Monday, May 05, 2008

Woman Against.


All's well that ends well

although he hasn't finished with the rocks yet...there are three still to be passed. I have to watch for them. Goodie.


Two things happened to me today.

I refused to turn a blind eye.
I realised I love my dog.

Poor little Piper started having some problems this afternoon. He was acting funny: weak-legged and faint, he staggered around the yard listlessly, drooling copiously and crying actual tears out of his eyes. He wouldn't eat and he kept retching up water. When he started having a bit of diarrhea I phoned the vet and took him down.

I was afraid it was Canine Distemper Virus. I looked at the symptom list online and saw that he had all but one - the fever. The timeline for CDV didn't really match up, but since the breeder had told us that he didn't have his full immunity until his second shots (which were scheduled for next week), I was paranoid.

First of all, I have obviously been spoiled by the beautiful and wondrous thing that is the Canadian Health Care System (although I did get a $57 ambulance bill once when my daughter and I were taken to hospital following a cataclysmic car wreck), because when the vet told me it was going to cost $300 just to DIAGNOSE the problem, I almost fell over sideways.

After some bloodwork (all perfectly normal) and some x-rays (perfectly NOT normal) they phoned to tell us that he had been eating something he shouldn't have.

Our puppy is basically a warm, furry bag full of rocks.

Thankfully, in the course of nature the rocks have already begun to return to the outside world. There is no blockage. HOWEVER, the poor little thing is dehydrated and has a very irritated and inflamed GI tract, so he has been HOSPITALISED FOR THE NIGHT to be administered IV FLUIDS AND ANTIBIOTICS.

So here we are at 10.00 PM, and the house is quiet. We had the sliding doors between the kitchen and the living room open tonight because there was no little furry, foxy muzzle poking around the corner looking for his chance to bolt out of his puppy-proof area. I left my shoes right inside the back door, with no fears that they will be reduced to a few fragments of damp, shredded canvas.

And you know what? I miss him. I miss him a lot. I am worrying about my poor little pupster, separated from his family and stuck in the animal hospital overnight, where he will probably be bullied into doing the bigger dogs' chores and have his, you know, kibble money taken or whatever. Alternatively, he'll cry through the night and be convinced, by tomorrow, that he'll never see his family again. In the morning he'll be practising his hitchhiking technique and tying his few meager possessions into a bandanna on the end of a stick.

Seriously, I'm so you think he'll be okay?

And when I go to pick him up tomorrow afternoon I'm going to let him lick my pewter inukshuk necklace as much as he wants to, and I'm going to let him have Lean Cuts for breakfast AND supper.


Okay, now the not-so-nice part.

I was sitting on a sunny bench outside a local elementary school today, reading "A Thread of Grace" and waiting for my daughter's Guide meeting to finish. Suddenly I heard banging and yelling coming from a house a few doors down the street, then a woman screaming. I looked up to see a man forcing his way into the house, shouting something I couldn't hear. Through the front window I could see a woman leaning against the door trying to keep him out. She was crying "No!! No, don't!! Get out!" He pushed her backwards into the house. I could still hear her screaming.

I immediately reached for my cellphone and called 911, just as I heard another male voice shout "Get your hands off her, @sshoIe!! Get your hands off her!!" The speaker was a neighbour, running over from across the street and following the first guy into the house. The dispatcher answered and I told him everything as it played out. He asked me to get the address...I had to walk down most of the length of the field to see the number. He asked whether there was a vehicle - I couldn't see past the hedge.

Just as he was finishing up my address and phone number, the first guy - the violent, abusive oppressor - came out of the house. I heard a truck start, then saw a beat up Range Rover pull out of the driveway and take off down the street. I told this to the 911 dispatcher who seemed, unlike me, completely NOT relieved by this latest development.

His voice became suddenly sharp. "Can you see the female?"
"Can you hear the female?"
"Can you see the other male who entered the house?"
"Can you hear anything at all?"
I can hear a baby screaming. Maybe a toddler. (And now I've just realised what he is thinking.) You should hurry.
"The boys are on their way, I promise you. Please tell me anything that happens."

It seemed like a really long time. I mean.....a really long time. But it was only a few minutes. Two cars came roaring up, with huge men in bulletproof vests who strode into that house like they owned it, to find who-knows-what. They were unafraid, but wary. I tell you this: in my entire life no man has ever laid an abusive hand on me, and even I was relieved and reassured to see them.

I don't know what happened, but judging from the lack of an ambulance, all was (physically) well with the woman. I hope all was well with the child, too.

I could write a lot here about what it must be like for all these people. The girl behind the door. The children in a house where such things happen. The dispatcher who gets calls like this every single shift. The "boys", heroes of our time, who jeopardise their marriages, their sanity, their health and their lives following up on every call. They go right up, knock on the doors, walk through the house room by room, check on everyone. They ask the woman if she's okay, if she knows her attacker, if this has happened before.

If she wants to press charges.

They look at the little tear-stained child keeping well back, or maybe sitting on the couch with a neighbour or a sister, and they ask if she is all right. They assess. They think about Victim Services, wonder if a call is appropriate. They ask about license plate numbers and places he might be found. They take names, and numbers, and talk about restraining orders and safe houses and shelters and do you have someone you can call?

And then the worst part - or what I imagine must be the worst part. They give one last piece of advice, take one last look around the place. They glance over at that little person who has seen what no person should have to see, and they walk back out the door. Drive away. Make their report. Finish their shift.

None of us can really do anything, can we? I mean, nothing changes. This probably won't be The Last Straw that causes a complete break between them. This probably won't be the thing that convinces her that he's a worthless sack of shit who should be kept away from her and her child. The best I can hope for is that they track that abusive bastard down, arrest him, and in the process intimidate the hell out of him. I can hope the coward realises that someone will hear, someone will see, and he will have to answer for it.

But, whether it changes anything or not, by God no man gets away with that kind of crap anywhere near me.


Dave Hingsburger said...

My heart bursts with gratitude that when something needed to be done, you did it. So many people stand by thinking it's someone else's responsibility, someone else's job to care. For society to work we have to 'love our neighbours' ... Good on you.

Stace' said...

BRAVO!!! It's never easy to "step in", but it's RIGHT. At times it costs relationships. Okay. Is it hard? Yes. Does it hurt? Yes. BUT IT's RIGHT!!

It's amazing what cowards so many of these abusers are. Especially the ones that victimize children.

Good work Shan! I'm proud to know you.

Brenda said...

Good for you not turning a blind eye Shannon, as so many people do. The other thing the police ALWAYS do in those kind of situations is make a report to my office.

bethro said...

The puppy will have forgotten you took him anywhere about 2 hours after being home. Try not to feel too guilty.

And good for you! Way too many people have a "not my business" attitude towards violence, which is just despicable.

Gwen said...

This post made me bawl like an infant! :(

When we were visiting the Island a few weeks ago, we passed a "Stop violence against women" display & fundraiser. It was awful to have to explain to our kids what all those signs meant. My daughters just couldn't understand why the battered women couldn't fight back, or simply leave. We tried to explain what goes through a victim's mind in these situations, but I don't think anyone can understand unless they've been there. My heart goes out to these women and children. What a horrible world. Thank God for people like you, and the neighbours.

Gwen said...

I also should say that having to work so hard to explain it to my kids sure made me grateful for my own idyllic home life! The kids just didn't get it -- "You mean, the daddy hits the mommy and the kids?! Are you

kate said...

Oh Shan. In the midst of awfulness how wonderful that not one but two people came to that family's assistance. For that neighbour to rush over and put himself in harm's way, for you to phone and stay on the phone -- everyday heroes. My heart weeps and rejoices all at once.


As to Piper. I have been through the dog needing three days of IV fluids to assist in passing a bone that got crunched in super jaws here, although he got to come home at night. Start a Piper savings account, and then hug him tight. It likely won't be the last vet trip.

Tabatha said...

I am sorry for poor little rock eating Piper. I hope he gets well quickly.

I am glad you had your cell phone and called 911.

Jess said...

wow, some stories there. I hope your puppy is ok - dogs have pretty resilient gi tracts - they eat EVERYTHING!

Good for you for calling 911! No Kitty Genovese on your watch! I'm sorry you had to see that but you probably really helped that woman by calling!

Annalea said...

I do hope that Piper comes home safe and sound--which he probably will. Puppies are pretty tough. ;o)

And thank you for calling 911. I wish there were programs for battered women that could teach self-defense, and literally arm them, in whatever manner they choose, so the cowardly predators who batter women would either learn better, or meet a swift end for their failure to do so. Homo homini lupus est, but those who do so should not be tolerated.

I wonder how many other women that man you saw has beaten . . . or will.

Kristine said...

Thank you for doing something.

Love to your doggie. At least he's not a cat; a cat will pee on your shoes, just to prove a point. The puppy will forgive everything as soon as he sees you again.

Michelle said...

You never know - the actions you and your neighbour took may well make a difference. Perhaps the woman never had anyone stand up for her or act like she was worth something before. And if he had to force his way in and she was resisting, then she may be on the road to recovery. We can always hope and pray. I've been on the board at the local women's shelter for the last three years, and the most encouraging thing that I've seen is the government's realization that in order to have change, they have to fund programs that educate as well as just prevent violence. And if even Alberta is realizing that, and doing something about it, then we must be getting somewhere! *grin*

lizbon said...

I think Piper has acquired a new nickname (at least in my head): Rockgut.

Ames said...

I hope that I would have the guts to do that if faced with a similar situation. A big slap on the back to you.
I owe you one Espresso milkshake.

No wonder you love Piper. He is so darned cute.

Dave Hingsburger said...

So now you've got a pet rock ... way to get on the bandwagon WAAAAAAY to late.

Shan said...

Ha ha ha ha!!

kate said...

OK, Rockgut is brilliant, Lizbon!

Jess said...

In addition to my kitty genovese comment and response to your email:
you should look at that article, and be glad that isn't you!!!

Shan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shan said...

That article is AWESOME!

But also really disturbing and scary, and I'd like to go on record as saying that I absolutely would NOT do any of that stuff. People are really abominable, you know that?

I am SO glad it isn't me.

Thanks Jess.

knititch said...

good you did something, shan. cruel world. and thank you for your words of comfort. i really appreciate that.

Kris said...

Good for you for call the police. Every officer will tell you that domestic violence calls are the worst. You never know what you will get (daughter of a cop here - lots of worried nights as I grew up).

Hopefully the woman will admit to herself that the situation is bad and get the help she needs.

And I'm glad to hear that the puppy will be okay. Silly creature!

Karen S said...

I'm so grateful that people like you are around! Everybody should react when something like this happens (better to react to often than not often enough). You should be proud of yourself, I know that I am proud of you!
I also hope your puppy is back home and out of problems (he still looks absolutely adorable).

mel said...

You're a good woman Shannon, and a strong one - I know that's not the point, but at the same time it kind of is. Situations like that test your metal... putting fear and weakness aside to help a stranger - the world needs more of that. I'm so relieved that the family was ok (and you too.)

I've been sending good thoughts for your pup (I'm late in responding!) you wouldn't believe some of the things that Cadence & Mathias have eaten over the years, yeah, rocks too, except, ah... they have a much bigger vehicle to discharge them with ;) I'm so glad to hear he will be ok. Dogs are like people should be - living in the moment, loving unconditionally - it's hard not to love them.

tara said...

Hey, I am way behind in my blog reading (you have 24 posts in my bloglines), but I wanted to comment. Bravo for speaking out! I'm always saddened when I hear stories of crimes committed with onlookers who just watched. I once called the police when I was walking home at night and saw a group of kids playing (running out and lying down, then running away when cars approached) in a busy street.

Also, I love your new skirt, the dog is incredibly cute, hooray for your girls' new haircuts, and I really liked the piece about the twins... whew!