Minor Miracles

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that little miracles keep popping up in life, and they keep me moving forward with a good attitude. Yesterday was filled with these wondrous occurrences.

After this, we even had a few drops of rain (and it rained a LOT to the north of us).

The first one was so many people reading the blog the last couple of days. I guess tagging a post “death” brings in readers, but really, the hits were a testimony to how much my friends care about each other. Thanks to all who said such kind things about Stephanie, Terry, Beth, and Alston.

Next came an answer to my prayers (more like a response to my internal curses). The County finally, at last, por fin, made a stab at fixing the road that runs by the Hermits’ Rest. Thanks, Precinct 2, for doing this before we lost another tire or shock absorber to your potholes that were becoming dangerous craters.

Heading toward Sara’s house.

They put down some black stuff, and at least for the moment (i.e., until it rains again in a month or two), you can drive the speed limit! No more weaving and trying to judge which set of holes was less bad for your car. No more coming to a complete stop before daring to go up the hill to the cemetery. Wow.

Heading toward the cemetery. You can see they didn’t bother to cover the parts of the road without potholes, but that’s okay.

It felt bizarre going down the hill last night and not getting that feeling that you’re on a carnival ride. We feel so fancy now.

This part was solid pothole!

Maybe the people across the street complained. Since they are Cameron natives and from a Good Milam County Family, their complaints would be listened to. Gee, I hope all the cement trucks and heavy equipment for building our pool doesn’t mess up the roads again (or the trucks full of corn, cotton, or whatever).

Alfred hair.

And to me, this was an actual miracle: Alfred actually came up and asked to have me pull some of his tons of excess hair off yesterday. He even came back for more when I got tired of it. It now looks like it snowed in many parts of our property, but Alfred seems much happier. Good dog.

I’m a good boy

And this felt like a minor miracle, too, like a gift from my friend Terry. One of our friends found some pictures of us having parties at a conference we all attended. There were pictures of us having a movie night as well as us laughing so hard while reading a book about baby platypuses that we lost the ability to speak.

Paulette, Barbara, and Terry during our laugh fest. It’s been wonderful sharing fun memories of our dear friend. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

I’ve missed these positive memories about my supportive group of friends from back then, the majority of whom are still my friends now. It’s a miracle to have such lasting connections.

Movie night at the “Technology Room” at an LLLI conference, laughing with my friends Jo and Dave. Our lives have changed a lot, but we keep in touch. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

And finally, Lee and I went on a nice ride out in the country last night, to enjoy the daily miracle of a Texas sunset after a day that wasn’t too hot or humid (I barely sweated when I rode Apache around 5 pm). With all this open space, I enjoy either a lovely sunrise or a pretty sunset nearly every day, even when the air isn’t full of dust or smoke from fires and such. Or rain from hurricanes, which we won’t have, but our friends to the east are having way too much of.

At the end of our road.

Think about what miracles surround you, whether from people or Nature (yes, people are part of Nature; I realize that). These things help you get through illnesses, deaths, work stress, and more. Don’t forget to share your miracles with others! It helps to hear them!

Reluctantly, the Dogs Have Their Vet Visit

Every year there are more dogs to look at here at the Hermits’ Rest. It makes the fee for the vet to come to us rather than us going to her quite the bargain. Yesterday, while I was in Austin away from the heat, Dr. Amy came out to see all seven dogs (Alfred, Goldie, Harvey, Carlton, Penney, Gracie Lou, and Vlassic). I always feel like I’m forgetting one, but it’s probably because Fiona is the size of Alfred.

They didn’t get rid of all my grass burs.

The big deal was that Alfred got his big problem dealt with, his dew claws. Both of the ones on his back legs have been problematic since he showed up. They grow in a circular shape, and eventually start growing into his leg, leading to pain and infections. Every time we cut them, he has to be sedated, and too much sedation isn’t good for dogs like him. So, we came to the decision that he’d need to have them removed, even though we’d wanted to avoid it.

So, when he finally got zonked out, they put sterile cloths under him where he fell (the floor in the entry to the house), and did it there. Lee has instructions for caring for the wounds and keeping him out of pain. He already walks better. Let’s hope this makes a big difference in Alfred’s quality of life.

Surprise! I’m overweight.

The other dogs got ALL their many shots (including rattlesnake vaccine), got de-wormed, and checked for heartworms (all negative). Lee says they all are getting a bit skittish. Maybe the horses warned them about vaccines?

We knew there’s have to be another sedation, because Vlassic was awful last time they went to trim his toenails, but his sharp toenails are a problem for poor Jim (and the rest of us, to be honest). When they went to get him, he showed up with a big…thing…on his nose!

What the heck?

Both Lee and the nephew had been playing with him earlier in the day, and he was fine then. Whatever it was happened during the afternoon yesterday. Dr. Amy said it looked like an encounter with something sharp, like a cactus or barbed wire (things we have in abundance).

Yuck.

It’s just horrible looking, though he doesn’t act upset. We have stuff to put on it twice a day, so it doesn’t get infected or worse. If he isn’t better in two weeks, she will try to remove it. It’s very weird that it came up so fast! Keep him in your thoughts. At least his toenails look way better!

But, he’s still happy

In other ranch news, chickens laid eggs in one of their new laying box choices, so I took the two that didn’t work out away. Now let’s see if the young hens ramp up and start producing.

And Drew was so happy to see me when I got home that it made up for the fact that I had a tire blow up about a quarter mile from the ranch entrance. I knew those potholes would be my downfall! But, I was driving slowly, so I didn’t lose control, and it’s entirely possible to get it fixed, eventually. I’m not going to stress about that!

Yeah, Maybe Goldie Is Happy

Perhaps I’m posting too many dog blogs, but who cares? It appears that the dogs have come to truces and are enjoying each other. There are still occasional growls and snaps (Penney and Harvey), but we all had such a fun and funny day that I had to share. Goldie had breakfast in my office, for privacy.

I just want to eat in peace.

Then she and Harvey joined Lee for some couch chatting time while he ate his breakfast. It was, I guess, cozy. Good thing she is gentle with furniture.

Much of today she stayed with me, but she did figure out the dog door at last, so she could go out. Carlton and Penney and Harvey made it mighty snug in my office, but they were pretty quiet!

Ahh, the cool floor.

After work (and a fantastic conversation with my wonderful dear friend formerly known as Nancy Jo), we all went out to play. At least it wasn’t as hot as yesterday! After running around, they had to cool off.

Alfred and Goldie looked like luxury liners out in the big pond. After explaining to the two guardian dogs that they did NOT need to bark at one of the cows, we all ran back. Well, Alfred and I walked.

Let’s race!

I sat on the porch for a while to enjoy the breeze. Since the dogs were cooler, they could play. Carlton and Goldie looked like they were dancing.

That tired them out, so they got on the ground to rest. Then they rolled.

Whew

And, as I knew it would happen, even Alfred rolled. He looks so happy.

See, I can roll, too!

I missed getting Harvey rolling, but there was quite a lot of it. The grass is so beautiful right now; who could blame them?

Were you worried that Penney didn’t get to play? Not to worry. She stayed upstairs with Lee, but Harvey went up and wrestled with her when we came back in.

Now we are all cooling off again. I think Goldie is settled in.

These humans have nice houses.

Geez. She is a big dog.

Who, me?

Gracie, the littlest Hermits’ Rest dog, spent the afternoon on the porch in her favorite chair. But she did get exercise. She moved to her favorite INDOOR chair. Cutie.

This is MY chair.

Alfred the Brave, and a Scary Vet Visit

Once again, I was in meetings all day, 8:30-7:30. It won’t be that way too much longer, but I have a tired brain. Meetings meant I couldn’t be there for the annual shot day for the dog pack, where Dr. Amy drives her mobile office up to the ranch and get it all done with little stress.

There were lots of surprises, according to Lee. I wish I’d been there to see the dogs’ true personalities shine through. Gracie apparently took everything like a champ. Good girl!

I’m good! I just have a little tartar.

No surprise here, but Carlton was in perfect health. He was also well behaved. That’s my boy.

I’m all inoculated.

Harvey was not our big brave boy. He cried and shook. But, he was well behaved and let them take care of him. Surprise! And he was not called out for being overweight! Double surprise!

I’m a big softy. But I’m not too big and soft.

Penney was not having anything to do with all those strange veterinary people. Then she noticed the other dogs were getting what she wants more than anything in the world: attention. Lee said she figured that out and ran over to get in between the techs and the other dogs. She is truly an Attention Hound.

I just want petting, even if I have to get shots.

And then there is Vlassic, the nicest dog in the world, right? When they drew blood, it hurt. He yelped and tried his damnedest to get away. He even snapped his teeth at a tech (a thing he does even when not afraid). So, he had to get tranquilizer. That let them also trim his nails, which will sure make Anita happy.

Butterfly break. I have no Vlassic photo, because he’s zonked out at Jim’s RV.

There’s one dog left, big Alfred. The plan was always to anesthetize him. He had to get his dewclaws trimmed again, because they were almost grown back into his leg.

That’s better!

While he was out, Lee asked them to look at a spot he’s had on his side for a while. It looked to us like he had a burr in his fur infect his skin. Imagine Lee’s surprise when they shaved the area and it revealed what actually happened.

Oh no. Poor Alfred.

He’d been bitten by a very large snake. They guess it was a couple of weeks ago. We never noticed a change in his behavior, other than a bit of lethargy a while back. And if it was swollen, we couldn’t tell for all his hair.

I’m woozy. But gonna make it.

It’s good Alfred is so big. And it’s good he had the rattlesnake vaccine. It gave him some protection. But dang, that poor dog! Out there protecting us and being brave, and never complaining.

In fact, Alfred has been acting happier, more energetic, and more fun that he ever has. His joy at seeing us and playing with us is so endearing. I’m glad he’s okay. I’m glad we are able to keep all these dogs safe and healthy. It’s a commitment.

Alfred Takes a Long Strange Nap

Today was a very different day for Alfred, our immense Anatolian Shepherd dog. We had thought maybe we’d get by this year without having to anesthetize him to groom him. He’d done a lot better than last year, thanks to Carlton gnawing off many of his burs.

What? I’m not perfect?

But then we noticed one of his huge double dewclaws had formed a circle and grown into his leg. It made him limp. That had to be dealt with!

I like to nap. I also like Lee.

So, our friendly mobile vet, Dr. Amy, who has probably funded her cool trailer off our pets, drove over to deal with our big, sweet boy.

I’m Alfred’s nurse, says Penney.

The nice thing is that he got sedated in the foyer, on his rug. He didn’t even know what happened. Just he suddenly had to NAP NOW.

They fixed his nail and trimmed all the others, which we certainly can’t do when he is awake. Then he had a nice snooze for an hour or so.

All fixed.
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