Monday, March 21, 2011


It didn't happen this year. March 19th has passed, and we had no lambs. For the past several years, the first lamb of the season has arrived on March 19. Never mind when they were due, they managed to arrive on the 19th. We thought we had something going. Apparently not. Instead, this year, it is now the 21st, and we are watching the woolly bellies ever expanding. I have empathy for the poor girls, hearing their grunts and groans, fully understanding how miserable they are. My daughter was 3 weeks overdue, and weighed 11 lbs because of it. Fortunately for humankind, they don't let that happen anymore. So, we begin the waiting game, and hope for larger numbers of lambs, and not just larger lambs.

Meanwhile, last week was eventful, and not in a good way. I was out on a paint job Wed, and shorty after 3:00 my phone rang. It was Don, and I knew it probably wasn't good. The tone of his voice confirmed it. "I have bad news." I somehow knew it was about Dolly.

It was. She had a terrible accident. The crescent shaped gash ran from just behind her elbow to almost the top of her back, with a second tear in between. Don rushed her to the vet, who also labeled it as 'terrible'. He worked for over an hour, sewing her up with uncounted stitches in three layers, and 33 staples to finish it off. She spent the night 'in hospital', and needless to say, I didn't sleep well.

The next morning, with a rock in my gut, I called to check on her. Doc answered the phone, and was upbeat. She was up and moving, eating and drinking, and apparently in good spirits. 'One tough dog' was her newly appointed title.

Don brought her home that afternoon. I heard the familiar click of her toenails as she trotted in to see me. I was surprisingly well prepared for the sight. She looked good, other than the 2 zippers installed in the now hairless side. She even insisted on going out to watch Don do chores. But we soon saw there were problems ahead.

I knew the staples were going to itch. I didn't expect it so soon. The next morning I caught her starting to scratch and worse still, lick the wound. Or rather, to try to. She can't quite reach it. Which meant she was doubling up trying, which bent the flesh, pulling the staples even more. The were coming loose, and i knew we had to do something fast.

Off to the fabric stash. Some measurements, and experience with the sheep covers and clothing design came in handy again. The result was a jacket that covers the wound, has a soft replaceable pad inside, and protects from those nasty back feet toenails. But, being a Border Collie, of course she hates it. I tried to make it better by explaining to her that some working dogs wear coats as uniforms. She decided she could tolerate it. Maybe.

We left her alone for a few hours Sat. afternoon, and when we came home, she greeted us with a happy smile and wagging tail, and the coat thoroughly chewed and lying in the corner like a dead rat. It must have had worked better than I had imagined, because without it for just a short time, she had managed to lick or scratch out a few of the staples. It wasn't too bad, so we let it go. I will call the office today to see if they want or can do anything about it.

Otherwise, she seems to be doing fine. She eats, and moves normally. We don't agree that her new/old place to lay is under the table by Don's chair, as its a little hard to squeeze under. But, being a Border Collie, there's no sense arguing about it. She does spend a lot more time sleeping, but I consider that a good thing. If we say the 's' word (sheep) she's out the door in a flash, even if she tires easily, and is soon ready to go back in, even if chores aren't completely done. So we think shes on the road to recovery, even if it may be a long walk yet.

We still have no idea what or how it happened. We have played CSI, and gone over the whole farm looking for evidence, and found nothing. Vet said there was no indication that it was caused by a bite of another animal. That it was more likely a vertical piece of metal, but that she would have had to be moving at a high rate of speed for anything to cause that kind of damage. We can't find anything that fits, and with rain on the way, we may never know.

We are just grateful to a caring vet who took the time to save her, and even call later to check on her. And, for her. We are now not the only ones who know she is one tough dog.

I know she will soon be enjoying the new lambs, following close at our heels.

Good Dog, Dolly.

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