I Got Blood on My Hands

Wicket was spayed Monday morning. I understand this is a common practice for most people, but our dogs have never been fixed.

I’m about to go against Blogger Rule #1: Express No Opinion.

The following comments are strictly related to indoor pets. This is not an opinion that necessarily applies to dogs often kept or used outdoors where unmonitored situations may occur.

I do not believe the anatomy of an animal should be altered for the sake of my convenience. I believe their bodies are their own, and it’s selfish to want to rip away what is natural because you may not want to watch them closely or deal with a “mess” every six months or so. I cannot believe the removal of important parts, especially while young, can be the healthiest choice for them. That being said, I’m aware a lot of people can’t watch their animals 100% of every day, especially in homes where there are animals of the opposite sex. In that case, I feel the male should be fixed since it’s a much less invasive procedure. I’m also aware that there are procedures that don’t require the removal of organs, but we live in 1825 and those procedures haven’t reached us yet.

With only two female dogs in our home, Wicket being spayed was a heavy discussion that lasted for months. Neither of us wanted to put her through the pain of surgery or give her a life that could possibly be less than she deserves because of our interference, but ultimately we had to do what was best for her personality and our sanity.

Neither of our dogs is ever left alone outside. Not. Ever. There have only been three times anyone’s been left alone inside. The first time, I had my gallbladder removed and was home the same day. The second time, I nearly broke my leg and had to go on my first ambulance ride, and I was home in a few hours. The last time, I went to the hospital because I had a terrible chest cold and woke up unable to breathe properly. I felt so guilty for Levee being left home alone that we ended up walking out of the hospital after two hours of waiting without being seen. That’s every moment any of our dogs have ever been without the company of one of us. So, an unwanted pregnancy has never been a concern.

The mess is easily handled with washable diapers and disposable pads. I’m not going to say it’s not disgusting because it is, but it’s a tolerable inconvenience.

The reason we finally decided to have her spayed was due to her personality and habits. She is a hyperactive ball of crazy, and she likes to eat things. So far in her short life, she’s eaten part of the following: two organic cotton blankets, two fluffy winter blankets, one rug, two throw pillows, three dog beds, our bedroom baseboards, an uncountable number of toys, and our broom. If we were to put diapers and pads on her, she’d end up with a blockage and surgery to remove velcro from her small intestines. It wasn’t something we wanted to deal with, so we made the decision.

I feel so incredibly bad about this, but I also believe it was the only way to keep her safe. Not having to change an extra cycle’s worth of pads and diapers is simply a bonus I will not fail to appreciate.

Note: If you’d like to see the aforementioned “nearly broke my leg” incident, you can click the warning below.

WARNING! GRAPHIC IMAGE CONTAINING BLOOD AND AN OBVIOUS INJURY. DO NOT CLICK IF YOU TEND TO INVOLUNTARILY DROP TO THE GROUND AT THE SIGHT OF BLOOD OR OBVIOUS INJURIES.

Title From:
I’m A Wanted Man
by Royal Deluxe

Breathe Some Air That’s Never Been Breathed

We spent some time this weekend sitting out in the pasture. It’s the first time I’ve put my butt on the bare ground since we had to slide down a rocky ledge while geocaching in Connecticut. The number and size of spiders and insects that scurry through the fields here is somewhat disturbing. I’ve seen at least two cat-faced spiders, there are yooge funnel webs leading to deep, scary tunnels in the ground, where Shelob’s cousins live, and just last week I was stung on the finger by something that injected a venom that caused pain to my elbow for, like, at least an hour — it was touch and go there for a while. Fortunately, nights have been chilly, so many of the crawlies are gone.

Levee has been packing on a bit of weight over the last few years. Until the cattle panels go up this spring, she can’t run free for hours on end like she could before. She has play time every evening, but she doesn’t get as much movement during the day as she should, would, and will. The weather was perfect, so while we enjoyed plucking at the grass, the dogs got to run wild, chasing each other, snatching their favorite pink waffle ball whenever the other would drop it. Exercise is good for the soul, they say, and also for that pesky neck flab.

I used that time to practice a bit with my camera, which you can see was quite helpful.

Title From:
Don’t Tell Me
by R.W. Hampton

Life’s No Fun Without a Good Scare


I finally charged my camera battery for the first time since the end of 2015. The last photographs I had taken are of a snow storm on January 4th. I wasn’t sure what all would be on the card, and I didn’t want to see Reyka’s face, so I avoided touching the camera altogether. Luckily, there were only pictures of our Christmas tree, the storm, and some flatbread we had made for dinner.

I seem to have forgotten how to take a good picture. Everything I attempted tonight came out wrong. I’m apologize. I need to start taking more again and perhaps not in the evening when things get grainy.

Wicket is growing fast. Brian built her a little temporary corral using some of our cattle panels, so she has a confined area in which to pee and poop without feeling vulnerable and frightened by the yips and howls of coyotes in the night, and so she doesn’t get carried away chasing leaves across the county. I already notice a huge change in her weight as I lug her outside every morning. Lug her I must, as well, since she’s a chaser and Muggabee’s a runner. They will likely never be buddies. C’est la vie.

She will have a buddy in Levee though, who has become so much more patient with her. There is a lot more playing than growling now, even though instances like the one pictured here are frequent. I’m sure there are some who feel we should intervene, but it’s not our place to determine the pack status between them, and no one is being hurt, despite Wicket’s sharp cries to the contrary whenever Levee decides she’s had enough lip biting. Babies will be babies. KnowwhatI’msayin’?

I can’t believe we’re already into November. I had been counting down the days to Halloween since July, and now suddenly we’re past it all. I didn’t even set Tommy out this year.

Let me find a picture of Tommy for you.

Here he is. See him there? We adopted him from Spirit Halloween in October 2010.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, it feels like Christmas is nearly over. Never mind my idiosyncrasies. This time of the year is my favorite, and I wish it could last as long as the rest of the year. Summers, on the other hand, I wish would pass as quickly as they did when I was in school.

Title From:
This Is Halloween
by Danny Elfman

Sweeter Than Heaven

At my feet, curled in a loose ball, lies a puppy named Wicket. She’s been with us since Sunday. It hasn’t been the easiest transition for Levee, who seems to enjoy her and the company she promises, but is also not fond of having her dangle from her face like a pig wattle. We’re giving her (Levee) space and the freedom to growl and snarl as needed. There have been a few snaps, followed by yips, but no harm has been done. I’m confident they’ll sort things out in a few weeks.

Progress on our home has, of course, stalled. It’s difficult to do much with such a little one running between your feet the moment you stop walking. This weekend I plan to put the second coat of paint on the living room. Then we’ll be able to move everything back in and supply the puppy with an ample amount of chewing material.

Note: I haven’t charged my camera battery since September 2015, so I don’t have any proper pictures of her yet. Enjoy these iPhone photos in the meantime.

Title From:
Drumming Song
by Florence + the Machine

If You Get Lost, You Can Always Be Found

I saw the dark, long-haired cat sitting in the middle of the back pasture. I always think of that particular cat as a female because she has an extremely long tail, which reminds me of Stitch’s, the little kitten who showed up the day after Reyka was put to sleep. His tail would swing up over his back and touch the top of his head when he was excited. I like to think of the dark, long-haired cat as his mom. She was sitting, upright and proper, in the crunchy, sun-bleached grass, staring at the house. It’s unusual to see her sitting anywhere. Normally she’s running, her body low to the ground, her long tail streaming out behind her. When I noticed her, I decided to put a can of wet food and a bowl of dry out on the porch. I knew she’d run as soon as the lock clicked but I didn’t care. If she wasn’t going to eat it, the raccoons would get it later.

I know someone out there, four years from when I post this, is going to want to tell me I shouldn’t feed raccoons. Too bad. I like raccoons and they’re not going to break into anyone’s cabin and eat their faces, so I don’t feel any worse about feeding them than I do feeding the 3,247 cats that come around.

As expected, as soon as I opened the door, she was gone. I didn’t even see a trace of her running around the barn or into the long grass of the neighboring field. Of course, I was distracted. As soon as I opened the door I realized I’d knocked Pickwick out of the way, pushing his angry, fluffed, growling body toward the stairs. Normally he’d spin around and start trying to make his way into the house, rubbing his orange fur against my black pants. This time he stayed, hunched and puffed, eyes locked on Muggabee.

Muggabee was back! It has been more than two months since I last saw him. I can’t describe my feelings upon seeing him now. I almost thought I imagined him there for a moment. For weeks and weeks, I would look out the window every time I passed by. Then, as the probability that he’d never return became more likely, I’d look every other time, then less. I never stopped looking entirely, but I did stop expecting to see him. There were nights I cried, thinking about how sick he looked, wondering if there was something I should have done. I missed him.

I’m so thankful he’s back. Hopefully he’ll be returning more often. I don’t know where he’s been but he looked so much better than the last time I saw him, albeit a bit skinnier. His fur was smooth and clean and his eyes were dry. If he doesn’t come back, at least now I know he’s likely with someone else, or at the very least, alive.

Note: The picture at the top is not Muggabee, who you can see here, it’s Stitch. Stitch was named by, and lives with, one our vet’s assistants.

Title From:
Home
by Phillip Phillips