Wrinkles Along the Way

Today was set aside for finishing my online Crooked Fences newsletter.

I had no places to be, no conference calls, and felt a bit ahead of schedule on a presentation I’m doing next weekend.  So today I could devote to the newsletter.

There is always an underlying wrinkle in planning anything when you live a life with a plenitude of animals.

The flaw in my plan for today - today Lily and Diesel were pelted with porcupine quills.  Lily trotted straight up to me this morning and I thought she was being rather mission like.  I hadn’t yet noticed the left side of her face.  Poor dear, she had a mittful.  I sighed and I swore under my breath.  I tried to have a closer look but she thrashed her head around.  I let her be, decided to go ahead and feed the sheep and then take her home with me. 

I set to feeding hay and then noticed Diesel.  Double swearing.  I fed the first bale so that the milling sheep had somewhere out of the way to be and then took another look at D-man.  He didn’t look so bad off, I could probably help him.  With that thought barely out of my head, I reached into my pocket for the slip lead.  He was already on to me and made a beeline away from me.  I let him be, went back to feeding and then tried again.  I slipped the lead around his head and unfolded the needle nose pliers from the multipurpose tool I keep on my person.  I was wearing ear plugs for riding the tractor so I felt the growl in his throat before I heard it.  I needed to hear his growls to know what he meant to do.  They were vocalizations of stress and of confusion.  He didn’t want to bite me but it didn’t mean he wouldn’t.

He was not compliant in the least and at one point we had a heart to heart, in which I rather harshly explained that he was darn lucky to still be on this place such is the turmoil he has caused to numerous dogs, so he’d better sit tight and let me help him because fighting me was putting another nail in the coffin, so to speak.  It didn’t work.  I took a deeper breath and released it long and slow.  I had to be calm to help him but damn it, he had recently fought with Gibson and with Oakley, on separate occasions, and I was so frustrated with him. 

I looped the extra length of leash around his muzzle to hold it closed because I knew he picked up my frustration and with that there is no trust.  I had not taken the necessary time for trust to happen.  I only had a few quills to go.  I let him know I meant no harm but that I simply had to help him.  That didn’t really work either and we fought for a spell, him trying to get away, me refusing to let him go.  Then he gave up, and I eased up, and I was able to continue. 

I finished feeding the second hay bale, and looked around to find Lily.  She was washing her face against the hard crusted snow, pawing and then washing.  She came willingly but full of shyness.  I slipped the lead over her head and once again unfolded the pliers.  She was much more compliant, and allowed me to pull several quills before thrashing to say that was enough.  They were jam packed in her muzzle and with one pinch and yank with the pliers I was getting five or six quills.  I gave her and I breather and did T-touches on her face.  I lifted her lip on the good side of her muzzle and saw the quills inside.  I wasn’t going to be able to help her with those. 

I let her go and went home to call the vet.  This meant a stressful, first time road trip for her.  We got in for an appointment late that morning and were back home shortly after lunch.  Lily was dazed and sluggish under the influence of sedatives and compounded stress.  She was more alert tonight but she didn’t want me near her.  While D-man got over it, she won’t for awhile yet.   

[The newsletter - I dove into it this afternoon, it's almost done and will fly off into cyber space early tomorrow morning]. 


  1. Oh dear I do feel for you..when I was breeding Labrador Retrievers had several bouts with P quills.With the skin problem have you tried Coconut oil,is it all over like a mange?I imagine you have been the food allergy route.Is it itchy? I mean does she scratch a lot?If I know a little more I will put my 'thinking cap' on to see if I can help.Carole in NS (mid another snow freezing rain storm,and of course high wind!)

    1. Not itchy, no. And not flaky or dry either. She doesn't scratch or otherwise seem bothered but her coat is not doing it's job of insulating her. It's oily, she's secreting an oily substance which is not usually how food allergies display. I have tried changing foods though, but haven't gone to an all raw diet yet.
      It's like she's been dipped in light weight dirty oil. The fur is matting up because of it (thus not insulating her well).

    2. I think the problem is Seborrhea..first thing came to my mind was Thyroid,(hypo) other causes of course,if you google Seborrhea you can get more clues.Had a Cairn terrier with it..did not use Homeopathy in those days,now I would look into that. Hope this helps.

    3. Ah yes, that crossed my mind when I started doubting this was a food allergy. Maybe an underlying reason why she has trouble keeping warm too. Dread taking her to the vet to get on top of it - took me two years to get to a point I could handle this dog. Did not think of treating it with homeopathy - will pursue that. Thanks, this does help.

  2. :-( Hope all of you are recovering, with no complications.

  3. I love your 4th sentence so much: "There is always an underlying wrinkle in planning anything when you live a life with a plenitude of animals." Truer words were never spoken! (Well, unless of course, you add the words "and/or kids"!) Thank you for sharing your day; I so enjoy hearing
    about your life with your sheep!
    Warm Regards, Lisa in Lake Oswego, Oregon


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