Last weekend I was sitting on the terrace of our Pavilion, having a gentle supper with my brother and sister-in-law who had arrived to stay from England.
David was traveling back the following day, with all four of my boys. Domino was sleeping peacefully in the house behind me; the dogs were snoring at my feet. The world was a good place.
And then a golf cart drove by (the normal mode of transport on our small island.) My dogs, suddenly startled, jumped up and dashed down onto the dirt track below. The golf cart slowed, as the dogs rushed out and then, bizarrely, sped up. OVER THE TOP OF BANGER. Before my eyes I could see my small Dachshund being driven over, in a cloud of dust, and sand, and darkness. He screamed out in pain, into the still night air.
I ran yelling onto the track and fumbling around in the headlights of the golf cart I felt for my animal. I couldn’t see whether his back was broken or his face was smashed, all I could hear was him screaming. I turned to the two young men sitting hopelessly on the cart, not having moved a muscle “You-fucking-ran-over-my-dog-you-fucking-ran-over-my-dog-you-fucking-ran-over-my-dog” And then I noticed the beer bottles in their hands, and the beer bottles on the golf cart and in my panic I also felt utter disgust. I stumbled past them cradling my poor boy in my arms into the light of my kitchen where I could get a better understanding of his injuries.
At once I saw his face and upper body were unhurt but clearly something was crippling his lower body.
By now his eyes had glazed over and his tongue was hanging out. And I had no idea what to do.
We don’t have a vet on the island. We don’t have an airstrip on the island. We don’t normally have emergencies, in the middle of the night, on the island, because if you do, we all know you are screwed.
My brother-in-law drove me and Banger to Top Banana’s house, Top Banana drove me to Rosie’s house. Rosie has a stash of stuff that can help in a crisis. She carefully gave Banger a small dose of pain killer.
It was a long scary night.
As soon as I could, I found a flight to Nassau. Carrying the broken dog in my arms I managed to get to an emergency clinic. But there was little the vet could do there. Something about the trauma and the flight and the X-ray machine. But she could make him more comfortable. Another scary night. The following morning the Bahamian vet confirmed that the back leg was so smashed there was nothing they could do for him in The Bahamas. They simply were not equipped.
Between Top Banana and my patient travel agent they found me a flight into America that afternoon. By midnight Banger came off Dr. Wise’s operating table (Such a reassuring name. Such a reassuring man) The three and half hour operation, had involved removing part of his shoulder in order to reconstruct his leg, a splint that needed to be changed weekly and that remains in place for 4 months, endless medication, painkillers, antibiotics, stitches, several pins and a plate, which if the operation remains successful, will live in him for ever.
Banger did not recognize me as I helped put him into the small cage he would spend the night in. He was discharged the following day and we began the long painful journey home. The hustle and bustle of the airport inspections, security screens, the nightmare of hiding him under my seat so the air-stewardess would not remove him into the hold. Several taxis, boats and cars later Banger arrived home. Mentally and physically shattered. The picture of those men and their beer bottles fresh in my mind.