Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Christmas that Almost Wasn't


Tuesday, December 20, 2011 almost ended any happiness that would have been this Christmas.
I had to go to Sherman, Texas for some last minute grocery shopping needs before Christmas. Mom stayed home with the critters. It should have been an easy task, as it usually is. Not this time.
Shasta was in the yard when I left. She watched me through the gate as I pulled away. Like the other dogs, she bolted to the other side of the yard to watch me as I pulled out of the driveway and headed towards Sherman.
After I got to Sherman, I made 2 stops... the Catholic church to deliver a couple of Christmas presents and the post office.
I, then, headed to PetSmart to pick up another dog bed and some cat beds they had on sale still, as well as some litter and food. While there, I got some toys for the cats and a few more for the dogs.

As I got in line at the check out, I got a call from Mom. I listened to her still calming down from a frightful experience...

Shasta got out of the yard.

I asked if she wanted me to come home. She said no; she had managed to catch her, as she called to her and she came.

She put her back in the yard, but she got out again. This time she saw her do it. She squeezed between the house and the fence post. She didn't know how she was fitting, as the space looked too thin.

I told her I would try to hurry, but I had to go to Sam's, Kroger & Walmart, which I dreaded. Things moved along, but seemed to me to be taking forever. As the time passed and more and more people seemed to be out Christmas shopping, I felt like I was getting nowhere, and was nervous as to how things were going at home.

Then, the worst call came while I was at Walmart picking out a birthday card for Mom...

Mom called... Shasta was out of the yard again. She had gone out with her this time to watch her, but she was faster than Mom. She squeezed out and started running. The land is 2 acres, which doesn't seem too large until you are chasing a dog or walking it when you are in pain. Mom walks with a cane and a walker. She was smart this time and took her cane and a coat with her to watch her. She had no treats to entice her with, though, and no leash. Her collar was not on her, as this was the first time she had ever gotten out of the yard.

Sherman is 20 minutes from home doing 70 mph. I told her I would leave and come home. She told me no, just finish; she'd do the best she could.

She was crying. I felt helpless.

Here's my near 68 year old mother, who has been told she needs knee replacements, but refuses to get them because she's afraid, out chasing my 9 month old puppy across 2 acres of land... barb wire barricades 2 sides and horse fence barricades the 3rd side. Wild berry vine bushes with thorns, prickly pear cactus and briar vines with large thorns is everywhere. In some places, there are thickets of trees & poison oak. Mom followed her back as far as she could go. Shasta kept going... through the barb wire fence and through a pasture and to the other side of a line of trees out of sight. That's when Mom called me while I was at Walmart. She was so upset because she thought she lost my puppy. I was upset because I knew Mom couldn't walk that well and to know she was traipsing all over chasing her. I wasn't there to help and Shasta was out of her sight. I was afraid for Mom getting hurt, and I was afraid of losing Shasta.

I called our neighbor. He was still at work, but his girlfriend and his son were home. He asked them to go over to help.
Mom managed to get Shasta to start heading back to her, but Shasta was distracted by a pond... in she went... belly deep!

My neighbors made it back to Mom and tried to help catch Shasta. They all chased her back up to the house. When they got back to the house, Shasta was back in the yard, as my neighbors saw her escape again as they approached. Luckily the three of them were able to corral her at the spot where she got out, and she squeezed back in. None of them could figure how she got out.

I got a call from my neighbor as I got to the truck after checking out at Walmart. I was so panicked I was shaking. He calmly asked, "did you here?" I thought he was going to say Mom fell and got hurt or Shasta ran out in the street and got hit by a car... the street is a 70 mph highway, which was extremely busy just before Christmas and at 4-5pm. No. Shasta was back in the yard. Whew!

After loading the groceries in the truck, I got a call from Mom. I told her I heard from our neighbor already. I asked how she was. She was still shaken and now, she realized, terribly scratched from all the thorns of the berry vine bushes. I told her to wash her legs well and put antibiotics on them because I always get infections from them dadgum thorns. She has problems with her legs with cellulitis, diabetes, as well as she has to watch infections since they removed lymph nodes when she had breast cancer.

When I got home, I looked at the fence. I figured out how she was getting out. The house is a mobile home. The skirting or under pinning is flexible. She was able to push against it, pushing it in, to fit her body between it and the fence post. I tried the best I could to block it off. I, then, took her out on a long training leash I have every time she needed to go out until my brother could do something more permanent with the area.

Both, Mom and I, learned something the Tuesday before Christmas...

After Maverick died this past June, we didn't expect to get another dog. We still had the three we had with Maverick and Copper before they died plus the one that wandered up after Copper died. So, we still had 4 dogs. The only reason we got Shasta 3 days after Maverick died was because we didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to, once again, have a wolf hybrid.

Here we are 6 months later, and we realized we love her... hook, line & sinker! We realized we would have been devastated if something happened to her or if we lost her. We realized, with Christmas presents waiting for her and a new video camera just dying to film it, it would not have been a very merry or happy Christmas without her.

The fence has been modified, but my trust in Shasta is still shaken. I don't leave her outside for long periods of time without checking on her. OK, I am neurotic; I check on her often!

Shasta's first Christmas was a good one. I think I got a little bit of video, but I have to go through it. I hope to be able to sit down with her and write her blog recounting her first Christmas for next week.

Shasta jumping on the "scaredy hole" to play with Cody.
The "scaredy hole" is the underground tornado shelter.

Shasta & Cody playing on top of the "scaredy hole".

No comments:

Post a Comment