I’m laid up today.
That’s southern-speak for hurt. My foot hurts. My ankle hurts. My ribs hurt. My hips hurt. My wrist hurts. Muscles I ain’t used probably ever hurt. I am clutching a heating pad as I type this. I feel like I was in a street fight with an LA gang who beat the holy dookey out of me.
It was the dog.
I have the worst-ever luck with dogs.
First there was this. Y’all remember when Poe bit off my nose?
Well, I have avoided Poe every since. Sometimes I’ll rub his back. I do give him treats from time to time, but for the most part I treat Poe like an ex-boyfriend who betrayed me. I go out of my way to avoid him.
But Portia? Portia has been my love. I have gone to the ends of the earth for her. Literally.
Portia is the black lab that curls up beside my office chair when I am working.
Portia is my riding companion. She loves to go in the car even if we are just going up the road to Starbucks.
Portia is actually my son’s dog. In essence, Portia is my foster child. I took her in when Stephan’s jobs kept taking him to far-flung places. First, there was the gig at Williamsburg, Va. Portia stayed with me while he got settled there. Then I drove her all the way cross-country to live in Virginia. She was perfect. Never barked that entire week, not once, until she saw Stephan, then she couldn’t mask her delight. She was barking with joy at seeing him.
But when he left Virginia for the job in Denali, Alaska, Portia was relocated to a farm in upstate New York. So when November rolled around and I was in DC for Veterans Day, I rented a car and spent my entire birthday driving through the backwoods to upstate New York to pick up Portia and bring her home, much to the chagrin of the people who had been keeping her temporarily. They loved her so much they wanted me to just leave her there. Instead, I put her on a plane and brought her home. She wasn’t happy about that plane ride.
She’s been my dog ever since.
And I have loved her well.
Which is why yesterday afternoon, when the sun finally broke warm through a gray sky, I decided to take a break from all the grad school projects due at midnight and take Portia for a walk. I needed it. She needed it. And the city put in that new walking path that if you walk end to end and back again is a good three miles.
Portia and I had just started on the asphalt path, had gone maybe a 100 feet when a handsome fellow with an old black lab came jogging up. I cinched Portia’s pink leash in my hand real good because she has the propensity to put her nose in other dogs’ business and I wanted her to just keep walking. She was on my right and the old dog was on the far left.
But Portia must’ve thought that old dog was her mother because she shot across that path like an assassin’s bullet, and I went flying over her, yanked by that pink leash, and smacking flat-down horizontal across that new asphalt. Thankfully, I guess, I landed on my ribs and hip and not my head and face. My foot twisted.
That handsome fellow stopped his jogging mid-stride. He was shocked. I was shocked.
“Are you okay?” he asked, worried.
I clamored to my feet. Furious with Portia. “She’s never done this before,” I said, grabbing Portia away from his dog’s business.
“Are you okay?” he asked again.
“I think so,” I replied. Not really sure.
I went ahead and did the three miles. I had plenty of adrenaline for the walk after all that. It wasn’t till I got home and put my feet up that I seen how bad the swelling was. And it wasn’t until after I turned in the last of the grad school projects, that I took a handful of ibuprofen and went to bed.
Now Portia has earned her spot alongside Poe. I might still take her for car rides, but I won’t be taking her on late afternoon walks anymore.
The next dog I get is going to be a cat.