I spent yesterday afternoon huffing, puffing, and swinging an axe.
In November, when the first snow fell, we weren’t thinking about calving. We were thinking let the cows and horses graze unimpeded. Which is great. Which works fine until February.
February… when the electric fence wire we laid down in the summer is now buried beneath snow and ice.
Sometimes you can give it a good yank, and the wire will pull through the snow.
Sometimes you drag your boots through the crusty snow and the wire will magically appear.
Sometimes the wire will disappear under 4 inches of ice and then is when your axe makes its appearance. That is what Vernon and I were doing.
I have a smaller axe than Vernon.
It is lighter weight.
It is more dull.
Thank goodness for small favors!
Because in the middle of a swing, Dally darted in to see me, and I connected with her skull.
I felt the contact, knew I had made *serious* contact.
As she ran yelping up the hill, I said a very bad word, threw my axe to the side, and started to call her back to me. Between her yelps, she heard me, and circled back down the hill to my side.
I anxiously looked her over, knowing that blood should be pouring from *somewhere*.
I couldn’t find anything on first inspection, though the red mud on her paws teased me with its resemblance to blood.
As she and I both calmed down, my fingers searched deeper through her fur and I found it. A nice neat gash on the top of her skull. About an inch long. No blood.
OH, MY GOODNESS.
If I’d had the bigger axe,
if it’d been sharp,
if one of us would have been a split second either way, I’d have hit her in the eye or nose or cut off a paw or broke her spine.
If I was chopping wood and taking a full swing instead of the smaller ones you use when chopping ice…
Sympathizing with the massive headache she must be experiencing… I told her and Elsa that maybe her mom could make her feel better. And I swear, the instant I said it, Elsa walks to Dally who is laying pitifully at my feet, and begins licking the wound. She continued for a good 5 minutes. Dally visibly relaxed with the ministrations of her mom.
This morning when I first woke up, I checked on Dally. I could tell someone had licked her head again.
English Shepherds… Basic Emergency Care providers!
Vernon said he wondered if a lobotomy would help her behavior in any way… dearsweethelpful husband!
I, however, will be teased about taking an axe to my dogs… probably for the rest of my life!
I wonder if this will make the hair grow back in white, like scars do on horses. If so, her little white blaze will have a short zig at the very top of it, a perpetual reminder of the axe-icents that dogs can freakishly undergo out here on the ranch.