It never fails that eventually something will go wrong.
No, scratch that. Horribly, terribly, gut-wrenchingly wrong.
This week I had TWO such events!
Since I’ve been busy shooting footage for new video blogs, I carry the video camera around where ever I go. Erik insisted I use his favorite, (once expensive) video camera, eventhough the thing is large and heavy.
Sure the thing is over 10 years old, but it still shot excellent quality video.
I was getting ready to mow my garden (yes, mow it — the grass had taken over the area I had planned to put potatoes and needed to be tamed down again) but because the grass was so tall and thick I decided to shoot a video in it, pretending it was the hay field.
After I shot the video, I set the camera down by my feet on the mower’s platform (thinking my lap wouldn’t last long, and anywhere else I put it would leave it forgotten and possibly rained on).
After some thought I decided to mow along the cow fence since I was already there. On one particular bump, the camera jolted off the mower and landed right under the mower’s deck . . .
. . . and was promptly annihilated.
I stood there in shock, knowing very well I’d be in a heap of trouble.
And like I figured, I sure was.
If that didn’t ruin my week, then what happened yesterday sure did.
Our male boxers like to fight each other, and, knowing this I go to great lengths to keep them apart.
Lately, our largest male, Finley, has been climbing out of the fenced yard when the dogs are out running around their new backyard area. While he hadn’t caused any trouble, I usually had Gator (our older male boxer) tied up outside to keep him away from Finley. I knew it was a matter of time before Finley found Gator and got into a fight.
This time, I decided to let Gator out into the fenced yard with the female dogs, and try to keep Finley penned-up. I thought about tying him outside, but last time he got all tangled up. I went for option 2: putting him in Gator’s pen.
Gator’s pen is on the end, and I had erected 2 security fences to keep Finley from trying to attack Gator while Finley was in the yard (their outdoor runs all sit in the main fenced yard).
I was quite pleased with my new set-up, and thought “finally all the dogs can be happy”.
I was DEAD wrong.
Because Finley had discovered he could climb out of the fenced yard, he decided to climb out of his kennel pen (or rather, Gator’s). The dogs all have a small, 4.5 ft walled area inside our 12×12 building. Finley climbed over his door and landed in the main area.
They had only been out two hours. Long enough for me to feed my 4 year old and put him down for a nap.
When I walked out to do some weed wacking, I decided to check the dogs.
What I saw will leave permanent scars in my memory.
I will save you the gory description.
I stood in complete shock and quickly closed the door again, shaking violently. What do I do? He was severely wedged into the door and I needed help getting him out! And I needed some moral support!
My feelings were a mixture of sick shock, and utter grief at our much loved Finley. And fear. What would Erik say?! He had been irate about the video camera. Finley was worth well more than that!
I looked around. I needed help. I needed it NOW! I don’t ever ask anyone for help, and certainly most people are not inclined to offer it. But if there was EVER a time I needed it, it was NOW!
My vet tech neighbor was not home. She would have been perfect. I didn’t know our new next door neighbor well enough nor did I know if he was home, and none of my other female neighbors had a strong enough stomach to help.
Then I spied one of my guy neighbors driving by. He was a hunter. I knew him enough to feel comfortable asking for help.
I tried waving him down, but that didn’t work. I thought I had his number somewhere on my phone, so I sent him a text begging him to help me if he wasn’t too busy.
But the person on the other end insisted they had no idea who I was and was not the guy I was looking for.
This left me thoroughly perplexed and in further shock. Did the neighbor just not want to help and was making stuff up or did I really have the wrong number?!
Since I didn’t know, I sat down and let the tears stream down my face.
Sometimes it’s hard being alone, an island looking off into the distance at the main land with all the hustle and bustle.
And while I knew I could find a way to lift poor Finley out of the door (I always find a way to do stuff by myself), I would have to face the horror of it all alone.
I’d have to stuff the overwhelming feeling of grief, shock and terror aside, shut my brain down and look at it as “just another job” to get done.
I’d have to ignore the blood splattered across the walls, the bits of flesh stuck to the door, and the horrific smell of death that had now permeated into the wood.
The thoughts of how he died and what he must have gone through threatened to break my fierce determination, and several times I had to walk outside and catch my breath to re-focus my mind on getting him out.
I had to stand on a chair to get enough leverage to pry him out, and it took a good 20 minutes. I brought the tractor over with the bucket, and loaded Finley in to go bury him at the back of the property.
I suck at digging holes with the tractor bucket.
After 30 minutes of digging, I managed to carve out a shallow grave, gently slid Finley in and covered him over.
Then I went for a short walk through the woods to clear my head and check the chanterelles.
So this is what MUST have happened:
Finley figured out how to climb out of his inside pen, over his door (using his dog water dish as a step stool). Once out into the main house, he saw the other dogs running loose in the fenced yard through the doggy door and tried to climb over the door to his normal pen to get to them (or maybe he just saw Gator in there, I don’t know). He didn’t make it over and got stuck. Gator found him struggling and took the opportunity to attack.
I was sick all day trying to figure out how to tell Erik.
I finally broke the news later that night. Erik simply shrugged and said it was too bad, but Finley did it to himself.
I still feel like crap, and am really shook up.
The images of what happened will haunt me forever though.