This column is for Annette’s mother, and the few others who asked me to tell the story about Izzy the dog and my heroic rescue. Warning: If you think that reading about dogs is a waste of time read something else.
First, I must explain how Izzy came to take over our house. After she was found wandering around a busy street a few times by my daughter and her friend, they asked me to take her in. “Not before you contact the owners,” I said. Owners were duly contacted and said they could not be bothered with her and had been letting her out deliberately hoping that she would be picked up.
A border collie/black Labrador cross, she was a handful from the word go. She must have been abused: she cowered and could not control her bladder when men came near her. At meal times, she would grab a mouthful of food and run under the table to eat it. As it turns out, we chose an inappropriate name. Izzy is a short form for her proper name, Isolde, the princess and witch.
Just about the only major difficulty left with Izzy was the fact that she can jump, and the fence at the rear of our backyard was not high enough to contain her. We solved that, we thought, by instituting a strict routine of dog walks for exercise and the other (yes, we do stoop and scoop0, and by tying her to along rope in the yard when she needed some fresh air.
On the day of the drama, I put Izzy out o her rope because I had a visitor and she was being her usual noisy self. Outside, she barked and whined for a bit and then stopped. I honestly do not know what made me decide to check on her. But, imagine my horror when I could not see Izzy, just the yellow rope trailing over the very high fence which separates us from our neighbour. She had never shown any interest in attempting to climb this Everest, but I suppose with Izzy there is a first time for everything.
I raced outside, climbed up to look over the fence and there was Izzy, dangling from the end of the rope. I then had to run back through the house, around the next house and through their back gate. When I released her from the rope, she flopped lifelessly to the ground. When I tried to pick her up, she slithered through my arms, a dead weight. I eventually managed to pick her up and ran, panting, back into my kitchen. I had no idea what to do but, I knew I did not want to deal with a dead dog.
She was not breathing and, without knowing the technique, I thought that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was the only option. So I crouched on the kitchen floor, already breathless, and attempted it. My visitor could only look on in stunned amazement. My inept resuscitation seemed to have no impact. I was about to give up, in tears, when her eyes fluttered open and her tail gave a pathetic little wag. Then her eyes closed again. I continued breathing into her, talking to her in the intervals when I was trying to catch my breath. It seemed to take for ever, but she struggled to stand up, collapsed, struggled again and eventually made it, to give me a lick on the cheek.
My visitor told me later that every time I talked to the dog, Izzy instinctively twitched as if she was doing her very best to do what I wanted.
We took Izzy to the vet. Although she could only croak, instead of bark, for the next couple of days, there does not seem to have been any lasting damage. The vet told me that a more efficient way to resuscitate her would have been to hold her mouth closed and breathe into her nostrils. I sincerely hope that I will never be called upon to put this piece of advice into practice.
If there is a moral to this doggy tale, I’m not sure what it is. Maybe a few ethicists would care to debate whether this heroic measure was overburdensome and argue that I should have allowed nature to take its course. All I know is that I often look at Izzy and believe the saying: happiness is a warm puppy.