Thursday, May 1, 2014

Of Dogs and Cats and Chickens

Abai, the Golden, age 12

It's been "one of those" weeks.   Not bad, just, well, filled. Not bad, just not GOOD. Just, a week. I'm ready to be done with it, now, thank you very much. Monday was a vet appointment for my Old Ladies, all three. What possessed me to make an appointment for the entire geriatric crew at the same time, I'm not sure. Our vet is 20 minutes away, I cannot possibly be home from work until 3:20 if I FLY out of my classroom and beat the busses out of the parking lot, and my vet appointment was at 3:40, the latest I could get if I was bringing all three. Well, holy crow, it takes me 20 minutes just to get them moving after they've been laying around all day, stiff, aging joints and all. As I was managing to get the three who needed to go with me in the car, the other two took off out the front door like a shot out of a cannon... you could almost hear them, in their best Mel Gibson voice, barking out "FREEEE-DOM" as they took off across the street and cut through the neighborhood back yards. And my first thought was "Crap - now what do I do? I can't drive out of town and leave two loose dogs out running, but I can't cancel a vet appointment ten minutes before I'm supposed to be there."  SOMEONE loved me that day. Both black and whites came tear-assing BACK into the yard, up the front walk and into the house again like that had been their plan all along.  Just a quick two minute run and then home again. Yep, that's all we wanted.... honest.......
Anvik, Alaskan Husky, age 9
So we manage to make it there, only 5 minutes late, to find that they were behind. HUGELY behind. We waited. And waited, AND WAITED. Oddly, I didn't even really mind, because, unlike waiting in a doctor's office, at least here I had my dogs to keep me company. They are much better company than most people most of the time, and definitely preferred company to people all of the time, so it wasn't a big deal. Both Abai and Anney were fine - just updated shots, heartworm check, etc. It's my old lumpy girl, Willow, who is at least 13, but could be older, as she was a rescue off the city streets a few hours north of me, who's the worry. She has very little hip function anymore, can't climb stairs, gets her feet knocked out from under her if one of the younger ones runs too close, or over top of her when she is trying to go in or out. She's in a lot of pain, breathes too heavily too much of the time, has gone stone deaf and has cataracts besides. So, with all that confirmed, updated shots for her, Rimadyl for pain ($26.00 for 14 tablets, 2 tablets per day... ouch) and Dasaquin for a joint supplement (75.00 a bottle for 60 tablets, at two per day... double ouch) (and her breathing difficulty is called "old dog lungs," btw, which was new for me) - two solid hours later, we came home. $474.87 lighter in the checkbook.
Willow, curled up on her orthopedic mat in front of the heater, with her best cat friend Tequila
I guess I could have stomached that a bit better if it weren't for the fact that on Friday, next week, the two black and whites go for their turn, which will likely be a good $250.00.Sigh.
      AND, today, the stray cat we took in a few years back (because the scummy neighbors who adopted her as a kitten moved a year later and left her behind) went to have oral surgery. Yes. ALL her teeth have now been removed due to rotting - no idea why. Bad genes, apparently.  I have put it off for two years because I could not make myself pay the thousand dollars it was quoted as likely going to cost me. After two years, though, I could no longer stand to watch her shake herself in pain when a piece of dry food got caught between her teeth, and she didn't even have the ability to eat soft food without pain. She would just lick the gravy and could not seem to eat the mush part and was losing weight, and her breath stunk so badly you couldn't stand to have her near you. Unfortunately, she is the lovey-est cat who simply LIVES to be near you and to love you, and the guilt was killing me. Everyone I know tells me how absolutely ridiculous it is to pay a thousand dollars for a cat's teeth. A cat I didn't even really want, or love. And while I agree, it IS ridiculous, I also wonder, really, what are my choices. I could not ask the vet to put her down. There is nothing health-wise wrong with her. I could not bring myself to ask anyone to shoot her, although that was the most often recommended advice of people. Finally, I just decided to suck it up, use my savings and try to make it up somehow by cutting from some other areas until I get it put back. Yes, it's dumb and I hate that I had to do it. I wish I were somehow a little harder inside. But, I'm not. And maybe there will be some karma someday for having done it. Maybe Katie cat will save my life someday. Or something.
     So, the week isn't full enough of animal care - and the accompanying financial pain! - but last night, I find I've lost a couple of chickens to, likely, Miss Anvik the noted chicken killer (not her fault they ended up in her back yard) but that Bramble, my Border Collie, managed to save one and herd her to me at the back door. That story, or what I think is the story, is actually pretty funny, but I'll save that for another post. For now, I have a crippled chicken living in my kitchen. I hope it's temporary. And no, I'm NOT taking this one to the vet, no matter what. I love my chickens, probably far more than Katie-cat, but I am NOT spending vet money to make her well. She can live in a cage and be a, well, a,   I don't know, a front porch chicken, or something, the rest of her life, if she has to. Not a house chicken (though she does seem to be pretty happy laying on a lap...) and I am NOT spending money to make her uncrippled if she doesn't manage to do that on her own. She will just have to get over it. That's all there is to it!  Go ahead, call me heartless, I just don't care.
Poor thing - unlike the dogs and cats, she has no name......
Perhaps I could make some money off this bird to put towards my current "animal sanctuary" - she seems to be absorbing much from the EMT textbook... the first Chicken EMT???


Maria said...

I grew up on a farm and I found that chickens were actually much smarter than anyone gave them credit for. Except for the pecking order thing. That used to just enrage me. They'd act like vicious junior high girls and be mean to one chicken for some reason or other in a pack. It used to just tear me up, so I'd end up sitting under a tree with a disowned chicken in my lap.

Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

We love our animals and do what ever it takes, but there comes a time....and when that time comes, it's very hard.