Do you ever have moments that you wish you could rewind - just for two seconds - and do something different? I have one of those from last week.
Thursday morning. Chucking it down with rain, but I'd left out my jogging stuff. Twice around the sports' field would be enough for Nero and I, I thought.
When in the park, I let Nero off his lead when there is no sign of any other animal. He walks beside me, picking up his 'wee mails' as I jog, I am THAT slow.
We jog to the half-way point on the running track and Nero toddles off to sniff some trees and have a pee. I stop running and fish his leash out of my pocket - there's a path nearby that if a dog comes running down, Nero will take off like a rocket.
If only I had taken some steps towards him and clipped him up, but I didn't. If I had only listened to that tiny little nagging voice that said - go and clip his lead on ....
Instead I called him to me. And he took off at a gallop. I was not immediately concerned - there were no dogs and he usually stops and runs back to me.
I wish I had grabbed him as he shot past me.
He ran up the grassy banking and, instead of stopping, he wheeled left. And there was no grassy banking there - just half a dozen broad concrete steps where people could stand in tiers and watch the football.
And over he went, at full speed, legs, tail all flailing - yelping, howling and then .... just a motionless black shape at the bottom of the steps.
Frozen to the spot as I watched him tumble, I found my legs and ran as fast as I could to him and, thank God, saw him staggering groggily to his feet.
And trying to put weight on his front foot.
Bucketing rain. No phone. In the middle of a deserted park with a dog in pain that can't walk.
Bear Grylls never tells you how to handle these emergencies, does he?
The dog gamely hobbled forward. And so we progressed. Slowly. With yelps. Cars stopped to let us cross the road. It took 40 minutes to get home, when it only took us 3 minutes to get there.
There was blood. Of course, there was blood - with greyhounds there is always blood. I dabbed him clean and dried him.
And phoned the vet who could, thankfully, see him within 10 minutes.
The long and the short of it is that thanks to me not taking those few steps to clip on his lead, my dog has a badly broken toe. Amputation of the toe has been mentioned - and still might be again if his bones don't knit properly.
I feel like my nerves are on the outside of my skin. I can't concentrate on very much. I am sleeping downstairs with him because he can't go upstairs. He's to go back every week to have his dressings changed and another x-ray to check on the bone progress.
I know that whatever happens, he's going to be fine - amputation of the toe or not.
But I feel terrible because it was all my fault.
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