauma, but it turns out her regularly scheduled wonky eyes made them surmise brain damage.

As they were giving her x-rays, I had a terrible thought. Steely Dan had been outside, too. Oh, just the thought of his velvety purple self lying in a heap somewhere in my yard like a victim at Sharon Tate's house was too much to bear.

Ned still has a key to my house, so I called him. "OH NO!" he screeched when I told him, and then he started to cry, and I was all, "Listen. I need you to not with that right now. I need you to get it together, get to my house, call 'Steely Dan!' He comes to Steely Dan, not 'kitty kitty.' Can you do that?"

I was a drill sergeant at that point. Ned stopped weeping and was at the emergency vet in no time. Steely Dan had come right in, with no problem, and was unharmed. I hope he didn't see the attack.

At that point I had Iris back with me, and when Ned sat down, she mewed for the first time, and struggled to get out of her towel burrito. "Let her do what she wants," I said, as Ned objected.

She hobbled out and sat so she was touching both of us. She just wanted to be between us.

Cats don't know from bad boyfriends.

The verdict is: broken pelvis, liver enzymes are up because of blunt trauma to her liver, lacerations on her back leg and some places on her spine, and they're keeping her overnight because sometimes there's stuff that takes awhile to manifest, so they want to monitor that.

Here's the best part, really: Last night, after killing myself for a week, I stayed up really late and finished that freelance work. And today I get hit with a vet bill for $1800.


So, when I went home I spoke to animal control–the neighbors had already called them–and they said do NOT go over there myself to confront them about the vet bill. They said the animal control officer will go over there Monday to present the bill. In the meantime, Ned paid it and I'm paying him back. You have already sent tips, which is ludicrously kind, and I am paying those right to Ned as they come in.

I don't know how it'll go with those neighbors, but what I really care about now is that Iris gets home to me.

If you want to help, here's what will really help: I apologize in advance if I can't answer many texts or IMs. You can imagine how my phone has already been since I posted this on Facebook. I've tried to give you all the details there are, so if you have further Qs, at this point I don't know the answer, as I've just told it all here. The neighbors said the mean dogs were back home–I drove past that house twice and I don't see the dogs, but I DO see the door to their fence is open.

I talked to a different neighbor who says those dogs are mean and they get out all the time, which is an abomination. I know some people are dead set against cats going outside, and I get that, and I don't happen to agree, but I know this scenario is exactly why people feel this way.

I understand that, and this was awful, and it infuriates me that my little stick-to-the-yard cat sunning herself near the bushes got attacked like this, and that it's just as much my fault as it is the neighbors with the mean dogs. I mean, they broke an actual law and I didn't, but my choice to let her in my yard means I put her in that vulnerable position.

I guess the other way you can help is don't let's get into a debate about this. I'm just so on edge as it is. Thank you.

I've already called the emergency vet once this afternoon and they encouraged me to call as often as I want. I'll call again tonight. I just hate the thought of little Iris in pain and scared. I wish I could get hypnotized to not have to think about it. Poor Mrs. Irises.

Further reports as developments warrant.

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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.