Monday, February 7, 2011

I finally have something interesting to write about. I'm sitting here with a medicated, injured dog on my lap, Truman is on his way to the vet's with Sandy, and I have three stitches in my left palm a huge hematoma on my right butt cheek, I can't feel two fingers on my left hand and my left arm is killing me!

I will go back to Friday. Sandy was home from work, her mini-vacation started Friday. We had a quiet day, we dropped her car off at Toyota at 8:00 AM to have the tow stuff installed. Then I ran her back home and I zipped off to the gym for my hour session with the personal trainer.

I went over to Lazizah after the work-out and got lunch and goodies. That shit is going to have to stop I'll tell you, I'm putting on weight like crazy...but that's another story. Suffice it to say that the chicken tortellini soup and chicken salad was awesome...but those pastries are my downfall!

In the late afternoon Jean and Frank came up to get us to go to Ryan's bball game in Woodstock. I decided to stay home. I felt tired already from the gym and not getting to bed early the night before. So, Sandy left with them and I decided to feed the birds, before I got in the recliner to veg out.

I let the dogs out to chase a squirrel that had been eating the suet on the deck. They all took off barking and I went to the cellar to get the bird seed. When I came out the cellar door I heard something banging on the wooden gate in the little yard. I looked and could see Rocky through the slats of the fence. It looked like he was digging in the snow near the gate. I didn't think anything of it.

As I filled the feeders near the fence I could hear that same sound occasionally, still not suspicious. I moved further down in the yard to fill those feeders and noted that I hadn't seen Bubbles and Truman. I stopped and looked around the yard, no sign of them. Hmmm....then I forgot about that as I slid on the ice. I concentrated more on my feet and making my way around the yard to the other feeders. I didn't want to fall, get hurt and not be able to get help as Sandy was gone.

At the feeders near the big pole feeder I ran out of seed. I knew there was no more in the cellar, I had scraped the bottom of the barrel there when I filled the bucket to take outside. So I made my way to the garage, where there were two new bags of seed I had purchased that morning on my way home from the gym.

As I came into the little fenced-in portion of the yard I saw, with horror, three Jack Russells absolutely covered with blood! I banged on the empty bucket to get their attention and to drive away whatever they were fighting with and called them to me. Truman came towards me, staggering and looking glassy-eyed...then he keeled over in the snow. I thought he was dying.

I bent down to pick him up and he snapped at me, raking my palm with one of those beautiful titanium teeth he has. The pain was tremendous! As they say "on a scale of 1-10, it was a 10"...I sank to my knees in the snow.

All through this I'm yelling things like "What the hell? and Oh My God! and What The Hell again." It would have been an interesting experience for the neighbors if they had been out and about to hear it. Too bad, they lose.

I called the dogs to come in the house. Rocky and Bubbles came right along, I had to lift Truman by his collar with my (now) bad hand and kind of push him from the rear with the other hand. He wasn't walking well at all and kept staggering. I was really afraid for him and afraid of him at the same time. I knew I needed Sandy to help me with him as he would not trust anyone else.

I got them in the house and went looking frantically for my cell phone. I don't have Sandy's cell number memorized and this was one of those times I was kicking myself for that. I found my cell in my car, Rocky following me out the door.

Truman stood, swaying, by the pantry door, where I had left him. I got a towel and coaxed him into Lily's old bed, where he lay, looking horrible.

I got Sandy on the phone and told her, somewhat incoherently, what happened. As I told her I realized I had NO IDEA what had happened. I got it in my head that Rocky and Truman had been fighting each other and that thought drove me nuts.

Then I told myself to calm down. I wiped Bubby down with a wet paper towel and checked her for injuries. She seemed to be fine...just had blood on her. I wiped Rocky a bit, but he kept bleeding. Some blood came off, but new blood appeared. I refused to touch Truman, I knew if I did I would get hurt again.

I didn't blame Truman for snapping at me, it was obvious that he was badly hurt and in a lot of pain. He was definitely in shock and I talked quietly to him, bundled him in the towel...and went off to gather first aid supplies.

But first I got an ice pack on my hand. It was already swelling and I couldn't feel my ring finger. The blood was soaking through anything I put on it, so I just decided not to worry about the blood.

After I had checked Rocky and Bub I called Sandy back and gave her my assessment of the injuries, Truman being the worst-with leg injuries (he was holding one foreleg out to the side and couldn't put weight on it). I told her that it was a serious situation here...I didn't want her to think I was just hysterical and it was nothing.

Later she told me that she had told her parents that it was probably nothing too much to worry about, she would clean the dogs up and then get going to the basketball game. I'm sure the next time I call her home because someone has been injured, she will take me seriously.

She walked in an freaked out. She took Truman out to show her folks and tell them she wouldn't be coming to the game. No duh. She got them up in "my bathroom"...the one with the tub and washed them up so we could check their injuries.

Rocky had blood on the top of his neck and he didn't want to open his left eye. He had a slit inside his ear that was bleeding profusely and other little cuts on his other ear.

Truman had punctures on both sides of his left leg, his nose was bleeding and he had blood on his neck and ears.

Sandy asked me to go outside and look for a "body" so we could have some idea of what they had tangled with...although both of us agreed that the two boys COULD have been fighting with each other. There had been some growling going on between the two of them at the door before I let them out.

I looked over the deck and could only see blood spatters all over the snow next to the gate, which is what I had seen when I first came into the little yard. Then I went to go down off the deck and around in the yard to look around. At the top of the stairs I slipped on the ice and went down hard on my butt. Then I slid down the stairs to the sidewalk, hitting both elbows on the stairs and further insulting my butt. I remember thinking "don't hit your head" as I felt it snapping back. I knew I was going to have to drive us to the animal hospital and I couldn't afford to get a concussion.

Still I managed to make it down into the yard and checked around the sign of any animal. No fur, no nothing.

Sandy looked way down at the back gate before we left...she thought that was the gate I was referring to...and saw blood on the snow down there and some drops leading back toward the house. She supposed that is where the animal got away.

Meanwhile I wasn't so sure it was another animal...I was thinking more and more that the two dogs had been fighting each other and the thought was making me ill.

We went over and over what happened as we drove to Rhode Ocean State Animal Hospital. I remembered that there was no barking or whining...when the Russells go after each other there is always snarling, barking, etc. When they hunt they go silent. So that was a clue.

I just want to stop here and comment: I can't tell you how eerie it is to have relative quiet in your yard and come around a corner to find your three beloved pets covered in blood, staggering and falling and looking the way they did. It shook me to the core.

Maybe I should post the next chapter of this saga tomorrow....keep you hanging...

We got to Ocean State, they rushed Truman in and gave him pain killers and sedated him. They had to knock him out completely, intubate him and he was back in Sandy's arms four hours later, with five drains in him. Two on that bad leg, one on each side of his neck (where the critter had tried to rip his throat out) and one some where else, I'm not sure where. The wounds on his leg and neck were puncture wounds and were deep enough to be worrisome. He had several "needle-like" wounds on the back of his neck.

None of these wounds were like dog they weren't made by Rocky, thankfully!

And Rocky's wounds were not consistent with the damage Truman could do with those damned metal teeth. We could not imagine Rocky inflicting that kind of damage to Truman and Truman being "gentle" in his attack on Rocky...if the two of them HAD been fighting each other, the wounds would have been worse on Rocky.

Rocky had small punctures on the back of his neck...more like scrapes. He had the slash inside his ear...and he had a cut in the conjunctiva of his left eye...but no corneal scratches. He came home with pain pills and eye drops.

We are now convinced it was a fisher cat. I had heard one in the woods a couple of weeks ago in the night....very scary sounding screams. Mark heard one just this morning a couple of houses up the road from us. We figure it got in by jumping over the fence out back. The snow is so high around the fence now that critters can get over it easily.

We have been researching fisher cats on line and see that they come into yards for suet. Well, we have noticed strange tracks in the yard lately and the suet has been disappearing a lot faster than usual. I thought it was all the squirrels who have been coming in lately because they can't reach the stuff they buried before the snow and ice came.

Gina, a friend who lives in Maine, has Jack Russells and who is a vet tech with a lot of experience seeing fisher cat victims says that if there is a lot of damage sustained to the dogs and no body to show for their efforts, it is most likely a fisher cat. They fight hard and get away. They are ferocious and are to be feared. We have worried about fisher cats for years, ever since one was spotted in our old neighborhood in Norwich.

The house was very quiet Saturday as Rocky was not his usual barky self. Truman lay on Sandy's lap all day, bundled up. He didn't want to eat initially, but she got him to drink a little and take a little bit of food. I took advantage of the peace and calm to run down to the ER to get stitches put in my hand.

As I write this, Rocky is bundled under the blanket on my lap. Bubbles is snuggled up to him. I just gave him his antibiotics and put the drops in his eyes. Truman is on his way to our vet's office to get the drains removed. The warm compresses and the drains have worked, stuff has been coming out of his wounds the way it should.

Truman is much perkier today...he actually wagged his tail when he saw me come in from the doctor's office this morning. He can walk around the yard to pee and poop and Sandy caught him getting up on a snow bank this morning and starting to frisk around!

The vet called yesterday and was shocked at how well the two of them were doing. Sandy had to remind her of how tough Jack Russells are. The vet doubted that a fisher cat had been involved...she thought the damage would have been much fact she thought both dogs would be dead. We don't think she gives enough credit to JRTs! Gina told us about a JRT that had a fisher cat get into it's kennel and the JRT killed the fisher cat! They are mighty tough dogs.
We do believe that Truman was in the forefront of the fight and Rocky probably saved his life by being involved in the fight also. The cat took off rather than continue to fight both of them. I never saw the cat...but it could have gone around the other way while I was coming up the path. And we think Bub must have gotten some licks in too. They hunt well up front while the others come in from the sides or sneak around back. I'll bet the cat had it's back to the gate and that's what I's body thumping on the gate.

It was a very exciting weekend...we are hoping we have no more like that...ever.

And I still can't feel my ring finger.