While out for a walk last week, Phoenix flushed a rabbit. The rabbit bolted straight through the nearby barbed wire fence with Phoenix right behind him. The whole thing happened in about 2 seconds. I called Phoenix and he came back. The rabbit disappeared into parts unknown. I helped Phoenix through the fence and checked him over.
He seemed no worse for the wear. I ran my hands over his belly and up and down his legs. No blood. No pain response. In fact, the only reaction I got was annoyed impatience. I had interfered with his hot pursuit of the rabbit. If I was determined to ruin his fun, could we at least get on with the walk? We finished the walk, hung out on the patio for awhile to cool off, went in the house, got ready for bed and he cuddled on the bed while the Farmer and I watched the 9 p.m. news.
Next day, I kept an eye on him. No limping. No apparent sore spots. No persistent licking of odd places. I thumped him all over and he leaped around, acting like his normal idiot self. My industrial springs and steel belted radial dog had once again defied the odds. I did not roll him over to re-check his belly. There didn't seem to be any point.
Over the weekend, we went to an obedience seminar. Although he’s too big to do it for very long, I often let Phoenix hang out and sit on my lap. He was flopped on his side, slowly putting my legs to sleep, and I was scratching him idly on the tummy and chest.
That’s when I found the first cut - a long, scabbed gash under the fur on his belly. Further inspection revealed another jagged cut reaching down from his from elbow on the backside of a front leg and another wicked slice in an armpit. All were scabbed over hard with no redness or heat or swelling. They were located in places you would never see unless you deliberately looked. The barbed wire fence had claimed its pound of flesh after all.
That night at the motel, I soaked away the dried blood and had a closer look. The tears were ugly but superficial and appeared to be healing fine. My poking and prodding got no reaction from Phoenix except a look of annoyance that I was getting him all wet.
Me: Why didn’t you tell me?
Phoenix: Tell you what?
Me: That you got hurt! Typical man.
Me: Yeah - HURT! As in bleeding. Pain. Ouch.
Me: Are you freaking serious? All over your belly and front legs. From going through that fence the other night.
Phoenix: Oh. That. No big. Wanted the rabbit.
Me: No big? You’re kind of a mess. Didn’t you notice?
Me: It freaked me out when I found all that scabby dried blood today.
Me: You’ll probably have scars.
Phoenix: Cool. It’ll give me righteous street cred.
Me: Street cred? You’re a farm dog.
Phoenix: Righteous farm dog.
Me: You know, it’s okay to say ouch when you get hurt.
Phoenix: ‘S okay. Don’t need to.
Me: Why not?
Phoenix: Cuz you say it enough for both of us.
Me: You have a point.
Phoenix: You’re kind of a weenie.
Phoenix: And you’re funny. You say funny things when you get hurt.
Me (arching eyebrows): Like what?
Phoenix: Like “Ouch!Damnit!” and “Ouch!Sh*t!” and “Ouch!Fu-”
Me: That’ll do.