By B. Lynn Goodwin.
I have three scars on the inside edge of my left forearm. Two look like fading purple blotches, like sun-faded paint or the ancient scrawls of a fierce toddler armed with crayons.
The fierce toddler who put the pair of scars on my forearm was my sweet little Mikko McPuppers. He’s an eighteen-pound senior shih tzu. Usually he’s mellow. On the night he bit me though, he was disoriented. He didn’t know where we were going or how to get back, and I think an old fear of losing his home and family may have resurfaced.
We were in a strange truck in the middle of the night. He didn’t know why we changed vehicles or where we were headed. The floor was crowded and uncomfortable and the little bit of space on the seat was worse. For all he knew, he might never see our home again.
When my boy friend, Richard, got out to fill the gas tank, Mikko jumped into the driver’s seat. “You can’t sit there,” I said.
He put his head between his paws.
“Come on, Mikko. Get down.” When I got no response, I tugged on his collar. He snarled and leaped at me. I looked down and saw his teeth in my flesh. “No,” I screamed when I saw the crimson blood on my pale arm.
“Mikko!” I said. Though I sounded shocked the words “bad dog” did not occur to me. When he growls and bites he’s trying to protect himself or me.
I grabbed a Wet One to sop up the blood and disinfect the wound. I love Mikko dearly, but dog mouths carry germs.
He slunk over the console and onto the floor. He knew he’d been a bad dog.
“What are you protecting us from?” I asked as I turned the Wet One over.
He looked up with eyes that said, “I’m sorry, Mommy. What’s going on?”
We were taking a risk, leaving for a weekend of camping in the middle of Friday night, but Richard had been busy with payroll and his estimated leaving time moved from 4:30 to 8:30. Mikko was still learning to share me with Uncle Daddy.
After the blood dried I noticed that the bite marks looked like single quotes around a much older scar, that I got almost 50 years ago on my last day at Kennolyn Camp.
We were in the rink, showing our families what we’d learned about riding, and Rockinghorse and I had just gone over a low jump, when I slid off his left side and landed on my arm. I started to get up, but when I pushed against it, nothing happened.
One of the counselors, a Stanford medical student, helped me up. He put my arm in a sling, and when they took it off at the doctor’s office, it was covered with blood. The bone had broken through the skin.
A small white line is still there. You had to know where to find it until Mikko’s teeth marks set it off.
I never used Neosporin to make them disappear. They remind me how much I love Mikko. I don’t carry a grudge. These scars have become pictures only I can see.
It’s better to embrace life and get scars than to sit on the sidelines and get nothing. Besides they remind me that the pain they cause is only temporary.
What scars (visible or not) have you acquired recently? Write and tell us how you acquired them and how you feel about them. Or write about anything. Thanks!
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I was looking at the scars on my arm today. Did you know that scars have stories to tell? If you have a scar that tells a story, we’d love to hear it.
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers