dogs

Chick Not Prepared for Pup Emergency, on the whole

Tired from work, I was in auto mode when getting home.

1) Let dogs out.
2) Let dogs in.
3) Feed dogs.
4) Let dogs out.
5) Put chickens in coop.
6) Once inside, notice tube of half eaten medicine container on floor. Wait. WHAT?! (PREPARATION H, to be exact…it was not my medicine, by the way…as far as you know.)

Shocked by this, I thought, it had to be our beagle-Lucy who had shredded the tube of Preparation H. She was known to get into stuff, specifically food, when left alone.

Panicked I called the poison control center for children.

“Um, Hi. What happens when a slightly overweight, um…child…I mean, a dog the size of a small child eats a tube of Preparation H? What do I do?!”

The phone fell silent. Well, I thought I heard someone laughing with her hand over her mouth until she said, “Ma’am, we don’t treat dogs.”

“Her name’s Lucy. She’s like a child to me. Does that count?”

There was that stifled laugh again….After she contained herself, she gave me the number to a poison control center for dogs.

I called. They needed my credit card number before they could speak to me. Although I understood, I tried to ask the question quickly…thinking they’d heard this before now and maybe she’d have a quick response. (Because of her snickering on the phone, I began to think the girl from the children’s poison control line was pranking me!) No such luck in getting help for free, so I just hung up and looked for Plan C.

Plan C: I knew my friend Pat had dogs…lots of ’em! She’ll know what to do.

After her uncontrollable laughter…and after explaining that the Preparation H wasn’t mine, she agreed to call her friend Bart, who was a Vet.

(Finally…Thank God! Relief was soon to come for Lucy…pun intended.)

Bart needs the ingredients for Preparation H.

“but the tube is in a million pieces….”

Pat could not stop laughing. Lucy followed me through the house just panting and carrying on as if she was about to get a treat. It really didn’t seem life threatening, but I didn’t want to wait and see what might happen if I didn’t act to find a solution.

The nearest pharmacy was nice enough to read me the ingredients over the phone. When I thanked her, she started laughing. (I’m glad everyone is having a good chuckle at my expense!)

Just after hanging up the phone, Pat rang me back since she’d spoken to Bart again. It turns out, his wife was pregnant and he found a tube of it “on his ‘wife’s’ nightstand”.

(Right…Apparently, “we” don’t use this medication…”others” do.)

Bart tells Pat to feed Lucy some rice. That would help bind her. He advised that this medication, if eaten could cause vomiting and diarrhea.

We immediately got the rice going. (Lucy was so happy. I could have sworn she was smiling!) We babied her. We loved on her. She even got the choice spot in our bed. She could not have been happier.

With four dogs, Lucy was the rival of the other dogs. They stared and wondered what they needed to do to deserve this kind of royal treatment.

It was 2 a.m. Lucy was laying on her back with all four legs in the air. She was in heaven.

At 2:15 a.m I heard a dog trying to hurl. It didn’t sound like it was coming from the bed…It wasn’t Lucy.

In the end, it was our dog Bud…old faithful. He was 10 years old. He never got into anything when we were away from home. This time, he got into some Preparation H. Who knew why?!

So, in the end, we learned that even an old dog may have a few new tricks up his sleeve!

It wasn’t my tube of Preparation H! (Maybe it was…) Do you believe this? Has anything like this happened to you? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a note!

Advertisements

Chick Can’t be a Veterinarian

Reflecting on the past is important in order to know where I’m going in the future. There’s two ways to look at this. For one, I’ve made a lot…a dozen or possibly a million mistakes and I believe I’ve learned a lesson or two from those ugly incidents. Frankly, that’s why I am who I am. It’s why I think too much now.

Let’s take my job search, for instance. It’s been difficult after being laid off of the same job twice. (By the way, I don’t think many people can say this…or would admit returning to a job which laid them off even one time…but I digress.)

Because of our rural domain, I decided to interview for a local veterinarian’s office. I mean, I love animals. Sure, my college degree is Interior Design, but I was open to new possibilities! After the interview, they offered me a position which sounded perfect. It was close to home. I would work with humans and the dogs alongside the vet. How hard could this be?

I’m shaking hands. I’m excited! “Oh and you’ll want to come in at the end of this week. On Friday’s we put some of the shelter dogs ‘down’. We’ll just need you to cuddle and comfort them.”

Silence.

I couldn’t hear another word.

“See you on Friday. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.”

Returning home, my face was swollen and puffy. I cried for hours before my husband got home. I washed up…put on a happy face and reported with tears the size of alligators that “I got the job!”

Hubby called me repeatedly for the following two days to say,”Call them back…you’re not taking that job. We don’t have a kennel. I know you. We’ll end up becoming a shelter for everyone of those animals on Fridays!”

I continued to cry for two days as I tried to convince myself with their words “you’ll get used to it.”

He was right. I wouldn’t get used to it. I don’t work there and we are currently are the house of 4 dogs and 17 chickens.

Can you imagine if I’d taken that job? I had to examine my past and my present to determine my future.

What’s next, you ask? Stay tuned.

Chick Falls for Animals

Fall. How appropriate is that title for this time of year? It is beautiful in Virginia with the multicolored fall of leaves. The weather is crisp. The dogs love chasing each leaf as it floats back and forth to the ground. I love all of it.

What I didn’t love was taking my pup Ellie for emergency surgery yesterday. As I sat in the waiting room with eyes full of years, I prayed. God, please. Please let her live. Then, like a train wreck, I was transported to 20 years ago, in my mind.

It was Fall. I was in college. I was late for an exam. Driving furiously I barely saw the road, much less the “thing” I just ran over. I stopped. In my rear view mirror I saw two elderly people making their way to my car.

Slowly, I got out and looked. I’d hit a dog. A DOG?! I was horrified. Crying uncontrollably I looked up to see the elderly couple following their retractable lead…that was attached…to this dog…I just hit. (Nooooo! This cannot be happening.)

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I love dogs. I know a Vet! We’ll take her there. Just put her in my car!” They looked at me and said,”It’s o.k. We shouldn’t have let her take so much of the lead on such a busy road. She was just a pup. She’s not in any pain. She was only 9 months old. We can get another dog.” Whaaaa?

Torturing myself with tears and regret, I loaded up their pup and drove them to the Vet’s office anyway. It was awful and they couldn’t have been nicer to me…they couldn’t have been. Why? I don’t know. I can only say it was but for the grace of God, truly.

But now, it’s Fall again and 20 years later. Still tortured by this act, I cried harder as I sat in the waiting room at my Vet’s office. 20 years later, I’m still broken up about that dog AND what was happening with my Ellie dog in that operating room.

How could I not have noticed she was feeling so bad? Why didn’t I take her sooner? What kind of dog owner am I? I’d had a dog with Addison’s disease and for 3 years I took her every month for her shots. I’d been such a responsible owner.

Then, it hit me. She never acted as she was in pain. This wasn’t punishment. The Vet said if I’d been a day later, it could have been critical.

She’s still there. Still at the hospital, I went to see her. It’s one day later. She is getting the care she needs. I still pray that she will live. I pray that she’ll be back to running circles and hugging my neck with “Ellie hugs”, soon.

It’s Fall again. I love my dogs and chickens…each one of them AND I hate retractable leashes. Hate ’em.

20131025-150830.jpg

Chick is NOT a stranger

We live in a world where everyone is a stranger. I understand the need and-or the option to talk, to smile at or be friendly to just anyone…or NOT. I know we need to be careful.
I happen to trust my gut on who to talk to…or maybe just to smile at a total stranger. We need to trust that intuition or gut instinct.
My husband and I don’t have children. We don’t eat out a lot because we like to cook & we simply enjoy a healthy dinner at home. I say this because we invited another couple to a night out for dinner and, well…it was anything but normal.
We met early. We ordered early, so there weren’t many patrons when we began eating & visiting. As we ate, we noticed one family after another, with children began walking through the door. At first this place didn’t seem so kid friendly. It was more of a a burger/bar…hole in the wall.
“Kid Karaoke Night!” How in the world did I miss that sign by the road in front of this place? I did. I missed it.
The place quickly filled with “Taylor Swift” wanna-be’s. Cute little girls with sweet printed dresses and their favorite cowgirl boots! Horrified, everyone else we were with was ready to leave.
“Since we don’t have that many children volunteering to sing at the moment, we are welcoming adults to get us started!” Turning to a table behind us, there was a family there with the book of songs in front of them.
Looking at two girls at about 9 years old, I ask to see the book. They pushed it to me. Glancing at the book, I ask them if they are going to sing. (Silence). “I’ll sing with one of you, if you want.”. (My eyes are turned to the book. I wasn’t even looking at either one, when asking, by the way.).
“Do you know any songs?”, as I flip through the book. “Stranger.” I looked up. “Excuse me?” She said,”Stranger!” I said, “I don’t know that song. Who sings that?” (Silence. They stare at each other.).
Wait. I look at the other 9 year old and say,”Oh. Wait. Is she saying that (louder) because I’m a stranger?!” Pursing their lips, they both say “Yes!”
I got up to go explain to the parents, who by the way, were seated at the same table, to explain.
Their mother got up from her chair and patted her children on their heads for doing *the right thing*!
Really? I said how saddened I was that as they were seated with their parents…and a simple turn of my chair…while they were right there, that I’m being humiliated for being friendly to them.
She congratulated them. I cried on the way home. What a sad state we are in that people cannot be “friendly”, while the parents are less than 24″ away from them.
I’ve received criticism since I don’t have children, for not understanding the parents point of view on this. I get that. What I don’t get is that IF the parents saw me as a threat from the beginning for talking to their children, WHY didn’t they speak up to me BEFORE…the kids said “STRANGER” to me…?!
Even when I tried to explain, the mom was so proud.
Here…having no evil intentions, I wonder. With computers, television & the disassociation with anyone these days, WHO is the bad guy and should I just remove myself from being nice…to any child…any where?!
God help us if everyone is a threat, even when the parent is practically sitting next to them?!
I love “my neighbor as myself”. I know not everyone is like that, but WHERE do you draw the line? WHO is ok to help socialize your children? I mean, I let most people touch my dogs in public. I am at arms length. I’m not screaming “STRANGER”! And they aren’t human beings, but I love them…as I would a child.

20130914-231258.jpg

Chick is NOT a chicken

Chick is NOT a chicken

Yesterday was not my best day as a chicken and dog lover. I read stories all of the time how the dogs and the chickens get along. I see pictures of little chicks sitting on the backs of cats. That is not the story I have to tell today, from here.
We have a backyard for the dogs. We have a large house and outdoor run for the chickens. I love letting the chickens free range, so if I am going to be home, I let them just roam the property. Typically they don’t get in the dog yard. Typically. That is not the story I have to tell today, from here.
Yesterday, I was looking out my kitchen window and all was right in the world. The chickens were doing their chicken scratching and roaming through the woods. I was also looking up whether or not I needed to get plastic surgery for my rooster, Thurston. His top beak had broken off and don’t ask me how or why. I don’t know. They do have Vet’s that will perform a surgical procedure for that, by the way. I digress…
All in all it was a successful day. I completed a painting and sold it. My chores were done. Dinner was ready. In walks the hubs and I was happy. As I normally do, I fed the dogs and before letting them into their yard, I checked the backyard just to make sure there were no chickens there. None. I release the hounds.
I went out with them and Louie who is our 80 pound pup ran along the fence line. He loved to see the chickens fly. It was then that I tried to get Louie back in the house. I do not know why, but Lacey, the 6 month old hen flew right into the backyard. Cue the chase. I mean, I calmly tried to say “leave it”. Didn’t work. So, the chase began. I latched onto Louie. I rode my dog through the backyard screaming “LEAVE IT!”
He didn’t leave it. Now, my husband is with us as I am pinned against the fence, with grass in my teeth. He removes the frightened hen from Louie’s mouth. Believe it or not, Lacey wasn’t hurt. There was no blood. There was no harm done, or so I thought. I just laid there. It was me who ended up injured. I cracked my two front teeth. Yes, I did.
The last time I cracked one of those very same teeth, I was riding a lawnmower. At .05 miles per hour, I ran into a “Neighborhood Watch” sign. (That sign is still crooked, by the way. I wish someone would fix that. They won’t let me touch it. Imagine!) In the end, I got the experience of having an implanted tooth. Do you know that I’m no longer allowed to borrow any lawn equipment from any of my neighbors, nor will they entertain my requests. All of this over one little accident! And, I digress once again.
I’m thankful that no animals were harmed in the aforementioned situation. On the other hand, my body and my teeth feel like I rode a bucking bronco bull yesterday. And, in essence, I did get a taste of how sore a bull rider must be the day after his competition. Ouch. That brings me to a phrase I heard yesterday. “Danger is real. Fear is not.” How does that fit into my scenario, you ask? Because I say so! I am now not afraid of the unknown because I am going to get out there with courage, no matter what the situation is and nothing can stop me.
David of David and Goliath in the Bible, stepped up and without thinking said, “I can slay the Giant.” Don’t think he wasn’t prepared. I mean, he’d had plenty of practice in his everyday life as a hunter. Because of those experiences, he knew just the right size pebble or rock to put in that slingshot, depending on his intended target. He was ready and he had God. He had a God sized belief. He let God lead him and he won.
I posted my traumatic experience on FB in short, and ended it with “Jesus Take the Wheel”. My niece responded with “Dear Jesus, Please take the wheel.” With support like that, I can’t lose…ever. Courage, with God is underrated. He’s got this. Let him have the wheel, as Carrie Underwood so adequately conveys in her song. Change your tune. Have courage.

Chick Can Appreciate Chicks

It’s been a little over a year since we went to the “Chicken Swap” in our small rural community.  Honestly, we just went to meet a friend and see the animals.  To me it was just a novelty in our town.  We already had 4 dogs.  We didn’t need another animal.  On this day, we met a little boy who said, “Hey Lady, have you ever held a chicken?”  Next thing I know I was holding a rooster.  Bill, my husband was holding a hen.  Interestingly enough, we were given the crate to borrow for a few weeks.   How generous they were, I thought.  The farmers there offered their advice as we walked to our truck, like “don’t name them” or if you do name them, call them “Fried” and “Baked”.  They laughed and we just smiled.  In the end, we named them “Thurston” and “Lovey”.  Lovey wasn’t really all that loveable and Thurston just wanted to be held. 

We stopped at the local store to pick up lunch.  I felt guilty as I sat in the front seat with a box of fried chicken.  I asked Bill if he thought they could tell I was holding their cousins in my lap.  We laughed but we had pasta for dinner that night.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love fried chicken.  Love it!

We went back to the store to buy a little chicken coop.  It was perfect for 4 to 6 chickens.  We had 2 so it was larger than we even needed. Right?   I was surprised at how they just went upstairs on their own at dusk.  This was going to be a piece of cake!  That is, until they started roosting in the tree.  They flew up there.  I didn’t know that chickens could fly.  (They do!)  We spent so much time coaxing them out of the tree every night to get them in the coop. 

My little Thurston didn’t crow.  I wanted for him to cock-a-doodle-do!  I mean, what was the point of having a rooster, if you don’t get a wake-up rooster?  We were told to get more hens or Thurston would end up hurting Lovey.  We added 5 more hens.  We expanded the coop.  They all went up in the tree and they would fly away, but they always returned at night.  I was looking at chicken websites to find out what to do, what their sounds meant, what do they like for treats, what to do in the hot weather, and what to do with them in cold weather.  OK, it’s confession time.  I even took Thurston to the Vet to see why he wasn’t crowing.  He had a little upper respiratory infection.  Oh, and the chickens sneeze…and it’s kind of cute, really.  I put a little antibiotic powder in their water.  (I didn’t tell Bill that I took Thurston for a ride in the car.  He would have lost his mind.  Hi Honey, if you’re reading this!!)   And voile, he started crowing!  (Thurston crowed…not Bill!)  I like to think I helped him with the learning process because I would practice with him in the backyard.  Yes…I did.  (It’s only occasionally that I mind his dedication to the morning.  My dogs respond when “the alarm” sounds, so that is the annoying part.)

I cleaned the pen area every day.  They had clean water and I loved sitting out there with them.  Thurston had a “moment”, occasionally, where he would charge me.  Why would this rooster charge me when I was taking such good care of him?  I gave him food.  I gave him fresh water every day.  I even piled the leaves for him.  He loved that…to get on top of the leaves and pretend he was in charge.  I found that having the rake between me and him along with having eyes in the back of my head, truly helped.  I never touched him with “Rake”, but he didn’t love Rake.  I thought we had finally come to an understanding and I no longer would have to hold Rake.  One particular day when I was collecting the eggs , Thurston came after me!  Rake didn’t accompany that afternoon.  I found myself crawling across the ground because my leg hurt.  It felt as if I had blood running down my leg, as well.  Owah…this hurt!  Thurston walked up beside me all puffed up like, “hahahaha…take THAT!” When I finally got in the house I realized that I had pocketed my cell phone .  THAT’s what that pain was.  Even more painful was the fact that I had the eggs in the same pocket as the cell phone.  Soooo, let’s just say that I ended up getting a new phone.  The supposed blood that I felt dripping on my leg was indeed cracked eggs in my pocket.  And, rice doesn’t help “dry” the phone.  Rice is good with eggs if you’re going to make fried rice.  That’s pretty much the only time you want to mix rice and eggs.  

Having chickens…25 of them later is not a piece of cake, but now they have a 12’ x 12’ chicken coop with an enclosed area along with an area that is not enclosed.  12 of those 25 were little chicks that I got in the spring.  I had them in my husband’s bathroom tub.  They were adorable as they crawled all over me each morning.  My hubby didn’t appreciate the loss of his private bathroom but he found himself going in there to visit them, as well.  Unfortunately, a few weeks ago we lost 4 of our 3 month old chicks to a fox, who was apparently watching the hen house.  It broke my heart.  We have since reinforced the coop and we haven’t lost any of the others.  So, we have 19 chickens and I think I’m good with that number for now.  This was not as easy as they said, but oh, I’m so glad to have them.

I value having these beautiful birds.  I love every moment and every lesson that I’ve learned.  They also remind me of the following verses.  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious about being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field; how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these…”

Matthew 6:25-34(ESV)

Life’s not easy.  What I do know is that my Father will always care for me…no matter what will happen to me or my chicks in days to come.  Image

Chick Gets More than she Gives

Five years ago while living in Virginia, I was asked to go to Pennsylvania to paint in calligraphy on the wall for a baby that was to be born.  It was a blessing for me to be able to paint this baby’s name.  You see, the parent’s had been married for twenty five years.  She was an unexpected but highly anticipated little miracle.  They called her “Siena”.

Paint, I need paint.  I brought some but not the right colors, which reminds me of a Halloween party I had at my house years ago.  All of the neighbors were invited.  We live in a rural area, so we decided to do a bonfire and wiener roast with s’mores and hot apple cider!  I got paint and pumpkins for the kids to paint.  (I didn’t want the mess of pumpkin guts or the risk of someone getting hurt with a knife.  And, I bought coat hangers to put the wieners on to roast in the fire.  I was excited. 

Because I had overalls, I decided to as a hillbilly.  I wore my overalls and blacked out a tooth, wore cowboy boots and had a headband that included a little felt cowboy hat and yarn braids!  I was ready.  I was a bit goofy, but I was ready.  The neighbors arrived and I was the only one dressed in costume.  FIRST STRIKE.  We painted the pumpkins and the kids loved every moment of it.  It was a hit!  They laughed and had a gift to take with them.  STRIKE TWO happened when I got the phone call from one of the parents stating the paint…was not waterproof.  Then it was time for the bonfire.  I handed Bill the coat hangers I had untangled.  With that dazed look, he explained that we couldn’t use plastic coat hangers to cook wieners in a fire.  (There we go again, Bill was right.)  STRIKE, well you know the answer to that.  I love children, but I don’t have any.  Can you tell?

 Aaaaaand, once again, I digress.

Where was I?  Oh, right….Pennsylvania.  Once there, we found the colors that were needed.  It was a simple job for me.  I painted little sparrows and the baby’s name was “Siena”.  As I was almost completed with the process, I realized that I painted the name as “SieNNa”!  It was only supposed to be one “n”!  Needing to cover the additional “n”, I needed supplies.  Calmly, I approached the owners and asked if they had any of that sweet …light…baby… pink paint.  You know, the color the walls were painted?  Of course they didn’t.  We then made a trip to the home improvement store to get more paint and sand paper to get rid of that pesky “N”!  What should have taken only a few hours turned to about an eight hour process.  May I add that it was beautiful?   I wanted it to be special.  It was just as I had imagined it, without the additional four or five hours!

Now, five years later, I understand that Siena, with one “n”, talks to the name on the wall as if she knows me.  Her momma says that “Summer is her BFF”.  (Summer is my first name, in case you don’t know me.)  What an unexpected gift of a new little friend…who I’ve still never met!   So today, I’m excited to send her “The Mermaid City” by Judy Norwood Enter and Illustrated by…ME!  I decided to sign it and carefully, with one “n” and “with love from her BFF, Summer”!  I wish I could be there to see her face!

By the way, no children or animals were harmed in the decoration of the pumpkins!  For now, I’ll stick to my dogs and chickens.  And, stay tuned for more about caring for chickens….It’s not for sissies! 

And, no matter what…decide to bless someone, give service from your heart today… and you will be blessed. Think of little Siena, with one “n”.  My tiny BFF has blessed me beyond measure.  Decide to complain less and bless more.  Make a conscious decision each morning to do that each day.  It will change your life.  It has continued to change mine.