Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sweat and Tears

As per usual Tessa, Reba and myself headed out to the field to work the sheep.  We had already gone for our run, the dogs had had a bit of a break to cool down and we were all raring to go.  Tessa always goes first.  Mostly to wear both her and the sheep out.  It was pretty windy and she wasn't listening particularly well, when the unthinkable happened.

Due to the melt and the mud situation in the corrals, both the sheep and the two horses are housed in the same field.  They seem to cohabit fairly well and I just make sure I stay on top of my deworming regime for all my animals.  Whiskey and Roxy generally make themselves scarce when I'm working the dogs.  They dislike how the sheep try to run under their legs.  Whiskey had already situated herself in the far corner of the field and when Roxy realized this she headed out to be with her.  

In the meantime, I'm yelling at Tessa who was playing the "I'm smarter than a human." game.  Because I have Reba, I usually work Tessa from a distance.  As I was asking Tessa to go to the Away To Me (counter clock wise) and she decides to go Come Bye (clockwise), Roxy decides to cut through the flock of sheep.  I watch helplessly as Roxy's head goes down and she comes to a half halt with a hop before galloping across the field.  I know Tessa is over there somewhere but I can't see her.  My stomach sinking I know the dog and horse would have been at the same area.  As Tessa comes back into my sight line I notice her movement is off.  I call for her to "That'll Do" (return to me), and as she heads back up the field I realize she is packing one of her legs.

I lie her down and head down to investigate.  My heart starts to pump when I see it's the leg she had surgery on placing two plates and four screws into - in October.  Seeing blood, I scoop her up into my arms and begin to run in my rubbers back towards the house.  I don't want her on the ground because it's so messy and I'm worried about contaminating the open wound.  I'm also extremely worried about her hardware which is directly under the wound.

With Reba's cord still wrapped around my hand, one glove and my cane lying in the field I begin to holler for help.  Giving up, I continue hoofing it towards the house dropping Reba's cord, hitting the gate, one arm holding the dog I shove it open and stagger through.  By this time my bad shoulder, arm and hand have gone numb, the nerve damage kicking in.  Wheezing, legs shaking, arms locked around her body I run the final 50 meters.  Calling for help, then realizing no one can hear me, I slam into the house.  Laying her down at the back door, kicking off my boots, I run for the phone.  

With my vet Sam on the line I pant, "Roxy stepped on Tessa's broken paw.  There's an open wound and it looks swollen."  With instructions to follow, I prepared to head to the clinic where Sam will meet me.  My mom drives, I sit in the back seat with Tessa on my lap, while my dad heads out to take care of Reba and Bella who were running wild. 

Once at the clinic, we take x-rays of the paw.  Deep sigh of relief!  Nothing seems to be broken or disturbed.  Now the fun of cleaning up the wound begins.  Sam decides to knock Tessa out to eliminate some of the stress and pain.  She also decides to put in some stitches.  I have an adrenalin hang over and need to grab a snack to stabilise my blood sugar.  (I'm hypoglycemic - on the diabetic continuum.)

What could have been an incredibly ugly situation is only mildly nasty.  Tessa will need to go back and have the stitches checked, she's also on super high powered antibiotics and will need to be kept quiet for a while.  But it's not terminal and it didn't destroy my $5000 surgery.  My vet is a superstar who I will love eternally.  Many vets would have sent me to the city to the emergency clinic.  Not Sam, she knew immediately what having a horse step on this particular dog, on this particular paw meant and she put the time in and dealt with it.  

Now I think I'll head to bed and cry my relief.

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