Pet-Human Collisions Are Common In Veterinary Practice

Have you ever been hit by a low-flying dog?

It happens to us all the time.

Wild and domesticated animals instinctively know that sudden movements are difficult for their enemies to predict. They use that knowledge to protect themselves, or to extract themselves from dangerous situations.

Sometimes pets perceive the procedures we perform to be dangerous to them when, in fact, we are helping. We can’t, and don’t, expect them to understand.

Sometimes we are in the path when pets make those sudden moves, and collisions can be dramatic. The head of a dog can be much like the head of a sledgehammer. When a pet’s head collides with a person’s jaw, eye or skull, he will have 100% of your attention.

The most memorable “greatest hit” in my practice lifetime took place when we were trimming toenails on a small-breed dog. In an effort to escape, he jerked his head around and smacked my assistant square in the left eye. I took the dog from her as she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Are you OK? Do you need to go to the emergency room?” I asked, a little confused that such a dog could have caused quite that much pain, even with a blow to the eye.

“Yes,” she gurgled. “I’m not crying because I’m hurt.”

“Oh, good,” I said, relieved. “What is it, then?”

“I’m the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding this weekend, and I simply can’t have a black eye in the wedding pictures.”

The good news is, the discomfort subsided quickly and no black eye ensued.

I was reminded of this story a couple of nights ago when Pearl, our precious poodle, was doing her mountain goat imitation, perched on the back of the couch so she could “kiss” me while I was eating popcorn. Now, you would think that a sixteen-year-old dog in kidney failure would be more cautious, but Pearl is something of a daredevil. Besides, she simply lives to lick my face.

My wife, Brenda, believes that Pearl thinks I’m her baby, and that I must be cleaned on a regular basis.

So, picture this: Our aged poodle is balanced on the back of the couch, kissing away, when she loses her balance. Down she tumbles, and on her way down her hard little head smacks Brenda square on the left ear.

Intense shrieking ensues. From Brenda.

Pearl only wondered what all the fuss was about despite Brenda’s belief that they must both have suffered brain damage.

In fact, I’ve never seen a dog have one of these impacts that the dog seemed any worse for the concussion he’s just delivered.

Brenda cried for twenty minutes, and commented on the pain all the way to bedtime.

She was still sore the next day, and still has a bruise a week later.

Pearl, on the other hand, is just waiting for her next opportunity to kiss me!

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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