Danger Park

Last night Jon and I drove halfway across the Salt Lake Valley to pay someone at a 24-hr emergency pet clinic $100.72 to wrap Chuck’s front left leg in gauze. I’ll admit that that’s the most expensive piece of gauze in the entire world, but I would much rather part with a hundred dollars than spend the next two weeks wondering whether or not I’m going to have a three-legged dog.

There probably wasn’t even the slightest possibility that the small gash in his paw would ever become so infected as to have to amputate his entire leg, but I’m seven and a half months pregnant and I’ve been washing dishes in the bathroom sink for the last three weeks and there is sawdust in my underwear drawer. One could say that I’m slightly emotional. So when I saw blood on the dining room floor last night my first thought was Oh my God, my dog is dying and his entire life flashed before my eyes. We couldn’t get to the vet fast enough.

I’m not sure where or how he cut his paw, but the odds are that he stepped on something sharp at Danger Park. Danger Park doesn’t have an official name, although I really wouldn’t know. I don’t know any of the official names of any of the parks in the city, only that most of them are named after some figure or theme from Utah history, usually some polygamist settler or what some polygamist settler overcame: Let’s have a picnic at Persecution Park!

Instead, I identify the various parks by one or more of their defining characteristics, like Mud Park or Poop Park or Park With the Really Steep Hill that Exacerbates My Waddle. Danger Park is named as such because the playground equipment on its premises was most likely conceived and built by the same people who thought lead paint and asbestos would make safe and healthy building materials. The entire play area is covered in sharp-edged boulders and uneven gravel, and there are two metal slides completely riddled with dents the exact size and shape of little foreheads. The seesaw is so unnecessarily heavy that two kids even slightly different in weight would send one end crashing so quickly to the ground that it could crush the metal frame of a Chevy Suburban.

While Danger Park is dangerous for kids, up until yesterday it wasn’t dangerous for dogs. In fact, it had become my favorite place to exercise Chuck because of its relative unmuddiness and unpoopiness. There are over 200 yds of open field through which he can run and chase and play keep away and sometimes pretend to be interested in fetching. Clean-up time after his play sessions at Danger Park is minimal, just a few quick wipes of his paws and hind end where he’s been rolled over by a Great Dane five times his size — I’ve often told him that his ego is writing checks his body can’t cash, but he goes back for that Great Dane EVERY SINGLE TIME and gets stomped like a dying cigarette — and clean-up time is very important to someone like me who is so incapable of bending over that she has to have her husband tie her shoes.

The doctor says that he has to stay off his paw for the next couple days, which means no trips to Danger Park and lots of antibiotics delivered by means of chewy, peanut butter covered treats. Chuck has no idea what’s going on, only that the crazy woman with the Southern accent is at one moment crying about her “poor little boy,” and the next moment laughing uncontrollably at just how pathetic he looks: