Saturday, September 15, 2012

The best laid plans...

I had big plans for this summer. Go camping.  Train up Buddy for longer hikes.  Wander through the woods with the dogs.  Hike around the Columbia Gorge.  Go camping again.  Explore the Puget Sound.  Stay at our family vacation home up on the Washington coast, the dogs and ducks in tow.  And what did I actually accomplish?  Sadly, none of it. 

At first, the slow start to summer waylaid my plans - it is quite difficult, I have found, to get excited about camping if it means hunkering down with three wet, muddy dogs as we listen to rain dripping onto the tent for hours on end.  There goes May and half of June.  By mid June it was finally clearing up and I was attempting to set up a camping expedition or two with my sister, a person I had always loved spending time with, but - long story short - she was being rude, condescending, and self-absorbed and I was tired of putting up with it.  We have not spoken since the end of June.

July was taken up with keeping the Unfarm running while my parents went on various trips, and designing and building a new chicken coop to house the Littles, who were out growing their temporary housing in the living room.  We have a coop for the Ladies, but the size difference is too big and the Ladies tend to pick on the Littles, so shutting them all up in one coop overnight seemed too dangerous a prospect, especially with Penny the Attack Chicken on guard for the Ladies.

August - surely now I can find some time to go camping with my pups.  Apparently not.  August got taken up with time spent manning the Unfarm while my parents went camping (lucky them) and then one of my cousins came down from Washington to stay with us for a week. We spent most of the time hanging out with the animals, doing some arts and crafts, and going on a couple tax free shopping sprees.  By the end of August there was light at the end of the tunnel - I might finally get to go camping. Or not. Buddy the wonder dog got out into the front yard and, somehow, he managed to injure his leg. 

This happened, as these things always seem to, just minutes after our vet had closed for the day.  He spent the rest of the evening favoring that leg and by the next morning it had swollen up to a huge lump around his wrist joint and he wouldn't stand at all.  We carried him into the vet and several x-rays later we got the verdict: he had dislocated a bone in his wrist and torn the ligament.  We still don't know how he managed to do that - he had only been outside for 2 or 3 minutes.  Apparently, he does everything fast: run, eat, play, and dislocate his wrist.

The vet wrapped his leg in a huge green-striped cast - which gave him the appearance (and feel, no doubt) of having replaced one leg with a large watermelon - and sent us to the orthopedic vet.  A few days later (they wanted to wait for the swelling to go down a bit) he went to the vet's office for surgery and an overnight observation.  It was the first time he has ever been away from all of us overnight and I don't know who was more distressed - him or myself.  We both survived it and news from the surgery was good: he had dislocated his wrist but had not torn any ligaments, which the vet was rather surprised at and said that was hard to do.  Finally - something goes our way at the vet's office.  And here we were convinced that we were single handedly responsible for supporting the entire veterinary profession in our state.

However, even with the good news from the vet Buddy was still put into a cast that he will have to wear for at least 6 weeks.  In addition, he has to be kept quiet and prevented from running, playing, jumping on or off of furniture, and going up or down stairs.  All of which he does on a regular basis, and continued to do as if nothing had changed.  The sedatives they gave us might as well have been placebos for all the good they did.  In addition to the sedatives, he is also on thyroid medication, pain medicines, and antibiotics which he must take two to three times a day.  But that is another story.

We are about two weeks in now and by the time he is back to his regular routine it will be cold, and wet, and dark and much too late to consider camping.  

Normally I could handle this disappointment but this year is particularly hard because Kita has always loved camping and I don't know how many summers he has left.  At 15 he is already elderly and his arthritis gets worse every year. A depressing thought, I know, and I usually try to keep this blog lighthearted but death is an unfortunate part of life on the Unfarm at times.  I suppose I could spare myself the pain of losing my little ones by not having pets, but then life would not be nearly so worthwhile.  And besides, it would be incredibly selfish of me to not provide a safe and loving home for an animal simply because it causes me pain when they go.

Signing off for now - time to give Aspen, Buddy, Kita and Maia their medicines.  Between all of them I fear we may be in danger of wiping out entire pharmacies. 

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