February 12, 2005

Dumb teens, dog bites, disappearing children

That about sums up my Friday. I thought Friday would be relatively normal (whatever that is) and relaxing. Nope. Where do I even start? I guess we'll start with the minivan, our one and only car. It's running funny, and not in the ha-ha way. R saw nics on the drive belt, which incidentally was replaced two years ago. Besides the suspicious looking drive belt, it reeks of gasoline. We can't see any evident leakage though, so at this point, we're not driving it far. I'm of course out of all my cleaning supplies and food. Oh joy.

Then lil J' comes home and decides he is going to whine all day about everything. Nothing he needed or wanted was given to him fast enough. The cat from hell peed on the floor again. It's beginning to smell so bad I don't even want to be in my living room. I'm going to have to clean the carpet again, and get some enzyme stuff. If he does it after that, he's moving on.

I decide I'm going to relax in my room to watch TV around 3p. I'm just gonna chill out. Yeah, right. Just before 4pm, as I'm wondering why J (14) isn't back from school yet, S (12) comes barging into my room in hysterics. I heard her screaming, and crying all the way up the stairs. Her face is flushed with total terror. She starts screaming about how she was bit by a dog, and how she's going to die. She's so scared she's going to get rabies and die. Her whole body is shaking, and her eyes are full of panic. I'm scanning her and trying to remain calm, thank God that her beautiful face is untouched. She pulls up her pant leg, and although there is a puncture wound, I thank God, it's not serious. It could have been so much worse, and I know she's lucky. There are no lacerations. No need for stitches. She does have a tiny bit of blood at the surface, bruising, and some scratching.

She goes on to tell me that they weren't taunting the dog. It had a leash on and it was running loose in the park near our townhouses. When she walks home from school, there is a park on the way, and the kids often take a short cut through it, or slide around on the ice pond. She was with a classmate (11) and his little brother, and her 'friend' also 11. The boy, P, was walking around near some rocks, and was trying to show S and the others something. S saw the dog, and thought it might belong to E, who happens to be our son's (J, 14) friend. She told us how she just said, "hi doggy". It then began to chase her, she got scared and ran. She fell in the snow, and as it began to bite and claw at her coat, all of the kids ran off. She was screaming for help. She is still going over how alone she felt as she screamed for assistance, and no one seem to hear her. (There are houses everywhere) I can understand the other kids being scared. However, it's a small dog. It's a cocker spaniel mix. They not only ran off, but didn't try to get her any help from a nearby house.

That's not the worse of it though. When she tried to stand up and run, and it started biting and clawing at her leg, the kids laughed at her. They mocked how 'funny' she looked trying to flee. I am so disgusted that someone could be raising a human being that would laugh at another person when they are in pain and being attacked by an animal. You'd better believe I will be calling the school on Monday. Her 'friend' also laughed, but walked home with S when she got the dog off of her and got away. This dog could have done some serious damage, even given its size, I do believe her angels were looking after her.

I'm trying to console her as I call the police. I then call her pediatriction who is out, and they leave a message with the nurse. They tell me to take her to our nearest urgent clinic since they are almost closed to get her started on antibiotics, and possible rabies shots. We have no idea whose dog it is, but I have a sneaky suspicion it is indeed E's. I then call J's friend, JP, to find out if J is at his house. His mom says all of them are at E's house! I tell her what happened and she tells me straight away it's E's dog. Not only was she bit right near E's house, but this dog is apparently very mean, and she's warned JP about going over there. The dog can be heard barking viciously all through the park, and towards the townhouses where JP lives. E's mom has to keep the dog in the yard when anyone comes over because it's so mean. It also matches the description S gave.

So, I call over at E's house, and leave a message. I then try to get a hold of R, and again I see God's hand in all of this when I'm told he has already left. (normally he doesn't take the bus from downtown until 5:45p)

I call E's house back again, and this time the mom answers. I tell her who I am, and ask if J is there. She basically has this attitude of, 'why the hell are you calling my house'. She tells me J is there, and I have to tell her a second time I want to talk to him. I can hear a dog barking the whole time. I am really irritated at J at this point since we have told him a million times to come straight home after school. I ask him if E's dogs are there. He tells me one of them is in the house, (I know that she would have had to put the other one out back because of how mean it is) and I ask him what they look like. I tell him that S has been bitten by a dog, and I think it's E's dog. He starts telling me it can't be, because it's in the house and it's white, not tan. I then tell him to STOP repeating what I'm asking him so she can hear. I tell him to come home RIGHT now. He keeps saying, "huh" or "what?" I'm having to yell into the phone.

He actually tells me, "I can't." I reply, "excuse me? What do you mean you can't? Are you not hearing me?" J has developed this irritating way of talking, like he's some dumb clueless stoner. Except for he's not on drugs, and he's not really dumb. I can tell he's NOT really listening to me, but watching some stupid video game. I can't even remember what I'm yelling into the phone at this point. Keep in mind that S is holding on to me the hold time screaming and crying, petrified she's going to die. I remind her over and over, she's not going to die. I can barely hear what J is saying. Lil' J is running about, totally freaked. He says, "I can't come home right now, JP is getting his hair done."

This is about where I begin to struggle with my inclination to swear when I'm very agitated. I think my response was something like, "What did you say? Your sister has been bit by a dog, a dog that belongs to that woman. (I wanted to call her something else) You're at their house right now, the house where that dog belongs to. And you're telling me that you can't come home now because he's doing his freakin' HAIR? Are you smoking crack or something? Do you NOT understand what I'm telling you. Get your ___ home now!! Tell JP to come with you!" I think I did very good. I only said one swear word and one substitution, even though I was hearing a whole bunch more in my head.

Finally the police show up and S tells them what happened, information is given, and thankfully I have the last name, and first initial of E's parent via caller ID. One of the police aides happens to be a guy I used to work with at Target. Again, I see God working in all of this. R gets home at about 5p, and as S runs to the door still in hysterics, (I kept reassuring her that chances of a dog with a collar & leash having rabies was extremely slim) I intercept him to assure him it isn't serious, the police have come already, and we have an appt at 7p with the doctor.

In all of the crying, chaos, and phone calls I didn't even notice it was 5:05p. Mooch (11) should have been off the bus at 4:30 and still wasn't hope. I begin looking for the bus route card with the phone number. The bus has been late before due to bad weather or a new driver. I can't believe I haven't noticed yet, and I check to make sure she didn't have culture club, which she didn't. (Since the car can't be driven that far, she'd be stuck there) The receptionist tries to radio him but can't get through. After being on hold for 10 minutes, she informs me that he's done with his route, and as far as they know, on his way home. My heart is starting to beat a million miles a minute. I ask her, so my child has just disappeared? I informed her that Mooch NEVER came home. I'm trying not to panic, but 35 minutes have gone by from when she should have been home. Is she sure we have the same route number? She then puts me on hold, which feels like forever, to tell me yes, we're thinking of the same route/driver and he's already dropped all the kids off. My head is throbbing, and I'm trying to block out scenario and visions of sinister acts perpetrated upon her. Mooch is the last child dropped off. I think I actually thought, 'what if something terrible happened to her, just before her trip to France'. I'm telling myself how OCD that sounds. She tells me they will keep trying to reach him at home. I'm placed on hold once more, R is telling me to breathe.

In the mean time I'm wishing I had a cell phone to start calling the other students that ride her bus. Finally after 15 more minutes on hold, she informs me that Mooch stayed at school for Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts!!? She's not in Girl Scouts! She asked me if she could start a new troop, but not once have I made contact with the leader, nor signed papers. Mooch never called me to ask if it was ok. She knew our car wasn't working right. Great! How the heck am I going to go get her, and take S to the doctor's before 7p? I don't even know when it's over. I call the school and no answer. Oh, and J is STILL not home. I am asking R how our son can act so dumb sometimes. I'm pacing back and forth to the window, where the heck is he!!? I told him to come home like 40 minutes ago!! I actually ask a neighbor girl to go towards E's house while I was on the phone.

I call a friend of Mooch's that not only rides her bus, but is in the GS troop. SW lives really close to us, maybe they know the cell phone number of the leader, or can give Mooch a ride home. No answer. So I call the principal, whose daughter is in the troop and happens to be one of Mooch's closet friends. She tells me she was just about to call me, it must be 'esp'. I tell her what a emotional roller coaster I have just been on, and that I know nothing about the GS meeting, or when it gets out, or how to go get her. She tells me then that her daughter already asked if they could bring her home so Mooch could stay for the meeting and see if she likes it. She says, "you mean, she never called you?"

Well at least Mooch made sure she had arrangements! I went from being panicked that she had disappeared to glad she was not hurt, to wanting to wring her neck myself, and relieved she wasn't actually stuck at the school. The mom felt terrible because normally she would have made sure this was ok with me, but it was a crazy busy day and she didn't double check to make sure she called me. I am finally starting to breathe normally. I'm all wound up at this point. I felt like I was having an anxiety attack there for awhile. She apologizes but I'm just glad she's ok, and they are picking her up. R says he'll go get her from her house at least. They are only like 15 minutes away.

Ok, I can breathe. I need to calm down. Where the heck is J? Why is he still not home? He finally comes strolling home with E and JP. He has some dumb lame excuse they he couldn't leave. He tells us how when he 'tried' to leave the police were outside. For one, no one told him he couldn't come home. For two, I told to come home long ago, before the police even came to my house. I ask his friends to step aside as I'm about to become unraveled at my sons stupidity and disrespect. Everything he said was dumb beyond belief. I was calm until he began to raise his voice at me.

Get this, J is going on about how it couldn't have been E's dog anyways because it was at the house, the mom put it outside, blah blah. They start asking S what it looks like. Even JP and E are saying..yep, that's the dog. E (14) actually apologizes to S, and says how much he hates the dog, how mean it is, and how he's asked his parents to take it away. But do you think S's own brother could show some compassion, some sympathy? You think he'd come running home as soon as he heard she was bit by a dog, especially one that belonged to E? You'd think maybe he'd think that he might need to baby sit lil' J? No, he just goes on about how he couldn't come home before then. It's not his fault. This was so not true, nobody held him down. He acts shocked that 40 minutes have passed by since when I first demanded he come home. (He never even asked if he could go over there anyways) He asked as to why she's crying and shaking as much as she is. He has a tone of disbelief that if it was E's dog how could it bother her that much, since it's such a 'little dog'. He asks to see the bite. That's when I lost it.

I start a procession of rants with very little pausing between sentences. I went on about how he knows that 'little' dog is so mean that it has to be chained out back whenever people come over. That all the neighbors have made complaints, that the parents own child has asked over and over to take it away. (E has an 8 y.o brother too). That she's chased and attacked by this dog, as she watched all her friends run away, and then proceed to laugh at her. All the while she's scared to death that it might have rabies and she'll die. She has to walk home in pain, face the police while she's a wreck, wait for her dad to come home, and pray her sister hasn't really disappeared. Then her own brother sits at the house where the dog lives, says he can't come home, stays for another 40 minutes to play video games, and then asks her why she's so upset? Yes, I'm screaming all of this at him.

Finally the police return to say they spoke with E's neighbors and they said they saw the dog roaming around the same time S was attacked. However, they have had so many negative altercations with E's parents, they don't want to go on record. The police aide (the one that used to be a security guard at Target) says he saw the dog tracks in the snow up to where S would have been when attacked. I guess she denied that her dog could have been responsible, was very rude, and showed no concern at all. She was delivered all the paper work, and the doctor wants to know if the dog will be removed from the premises, and quarantined until proof of immunizations are provided. If she does not cooperate, and if the dog is not licensed it's hauled off to the humane society where it will surely be put to sleep.

I am so insanely mad at this woman. In this case, it feels very hard to 'love my neighbor as myself'. I'm so glad it's all over, for the most part at least. I still have to think about how much time J is grounded for and the best approach for his dumb behavior and insensitivity.

I'll post more about S's visit to the doctor and what I hear back from the police.