Antonio

Winter and the Leap Year Moon

Oh, man. Antonio the dog trainer came. Murdoch bit him. Shit.

Antonio is a young man, maybe 30. A lumberjack or hipster beard, hiking boots, jeans, a blue wool jacket. He has an easy smile and wore what I recognized as a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hat. My kinda guy.

He met all of our dogs though Gertie held back because her left rear leg has given her trouble the last couple of days. Rigel went up to him as he came in the door. Snuggled up to her new bff. Kep came over and sniffed him after vigorously announcing his arrival.

Time to meet Murdoch, who was outside. I let him in the sewing room, the door closed to the rest of the house. Antonio put Murdoch through sit, heel, then down. Murdoch didn’t move. Antonio said most dogs don’t like down because it’s submissive. He hit the e-collar once on a very low setting and Murdoch immediately went down.

We talked about the situations that had prompted a fight. Murdoch seemed to be the aggressor, I said, and wouldn’t stop when Kep rolled over. The second fight they came in Kep in the lead and Murdoch behind growling. Antonio said that sounded like Kep was the aggressor.

We agreed to try Kep and Murdoch outside. I got Antonio a leash for Murdoch, but couldn’t find one for Kep. Antonio said that was ok, so I came out with Kep by my side. Kep turned away from Murdoch, not approaching. Murdoch growled.

We moved around the yard, keeping a distance. Murdoch gradually calmed down. It was this kind of desensitization that Antonio thought could work. Feed them each on one side of a glass door. Walks in the back. Hopefully calm them down enough so they could be inside together.

Antonio thought they could come closer, so I approached with Kep. Murdoch dove for Kep. Antonio fell on Murdoch, but Kep had come up to defend himself and in the struggle one of them bit Antonio. Through his jacket. Just like mine. A big gash, maybe 3 inches by 3/4’s.

Inside. My wife’s a doctor. Blood dripping on the deck, the tile. His arm over the same sink where mine was on Thursday. Kate took care of him, bandaged him, ironically, with some of the supplies given to us at the Swedish E.R.

He’s in tears, agonized, shaking. What to do? Called his wife. Got a time to go to the Conifer Medical Center. He’s gone. Don’t know anymore.

Jesus Christ.

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