Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Nose for Needles

It would appear that Lucy (the Labrador) has a nose for needles. Quills, actually.

I was trying to do some writing when Mary told me that Lucy managed to have some kind of a discussion with a porcupine. I don't know if the critter was alive or dead. Lucy isn't much for chasing live animals, but she'll pick up dead ones and drag them around just for fun. It must be a dog thing.

We had a heck of a time catching her. She is normally obedient, but she won't come if she is scared or thinks that she will be mistreated. We have reason to believe that her previous owners abused her. In fact, we think it was a man who abused her.

I sent Paul under the porch with a choke chain on the end of a leash. She put the choker over Lucy's head, and she came out meekly enough.

I held her and used pliers to pluck a quill. I'm sure it hurt, but it had to be done. Lucy wasn't cooperating, but she wasn't resisting all that aggressively, either.

She had three or four in her nose, a few in her jaw, some in her lips, some in her gums, and some on her tongue. I think we got them all. They were all broken, so I worry that some might have broken off under the surface. If that happened, they will fester and an abscess will form.

Mary put some peroxide on her (Lucy's) face, then fed her milk laced with terramycin. We'll know if things are OK in a day or two.

That poor dog is in her last few months of life, anyhow. She's getting older, and she has some huge tumors on her chest. She's slowing down, but she doesn't seem to be in pain.

We'll take care of her for as long as she has good quality of life. After that, we'll have to say our goodbyes and have her put down. If we want to be easy on ourselves, we'll take her to the vet (a frightening experience for her). If we want to be easy on her, we'll have someone shoot her behind the ear (very, very quick death) and find a place to bury her.

I wonder if we should give her one last chance to swim around the lake before she gets too sick and old to do it.


Anonymous Sue Kolbo (aka rivergait) said...

Ray, we also had a dog with tumors which we knew would eventually end her life. She (black collie) had an "adipose (sp?)tissue", i.e., fat tumor on her rear leg for many years. When she was going on 9, one day she could no longer get up and walk. That night, she graciously left us on her own, on her bed in the hallway where she slept so she could keep track of all comings and goings. She was such a wonderful smart girl...and we miss her greatly.

As for final moments, we put our Dalmation on her favorite blankie in the back of the SUV and the vet came out into the parking lot and euthanized her before the cancer could eat away any more. The dog was not frightened by the car trip, and her passing was very quiet. Had she been too large to lift or too frightened by our unusual behavior, we would have asked for a ranch call from the vet.

I cry as I write these remembrances, but it is only sadness at missing our loved ones, not hard grief about their dying. Our ranch has a large animal burial ground, and I even dig a small hole and bury all hatchng eggs that pipped and failed to fully come to life. My mother lived such a "sanitary" life that she never saw anything die. Even my dad died while snorkeling on a beach in The Grand Caymans, and she chose not to ever view his body nor identify his morgue picture. I feel a greater connection with life and our planet as I watch the full circle of existence.

PS. Love your picture of the boat on the lake at sunset. Bet your dog would love it too.

5:56 PM  

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