Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Animal News

We thought Mellow had reached the end of his days last week. He had diarrhea and a very sore neck or back. He would need to get up to go out, but he would just lay on his bed and cry because it hurt to move. Tom and I would help him get up and out, and he’d do his business and then go back t bed and cry. If we still lived in NY, we’re pretty sure we would have taken him on a one-way trip to the vet, but fortunately we’re here since he seems to be okay now, or at least as okay as an almost 11 ½ year old borzoi can be. He’s still spending a lot of time stretched out in his bed, but the diarrhea is gone and he gets up and goes out and runs around and doesn’t appear to be in any pain. He’s back to snapping at the puppies and parading around when he thinks things get out of hand.

With the horses, I spent all last week working with Esmerelda, who had decided that rearing and bolting was the solution to anything she didn’t want to do. We began the week with her being longed, and after rearing and falling over backwards in the mud while on the longe line, she’s a little more hesitant to rear since she really didn’t like thrashing in the mud. Fortunately I was longing her in our synthetic saddle. By the end of the week, her resistance had waned to planting her four feet and refusing to go forward, but it isn’t hard to kick at her and outwait her, and eventually she goes. I didn’t ride over the weekend, but I rode her again this morning and we rode around the property with only a few threats of misbehavior and she seems to remember how to go, stop, and steer, so I think she’s ready to go out on the trails again. George broke her just to ride through the jungle, and I’ve been pretty happy doing the same, but it’s apparently time to teach her how to be a riding horse with all the nice features like steering and brakes.

All the other horses are doing fine. Glinda is doing really well, getting to be more and more of a pleasure to ride. She’ll probably always have a little bit of a spook, but she tries really hard to please and hasn’t even attempted to buck me off.

Now that the weather is wetter, we’re fighting more ticks on the horses. I need to spray and wipe them with tick spray at least twice a week to keep them from getting ticks all over. Yuck. The ticks don’t seem to bother them, but they bother me, so all the horses are being treated.

Lou and the pups are fine. The pups continue to grow and nobody, including us, can believe how big they are. This is Stout, looking like a real dog. I managed to get this picture where he’s awake, but sitting still in one place long enough for me to snap a picture. I was not able, however, to get a picture of Beli, who was very busy trying to get Lou to love her.

Nock has been intent on catching the rat that comes into our kitchen at night. I make sure anything edible is put away, but it still comes and takes the rat poison, and chews on anything that smells at all like food. Nock spends part of every day sitting at the back of one of my open cupboards on the floor waiting for El Raton to show his ugly face. She’s made a couple of mad dashes through the backs of the cupboards, but so far El Raton has managed to escape.

Nock was stung by a scorpion one evening last week and had a cough and very red throat for about two days, but she’s fine now. We’d been told that a scorpion would kill a dog, but we’ve been told lots of things that we’ve discovered aren’t true, including things like the poisonous lizards around here (which aren’t poisonous) are the mothers to the very deadly fer-de-lance snakes (biologically impossible). In fact, we now like having these lizards in the house because they eat scorpions. I’m not sure if it’s a language issue or just a way of thinking, but people here tend to take things very literally, and if they hear it, they interpret whatever is said as the truth. For example, Wilton heard on the radio that on Independence Day there would be parades from Orange Walk to Belize City to Belmopan to San Ignacio to the south of Belize. He didn’t hear this as “many parades will happen in geographically diverse locations,” he heard “parades are going from Orange Walk to Belize City to…” and reported to us that these major parades would be marching from point to point in Belize. Of course, Wilton is nine, and he also heard the Hurricane Dean reports and told us that Dean was also marching down the Western Highway and would be stopping in the Pine Ridge, but it’s not uncommon to hear stories like this even from some of the adults, who don’t always question the viability of some of these things. Anything is possible in Belize!

But, back to Nock. I saw all the dogs scurry to a corner in the main room of the cabin, and got there just in time to see Nock jump back. She didn’t yelp or anything, but did a quick reverse. I grabbed Lou and Stout before they could get to it, and put my foot on top of it while I yelled for Tom and a machete. He killed the scorpion, and we noticed that Nock was doing a lot of licking. In about a half hour, she started coughing, and coughed all night. In the morning, her throat was red and swollen, but she didn’t act sick. She coughed for the next couple of days, but now she’s fine. We’ll still try to prevent the dogs from interacting with scorpions, but we’re much less worried now than we were a few days ago.

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