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The flight of the dog walker

Karishma Mahbubani
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“I am never taking you for a walk again!”

Nancy looked into Sparky’s pleading eyes. “Fine you little manipulative dog, let's go for a walk”.

She closed her book and found Sparky’s leash. “Listen carefully, you temperamental animal”, she said in her sternest voice, “I am taking you for a walk only because there is no one else to do so. Absolutely no running or jumping! Understood?”

Nancy normally kept her distance from the family dog. Her parents and brother had gone on a pilgrimage and had left her with her grandmother. In their absence she had no choice.

Nancy attached the leash to his collar and closed the door behind them softly. Her grandmother was sleeping.

It didn't take more than a few steps for her to realise that she wasn't the one in control. Nancy pulled the leash just in time to get the hyper-active dog out of the way of a speeding motorist.

“Sparky, slow down!” she yelled, but Sparky sped on. He trotted up to a shiny SUV on the street and raised one of his hind legs to pee — a temptation dogs can't resist when they spot car tyres.

“Sparky, stop!” Nancy screamed as she saw who was inside the car.

“Hi, Seema,” she said sheepishly. Seema Nair was the eleven year old daughter of the new doctor in town.

“Sparky, bad dog,” Nancy scolded. “Do your business near the bushes and let's go home.” The dog ignored her and instead ate some wild flowers.

She threw a helpless look at Seema as the dog pulled at the leash. Suddenly, Sparky spotted a cat and took off in hot pursuit.

Nancy still attached to the leash struggled to keep up. She lost her footing and went flying through the air. She landed flat on the tar road and was dragged by the leash.

Ouch!

Nancy stood up and dusted herself. She saw long red scratches on her palms.

“I am never taking you for a walk again,” she yelled and winced in pain as her bruised palms rubbed against the leash. Sparky's ears drooped and he gave Nancy his most pathetic doggy face.

“Let me help with that dog. Your hands are in bad shape,” said Seema stepping out of the car. Seema helped her into the house and tethered the dog.

Nancy held her palms under running water. The bruises were minor scrapes and cuts except for one deep gash that was bleeding profusely.

“You need to wash out all the debris to prevent infection,” said Seema. She pressed a towel tightly to Nancy's wound. “Pressure for a few minutes on a deep cut will help stop the bleeding.”

Seema asked if she could use the phone, “My parents might worry,” she explained, “I was waiting in the car for them.”

While Seema was on the phone, Nancy’s grandmother woke up and fussed over her granddaughter.

“Nancy, when was the last time you had a tetanus shot?” asked Seema after speaking to her father.

“I don't remember,” said Nancy. “Why? Do I need one?”

“The bacteria in the dirt can enter the wound and cause lock jaw.”

Nancy shuddered; lock jaw sounded nasty. “What should I do Seema? My parents are not reachable and I don’t know if I've had a tetanus shot or not.”

Nancy's grandmother was of the opinion that Nancy should get an injection just to be on the safe side.

“I'll ask my father,” suggested Seema.

After a few minutes Dr Nair entered the house. “The symptoms of tetanus manifest three days after the bacteria infect the wound. So we can wait for your parent's phone call,” he said putting Nancy’s fears to rest.

Nancy's grandmother said that their previous doctor and fortunately Dr Nair knew her. A phone call later, Nancy's patient record was read out to him.

“Nancy, you are up to date with your DPT and your booster vaccines.” Doctor Nair informed her.

“But…,” she asked confused, “I thought we were talking about tetanus?”

“Tetanus shots are almost never given alone except when there is a jagged cut involved.” He smiled and added, “the vaccine is given in combination with Pertussis and Diphtheria and hence the abbreviation DPT. The injection gives protection for approximately five years. So you don’t need one now.”

“Thank you, Dr Nair and Seema. I'm sorry to have kept you from your movie.”

Nancy had always equated doctors with injections but today she was saved from a shot by one of them!


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