The Dog Bite

*Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse and miscarriage

I was twenty, in college, working two jobs, and living at home.

He was eighteen, rebellious, on probation, and my mother hated him. In other words, irresistible.

We dated in secret. When my mom found out, she kicked me out of the house in an act of tough love. Unfortunately, this only increased our resolve.

I moved in with him and lost myself in the process.

I quit my jobs, school, my family, friends….everything, but him.

He was uncaring. Manipulative. Controlling. And despite intense jealousy, he cheated constantly.

But I loved him, and protected him with tsunami intensity.

tsunamiI had zero backbone and even less confidence. Raging insecurity took over any shred of logic, feeding the belief that I didn’t deserve to be treated better.

Not long after our two year anniversary, we moved into a tiny garage apartment in seedy East Dallas. The owner had a dog who was always tied to a long chain in the backyard.

One morning, I walked through the backyard towards my car when the dog  – not realizing who I was – attacked me. I can still feel his teeth driving deep into my leg.

Later that day, it was clear I’d have to see a doctor. The bite ached and throbbed.

I didn’t have insurance, so I went to a tiny doc-in-the-box. Before administering a tetanus shot, the nurse, as a precaution, asked if it was possible I could be pregnant.

I remember laughing and telling her no way.

I hadn’t had a period in months, and my stomach was beginning to protrude from my far-too-skinny frame.

Denial. Maybe if I didn’t think about it….it would just go away. We couldn’t take care of ourselves, much less a baby.

A week after the tetanus shot, I noticed spotting and assumed it was my long-lost period. Relief is the understatement of the year.

Four days after that, I doubled over in the worst pain I’d ever felt. I popped pills for days to sleep through waves of cramps. I bled tremendously.

I knew what was happening.

After days of bleeding and intense pain, I finally had him take me to the emergency room.

He was annoyed with the inconvenience.

I’d lost so much blood I couldn’t even get out of the car. They had to come get me with a wheelchair.

They confirmed I was miscarrying. He was furious with me for losing the baby. The baby he had known about for all of five minutes.

He left while I had a DNC.

I woke up in a hospital room.  Alone.

Hours later, I was released. He wasn’t answering my calls, so a friend gave me a ride home.

He wouldn’t get my pain medicine from the pharmacy.

So I laid there for days with nothing. He didn’t make me food, or help me to the bathroom.

That was the Last Straw. Something inside me began to boil with rage, and I knew I had to get away from him. I finally believed I deserved better.

It took time, planning, two attempts and an actual covert operation, but I finally left him for good, ten weeks after the dog bite.

The dog bite that led to a miscarriage. The miscarriage that led to rock bottom. The rock bottom that led to ENOUGH.

Ironically, the loss of one life was the birth of another.

It’s been over twenty years since then. I can hardly believe I was ever that girl, which is why I tell this story.

I have a lovely eight year old niece now, and if there’s one thing I want to teach her, it’s to never underestimate your value.

Believe you matter, and protect that belief with tsunami intensity.

 *****

CaptureBeth is a day dreaming introvert who managed to acquire an amazing husband and co-create two lunatic boys. She’s a writer, artist, and recovering crazy cat lady who probably doesn’t day drink at all. Writer B is Me is where she unleashes all the shiz in her brain. Consider yourself warned.

Blog: www.bethteliho.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabeth.teliho

Twitter: @beth_teliho

127 thoughts on “The Dog Bite

  1. The great thing I’ve found about blogging is the overwhelming support that is out there. Congratulations for sharing your story. What you want your niece to value is wonderful.

    You go, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lorraine! I agree about the bloggy support. It’s amazing. Whenever I’m about to publish a piece like this, and my heart is pounding, I’m always astounded by the validation and solidarity I find within comments. xo

      Like

  2. Wow.
    I read this piece, thought back to my own “bad” boyfriend — whom I dumped fairly quickly after he taught me to parallel park — and wondered what to say. While thinking about it I took my own dog (10-1/2 weeks) outside for a minute to play. He bit me. I’m assuming it is your fault.

    But seriously, this is quite a cautionary story — one that should be pasted on the lockers of all adolescent girls. Because we are all attracted to the bad boys. In spite of everything.

    Like

    1. So true! I feel like everyone I know has at least one “bad boy relationship” story. It’s like we’re compelled to chase them until we learn our lesson.

      Also, I take full responsibility for your dog bite. hahaha

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      1. My father gave me a hard time about that bad boyfriend for 20 years until I finally said, “Dad, I could have married him like my sisters did.” That quieted him. And I can still parallel park.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. whoooah, nice comeback! Yeah, my mom STILL gives me shit about my bad boy(s). It’s sort of annoying. In fact, she brought it up in April when she was here for my 7yo’s birthday. It was so awkward, I felt compelled to apologize on her behalf to my husband (who wasn’t even slightly bothered by it; he learned a long time ago to ignore my mother). But it had me thinking. I’m not defining myself by my “dark years” (as my mother calls them) but SHE is. Very irritating. pfffft.

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          1. Well, it might not have been only my snappy comeback that shut him up. He died not too long thereafter, which had a way of giving me the final word on the issue. I’d put up with the comments, though, to have a different outcome. Probably 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  3. The loss of one life was the birth of another. Ah, purely, tragically true (and beautiful, too.) Who were we in our 20’s and why didn’t we love ourselves well enough?! Here’s to the things that make us stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

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