Sunday, December 30, 2012

In The Puppy Way

There's no doubt about it now: Leah is "in the puppy way!" Her tummy is swelling, she's eating a lot, and she sighs often. I think those are all signs of pregnancy, based on observations of some of my girlfriends who became mothers. Leah is a bit confused by the whole process, I think. Sometimes she turns quickly and looks at her tummy with great interest. If she had one of those cartoon bubbles over her head, it would say something like, "Just what is going on in there??"

Poor Leah. She's not only dealing with being pregnant for the first time, but also with that bad cut on her leg. After a week of being a very good girl and not bothering the staples, we got a little too lax about making her wear the Elizabethan collar. It is quite aggravating  for her and for us. Wouldn't you know it, she very neatly removed all twelve staples by herself and spit them out on the floor. I discovered this fact just as she pulled out the last one. I was quite distraught, as it was 10:30 p. m. on Saturday, three days before Christmas. The wound opened right back up; it hadn't healed at all. Luckily, a veterinarian who used to have a practice here still maintains a home just a few miles up the road, where he and his family spend most weekends. Robin had him take a look at Leah's leg on Sunday afternoon, December 23. His prognosis was that the wound was not at all infected (thank goodness!) and would eventually heal on its own. He recommended applying Neosporin twice daily and keeping that awful collar on her until the healing was complete. We've followed his orders all week, and I'm glad to report that the cut is healing nicely...slowly, but nicely. Leah will have a nasty scar, but that is small potatoes as long as there are no more complications.

The puppies are due around January 10th. That's less than two weeks away! We're both excited and a little apprehensive. Hopefully Mother Nature will make sure everything goes smoothly, with mama and puppies healthy and strong when all is said and done. Robin and I have been looking forward to this for a long time. We wanted to have some puppies from Red because he is such a good, good dog. It took us close to two years to find a Leah, as Kelpies are scarce, especially black and tan females. And, as we move through the elder care season of midlife, we decided we were due for a little joy. What better for that than a litter of sweet little puppies!!

After wearing her collar all day, Leah gets a break. She's sleeping a lot more
now, resting up I guess, for taking care of  her babies.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Keeping Christmas

I don't know where the phrase "keeping Christmas" originated. It sounds old to me, or at least old-fashioned.  I suppose "keeping Christmas" is what we would call "celebrating Christmas" these days. We all know what that involves: shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, practicing, singing, worshiping, cooking, cleaning, traveling, visiting, eating. Gee, just typing all that out makes me tired! But hidden inside all those things is the reason for celebrating Christmas and it's oh, so important!

At our house, we're keeping Christmas this year

with decorations from childhood

and decorations we've chosen.

We're keeping Christmas with cherished recipes made once a year to keep them special,

and served on special dishes.

We're keeping Christmas with music: old familiar carols for playing,

and singing,

and listening to.

We're keeping Christmas with lights

 and candles.

We're keeping Christmas with gifts wrapped up for surprises.

But most of all, we're keeping Christmas with Jesus. It's His birthday, after all.

We're part of the faithful who come to adore Him.

Adoring this Gift from God, who saved us from our sins.

Adoring Him with music, food, family, gifts, and decor, all meant to "keep Christmas" in our hearts.

Yes, we're "keeping Christmas" at our house this year. It can be a lot of bother, but all the effort adds up to a heart full of everlasting joy, way down deep, where it matters most.

Whatever your traditions, I hope you're keeping Christmas at your house in some form or fashion.
It's a sweet season to behold!

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In A Bad Way

When Leah, our Australian Kelpie was in heat for the first time, friends from out of town were visiting. Robin explained that we had to keep a close eye on she and Red (our male Kelpie), saying that Leah was "in a bad way." That phrase stuck, and as of yesterday, has come to mean more than being in heat.

Leah and Red are beloved pets, but they are also working farm dogs. They go to work every day with Robin, where they help immensely with herding and sorting cows, not to mention gathering up the chickens every evening. Although we love them and do our best to take good care of them, sometimes accidents happen. Yesterday was one of those times: Leah fell off the back of Robin's Nissan pickup just before dark. She seemed unhurt, except for a nasty cut on her hind leg. It looked like the impact burst open the skin. When I saw it, I immediately said it needed stitches. Robin wasn't so know how men are. Nevertheless, Leah and I headed to the animal hospital first thing this morning.

Saturdays are pretty zooy at the vet office, but Leah was good and waited very patiently. The vet tried to numb the area with a local anesthetic  but she wouldn't have it, so they had to put her under long enough to close the wound with twelve shiny staples. I thought we were home free until the assistant brought in an "Eliz Collar," so the bill says. I guess that is short for Elizabethan collar, because that's what it reminds you of after you get over thinking the poor dog has a giant funnel on her head! Now that took some getting used to.

Leah had no sense of her head being twice as big as usual and kept bumping into things. It didn't help that she couldn't see to either side, nor could she touch her nose to the ground. She was a mighty confused little girl for a while. Her balance was off too, and I had to lift her into the back of our SUV, a jump she easily makes when things are normal. She settled down on the long ride home, but every once in a while I'd hear the collar bump as she tried to get comfortable.

When we got home, I kept Leah on the leash, as instructed to do, and she didn't understand that either. She is used to being free and was puzzled by having to be led around. In the house, Cheyenne, our Sheltie, was also puzzled by this thing that smelled like Leah, but sure didn't look like her. Leah ignored her and did a lot of bumping until she finally got comfortable enough to take a long nap.

Our instructions are to administer pain medication and an antibiotic twice daily, and to limit Leah's activity for two weeks, keeping the Eliz collar on her at all times unless we are able watch her constantly. I took it off for a long walk late this afternoon, and was able to leave it off while she ate her supper. The collar went back on while we got our supper ready, ate, and did the dishes. Leah is a talker, and while I was busy in the kitchen she began a conversation of rowls and arghhs elsewhere in the house. At first I didn't pay attention, but as the intensity of her language grew I went to investigate. I found her standing piteously in front of the water bowl in the bathroom, thirsty but unable to get her mouth to the water. When I got the collar off, she wasted no time in getting a big drink. It's going to be a long two weeks until the staples are removed!

So now, little Leah is in a bad way again. Not in heat this time, as she was a few weeks ago, but rather stuck with her head in a funnel and nothing to do but wait for a wound to heal. I don't think she knows it yet, but we're pretty sure she's also waiting for something else...puppies! Won't that be a sweet adventure!!

Puppies? You're kidding. Aren't you ??