I live in the country and spend much of the year enjoying our gardens and outdoor activities. Also, I have been involved in dog rescue for over 15 years. I have been a volunteer for numerous rescue organizations, do therapy dog work, and pretty much all things "dog".
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Something happened a few days ago that put smiles on the faces here at our house. Shelby and Zekie got mail! It was addressed to them, as was the card inside. As you may know, these are two of our dogs who were attacked by two other loose dogs while hiking about a week and a half ago. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad
The card was signed “Love, Foxy and Wolfie”. These are two shelties that are owned by a friend of ours’ from the sheltie world. Foxy and Wolfie say they are glad that Shelby and Zekie are feeling better and send hugs, and to their mom too (me!).
What a blessing the friends I have made in the dog world, and elsewhere, are! My posts and updates about the incident garnered tremendous amounts of Facebook likes, hearts, and hugging cares. We feel loved. I hear comments about how social media is bad for people and results in stress and anxiety. I say, those people are not using it properly or perhaps associate with the wrong people. I have made wonderful, supportive friends who make my life better. When I have a trauma or upsetting experience, I post it (as long as it will not harm someone else), because I know my friends, acquaintances, and followers will share words of kindness and lift me up. This happens 99.5 % of the time, making it easier to ignorethat one. That one was not my friend anyway, if they are “diss-ing” me.
The card that Shelby and Zekie received also points out how one kind action can change someone’s days. It certainly did for me. I feel lighter and more cheerful knowing that people have my back. It makes me want to be kind to others and share the positivity. It created a ripple that will spread to others and make the world a little bit better. Thanks Diane!
By the way, Shelby and Zekie are feeling much better. Shelby has been off pain meds for days, and finished the antibiotics yesterday. I still gently massage her wound area to increase blood flow to promote healing of the deeper tissues. On the surface her wound looks good. Zekie is a miracle, like the whole thing never happened. The prayers everyone sent have been answered. The two of them are doing great.
I thank you for your thoughts, prayers, support, and good wishes. I can feel them.
The week before last was one of the scariest weeks I have had in a long time. My husband and I were out on our daily hike with five of our dogs. We were three quarters of the way done with the hike, back on the main trail and heading for the car. We were coming up on the crest of the last hill which also has a slight curve in the path, the kind you can’t see over. My husband was in the lead as usual and I heard him call out “loose dogs”.
This has never been too big of a deal before. The owners always show up and leash their dogs and we all go on our separate ways. Not so, this time. Zekie was barking like a fool as he often does. The two loose dogs, a large American Bulldog and a smaller pit bull mix, came charging at our dogs with their owners running behind calling them. They first went for Zekie, and his leash was pulled out of my hand. Both dogs were on him, rolling him, until he was on his back.
At this point, things get a little blurry in my mind because it all happened so fast and I was in shock. I remember my husband trying to hand me Baxter and Cassius’ leashes so he could go pull the two attacking dogs off of Zekie. The two girls were also running and trying to get control of their dogs. I was distracted by this and don’t know which dog was where a for a few seconds. I looked down and the smaller dog, about 50-60 lbs., had Shelby’s leg in his mouth. I’m not sure if he had also bitten her other times before I looked down or not. The smaller pit mix let go of Shelby when I was trying to kick him. I didn’t make hard contact because I didn’t want to get Shelby by accident.
I looked over and the American Bulldog, who was about 80 lbs., had Zekie in the ditch on the other side of the trail from where I last saw him. After I got the pit mix off Shelby, he ran to help the other dog attack Zekie. We thought Zekie was a goner. He was belly up with the two dogs biting at him and lunging and it looked like they were tearing him apart. At this point the girls were able to get their dogs off Zekie and leash them and maintained control.
Emotions ran high and there were lots of loud words. However, the girls were incredibly apologetic, taking full responsibility. They continued apologizing and agreed to follow us back to the parking lot.
We hiked the half mile back to the car with the girls and their dogs following at a distance so as not to get any of our dogs worked up again. Shelby was limping, but the bite I saw, looked like a half hearted attempt and I hadn’t found anything other than some red tooth marks, so we thought she was just a little sore. Zekie didn’t seem too bad aside from being nervous. We got back to the parking lot and exchanged contact information. One girl seemed to be the owner of the two dogs. The younger girl seemed to just be her friend. The owner of the dogs continued to say how sorry she was and said she would pay any vet bills that were incurred as a result of this incident. We couldn’t find any severe wounds on our dogs so decided to monitor them.
We went home and looked Shelby and Zekie over some more and didn’t find much. After a few hours, I noticed that our other dogs kept sniffing Shelby and wouldn’t leave her alone. This indicates there is something of note that they are paying attention to. I rolled Shelby over to get a good look. That’s when I found a puncture wound on her lower abdomen that turned out to be quite serious. You can read more about the details of Shelby’s wounds here. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound. She did end up on antibiotics, pain meds, and getting ongoing wound maintenance (warm compresses 3 times a day).
Our experience just goes to show that you cannot judge the severity of a dog bite or attack from what is visible at first glance. Things did not turn out how I thought they would. I thought Zekie was going to be dead at the end of the attack, or at least suffer life threatening injury. He didn’t suffer any major damage. Our veterinarian found some minor bruising and we never saw any other physical signs of damage on him. We think that he submitted to the other dogs and so they did not inflict significant harm like they might have if he fought back. Or maybe he was lucky.
Shelby did not fare as well. She garnered significant wounds. I did learn that much of the damage from a dog bite wound may not be visible to the eye. A lot of damage occurs as the teeth rip underneath the skin. There can also be crushing to tissues or organs. Shelby is healing up and on the road to recovery. I hate to think what would have happened if I did not take her to the vet so she could be put on antibiotics. She is on injury leave and not participating in walks for at least another week. The vet said she was a very lucky girl.
If your dog is ever in a fight, my advice to you is to have him checked over by a vet, unless you are absolutely certain that no damage was inflicted. Better safe than sorry.
We hiked with four of our dogs today, Zekie, Claire, Cassius, and Baxter. Shelby is still on injury leave from her run in with the loose dogs last week so rested at home. You can read about her injury. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound She is looking much better and her bruising is mostly gone now, we’re just finishing off the antibiotics as healing continues.
We went back to West Branch State Park to explore some of the trails we hadn’t tried before. From the the Mountain Bike Trail parking lot, we went down the main trail to trailhead A3. This trail is a snowmobile trail so it is nice and wide and relatively flat. We hiked out A3 until we came to the Bit O’ Honey Trail which is a mountain bike trail. Mountain bike trails are generally rougher, rockier, and tougher going. I am particularly slow, making sure I don’t trip on rocks, sticks, and so on. Even so, when it is in the 20’s, I get hot enough on these trails that I soon end up with my hood down and my gloves in my pocket. If it is a longer mountain bike trail, I end up with my coat unzipped too. That still leaves me with a turtleneck and a polar fleece and I am just fine. If we slow down, I just zip my coat back up.
The dogs start pestering us each afternoon around 1:30 pm. They know we leave for walking or hiking near 2 o’clock. On the rare day that we haven’t gone, they mope and give us dirty looks from the dog beds or couch. Yes, they are spoiled pups!
Cassius the greyhound always wears a coat in the winter when we walk or hike. All our past greyhounds have too. They just don’t have the body fat to stand up to cold temperatures. Baxter the Lab/Rott/Dobe mix has never worn a coat until this year, once it got below 30 degrees. In the past Baxter never wanted a coat. Now that he will be 12 in a few months, he seems to get colder and appreciates the warmth. Other than that he hasn’t slowed down much. So, getting ready for winter hiking can be quite the process. In addition to two humans suiting up and getting the right boots, sunglasses, hats, etc., we also have two dogs to put coats on.
Luckily, Baxter looks quite handsome in his coat. Of course, I am biased and think Baxter looks quite dapper all the time!
We are back to trail hiking. We had a scary incident while out last week. Two loose dogs attacked Shelby and Zekie. It was quite scary and between that and the ice, I took a couple days off from walking. For two days after that we walked on paved trails in town.
Zekie survived the attack and wasn’t much worse for wear. Shelby, however, was quite seriously wounded, but is on the mend. I continue to give her meds and provide wound maintenance while she heals. She won’t be hiking again any time soon. I won’t even think about it for a few weeks. She needs time to recuperate, and I don’t want her wound aggravated from too much activity. Also, the wound needs to stay clean and not have dirt and salt from the trails and roads splashing on her underside.
I love hiking in the snow and am glad to be back on the trails. I find it easier to hike with snow on the ground. It fills in a lot of the divots and small holes, and covers the large gravel. These tend to make the walking surface uneven and having them covered in snow makes it easier for me. The trail is beautiful when there is freshly fallen snow. I sometimes feel bad that we pass by and leave footsteps and pawprints to mar its beauty. The landscape at trailside still provides views of unbroken snow vistas. It can also be fun to see who else is using the trails, be it footsteps, pawprints, snowmobiles, or snow bicyclers.
After last week’s incident, we hike with pepper spray. I have heard that a product called Spray Shield, that is citronella based, is safer for dogs. I will look into that in the future. For now, what I have is pepper spray. I need to be responsible for defending my dogs to the best of my ability. I feel guilty that I failed them last week. Especially Shelby. She and I are a working team, having provided therapy dog visits for the past seven years. I need her to trust that I will take care of her, and you better believe that I will do everything in my power to do so.
It seems odd to be out hiking without Shelby. She is none too happy about it either when we leave her at home, even though she gets a treat when we go out the door. She is used to being part of everything that goes on and she believes she is in charge of safety. The other dogs believe that too! Even while she is healing, she does what she can to maintain order around here. Above, she is watching out the window to see what is going on in the neighborhood. She still barks at the mail jeep and delivery people, alerting us that strangers are about. Last night after we had gone to bed, Shelby even barked at something outside and a few seconds later, our motion activated security light came on.
We were out hiking on a local trail on Wednesday this week when two members of our pack were attacked by two off leash dogs. One of our dogs, Zekie, suffered only minor injury. Another of our dogs, a Shetland Sheepdog, Shelby, suffered more extensive wounds. I want to share with you what I learned about dog bite wounds and the progression. I have been involved in the dog world for most of my life, but mercifully have never had reason to learn much about dog bites, until now. The photos become increasingly graphic as the days pass, so be forewarned if this type of image bothers you.
Immediately after the attack, we did not even realize that Shelby had any injuries aside from a slight limp. We were unable to find any visible wounds. As the hours progressed, I suspected that something else was wrong because our other dogs kept sniffing Shelby and did not want to leave her alone, even when scolded. I got her up on the couch and looked her over again. I found the above puncture wound and a small amount of bruising, plus a tooth nick on her outer thigh. Since our veterinarian was already closed for the day, we decided to monitor Shelby until the next morning.
After examining the wound the next morning, it was still open and I saw the puncture passed through the entire layer of skin, leaving the area open to possible infection. At this point I did an internet search on damage from dog bites and what I found was scary.
I learned about a medical term I was heretofore unfamiliar with, undermining. Undermining is damage that extends in all directions under the skin and into subcutaneous tissues. The damage is therefore not visible to the eye. Tearing and crushing may have gone far into the underlying tissues because of the way a biting dog moves and thrusts its jaw and head. The damage can be very extensive. The puncturing bite also introduces bacteria into the wound from the biting dog’s mouth, not generally from the wounded animal’s skin.
This information put the fear of God into me and had me immediately on the phone to my vet and making an appointment. They got Shelby in within a couple hours and also advised me to bring Zekie in for a check, which I did. (Zekie was fine except for some bruising.) I’m so glad I followed through and took the dogs in. Shelby had undermining cranially and caudally from her abdominal bite, which means towards her head and tail. The damage was indeed difficult for the lay person to determine.
She also had a few injuries from the other dog’s teeth on her outer thigh. They were not nearly as severe as the abdominal wound and the antibiotics that she would get for the puncture wound would cover these too.
The course of treatment for the abdominal wound was antibiotics, pain meds, and warm compresses to drain fluid out and help keep the wound open. The vet said she was very concerned and there was a potential for peritonitis which is abdominal infection and/or inflammation and associated side effects. I was told the first 24-48 hours are critical and that I should bring Shelby back the next morning for evaluation. The antibiotics are to prevent infection from the biting dog’s teeth and bacterial peritonitis. Pain medication is used because dog bites are extremely painful. Punctures from dog bites are not usually sutured, only gaping wounds are stitched. The punctures are left open so they can drain.
Shelby’s re-check at the vet office was to see if her internal damage was extensive enough that she would need surgery to remove the underlying damaged tissue and a drain inserted. Mercifully, she did not. Due to the nature of her wound, it is hoped by me continuing the warm compresses three times a day and mechanically keeping the wound from closing will continue to be enough.
Shelby is such a good girl that she let me tend her wounds without complaint. I’m sure it didn’t feel good, but she seemed to know that I was helping her and taking care of her.
By Friday, the World’s best patient award goes to….(drumroll) Shelby! When it is time for Shelby’s warm compresses and wound maintenance, we go into the bathroom and I shut the door. I get everything ready and then sit on the bathroom floor. I tap the floor in front of me with my fingernail. After doing this routine since Thursday, Shelby now sits in front of me, lays down, and rolls over on her back, waiting for me to take care of her. She remains still throughout the procedure except for occasionally waving a paw at me if I pause the belly rubbing. When it is done, we get up and I give her a small treat. We exit the bathroom and she follows me around, being my buddy. Good girl Shelby, good girl.
I hope this is the end of the story and Shelby continues her healing without incident. But until she is 100% healed, I am watching her closely just to be safe.
Who knew there were so many types of tea time? Certainly not me! Looking at these British definitions puts tea in a whole new light. In America, we are thirsty, we drink. No occasion, just a mug sitting on my desk, of coffee or tea, and there it stays with me slurping away while working and getting refills as needed. In my working years, I was so often drawn away to attend to other matters that my hot beverages were always stone cold by the time I returned. I learned to drink tea, coffee, and even “hot” chocolate when they were cold. It seemed too much time and trouble to wander down the hallway to the office microwave to reheat all the time. But look at this wonderful list of all the types of teas:
Cream Tea-This is what I think of when I think of tea. Tea and scones with toppings.
Elevensies-Morning coffee hour. Hmmm, I have this all morning long.
Afternoon Tea-Served with little sandwiches, scones, and sweets.
Low Tea-As above, using low chairs. So mine would be office chair tea?
Royale Tea-Tea with Champaign or sherry. This sounds suspiciously like happy hour.
Celebration Tea-Afternoon Tea with cake. Cake does make everything better!
High Tea-Served in the late afternoon or early evening with a cooked dish. Sounds like supper to me.
I think the British got it right. These various tea types all sound like fun, making every day into a special occasion. Which sounds like more fun? “Would you like to join me for a slice of cake and a mug of coffee?” Or, “Would you care to attend Celebration Tea with me?” I vote for Celebration Tea. That’s why children don’t have coffee pot parties, they have tea parties. I suggest the next tea you offer a guest a cuppa, you ask them if they would like to attend Cream Tea. Let’s make our worlds a little more fun!
Chelsea Martin tries to relive her year traveling through Europe. She went to Ireland, France, and Italy on her gap year between college and career. She decides she wants to find the girl she was, so recreates the trip with many unexpected results. A fun read.
2. The Bone Collection-Kathy
Four novellas about Dr. Temperance Brennan. We are given information about her background and how she came to be a forensic investigator. Intriguing as all works of Kathy Reich are.
3. Murder, She Barked-Krista Davis
Holly Miller returns unexpectedly to the pet-centered town where her grandmother lives. Murders and confusion seem to be everywhere. An enjoyable read.
4 .AGood Year for the Roses-Gil McNeil
Right after Molly gets divorced, she inherits a manor house from her Aunt. She and her three boys move from London to the Devon coast and begin a whole new way of life. Molly’s journey is one of growth and humor.
5.The Hundred-Year House-Rebecca Makkai
I nearly gave up on this book. It is written in 3 major sections, going backward in time. It could be a little hard to follow as each section began. By the end of each section, I was invested enough in the characters to keep going. The large house in question goes from artists’ colony to stately home to artists’ colony. It may be that the author is just too clever for me.
Of these five books, I would have to say my favorite was #1, Paris Is Always a Good Idea. I love Jen McKinlay, and this book did not disappoint. If you’re not into romance novels, The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs is also a very good choice.
I didn’t read as much this past month and I’m not quite sure why. I’ll try to do better for February. Keep in mind the quote (I can’t remember who said it), “Those who can read and don’t, are no better off than those who can’t.
I love this cookie recipe! I got it from Pinterest, the source of most of my new recipes. Click on the following link for it. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe – The Frugal South Note that the recipe is not mine. The original recipe at the link above, is for snickerdoodles, but anyone who knows me, knows that I like to alter things.
I first found this recipe during the beginning of our state’s first stay at home order during the pandemic. I was looking for dessert recipes without butter because I was running low on it. This recipe uses oil instead of butter. The other great thing is, the recipe is easy! Always a plus. As the pandemic has dragged on, I have made many variations of this cookie and all have been delicious. One special note, which is pointed out on the link, do NOT over bake these cookies or they will get hard.
Some variations I have made on the original recipe follow. Add the ingredients in addition to those in the original recipe:
1 box lemon jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk (or almond milk), add almond slice on top
Today was our 31st day in a row of hiking! We have logged over 74 miles of trails in the past 30 days. Not bad for January. The unseasonably mild weather has accommodated us.
This afternoon’s hike was a snowy one. Our area of northeast Ohio was fortunate to get only a few inches from yesterday’s snow storm. Other areas faired much worse than we did. It was still enough to slow us down a bit. We humans had to look for rocks, roots, and branches buried underneath the snow and just waiting to trip us up. The long-haired dogs, Shelby, Zekie, and Claire, had to stop repeatedly to chew snowballs from the back of their legs. Shelby in particular seemed to stop suddenly and plunk herself down in front of me on the trail, especially where it was only one track wide.
Another trail hazard was the areas that had thin sheets of ice, frozen over running water. None of these were more than a couple of inches deep, so it was the element of surprise as you dropped through the ice and had to step out that was the issue, rather than any danger. This does help you to see how important it is to have the proper footwear for the conditions you are out in. Fortunately, I had chosen to wear my L.L. Bean Wildcat boots, so I was in good shape.
I also plan carefully what gloves and coat I will wear. Usually, at this time of year I wear my mid-thigh length storm parka. The terrain we covered today had lots of winding paths as well as ups and downs. Even though it was about 30 degrees, I got hot enough that for the last quarter of the hike I had my coat unzipped and my gloves in my pocket. Of course, I was also wearing a turtleneck and a hooded sweatshirt under my parka. Layering is king for outdoor activities in the winter time.
The types of trails at West Branch State Park, near Ravenna, Ohio are varied. There are mountain bike trails, snow mobile trails, and of course, hiking trails. There is something for everyone and you can walk on any of the trails. Be aware that as this is a multi-purpose park, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times in case you come across bicycles or other vehicles. Hunting is allowed, in season, so be prepared. That is why Cassius’ new collar is very bright. A New Collar For Cassius
Although the trails were snow covered, we all had a good time. The views are beautiful and the squinch of the new fallen snow is pleasing to the ear. The dogs like to occasionally grab up mouthfuls of snow and swallow them. Rather like the doggy version of snow ice cream.
We have been noticing a lot of bird activity in the past week although I am not sure why. Perhaps they are having more trouble finding food this late in the winter. This is just a guess on my part. I only know for sure that I have seen increased numbers of birds flitting around, sometimes groups of birds, and they often sing. They are medium sized songbirds, at least a few were robins.
Here is a photograph I took of the trail map from trailhead entrance beside the mountain bike trail. The hike we took today was the squiggly blue line next to the water. It is fun because you are able to see the water for the majority of the time you are hiking.
I encourage you to try hiking in every season. What you see varies depending on the time of year. We tend to think of winter as a lean time with less plants. It is the perfect time to see the structure of the woods. I notice things that I never see in the summer because then they are covered with leaves and undergrowth. Each season has its own beauty. See which one you like best. Maybe, like me, you will decide you like them all.
I was looking for a coffee cake recipe that didn’t require butter. I couldn’t find one so I adapted my old standby muffin recipe. The cake turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.
Muffin recipe transformed to cake follows. Double the recipe above so there is sufficient volume for a Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (I made adjustments to the time and temperature to accommodate a cake. )
First, combine the wet ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup liquid-I used vanilla almond milk
2/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whisk the above ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
2 1/3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add to wet ingredients and stir just until mixed. Then I greased a Bundt pan and added chopped walnuts to the bottom of the pan. Approximately 1/2 cup.
Then I folded the following into the batter.
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pour the batter into the pan. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a large plate. Allow cake to cool completely.
You could consider the cake done at this point. I decided to add an orange glaze. To do this I mixed together the following:
Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Blend these three ingredients to desired consistency. Add more juice if you want to thin the glaze. Add more sugar to thicken.
Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
And you are done! Enjoy the cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side, or just with a warm cup of tea.