Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shadow's Big Night

I wrote this story in June 2007. Shadow is sadly, no longer with us. She died at the ripe old age of at least 18 and possibly older (she was an adult dog when I rescued her from the shopping mall). I miss her as does Billy. He doesn't have anyone to boss him around anymore/

Warning!!: This story is about abscesses and associated oozings. The descriptions below can get a bit graphic and yucky (a very technical medical term). If you have a weak stomach you might want to skip this story, or at least the first few paragraphs.

Shadow is up for adoption if anyone is interested. In the interest of fair trading Shadow is a very elderly, deaf and blind Silky Terrier type dog. She had an abscess on her face just below her right eye last week. With her furry little face we didn't notice it until is burst and then it was hard to ignore. Bec and Frances spent part of their Christmas vist helping me clean up the little face and needless to say Shadow was less than greatful. I think the purple spray to deter flies and disinfect the wound was the last straw. After a few terse comments about the younger generation of her family getting a bit pushy and disrespectful to elderly lady dogs (she seemed to hold a grudge against the girls, but still love me - after all I'm the one who knows how to work a can opener), she turned her back on them and hobbled away (Shadow alwasy hobbles when she's feeling indignant). I cleaned up the abscess a few more few times over the next few days and it's now looking good (if a red hole in her face covered in purple can be said to be looking good). A few days ago, just to make things interesting, her other eye started weeping and the hair around that eye ended up matting over it like a pirates eye patch. I know Shadow is blind and the matted hair made no difference to her at all other than aesthically, but I duly clipped and cleaned the area, sprayed all available bits of Shadow that I could reach with the purple stuff and left her to it.

That night Graeme came to bed at 11.30 and told me he thought Shadow needed an anitibiotic injection because "she smelled a bit". I got up and investigated and decided that with all her seeping bits it most probably was a good idea. We farmers do these things ourselves, living so far from town we have become proficient in providing quality medical care for our pets (with the vet's expert advice to back us up of course). The vet has prescribed this antibiotic when the abscess first became apparent, it looked like it was time for a followup dose.  I loaded up the syringe and popped it into Shadow while she was dozing in her bed. She barely gave a squeek so I congratulated myself on a job well done and went to bed.

About half an hour later, Shadow began to yap. Billy, who thinks that any time Shadow has a disharge (regardless of which end of her is oozing) Shadow is in season, despite the fact that she's been desexed for about 100 years, and he is therefore been banished to the other side of the laundry door where he keeps constant vigil in case the love of his life needs him to slay a dragon or some such small task (now that was an involved sentence wasn't it?!). He immediately gave voice too. If his love was protesting, well then, so would he!!! A high pitched yip was bad enough, add to it a concerned baritone bark and there was not way we were going to get to sleep. I got out of bed and opened the laundry door to see what the problem was. Shadow shot out and went for a drink. Fair enough I thought, maybe the injection made her thirsty. She was definitely moving at a faster speed than she'd managed in the last few days so I thought the injection was working and she was feeling a lot better. I stood on the back porch and waited, and waited and waited. Shadow had decided that now that she was feeling better she'd better catch up on her duties and now was the time to do a perimeter check of the house yard. Billy, ever anxious to help, was keeping close and whispering sweet nothings in Shadow's deaf ears. She must have heard some of what he said, or maybe it was just his doggy breath in her ear that ticked her off, but every now and then, then night air was broken with Shadow's pithy comments about her love struck body guard. Of course, this didn't deter Billy at all. He lives in hope that some day (or in this case night) Shadow will look up at him through her catarct dimmed eyes and realise what a dish he really is. When that day comes Billy wants to be close by so he can take advantage of the moment.

And what was I doing all this time? I was standing on the back porch calling Billy (well there was no point calling Shadow, she couldn't hear me) to no avail. Then my chance came. Shadow's circuits of the yard brough her past the porch steps with Billy close behind. I swooped on her, picked her up and plonked her in the laundry, dusted off my hands with a job well done and returned to bed. Graeme was fast asleep by now so I settled down to join him BUT about fifteen minutes later the yapping and barking resumed. I tried to ignore it but that didn't work. I once again got up and opened the laundry door. Shadow was doing laps of the laundry!!! She stopped to say hello when she realised I was among those present and invited me to join her in a 2 am dance. I delcined. Billy on the other hand was saying that he'd like nothing better than to be allowed in the laundry to partner Shadow in any dance she chose. I grabbed Shadow, gave her some calming pats and a good talking too, more for my benefit than her's, plonked her in her bed, filled a bucket with water so she had no further excuses for disturbing the peace and went to bed. I had toyed with the idea of leaving the laundry door open, but this would have resulted in Billy trying to chat Shadow up all night and Shadow is very vocal in her rejection of his propositions. Her rejections are actually a good deal louder than the yips of joie de vie with which  she was piercing the night air.

But that wasn't the last I heard from Shadow by any means. At regular intervals throughout the night, usually just after I'd managed to drift off to sleep again, Shadow again invited me to come and join in her revels. Then Billy would ask to be allowed to join her her revels too.  And so half the night passed. Eventually, even Billy grew tired of Shadow's celebrations and he moved to the front porch to catch up on his beauty sleep. Graeme, who is deaf in one ear, simply put his good ear firmly into the pillow and had no problem staying asleep. I on the other hand, heard every yip throughout the night. When it finally came time to get up, Shadow was only yipping once every now and then, but still enough to make sure my sleep was very, very disturbed. I let her out of the laundry with a few well chosen words to send her on her way, all of which she ignored.

And how did Shadow spend the rest of her day? Sleeping of course. After such a busy night, a girl has to catch up on her beauty sleep after all.