One mad moment, everything changes, and life will never be the same again.
I’m still finding it hard to process what actually happened. I can only assume Taxi our Thai Bangkaew dog’s demon gene took possession of my loyal, loving and beautiful dog.
It was a normal afternoon and Taxi casually walked over, sat down between my feet and looked up to me for a little love. Just like on a thousand other occasions before…
Without warning she went from enjoying a tummy tickle to biting me on the face. For a fraction of a second, I though she just clashed teeth with me trying to steal a kiss.
A second later my face exploded with blood and snot. She had ripped the left-hand side of my nose away.
I shouted to Katae who was in the kitchen to get me some kitchen towels and I tried to stem the flow of blood.
It was such a bloody mess I thought I’d lost my nose and recall thinking I’d look like a pig.
I realized I was losing a lot of blood fast and was aware enough to realize I may go into shock, but what to do, call an ambulance or drive to hospital?
I made a quick decision to drive as it could take considerably longer to get an ambulance out to us.
Applying pressure to stem the flow of blood, keeping my nose in place and concentrating on my breathing, I somehow drove to Bangkok Hospital in Trat, a journey of around 10km.
On arrival to the hospital I was fortunate enough that a surgeon was on duty who has been nothing but amazing. He’s been looking after me ever since.
I receive immediate attention in the Emergency Department and once my insurance company was contacted (thank fuck I have full medical insurance) was wheeled into theater to reconstruct my nose.
The main concern of the doctor was infection. Dog bites are full of bacteria and the risk of infection is more of a danger than the actual bite.
We are also in Thailand, so Rabies is also a worry, especially with soi dogs. Fortunately, Taxi was always fenced in on our property, on a leash and never around soi dogs, so I had no doubt she did not have rabies, but I took the first of five shots anyway.
Full of morphine and a cocktail of other drugs, I stayed in hospital and received 24-hour attention with medical checks every four hours day and night.
I opted to go home after the first day as no complications had materialized but returned every day for continued assessments, cleaning and dressing changes.
When I first went to the hospital all I had was a bloody hole and a flap of skin. A few days ago, I had the external stitches removed. The reconstruction is nothing short of a miracle to me. In time the physical scar will be negligible.
I’ve played the incident back in my head a thousand times, looking for a clue to why she did what she did. There isn’t any. No growl, no showing of teeth, nothing!
When I arrived home from hospital, Taxi was at the gate in the food forest and obviously pleased to see me.
Katae and I already agreed she wasn’t allowed back in the house but could come back into the garden.
I gave her no attention, and I was nervous when she came around me.
Usually I’m as please to see her and she is me and we have a little routine where she is allowed to jump in the car, I fully open the gate and drive in. She then licks my baldy head and sits in the car while I close the gate and then let her out of the car after hugs. Not anymore.
The thought of being in a confined space with her terrifies me. What if she attacked me while driving? I was lucky she went for my nose in many respects and not my throat or I wouldn’t be here writing this now.
The first night at home, I couldn’t sleep, and Taxi was scratching at the door for 5 or 6 hours and howling.
She broke my heart and now I was breaking hers, but she didn’t understand. She’s just a little girl.
In the morning I took her some food and changed her water. She had to eat on the back of the truck, it was the only way to avoid ants from covering her food if I left it on the floor.
I was in no fit state emotionally of physically to take her for walks or play with her.
The second night at home, she was scratching at the door again to come in but lost her will after 3 or 4 hours. She just cried.
After three days she stopped cleaning herself. We used to joke she thought she was a cat because she would often sit on my lap and preen. Now she had lost her mojo.
I watched out of the window as the soi dogs came to the gate. Once she would bark, posture and see them off. Now she looked on indifferently and walked away.
We decided to get a vet in to see her to check her over. Maybe she had a medical problem of was in pain, hence the uncharacteristic attack.
By this time, she had slumped off under the house and refused to come out. No one could get near her or do anything for her.
We will never know why she did what she did to me, if she was in pain, if she was ill or was just having a shitty day.
I was sat in the garden gently talking to her in the early afternoon, when she slowly moved in my direction with the last of her willpower. She let out her last heavy breath at my feet.
I must have sat with her for an hour crying and stroking her afterwards. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I forgave her and I know she still loved me. She was my loyal, loving dog up to the end, but I just didn’t have the emotional tools to deal with the situation when we needed them the most.
It’s like she just gave up and died of a broken heart and took a piece of mine with her.
I couldn’t afford to take a chance of her doing to Katae what she did to me, but I never wanted any harm to come to her either.
Katae used to joke with me that I have a black heart and wanted to see me cry. Well now she has and doesn’t want me to cry again. (Good job she’s not here as I write this because tears have been flowing like a bloody river).
Unless you have kept dogs, I don’t think you will ever know the loss and pain you can feel. Taxi was with us for 3 years and by my side or lying on my feet most of that time. I called her my shadow, the family referred to her as my mai noi (a minor wife in Thai).
It’s quite here without her and it’s going to take some time to adjust. Not seeing her waiting for me at the gate, or gently pawing me in the morning to get out of bed and go out on our daily walks, rain or shine.
Everything has changed from one incident that lasted less than a second. Unfortunately, the repercussions of that incident will go on for much longer.
In my last blog post I talked about why I like blogging. I guess now I’ll have to add ‘therapy’ to the many reasons. Maybe writing this post this will help me ‘heal’, no pun intended.
Katae made a video to celebrate Taxi’s life and all the good times we shared together. She really was an incredible dog like I’ve never known before and we are going to miss her like fucking crazy.
Thai Bangkaew Dogs and The Demon Gene [One Man and His Dog]