Our dog, Tabby, is the sweetest dog I've ever met and Asher lives for her. He wakes up every morning and comes in our room to find Tabby. If he hears her first, he'll run out of his room and give her a hug before we can let her out. He'd be leashed to her all day if I'd let him. From birth, he's been hugging her and squeezing her and generally abusing her out of love for her. She just puts up with it and has never seemed too bothered by it.
One morning in early December, I was in the shower, rinsing the last of the conditioner out of my hair when I heard a very strange noise coming from one of the boys. I couldn't tell if it was fake laughing or fake crying. I yelled to the boys asking if everything was okay. I received what I thought was a positive answer from Isaac. So I quickly finished rinsing and dried off in the bathroom.
As if it was no big deal, Isaac walked into the bathroom and told me that Asher was bleeding because Tabby bit him. Asher came into my room crying and asking for a band aid. His face was dripping blood all over his shirt. I used the towel wrapped around me to wipe away the blood and try to stop the bleeding. I got a good look at two puncture wounds right by his mouth. They didn't look like they'd need stitches so I carried him downstairs to the first aid kit to get some antibacterial medicine and bandaids. The band aid box within the first aid kit claimed to have 14 circular bandaids but none were to be found. I got Asher a wet paper towel and started frantically searching for the stupid little bandaids. Asher suddenly started screaming, pleading for a bandaid. I looked at him and his salty tears had streamed down his cheeks, searing each wound. I gave up on the little circles and put on two regular flesh toned bandaids. And he calmed down pretty quickly after that.
I decided to call Randall to tell him about our ordeal and ask for help sorting out what to do next. Armed with a wet paper towel, I followed bright red drops of blood all the way back up the stairs and then to my surprise into the hall bathroom. Apparently, while I was still in the shower, Asher got bit and then tried to stop his own bleeding with some toilet paper. I couldn't believe how brave he had been trying to fix things up himself.
This is the picture I took on my phone to send to Randall to show him the damage…
I got a hold of Randall as I was cleaning up the last of the spots on the floor. In the back of my mind I knew that there may be consequences for Tabby. We finally decided that I should call Asher's doctor to see if there was anything they could do. After talking to a nurse, we decided that Asher needed to see a doctor (his primary care physician was out for the day) to get an antibiotic to ward off any infection in the wounds. Asher was in great spirits all the way there (after he made sure he would not be getting any shots) even knowing that the doctor may want to take off the bandaids and examine the wounds.
The doctor did just that. Thankfully, they didn't go all the way through his cheek, that would have made things a bit messier. The doctor said that puncture wounds shouldn't scar and Asher should be fine soon enough. He did, however, say that dogs get two strikes and then they're out. If Tabby bit anyone again, she'd be put down.
We never did get the full story of what happened before Tabby bit Asher. I assumed he was poking and prodding her as he always does and just poked the wrong areas. But just the other day, Asher was squeezing his stuffed dog, Buddy, as tight as he could. He said, I can squeeze Buddy really hard and he won't bite me! So maybe that's what happened with Tabby. Maybe he was choking her as he was hugging her. I don't know.
But Asher does have a half moon shaped scar on his cheek. Maybe it will still heal as he grows. Maybe it will be there forever. It breaks my heart to think of my baby growing into a man and never being able to grow hair where there is scar tissue. We took all sorts of pictures over the holidays and as I was posting them, I was tempted to airbrush the scar out.
In my mind I had this struggle. If it's going to heal someday, I can just photoshop it out and these pictures will be perfect. But if it's not going to heal and Asher is going to live with this scar for the rest of his life, he'll look back at these pictures and wonder where it is, or his timeline will be messed up. "Wasn't that the Christmas after I got this scar, Mom?" What will he think if I erase the scar? That I think he looks better without it? This scar, if it stays or fades, is a part of his story for the rest of his life!
I remember rubbing my stretched mark belly one day shortly after I gave birth to Asher. Randall caught me looking at it with disgust and I gave him this apologetic look saying, "I'm sorry I'm not as beautiful anymore." He looked at me with anger in his eyes.
"Don't say things like that," he said. "I love these marks. They are a part of you and they remind me of the beautiful way you carried our sons." My scars have shrunk and faded over the past almost four years, but they're still there. As my very caring OBGYN reminded me two too many times, "Those will never go away." But Randall was right, they are a part of me; a part of my story and a great reminder of some of my most treasured moments. I don't LOVE my stretch marks. But I do love that Randall blessed me by helping me to think of the beautiful reason that I have them.
I don't love that Tabby bit Asher. She's still a wonderful dog and we'll NEVER find another one as good as her. Asher is still the sweetest boy I know and beautiful as well. His cheeks are still the most kissable things in my life and I will love his face, no matter what scars his story brings to it. We can look at his scar and remember how much he loves our dog. It already reminds him to be cautious and gentle with animals.
Sharon Jaynes, author of Your Scars are Beautiful to God, says that scars are invitations for Christ to restore and heal. At the very least, we can all be thankful that the wounds have healed. I can look in the mirror now without a face of disgust, but a face of thankfulness. God can and does redeem wounds all the time.
God, I have never thanked you for my scars before, but I am SO very thankful for the story that gave them to me. May I always look to you in times of pain as a time of growth and may each scar I receive internally or externally remind me of how faithful you are.