Yesterday morning at 9am I heard a scream come out of my 5 year old that I had never heard before. My husband and I were still laying in bed, but I went flying down the stairs. Blood was just gushing down Noah’s head. I immediately scooped him in my arms, cradled him like a baby and sat down on the couch.
I was already shaking from the adrenaline, the amount of blood and the noises that my son was making. All 5 of our other children were just standing, staring in shock. I asked them to go get me a wet towel for me to put on Noah’s head. I asked what happened, how this happened and that is when he told me “Harwell bit me.”
Harwell is our almost 6 year old great dane. The most kind and gentle thing. Him and Noah are best friends and have been snuggling together like little babies for years.
We rushed to the hospital to take a look at this gash and see if it needed stitches. I held Noah on my lap in the front seat, covered in a towel with no shoes on, just trying to control the bleeding. By the time we had made it to the hospital (less than a ten minute drive) it seemed as though it was starting to calm down.
After about 2 hours in the hospital we had multiple different stories of what had happened with Noah and the dog, from his and the other kids perspective. We got his wound cleaned, over and over and over. No stitches because it is on his head and with a dog bite, they worry about infection. He left with gauze wrapped around his entire head, looking like Rambo or something.
The whole time we were at the hospital I kept saying to Paul, we are going to have to get rid of Harwell. He neither confirmed or denied that. But, we decided for about 8 hours to believe that the severity of the incident was less than we now believe that it was.
Fast forward to about 7pm, while Paul was upstairs changing, Noah and I were laying on the couch and I was rubbing his head. I felt something toward the back of his head and he said “ouch”. I realized that there was another gash in the back of his head. All the blood seemed to be in the front, so we didn’t even notice the back. Not at the hospital either!
When Paul came downstairs I had him take a look at it. Right after he said, “he has to go.” This story that we had told ourselves about Harwell’s tooth just knicking Noah, no longer held up. There is now a hole in the front and the back, which means that Harwell’s whole mouth ended up over Noah’s head. That he intentionally bit him.
Paul and I acted quickly even though it was very emotional. We both started thinking, looking and researching. We got Harwell from my best friend’s in-laws, so my best friend was the first person that I contacted to help.
Around 11pm last night, Harwell went home to the same home that he was born into. They don’t live very far away and we can go and visit him. It doesn’t make the whole in my heart any smaller or the mounds of blame I am putting on myself feel any lighter. But, we didn’t just take him to the pound to be put down, because we don’t believe he is a bad dog. But, how can we take that chance with our children again?
Paul is blaming himself because he is supposed to protect us from this kind of physical hurt and heartache. I am blaming myself because we got a puppy a week ago. And every single person that I told about Noah before even telling them that we had to find a new home for Harwell said, maybe it is the stress of the puppy. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The truth is that we don’t know, we will never now.
It is a sad day in the Christie house, as yesterday was too. I had hoped that I would go to sleep and wake up today and feel differently. But, Harwell wasn’t on the couch when I went downstairs to make the coffee, he didn’t immediately follow me up the stairs to lay in bed with me after Paul left. His food and water dish are still in my kitchen. And this new puppy is laying right next to me reminding me that this might all be my fault.
We still have to tell the rest of our kids. Noah knows and him saying goodbye wasn’t nearly as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. I suspect that we will be answering questions from many as the days go on, wondering where I beautiful blue great dane is. I can’t imagine that talking about it will get easier. It is a terrible decision that no person should have to make and no parent wants to make.