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Random Thoughts

If it weren't for the fact there are no leaves on the trees and the temps are only in the low 20's, one might think it was summer today. I'm looking out my office window at what was a corn field only two years ago and is now a medium rent town house and apartment complex. The sky is a deep blue and completely clear and the sun is shining so bright, it's causing a glare on my monitor, but I'm not complaining. We will see little enough of the sun until April probably. I'm listening to one of the Steely Dan CD's from the box set. My brother sent it to me as a gift for my birthday this year. I was surprised he even remembered the day, much less to send a completely appropriate gift. Joe tends to find his gifts to other people in second hand stores on his way from one gig to the next so it's really a pleasant surprise when you get something new from him. He recently returned from a pub tour of Europe with his band and now he's back to work for a web design firm in Seattle. His newest CD, his sixth I believe is due out this month in the US so I'm sure we will all get one for Xmas. If anyone is interested in sampling his music, Click here

The weekend was busy. Mom and Dad left to go back to NC at 6 am yesterday. I tried but couldn't go back to sleep so I took a look around to see what they had changed about my house. Every single venetian blind in the house, 20 windows worth, is raised to the same level. Must have been Mom's doing. She's the order freak. Also, little jars of seashells seem to be decorating every window seat. That's how they got rid of all those shells from the past 13 years of living at the beach. I plan to get them back at Christmas with an equal number of jars of acorns, soybeans and corn kernels. I noticed Dad left all his tools on the kitchen table for me to put away. At least he got all new light fixtures and we re-wired most of the house so I can't complain about having to put a few tools away.

Saturday morning started out on a down note. Mom had gotten up at 5 am not being able to sleep and was downstairs reading. For the rest of us, the morning started with the screeching of brakes out on the highway and a loud thud. Then someone banging on our front door. We thought for sure someone had been hurt and they had, just not what we expected. An early morning driver from out of state had hit a stray dog right in front of the house. As soon as I heard my Mom answer the door, I was down the stairs, throwing on my pants and shirt as I ran and stepping into my boots with no socks. The bitter cold and frosty morning hit me as soon as I escaped the warm envelope of the house but didn't phase me much. I ran across the road to where the dog lay, still alive. She was a yellow sort of lab and shepherd mix with some black markings around the ears and didn't look to be doing very well. She was sitting up on her front legs and her back legs were stretched out in a manner that no dog should be able to accomplish. It looked to me like her spine had been severed at the base. It about broke my heart to see her like that. I knew she must have been in intense pain.

I felt both sides and counted her ribs, just waiting for the yelp of pain, but none came. I held her head for a few seconds, transferring some of my energy to her. She was being such a good girl. No fractures of the ribs I could feel but a delicate inspection of the spine revealed a complete break just above where the hips connect. I took a chance on being bitten and had the driver help me lift her up. She weighed around 70 pounds and appeared pretty healthy other than her new wounds. I could feel some sticky blood on my hands and could smell the rich warm musky smell of internal blood so I knew she must have lost some through her bowels. As I carried her up to the house, I thanked the driver and he got back on his way.

I yelled for Dad to put a towel or blanket down on the kitchen floor so I could lay her down. Very gingerly, I lowered her, not wanting to cause her any more pain or damage. We noticed she was wearing a collar but no tag so no immediate chance of calling an owner. She had some scrapes on her mouth and paw pads probably from the initial impact and getting thrown off the road. Other than that and the hip, nothing external. But her breathing was labored, gasping and shallow so I feared something had hurt a lung. Sometimes when internal bleeding occurs, it will pool in the chest cavity and put pressure on the lungs which I was pretty sure was happening here.

I had Deb and Mom tend to her and I called a few numbers for the vets around town. On the second try, I found a large animal vet who was willing to meet me at his clinic in 20 minutes. So I went out and got that cold-blooded Ford truck of ours running and warming up. Then I went back inside and helped Deb and mom clean her scrapes up a bit. Soon, with Dad driving, we were barreling down the road in the faint light of the rising sun towards the vet clinic. I held her on my lap, wrapped in a blanket to keep her warm. She was calm but was obviously in shock or I think she would have been moaning from all the pain. We got her inside the vet's office and he did a quick once over, listening to her lungs and heart and then checking the ribs and spine. He confirmed she had at least one shattered femur, a crushed pelvis and a broken hip. He gave her shots of an anti-coagulant, an anti-biotic and something for the shock.

I asked him for advice since it wasn't our dog. He recommended I take her home and make her comfortable and call the neighbors to see if I could locate an owner. After that it was up to me, if I wanted to take responsibility, I could have her x-rayed and operated on, all of which was going to cost me over $1000. I told him, I didn't want the choice to come down to a matter of money but he said it would. The only other option was to put her to sleep which under the circumstances might be the most humane thing to do.

We took her home and laid her on her blanket in a corner of the living room beneath a portrait of my Grandma. Fitting since Grandma was constantly doctoring and taking in a sorts of hurt animals when she was alive. I said a silent prayer to ask Grandma to watch out for the dog while I made my calls. Deb and Mom sat with her and tried to keep her calm. At one point she tried to pull herself into the living room so she could be around people. This broke all out hearts once again and Dad went over to sit with her and talk to her for awhile. 10 phone calls later, I was at a dead end. No one had seen the dog before which led everyone to believe someone had just dropped her off in the country. Now came the hard decision. Had I had a big enough pistol at the farm, I would have put her down myself, but I didn't want to take a chance with my rifle. So I called the vet and asked him to get a shot ready. I told him I would take care of burial arrangements. We loaded her up again and took her back to the vet.

As we got close to his office, she began to take really big breaths. On the third one, the breath just trailed out for a long time and stopped. We pulled into the vet's parking lot just then and ran her inside. The vet felt for a pulse and finding none, got out his stethoscope. He found a faint heartbeat and asked if I wanted to try and revive her. I told him I thought it was best to let her go. So he gave her the shot just in case so she wouldn't feel anything as she Passed. That was around 9 am and marked the end of a three hour ordeal. We paid the vet and thanked him. He said we had done more than most people would have done. It wasn't much comfort. We took her home and Dad asked me if I needed help. I told him no and he headed to the house. He must have told the others I wanted to be alone, for no one came out. In truth, I wouldn't have minded the others coming out but that was OK. I got a shovel and found a nice place by the barn. The ground was hard and cold but not frozen completely as I dug. I made a nice oval hole and laid her inside, tucking front and back legs together and head down like she would have been in the womb. I placed a piece of calcite on her head and said a prayer for Mother Earth to accept the body back into her breast and for Father Sky to accept her soul. Then I buried her and placed four big pieces of limestone on top to make sure no scavengers would dig her up in the night. I stood around for a bit thinking and praying and went back up to the house. I washed up and had breakfast with my family. Deb, ever thoughtful, had a nice hot cup of Earl Grey tea for me and the folks had made eggs and bacon. Everyone seemed to know to just leave me alone for a bit. We all shared in the sorrow of the passing over breakfast before making plans for the rest of the day.

Despite what had started the day, the rest of it was good. Dad and I worked outside all day. WE got a new snow blade for the tractor and hooked it up and then re-wired the lights. Then we burned a bunch of trash and branches and played with Jake who wanted nothing more than to roll around in the cold snow. Afterward, we walked down to the woods to mark out a site for the new pond to go. Deb went to her cousin's house and Mom went off visiting her sisters. The bittersweet feeling lasted through the day. We had dinner that night at a local diner with my cousins who actually do the farming. Lots of talk of grain prices and fertilizer and such which is interesting only because I don't hear it all the time. Lots of talk too of the evolution of tractors since Dad seems to be interested in that subject lately.

But now, they are gone and my life can get back to relative normalcy for a few weeks until I go to NC at Xmas.

Hope everyone else has a nice day.




Dec. 4th, 2000 11:56 am (UTC)
Re: Vets
Unfortunately, living in the country on a farm you see more than your share of these. It's the odd one that actually lives this long. She put up a good fight but I guess it was her time to go.



Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

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