I first noticed it yesterday–blood.  Drops of it.  Sprays of it. Up high on the pantry door, down low on my cupboards. Blood swiped across the dishwasher, the refrigerator, and even splashed on my wall oven.


My first thought, of course, was that Billy had somehow managed to rip open his stitches (he had his eye removed last Monday).  I studied his wound, but as far as I could tell, his eyelids were healing just as they should be. He was acting like himself, too, all jolly and frisky and playing with Dani, his sister.

Was it Dani?  Dani had been in heat, but we were way past the stage where we’d be seeing blood of any sort, and we should never have seen sprays of blood on the walls.  Struggling to make my happy dogs stand still, I ran my hands over both of them, checked their ears (they like to pull each other’s ears), their paws, their jowls.  Nothing.

Then I looked at my shirt–I was covered in blood. My arms, my white shirt, even my legs. A blood spatter expert would have looked at me and declared me guilty of murdering someone.

What in the world?



I scanned the areas where both dogs were resting, and finally decided that Billy was the bleeder.  The area where he’d been resting was speckled with tiny droplets of blood. But from where?  No bloody pawprints, no bloody leaks from his eye . . . none I could see, anyway.

Was some kind of phantom dog creating carnage in my house?

When my daughter and husband came home, we put our heads together to theorize. Mouth wounds can bleed a lot, so maybe one had dog had nicked the other.  But that didn’t explain how a spray of blood came to be across the edge of our pizza box.  I feared that his eye was somehow spurting blood, and since he was in a boisterous mood, I gave him a sedative the doctor had given me as preparation for his next eye exam (he’s so fidgety that they can’t look at his eyes.)

About an hour later, as I baked muffins and a drowsy Billy lay at my feet, I looked at the tip of my Billy boy’s tail–it was bloody.  A quick Google search informed me that he had a condition known as “Happy Tail,” which occurs when a dog slams his tail against a hard surface (in vigorous wagging), and makes the skin break. Happy tail is fairly common, and as hard as anything to cure because how do you keep a bandage on the end of a tail?

Since Billy was sound asleep, I went to the first aid kit and got gauze, bandages, and tape.  I wrapped his tail and taped it the best I could.


And later, as I called the dogs to come to bed, Billy stood up, wagged his tail, and my bandage flew off like a bird happy to be set free.  At least he is going to the vet tomorrow to set his stitches out.  I’ll let a professional bandage his tail.  In the mean time, I’ve ordered something called Nu-stock, a horse ointment that dog people swear helps Happy Tail.

I was chatting with some mastiff friends on facebook last night and mentioned that Billy had happy tail.  One of the ladies said, “He’s too young for happy tail!”

And I replied:  “Well, he’s VERY  happy.”

So here they are–photos of my blood-stained house and the Happy Boy himself, who gets on that sofa (it’s a photo prop) and then cries because he doesn’t think he can get down without help.  My big, silly boy.

Who’s still very happy. IMG_1389




  1. Kathy Cassel

    Did you wonder if you fallen into some other reality–like maybe you’d landed in one of your own books?

    • Angie

      That would make a good opening scene, wouldn’t it?


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