On Saturday, we went to the Riverwalk in Rock Hill along the Catawba. Problem is, everyone else did, too. So with the extra people, and Smoky's unpolished public manners, it wasn't that fun. Plus, it's a bit of a drive.
Today, we went with the sure thing: Copperhead Island. It's five minutes away with a paved loop and plenty of lake views. There we are, on the first leg of the trail, about to come off the fishing deck, when I notice Smoky has picked up something. I see fishing line coming out of his mouth and bend down to get it before he swallows, silly dog. But, oh no, it's not just fishing line. There's a hook at the end of that fishing line. And that hook is stuck through Smoky's tongue.
I'm calm at first, but as I examine further, it's not just one hook, it's got three prongs with a piece of something stuck on one of them. The reason, I'm guessing, he grabbed it in the first place. Smoky is now trying to get out the hook himself, gagging and licking and wondering why this great treat is hurting him. Then as I try to remove it, he squirms and jumps around even more, becoming most uncooperative.
Pmo has gone ahead down the trail with the other two dogs so he doesn't have a clue what's going on behind him. Mind you, at this point, I'm still thinking I can handle the situation, so I didn't yell for him. Luckily, a couple we passed earlier on the path has made it to where I am, and they stop to help.
The man holds Smoky's mouth open to let me get a better look at how to remove the hook. But in all the commotion, I can't tell which way to pull it, and I'm afraid I'm making it worse. I'm still holding myself together, so close to the brink of panic, when the man says, "He can't breathe."
Now, in hindsight, I don't think this was true. However, it puts the fear of God in me and I start sobbing. Yet, I continue working on the hook. Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, I get it out. Smoky returns to normal, even wagging his tail. Knowing him, he probably would have picked it up again if I had let him. And I just keep on crying.
By this time, Pmo has come back to see what's holding me up. We both thank the man, me through the tears that just won't stop even though it's all over now, and start down the trail once more. I can't wipe my tears because my hands smell so bad I can't bring myself to put them on my face. My nose is also running, and I'm generally out of breath and just a wreck. By the time we reach the other side of the island, though, I calm down a bit and manage to use the underside of my t-shirt to wipe the mascara off my cheeks. We finish the walk, and we go home.
So that's why I started drinking beer at 2:00 this afternoon. Our youngest scared me to death, and even though I was probably doing my best to help him, it sure as hell felt like I wasn't. But Smoky seems just fine, besides the fact he now has a pierced tongue. The smell on my hands, despite washing them several times, still lingers.