My dog, Dixie, is 3 years old and during those 3 years I’ve either walked, skateboarded or ridden my bike with her along side of me. She loves to sprint and you’d think she was part greyhound by her speed and style but she’s just a Lab/Chow. I never wrap her leash around my hand because she likes to chase squirrels and I need to be able to let go quickly. Instead, I’ve put a knot in her leash, mid-way, and hold onto that knot. It keeps her beside me and doesn’t give her a chance to dart in front of my bike. I’ve learned her body language when there’s a squirrel spotted within a mile of us. She’s also learned my commands requesting her to leave the squirrel alone and keep running beside me. She’s pretty good at it…95% of the time. Sometimes, if she doesn’t heed my commands, I will use a pinch collar for a few days while I bike with her. It gets her back on track for several weeks. Squirrels are too distracting for a Lab. If I do let her go after one, she’s quick and does try to climb the tree after the squirrel. I think these squirrels know her by now and could swear they taunt her. We could walk down any of our streets and there would be several squirrels clinging to the palm trees just out of her reach, chattering at her. It’s comedy. We live in a “canopy road” area and there are tons of squirrels. But that’s not what took me down. On our usual 1-mile trip around the neighborhood, I wanted to stop and show my boys a woodpecker nest. Dixie didn’t understand and I lost control.
I rolled over and sat up to assess the damage. Nothing hurt yet but I was shaking. Gosh, the last time I did anything like this was 30 years ago. So I laughed. I guess the kids thought I was ok; they didn’t get off their bikes but just asked if I was ok. Then instantly a neighbor drove up and exclaimed that I was bleeding and she had to drive me home.
Damage report: I chopped off a good portion of my left toe (it’ll heal), scrapes galore on my left leg, a really big chunk of skin scraped off my right knee (a really uncomfortable place to grow a scab) and a scraped right arm. Oh, and my back hurt. The worst part…I used a first aid cream and had an allergic reaction. The itching and swelling is worse than the cuts and bruises. My left toe pain comes in a strong 2nd place.
I’ve learned a lot about bandages. There are plenty available on the store shelves but none work for the place you’ve injured. The top of your toe is a strange place to have to bandage. Then you have to consider what kind of shoe to wear. Thankfully I can go barefoot most of the day.
I will get on my soap box now: Always wear a helmet! I didn’t and I saw my head approaching the asphalt. I had time to put my arm out so my head would hit it instead of the ground, thank God. I talked about this to my family and yes, we’re wearing helmets even up the street to our friend’s house from now on. Florida laws on helmets require children 16 and under to wear helmets. http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/helmet/helm_fl.htm
One good thing that came of this: a large, remaining piece of a sea urchin spine stuck in my toe that hadn’t dissolved yet had fallen out from this injury.