A Howling Halloween Call

Dr. John Kaya
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Wednesday - October 26, 2011
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Halloween produces a compelling dichotomy. On the one hand you have sweets, treats and parties. On the other hand you have hair-raising tales and supernatural encounters. Personally, I embrace the sweets and stay clear of the spooky confrontations. Sometimes however, duty calls and I find myself spiraling toward a harrowing rendezvous. Take my hand and join me as we take a stroll through time and revisit a most cryptic experience.

It was a blustery fall night as a full moon shone brightly on All Hallows’ Eve. Living in an old neighborhood, the trickor-treaters were few and far between, so my wife and I called it an early night. Slumber was a definite cure to a hard day at work but ended up shortlived as my cell phone woke me at midnight.

Bleary-eyed and shaking the cobwebs that filled my mind, I scribbled down the information provided by our emergency answering service. Dog ... pain ... frantic ... non-client ... telephone number ... got it.

Tiptoeing out of the bedroom, I hunkered down at the dining room table and began dialing. A few moments later I mumbled, “Hello, this is Dr. Kaya, I hear that your dog is in pain.”


Suddenly a shrieking howl jostled me to my senses. The woesome cry of pain repeated itself several times over until a gruff voice said, “Doc, you have to help my puppy. She’s in pain ...”

It was difficult to understand what the man was saying with the bone-chilling cacophony in the background, but in the end I agreed to do a house call. As I searched my Hawaii road map to find the location of the house, I did a quick reality check: Halloween, midnight, painful howls and stranger with gruff voice. My eyes widened as I realized what I had just committed to. Oh well, it was too late now.

I quietly explained the situation to my wife and told her not to worry, but if I did not return, then send a search party. I also said something corny like “I’ll always love you,” then headed off into the darkness.

Arriving at my destination, I noticed that the house seemed unusually dark and, to make matters worse, the streetlight flickered off as I approached the front door. The faint sound of agony told me I was at the right address, but I don’t think I was in my right mind.

When the door opened I was immediately ushered into a dark room illuminated solely by a television at the far end. Beer cans littered the floor, and from the corner of my eye I noticed two other men with said drink in hand. If given the opportunity, I probably would have left just then, but I was dragged over to a small bundle of fur writhing in pain.

“Doc, puppy tried to take a treat from my other dog and he just chomped on her. Please help her,” pleaded the man.


A quick physical revealed multiple bite wounds and severe bruising. Fumbling through my medicine bag, I gave the puppy several injections for pain and infection. As minutes crept by, the puppy slowly quieted to a barely audible whimper.

Over the next several months Mr. Crane walked to our hospital every week to pay a portion of his emergency bill. He was between jobs and couldn’t pay all at once, but he insisted on paying what he could, each time doing it graciously and with a thankful heart.

Things are often not what they seem. When the mist fades, sometimes all you have is the love between man and beast. Looking back, it definitely was a wild night on the wild side. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

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