A Howling Call On Halloween

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 confronta- tions.

Sometimes however, duty calls and I find myself spiraling toward a har- rowing 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 neigh- borhood, the trick-or- 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 short- lived 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 answer- ing 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 under- stand 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 desti- nation, I noticed that the house seemed unusually dark and, to make matters worse, the streetlight flick- ered 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 illumi- nated 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 bruis- ing. 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 whim- per.

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 gra- ciously 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 defi- nitely was a wild Halloween night on the wild side.