Here she is, the sweetest.  Look at that million dollar smile!  (Well, it was only $460 for today’s vet visit.)

We have been exploring the gulches that meander off of Cache La Poudre canyon, out of range of cell service, for five days.

Atina learned to play frisbee, and now she’s a frisbee maniac.  She’s one of those incredibly athletic dogs who will launch themselves into the air and snatch the flying disc out of it.

She tires quickly, though, and I have to balance letting her have a good doggie time with watching for signs she’s tiring.  I don’t want her to get injured.  She’s already got enough on her plate.

If you’ve read my previous Atina post, you’ll already know that she’s an 18 month old Belgian Malinois with kidney disease. 

She is so, so precious.  Even after a full day of tests at Colorado State University, after it was all over, and the senior vet student was sitting beside me explaining the results so far–Atina, who had been lounging in my lap while we waited for results–clambered into his lap and purred, as she grabbed at his hands with the amazing prehensile Malinois paws, insisting that he pet and snuggle her. 

Yes, I said “purred.”

When she is trying to charm someone, she grins and makes this deep rumble down in her chest.  It could be mistaken for a growl, but it’s a purr.  Really.

So today they drew so much blood she needed a transfusion (in this case I am joking, but when I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, that really happened all the time).  She had an ultrasound and a chest X-Ray.  We got to meet a student, a resident, and a professor. 

Oh, and they stuck a needle into her belly to collect a urine sample.  Don’t worry, I used to do that on little babies all the time.  Didn’t hurt me a bit.  Actually it did.  Atina didn’t seem to notice it much.  She’s one tough cookie.

In fact, we just got out of jail.

Quarantine, actually, but same thing.  At least they let you do home confinement here, rather than sticking your dog in the pound for ten days.  In our case it was camper confinement, which was claustrophobic, to say the least.

Oh right, I haven’t told you how we drew the “go directly to jail” card.

She bit somebody.  In the face.  Badly.

He deserved it.

Nine o’clock in the morning, this dude at a campground is already fucked up (Colorado), sees my dog, who is tied up to the door handle of my van, goes up to her, gets down on one knee next to her, his arm around her chest, his face next to hers, and says:

I saw you yesterday, she had a Service Dog vest on.  What kind of Service Dog is she?

Normally at this point I tell people very politely to fuck off, but for some reason I said, She’s a PTSD Service Dog.

So this idiot starts yelling at me,

PTSD!  PTSD!  That’s the most over-diagnosed–

Atina had started growling–not purring–as soon as she felt the vibe, and as I started to dissociate it got louder and I said to the jerk,

She’s growling
Stand up and back away
(Through my growing haze.)

But he only shouted,

What’s she growling for?
What’s she–
Aaaagh!  She bit me!
He is on his knees, pouring facial blood. 

I went to see.  He wouldn’t let me look at him, staggered off.

I knew what was going to happen when he got to the ER.  You know, police, dog bite report, dog officer shows up and takes your dog.

I went into my van with Atina, locked the doors, and slammed into a full blast anxiety attack.  I was so far gone, I couldn’t even remember about the whole bottle of Ativan sitting in the cupboard for just such occasions.

The dog officer showed up.  I left Atina in the van and slunk out.  I knew what had to be done.

Fortunately, the dog officer was a sweet guy with a terrible stammer, which endeared him to me.  He explained the local custom of home confinement–out only for bodily functions–so I signed the paper and he went away.

The creep who got us into that mess returned after the dog officer drove away, and proudly showed off his amateur suturing job.

Yep, that’s right, he sewed himself up.  All cattywampus and crooked, too.

This time it was me screaming:

You didn’t go to the hospital!  You need to go to the hospital!  You’ll get an infection, etc, etc.

Well, he didn’t, and it ain’t none of mine.  His face is going to be a whole lot uglier than it was before.

We got out of jail on Tuesday, and celebrated by playing frisbee some more, and dabbling our toes in a glacial creek.  Atina did.  I kept my boots on.  It’s been in the 30’s Fahrenheit) at night at 8,000 feet, so I conserve my toe heat.

Now it’s a waiting game with the vets.  Results from the specialty labs will come trickling in next week, and if we don’t get our answer there, then it’ll be biopsy time.  Fun.  But we will do what needs to be done, for this wiggly snuggly angel (just don’t fuck with her, or me) who has landed in my lap with all four paws on my bladder, of course….

Leave a comment


  1. You know, I’m not in the habit of defending the state where I was planted just on principle, but I do hope you’ll take away the memory of the “dog officer,” who clearly lives here, rather than that of the guy who got himself bitten (perhaps just a visitor passing through). One way or another, those of us who live here run the gamut, as they do in any other state — I imagine he’d have been “fucked up” that early no matter what state he found himself in.

    I’d like to have known you we going to be going my way! Even if you’re too far away for a visit, I could have given you some local “do not miss this, it’s amazing” ideas for where you are.

    I hope everything turns out well! Safe travels and all that.

    • Hi Ruby! I’ve been wondering how you are. The fucked up guy lives here. I didn’t bother telling that whole sorry story. Too complicated. I’m in CO till mid-October most likely. If you’re around I’d love to connect! I’m back and forth to Ft. Collins, out in the canyons and gulches in between. Love suggestions, hate populated areas….went to RMNP, got a week pass but couldn’t deal with the combo of over 10,000 and people crowding everywhere….high-tailed it to someplace quiet.

  2. Strangers who shove their faces at dogs’ faces are out of their tiny minds. What an anus. Atina is looking absolutely gorgeous btw.

  3. Midwestern Plant Girl

     /  August 22, 2015

    I had a situation close to yours where my mailman (that can legally be on my property) walked up silently behind me sitting with my large Akita on a 6′ leash. Remember, she was on a 6′ leash and my yard is 68′ wide… he had 62′ to safely enter into, however chose to enter near me. He was not intending on giving me the mail, just the fastest route to the box. No growling, no barking. . (Akitas are quiet hunters) She grabbed on to his calf and held him. I didn’t even notice what was going on until I heard him say, “Excuse me, your dog is biting me! ” I yelled Heart and she released. She just didn’t want him getting any closer. Of course I was lucky and got home confinement also. No ticket either as the officer agreed the mailman had no brains.

    • Yikes, anyone who would even get NEAR an Akita without speaking is a dolt and should get home confinement AND a ticket! My Great Pyrenees held the gas meter reader up against the house in the fenced back yard till I got home from work one time. I got out of my car and heard this soft “Help, help!” Went around and there’s the poor meter reader, with 250 lb Beauregard just standing there patiently doing his job, smiling and wagging…”did I do good, Mom?” I let the meter reader go, as he had been there for some hours….

    • Oh, and does the mailman leave your mail at the end of your sidewalk now??

  4. Some people are just stupid. It’s a well-known fact that you don’t approach someone else’s dog without permission and that you let the dog smell you before you even think about petting them when you first meet. If you ask me, that idiot deserved to get bitten.

  5. What an idiot! I’m surprised you didn’t bite him.

  6. Laura! Your dog is BEAUTIFUL! And wow, what a story. That guy was an idiot! Btw, you and I have so much more in common than my blog post that you reblogged. My half brother suffers from Schizoaffective disorder and is currently sentenced to a treatment facility in San Diego (thank God! This is what my family and I have been praying for!). When I’m able to have contact with him I’m going to refer him to your blog. It think it could really inspire him.

    • Atina says thank you. She IS a beautiful girl. And the dog officer who let us out of jail said that guy totally deserved to get bitten. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. Is there a possibility that he could have also been abused? I’m really not convinced that childhood abuse and mood disorders are not related. Kind of chicken-and-egg thing, though, since psychiatric disorders are usually inherited. But abuse also trickles down the generations, so I think it’s hard to differentiate what causes which, or whether there’s a causal relationship there at all.

      • He definitely could have. He’s my half brother from my mom’s second marriage, which is a whole different topic. With my bro, I think his disorder was brought on by a combination of genes and trauma of some kind, or perhaps several small incidents. In his case it’s definitely genetic because several people in my step dad’s family have had psychosis. Sadly it claimed the life of one of my young step cousins. Scary, heart breaking shit. Truly. SO glad to see you trying to heal and be a voice! Inspiring!

  7. If you want to unsubscribe you have to go to your settings. I can’t do it for you. There is a link at the bottom of the emails you get that notify you of new posts, etc.

  8. She looks real smart and she did what she is born to do, defend you and herself. Anyway I hope that such wierdos stay away from both of you. You need to enjoy and have fun rather than be hassled coz of them.

    Love and light

  9. Oh, Laura, so hard for you with your beautiful Atina. Have you considered a homemade diet? It wasn’t lost on me that Bliss had her best numbers while on the home prepared diet. With the recent go ahead from UC Davis for a more normal diet for Bliss now that she’s through the worst of the poisoning, we’ll be adding in some home cooked food. It’s just easier to digest the food that’s not as processed.

    • Hi Mary, I’m so glad you came over to my blog and left this comment! I was planning to ask you if you would share your home cooked formula with me. I cooked for one of my German Shepherds who was allergic to EVERYTHING, and it made a huge difference. Can you share it with me here, or via my e-mail, which I can send you? Atina is having a renal biopsy next week, which will give us a lot more information because at this point we don’t know the exact cause of the kidney failure. The vets we are working with at Colorado State are pessimistic because she is spilling protein, but at this point her Cr is still in the normal range and her BUN is in the high 30’s. But the ratio of urinary creatinine to protein is 2-3, supposed to be <1, so that is worrisome. I would love to be able to cook for her as soon as possible! Let me know! You guys are such wonderful puppy parents! How is Bliss doing now?

      • They cautioned against us doing a biopsy, since the biopsy removes renal tissue…and we wanted to spare as much tissue as possible for Bliss. I suppose each case is different and Bliss’ issue is from a poisoning. I’ll put together some info on the food.

        • Yeah, I worry about that too, but we don’t know what the reason for the renal failure is, whether it’s autoimmune, amyloid which is genetic, or toxin related, so the biopsy will tell us how to treat it. I’ve already called it off once…But now I feel that it’s important to know the source of the problem. I’m scared to death to put her through such a major surgery…


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