Following a head injury, I awoke in a rattling, barely moving
vehicle with the town dog catcher crouched beside me. I had
amnesia. Seeing the dog catcher informed me of one sure thing.
All I could remember was a big, hairy man always calling me a
bitch. And to awake in what seemed to be our small county animal
control’s vehicle, with suspicious nail and fur clippings on the floor,
what else could I think?
The dog catcher watched me intently, but he didn’t say
anything. I put a tentative paw up to my neck and gasped. No
collar - so no tag! Omg! I was going to the dilapidated, crepitus-
furnished, tin-roofed shack that served as our town’s “animal
rescue shelter,” where dogs and cats were kept for three days,
maximum, then taken out back and shot.
What if they suspected me of rabies? I felt drool at the
corners of my mouth. When one is tested for rabies, one has to lose
one’s head (literally, because the brain is examined). Cleverly, I kept
my lips over my teeth, and tried to avoid eye contact with my
warden. I started to think about my…well…my puppies. I knew I had
three of them, but I didn’t know where they were. This was
uppermost in my mind. That, and looking for the shotgun/rifle/357
Magnum hanging up in the vehicle.
The trip continued. I wondered if they were going to stop to
pick up any other animals. I didn't seem to be able to move around
very well. How would I defend myself, I wondered, if they picked
up a bigger dog than I was? I am afraid of cats. What if they
stopped for a cat? Or two cats, who were related, and the inside of
the vehicle became the backdrop for a domestic violence situation?
Maybe that had already happened at some point, hence the crepitus
on the floor.
What if they collared a skunk? Well, if any of that happened, I
reasoned, then the warden would sit up front, where I wanted him
to go anyway. He kept staring catatonically at me. Then he offered
me water, and I refused. This seemed to alarm him. But was I afraid
Did I really have hydrophobia?
The vehicle/truck/rolling coffin stopped; this was it.
Someone went around to the back doors and opened them. Run, I
told myself, use all four legs and get out! Paws, don't fail me!
Too late! Now there were three men and they were
unloading me! In an incredulous epiphany, I discerned that this
wasn't the internment camp! It was a hospital - a human hospital.
Wtf? OMG, they were going to do experiments on me! I knew it! I
knew it! I was on the way to the basement for sure!
Wait - our town dog catcher also served as a volunteer EMT.
It was all coming back to me. I tried to speak and words came out.
Words, not barks! I wasn't a bitch after all!
My memory returned gradually over the next 24 hours, but I
will never ever forget my life as a dog.
But what were those clippings on the floor?