It was just getting light in the east this morning, later than twilight, but the sun wasn’t actually up. I was just lying there wishing I had a mattress to sleep on. I rolled over and there she was…about 110lbs of hair and kind of golden/blue eyes. She was just lying there with her head on her legs watching me. She freaked me out, I just stared at her waiting for the attack to come…or a bark, something. But nothing, she just laid there staring at me, head on her paws.
As soon as I moved she lifted her head and brought her ears forward, I guess expecting me to say something. Her coat was filthy dirty, filled with burrs and other desert plant pieces. This huge dog just lying there looking at me, one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced. So what the heck, I started talking to her. Her stare was glued to me like she was trying really hard to figure out what I was saying. She is a German Sheppard crossed with something. Dirty, but beautiful in the face.
So I am just quietly talking to her and I am not moving. I wasn’t sure that maybe she was trained to hold someone in one place till their handler gets there. I just kept talking quietly to her not wanting to get her riled up. I swear, she was looking at me with this look…Don’t you understand what I need? I felt like a lower intelligence level being. The finally I noticed it. She had part of an arrow sticking out just above her hips. It had broken off at some point, but it was almost sticking clean through, the point lying just under the skin.
I figured I needed to take a chance and I started to move into a knelling position to get a better look at the wound. Thankfully she just laid there and didn’t move, except for her eyes, they followed me like some kind of radar. I checked out the wound, it wasn’t bleeding, a little bit of puss, and no other sign of infection. It couldn’t have happened more than a couple days ago.
Do I look like a vet?
I kept talking to her real low and soothing…more for me than her. I was scared to death that at any moment she would lunge at me and tear my carotid artery right out of my neck, then eat my intestines as I slowly bled to death under the trestle. I moved closer to her and told her I was going to touch her and see how bad the wound was. I am kidding you not…she laid her head on her paws…just laid there!
I felt around the wound and realized the arrow was a target arrow with a fairly blunt end. The bad news was…no way I could simply push it through the other side like they show it in the Indian movies. The good news was…there was nothing that appeared to be stopping me from pulling it out. OK, the only thing stopping me from pulling it out was my courage. I was scared to death that if I grabbed the arrow, let alone pulled it out, that dog would treat me like a giant MilkBone.
I told her I was sorry and please don’t kill me…I pulled that piece of arrow right back out the way it went in. She yelped, jumped up, spun around, and I knew I was a dead man. She came right at me…and then kept right on going past me at a dead run. In less than two seconds she was out of sight. Gone!
I was sitting there with a piece of arrow in my hand, a little blood dripping off of it, and feeling like I was so far out of my mind that I was actually in some insane asylum somewhere. This couldn’t be reality…no way, absolutely no way!
Well, I figured reality or not, I better sanitize my hands. I got the bottle of sanitizer out and cleaned my hands thoroughly. I am getting low on hand sanitizer, I should have looked more when I was at the work train. I will have to figure out something soon.
I was hungry as well so I got out a can of pork and beans as well as laying out two big ole pieces of beef jerky. Yum! Just don’t get downwind of me in about two hours. I don’t have my spork with me so I have to eat stuff out of cans with my Spyderco Paramilitary2 knife. I bet the guys at Spyderco would be so ashamed of me right about now…eating beans off their precious knife. The beans tasted unreal good. Every couple of knifefulls of beans a did a bite of beef jerky. Now, it might not sound like much to you, but to me…it was a feast. I really should have brought along my GOOD BOB vs. my GHB. I would have been so much better off.
I am about half way done with my feast and guess who shows back up…yup, you guessed it. I’ve named her…I call her “Beans.” Yeah, I know, soooooo original. Get over it, this is my life’s story right now and I will name a dog whatever I want to.
She walked right over to the beef jerky and woofed down the piece that wasn’t in my hand. Like I was going to stop her! Then she laid down and started staring at me again. I am a pushover for dogs. Dang it!! I fed her the last of my other piece of jerky. She wasn’t getting any of my beans!
I noticed a little blood on her fur where the arrow entry hole was, some hair still pushed into the hole. So maybe I am a vet, the closest thing to one around here anyway…she will just have to deal with it. I started telling her what I had to do like she was some kind of human patient. I am losing my mind. She just laid there staring at me. She is probably more sane than I am. That’s a scary thought but probably very true.
I dug out the first aid supplies from the work train and laid them out neatly on a small piece of plastic that was blown up under the trestle. I added my original supplies to it and started to come up with a plan. I had the stuff to clean her wound with, I even had a couple of triple-antibiotic squeeze packets but nothing to suture or staple the wound with. Then I remembered my wilderness EMT training…it would probably be better if It was left open and allowed to heal from the inside out. But, I had to get any remaining hair out of the wound, rinse it clean, then treat it with the triple-antibiotic. The rest would be up to her own body to deal with.
But, I am not as entirely stupid as you might think. She is a female dog, a dog that is use to the whole pack mentality thing. I figured I might as well establish that I am the “alpha male” and get it over with. Well, I will be the alpha if that is OK with her.
I moved a little deeper into the shade, then called her over to me. I used a voice command and a “come” motion with my hand. By golly she got up and walked right over to me and laid back down right in front of me. Sweet! I now had a new family…a pack.
I kept talking real soothing to her was I worked at getting the remaining hair out. A couple times she spun her big head around like she was going to lick the wound, or bite off my hand. But she did neither. She really, really didn’t like me rinsing out the wound with water. I am sure it stung and was cold as well. Then I realized that she may not have had any water to drink for a real long time. So I cupped my hand, put some water in it, and offered it to her. She has a mammoth tongue! She lapped that water up, then some more, then some more again. But I had to get some triple-antibiotic into that wound. To do it right I knew I had to cut some of the hair away around the hole. She didn’t much care for that. And my toilet kit will never be quite the same again. The side benefit to all of this was a Q-tip. Yeah, I still had some Q-tips in my kit so I used one to apply the triple-antibiotic. And my hair cutting scissors are now a multi-purpose tool.
I was tired by the time I was all done, so was she. I took a nap, so did she. I woke up, she was staring at me. We had a drink, a bite to eat, and I wrote this. Now what?
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