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November 7, 2014: One Tough Dog

Tonight Rainbow had her stitches removed – all 14 of them. A veterinary technician at Far Country Animal Hospital removed them. I had thought that there were more. I could not tell for sure. This is because I was never able to get a close look at her underside. Rainbow made it clear to me (by sidling away) that she didn’t want me to touch her, so I backed off, thereby respecting her wishes. She’s a very independent dog who, at 14, does not want to be petted or fussed over. This was not so when she was younger. Then she enjoyed being petted and getting more than her share of attention. I’m okay with this because

watching her trot around the yard and run in the woods gives me great joy.

Both Ryder and I have missed having Rainbow along on our woods treks. Jenna used to come along, but now accompanies Pete and me and whatever horses we have on hand during our morning loop walks. It isn’t the same heading out, without either dog bounding along and checking things out. Yep, it takes a brace of two dogs to flush out spruce hens.

Rainbow rebounded really quickly after her surgery, which surprised me. In less than a week she was up and about, and in the mornings wanting to go with me to check in on the horses and see if there was anything worth eating in the compost facility. I began taking her out in the yard, but the trails were clearly off limits. The veterinarian had said no to the latter, cautioning us that excess activity might result in her ripping open her stitches.

The past few days Rainbow has been going up to the kitchen window, where she previously smushed her nose up against the glass, and barked at whatever was out in the road, be it the two-headed human (human carrying a child on his or her back), passing cars, or errant moose.

To think about her recovery makes me feel good. I feared the worst when after she was hurt, I saw blood dripping from her underside. I got down on my hands and knees, and with headlamp in hand, looked at her abdomen. I got a glimpse of the tear – it was wide. I could see yellow muscle tissue. I felt woozy when I foresaw what the outcome might be – euthanasia.

So now ALL the animals are doing well, which makes me feel joyous. It really is a Peaceable Kingdom around here – all the animals get along with one another, though Ranger and Rover (the goats) are wary of Ryder. In the mornings I let them out of the pen to forage when I’m doing my chores. Upon returning to the house area, I open the upper gate, where Ryder lies in wait. When I give the order she herds them back into their fenced in area.

I don’t know how long this steady-state existence will last. This is because Tinni, Rainbow, Jenna, and the goats are all up there in years. These animals won’t last forever because no animals ever do. Most likely we’ll outlast everyone we have on hand. This includes Hrimmi, who is now two years and may live to be thirty. It is foreseeable that Pete and I will also live another thirty years.

I suspect that at some point we’ll agree to take on no new animals because the newcomer dogs’ or horses’ life expectancy might be greater than ours. I would hate for us to pass on and for the animals to go to other homes because I don’t think that they’d get as good of care as they get here. It’s been hard enough finding reputable house sitters. Therefore, finding long term caretakers would undoubtedly be even harder—especially for an older animal.

Right now, all this is speculation because both we and the animals have many years left.

Next: 299. 11/8/14: Obsession