Makes sense if you think about
it. When we had dog repellent spray in the front cab, people felt like
they could take on the growling dog that met them at the door. Dogs protect
their masters. Some are so undone by the sight of their master lying unconscious
on the kitchen floor that they won't let anyone come close. So we'd charge
in there thinking we could just hit him with a dose of fido mace and he'd
run off to hide under the bed. But it mostly just pisses them off more.
Now they're blinded and in pain and mad as hell, trapped in the little
kitchen with you. They know you're there somewhere, and when they latch
on to you, they're not going to let go again.
So we just wait for the cops
now. See a dog, call the cops. Don't try to reach your patient. Don't
be a dumb, dead hero -- they should make all you new recruits memorize
that. Don't be a dumb, dead hero. And we took the dog repellent out of
the front cab to keep anyone from getting overconfident around animals.
We got a call a few years back
for a dog bite, corner of... Wisconsin and something. A kid on the sidewalk,
bawling, and a big crowd of people. As I walk up to him I think there's
someone crouched right next to him holding his arm. Get closer and realize
it's the dog -- it's one of those Rottweilers or Pits that people just
breed to fight, think they're a badass -- and it's clamped onto this kid's
arm and it's not letting go. Doesn't give a shit about what's going on
around it, not looking at anything, just holding on to this kid's arm
for dear life. People don't want to touch it because they think it'll
turn on them, but I call tell this dog is gone, it's like in some weird
zen state when it fastens onto something and isn't going to let go until
it or the thing dies. Might as well have you arm caught in a bear trap
for all it's thinking.
Cops are on scene and they
know they have to get the dog off, so they start wrestling with the dog,
trying to pry open the jaws with their batons, then they hit it with pepper
spray, and the kid just screams more and more until they finally stop.
We're trying to treat the kid and calm him down, but we can't really work
on his arm for fear the dog will take ahold of us too. Meanwhile there's
people everywhere. They're watching and it must be dawning on them that
we can't do anything. Trusted public servants.
The cops start to sense this
and they start talking about shooting the dog. They're talking about shooting
the dog in the head, but they're not sure whether a ricochet might hit
the kid or someone in the crowd. I think: I've got to get this under control.
Kid screaming doesn't help me think. I mean, you get used to screening
out a lot of screaming, but sometimes with kids it's hard to filter out.
It's like we're wired to respond to kids.
So we call for the animal control
guy and have to stand around while he shows up. It kills me the way they've
got a better uniform than us. I mean, they look like cops -- the bigass
belt with all sorts of shit, a silver badge, the whole nine yards. They
make us look like we just came out of a costume shop. I mean, I still
hear people call us "ambulance drivers." But anyway the animal
guy shows up and we tell him what's gone on, and he starts giving the
cops all this shit for trying to pry open the dog's jaws. He really doesn't
like that at all. God knows what would have happened if he'd found out
about all that talk of shooting the thing.
He loads up a syringe and injects
the dog with something to put it to sleep. It's out within thirty seconds.
But he still can't pry the jaws open. People in the crowd are like, "What
about the Jaws of Life?" So I ask the animal guy how long that dog
is going to be out. He says, two or three hours. I said, are you sure?
and he said yeah, give or take.
So I said, get this whole damn
mess into the back of the ambulance: kid, dog, animal guy, and a cop,
and let's make like hell for the hospital. The idea of that dog popping
off the kid and looking for a juicier target in the back on the unit while
we're doing seventy didn't feel too good to me, but I had to count on
this guy saying it was good and knocked out. God knows what the hospital
is going to say. They are not going to like a dog showing up in their
ER, that's for sure, but we need to get this off the street. They're bound
to have some way of prying this thing off this kid, or giving it a muscle
relaxant or something.
So off we all went. We actually
managed to get the dog off the kid en route, three guys all pulling on
this dog's jaws for all they were worth, and when we got him off everyone's
like, what now? Three of us, a patient, and a drugged-up dog all in the
back of the ambulance. While I start bandaging up the kid's arm, the animal
guy is turning some of our restraint straps into a kind of muzzle in case
the dog woke up. Right away he starts working on the dog the same way
I'm working on the kid. So by the time we get to the ER we spilled out
like clowns from the car, you know, and I go one way with my patient while
the animal guy goes the other with his.
So anyway, we don't carry dog
repellent. Let me show you the portable radio.
* CMA advisory: Fiction.
So any resemblence to people or canines, living or dead, is coincidental.