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June 23, 2014: Ryder’s Injury

A dog’s life sometimes seems idyllic. But then again, sometimes their lives seem less than idyllic. The life of a herding dog has its ups and downs. Herding dogs are extremely intelligent. But they do like to herd, moving vehicles, animals, even people. As Ryder learned yesterday, life is idyllic when all goes well, but less so when it doesn’t go well.

Yesterday we decided to ride to Grizzly Camp and then on the return trip home, do the bench loop, coming down Pete’s trail. Pete rode Tinni, and for a short ways he ponied Hrimmi. I rode Raudi for a short ways and ponied Ryder and Rainbow. We let the respective animals off their leads when we got a ways up the trail.

We got to Grizzly Camp and had checked the horses’ pulse and respiration, leaving Hrimmi and Ryder to their own devices. We were mounting up when both Pete and I heard Ryder yelp. We immediately put two and two together, well knowing that Hrimmi had kicked Ryder. Pete ran off and retrieved Ryder. Together, we examined her. She had a large open wound on her muzzle. Pete noticed that her eye was not quite right – I looked closely at it – it appeared to me that it was rolling back up into her head. I deduced that she might have a broken occipital bone.

There was a brief discussion about what to do. Pete then headed down trail, walking Tinni. Ryder and Rainbow followed. He was soon out of sight – he later said that he got on Tinni and had the dogs follow. I followed Pete, walking Hrimmi and leading Raudi. The two started doing dueling grass diving, so I walked Raudi and had Hrimmi follow.

As I walked, I tried not to think about what the consequences of Hrimmi’s kick might be, which is that Ryder would lose an eye or have to be euthanized. Rather, I repeatedly reminded myself that getting Raudi and Hrimmi home was my first priority.

Once home, I discovered that Pete had already left and taken Ryder to the Far Country Animal Clinic. This was because our regular clinic, North Star Animal Hospital, is closed on Sunday, as are all the other veterinary clinics in the area.

The accident occurred around 3 p.m. Pete called me from the clinic around 6 p.m. He said that the veterinarian said that they’d take x-rays and sew up the laceration. He added that he’d be home shortly, and that we could go and pick up Ryder later in the evening.

Pete came home. One of the first things he told me was how good Ryder was heading home and at the clinic. As the receptionist told him, most dogs with this kind of injury do not like being looked at.

He also said that the veterinarian thought the eye was going to be okay. It was then that the wait began. I kept myself busy all evening, by first tending to the horses and turning the compost in the upper quadrant. As I was working on the compost, I was joined by The Little Red hen (this is what she wants to be called) and Freebird. After, I resumed weeding, this being a somewhat mindless but important task.

The clinic did surgery at 10 p.m. and called us at 11 p.m. The veterinarian removed some bone fragments from her sinuses and sewed her up. We agreed with her that it was in Ryder’s best interest to keep her there overnight.

We went and got her this morning. In seeing the pink stitches in her nose, it occurred to me that the injury could have been worse, way worse. Had the kick connected at a higher or lower point on her head she would have been more seriously injured or killed.

As I write this, Ryder’s on our bed, sleeping. She is wearing an Elizabethan collar, which will keep her from scratching her nose. She’s been very quiet – I think she’s glad to be home. I have since we got home been thinking about how much I love this wonderful little dog. I’ve also been thinking how lucky we are that she is ours. I will now be even more appreciative of her presence, and, in fact, even more appreciative of all the critters’ presence. All our animals are a joy to have around.

Next: 173. 6/24/14: Horse/Human Accidents