And the Point is ...

Normally we call and talk to my dad everyday - he lives in the middle of nowhere with two dogs and two cats, and could easily be dead for quite a while before any neighbor might find him (assuming a neighbor found him before a bear, mountain lion, or coyote did). A couple nights ago we called and missed him, so we left a message. Missing an evening here or there is typical and nothing we worry about. But if he hasn't e-mailed, or called us, by the time we try to unsuccessfully reach him the second night, then we begin to worry a bit.

So a few nights ago we missed getting in touch with him one night, and then called again the second night - still he wasn't there. This concerned us ever so slightly. I told him, in the message I left, to call us anytime before 1 or 2 am our time if he got the message, or e-mail me the next day because we were starting to worry a bit. About an hour later the phone rang, it was him. We have free long distance, and he doesn't, so when he calls he lets it ring twice and then we call back. We called, and found out ...

He'd just gotten home from the emergency vet because .... the dogs found a porcupine!

At my dad's place (30 acres surrounded by timber company land) there was a fenced paddock area that we used to keep the dogs in. But over time they broke out of it enough (and took off for hours at a time) that my dad eventually stopped bothering to put them in the fenced area. For a bout a year now, the dogs have been free to come and go as they please - which has always made my mother and I a bit nervous. My dad lives in a an area highly populated by bears and mountain lions, not to mention the coyotes and other people's dogs. We also have a very distant neighbor that hates dogs (he's known by everyone in town as the man who shot a dog just for following behind him while he was on his bike!), keeps chickens (which dogs like to eat) and shot a couple strays that we were trying to keep (they showed up one day on our doorstep, we started feeding them, bought some collars and put our number on 'em - only to be told three weeks later that the dogs were dead and we owed $400 for chickens). So, it's not a very safe environment for free-range dogs, but my dad is not a worrier by nature - he's the sort of person who thinks if nothing bad has happened yet, nothing bad will ever happen.

A couple nights ago my dad had been sitting in the living room, on the computer minding his own business, when Scooter came tearing in through the open back door, bleeding profusely and in a total panic - his face covered in porcupine quills. My dad immediately tried calling the local vets (it was already evening and he didn't know who was open). He was instructed that the nearest emergency vet was down in Spokane, so in a panic as well, he hurried to get Scooter in the car - still trying to figure out where the other dog, Cali, was.

While trying to locate Cali, Scooter jumped out of the back of the SUV and, still in a panic, ran down to the lake on my dad's property where he proceeded to sit in the reeds along the bank (nobody knows why he thought this was a good idea, but hey, he was a panicked dog, how much sense does he need to make?). My dad went and got him and loaded him into the car, and started down the dirt driveway - still having no idea what happened to Cali or where she might be. Not too far after passing through the gate on the property line, he found Cali. She too was loaded up with quills in her face (neither dog could shut their mouths from all the quills in their tongues, gums, and palates). But she also had enough of them in her hind leg that she could hardly walk. So, grateful to have found her, my dad got her in the car too, and drove like a lunatic down to Spokane.

Initially the folks at the vet thought it would only take them a few hours to pull all the quills out - and it was optional for my dad to leave them overnight. He decided to let them stay - which was a very good thing! Apparently, they tried to sedate the dogs and simply remove the quills that way, but they couldn't manage to get them sedated enough - even after giving them 3 times the amount they should have. So, each dog ended up having to get a few hours of surgery the following day.

My dad picked them up this morning, and he says you can hardly tell anything happened. They've got lots of bald spots here and there (Cali's whole leg is bare, I'm told) from the shaving they had to do. And my dad says you can tell that their mouths hurt them a bit, but otherwise they seem fine, and glad to be home. So he's got a few days worth of pain pills for them,a nd a couple weeks worth of antibiotics they need to take - but everything seems to be almost back to normal now.

However, this has lit a fire under my dad's butt about moving. He wants to get the dogs out of there ASAP (he's now convinced it's too dangerous for them to roam free). He thinks he can leave WA on October 9th. And despite the fact that the original plan was for him to come out here, help me fix this place to get it into a rentable state, and then help with the move out to Calif. - we will now just all make our own way to CA and leave this place empty for another winter. Hopefully in Spring he can come back, do the painting and minor repairs, and put it on the market to sell.

So I'm aiming to get everything that's crucial packed up and moved to California (by myself, using a U-Haul trailer) by the middle or end of October (middle would be better!). That means I may or may not show my face on this (or any other) blog very much between now and then. I will try to give updates, and be participatory in things I usually do (Thursday 13 on this blog, and One Deep Breath, Sunday Scribblings, and Poetry Thursday on my other blog), but things are going to be a bit hectic around here for a little while - so I make no promises, other than the fact that I will make up for it all when I get to California.

3 comments:

b. said...

ohhhh.....I'm a fuh-lippin' morning glory!!! The bane of my pretty little farm I live on-dammit!
Lu- it sounds like you are really a great daughter! I wish you a lot of success in your packing and in the big move! Remind me.......why California???

Momish said...

Best of luck to you. I will have to keep checking back to see how things went for you!

LuluBunny said...

b - I am sooooo not a great daughter, LOL!! I'm terrible really - all I do it bitch and moan 24/7. And the reason for California is that my mom's condo is there (it's been on the market since June but hasn't sold yet).

Momish - thanks :)

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