Several days ago I noticed Kelly licking the top of her paw. I didn’t think much of it at first, dogs do tend to lick after all. But as she continued, I tried to get a look to see what was wrong. No easy task because she is so furry. She definitely had an injury of some sort there. It was red all around the division between two of the toes. She kept skillfully pulling her foot away and tucking it under her body, so it was hard to get a good look.

The next day I soaked the paw in a bowl of warm water. I tried dabbing on some vet-approved antibiotic cream. Kelly wasn’t limping, the foot wasn’t swollen, but after a few days, I didn’t feel confident that I knew what was wrong, or was treating it properly. So I prepared myself for the hefty bill and carted her off to the veterinarian’s. There, the doctor shaved the fur off Kelly’s paw to get a better look, and what she found was two puncture wounds, indicating a bite. She gave Kelly a rabies booster, some antibiotics, and told me to continue with the cream.

But here’s the thing: Kelly never runs loose, we live in the city, and our house is separated from the neighbor’s by a tall stockade fence. So what bit her?
A squirrel? maybe. A cat? perhaps.

But then I remembered a spat Kelly had with the neighbor’s dog. I heard barking and growling, opened the back door and called Kelly in. I didn’t see the neighbor dog, or any other animal in our small yard. And I didn’t think much of it, since there was a 5 foot tall stockade fence between the two! But after investigating, there is one section of the fence, about half way up, that could be pushed apart just a bit…maybe enough for a paw and a jaw to meet. Kelly would have had to be up on her hind legs, at just the right angle, but it is possible. So that may solve the mystery of the bite on the paw.

The good news is, Kelly is fine. The vet bill was just as hefty as I’d feared. We’d recently decided to forgo a great sale on a Planet Fitness membership in order to save money. Kelly’s medical bill cost almost as much as one year at the fitness club! Not that I would do it any other way, but it kind of stings to have made that decision to save the money, and then it all disappears days later in the blink of an eye.

Paws for Reflection: Sometimes it’s best to stay on your own side of the fence.