Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neskowin Good Samaritans

Today, JAM, I and two of The Beasts (Brecken & Sedona) went to the beach. It was an amazing day, the kind of day you seldom encounter on the Oregon coast. The sun was shining, the sky was incredibly blue, there was absolutely no wind, and temps were in the t-shirt/shorts range. We walked, chased waves, climbed cliffs, played Frisbee and laughed more than we have in a long time.

Neskowin is beautiful—our favorite beach hang-out…eclectic and unique. It wasn’t even crowded today…another plus. Overall, it was pretty much the perfect day…until Brecken appeared seriously ill.

The Beasts had been leashed most of the day. A couple of times, when no one else was around, we’d let them loose to run. Toward the end of the day, Brecken started limping on her back, right leg. Not long after that, she was struggling with both back legs and kept sitting down for long periods. I glanced at her pads, but there were no cuts or scrapes, so I assumed she’d pulled a muscle. Deciding to get her off her feet, we packed up and headed for the car.

Within six yards, she sat down, not wanting to move. We coaxed her to her feet and walked another 3 yards, only to watch her start wobbling on her front legs also and sit down again. By then, I was starting to panic. Something was affecting her limbs—I was concerned that she’d gotten stung or eaten something toxic. We coaxed her another eight yards at five-foot intervals, listening to her cry, and then she lay down and refused to get up.

She weighs 150 lbs…I knew we weren’t getting her off the beach without a stretcher. At that point, I was also terrified that the reason she couldn’t walk was because she’d twisted her stomach while running around, a big-dog owner’s greatest fear. If that was the case, she needed veterinary attention immediately.

I sent JAM to the car to drop off Sedona and grab our beach towels, hoping to devise a makeshift sling. In the meantime, a couple staying in a local condo had been watching our struggles and decided to help. They left their condo, carrying a large blanket, and walked down to offer their services.

We were surrounded by other beach goers who hadn’t given us a second glance—I’d never felt so alone in a public place. This couple laid their blanket on the sand, helped coax Brecken onto it and struggled to help us carry her to a nearby parking lot. I wish I could say that Brecken made it easy, but she fought us every step of the way, refusing to lie still. 150 lbs of shifting weight is a back breaker…

Just as we reached solid ground, Brecken fought free of the blanket and miraculously began walking. I watched her perk up and slowly gain her stride, stunned by her sudden recovery. The woman Samaritan and I hugged, JAM and I hugged, and tears of relief suddenly flowed quite freely.

After profuse thanks, we left the Good Sams and led Brecken to the car, where I thoroughly checked her feet and was horrified to find the skin between her pads raw and inflamed—she’d refused to walk on the sand because it was unbearably painful. But not once had she tried to lick her paws, giving us an indication that’s where the problem lay.

Tonight, she’s resting peacefully…her paws have been medicated and she’s unaware of the emotional turmoil she caused this afternoon. It looks like she has a yeast infection between her pads…not uncommon in her genetic line.

I don’t think the couple who helped us will ever forget their efforts, and I know the JAM kids and I won’t. We couldn’t have gotten Brecken off the beach without their help, because she physically couldn’t walk on the sand. I don’t know their names and can never repay their kindness, but I wanted to acknowledge their efforts, because they truly touched my heart.

So thank you Neskowin Good Samaritans…enjoy the rest of your vacation, and know that you made an unforgettable difference in my family’s life today.

1 comment:

tournesol said...

Wow what a great ending, I am glad your big dog is okay. How wonderful those people where there to help instead of looking the other way like they didn't see you. That seems to happen too often : (