It is a very specific sound when a bone snaps, a live bone that is,
still couched in flesh, tendon, blood, sinew, these various things
which bind and flow and articulate a self. I wasn’t there to hear it
but I heard it all the same in the telling, the dull and brutal snap;
the dog which should have been on a lead but wasn’t, who leapt
from the high beach wall and landed wrongly on a protruding rock.
Its leg and possibly some ribs were done in, stove in for the ribs I guess,
and the snapped leg unable to bend in the right direction or take weight,
unable to bare any load as the owners scrabbled down the steps
to its side. We supposed later, after the telling, that it must have been difficult
to find a vet so late on a Friday, so close to New Year, and were unhappy
with how the story ended; the owners gathering up the broken dog,
shuddering in its padded coat, carrying it across the sands and back to their car.
It is only a single day later but I choose to think of that dog poised
on a treadmill in a pool, pain gone, buoyant in the water, as I had overheard
the Lecturer in Equine Studies offer to her own father in the hospital
the other day. The dog would be paddling madly with its nose pointed upwards
and its eyes fixed on a single point, at the memory of that littler dog it had launched
itself downwards to chase maybe, and each bone begins to knit, to realign with the gentle use.
It must be what the dog owners bent down to describe to the young girls shocked
near the fall as they passed by, that near future told to them to reassure
on that long retreat from the awful scene.