The Farm on Oak Creek

Frankenstein’s Tail

Well, he did it.  Moosie finally bit off more than he could chew. Or rather tried to bite something that could chew him.

Yesterday morning I got up at my usual 5:00 ish to find the boys pacing frantically outside the kitchen door.  Considering it was still dark–okay, it wasn’t really dark.  How could it be with that amazing moon?  It’s been so bright that I keep waking up thinking it’s dawn.  It’ll be nice when it wanes some.  Anyway, I ignored the dogs and did my usual morning stuff.  That consists of making tea, emptying the dishwasher, filling the pigs’ buckets with their morning yogurt (I make them goat yogurt), and turning on my computer to check my email and my rank on Amazon.

I admit it.  I enjoy seeing where in the hierarchy of authors (this is not the same as the hierarchy of angels although it sometimes feels like it) I fall on any given day.  Lately, it’s been especially fun as I’ve flown to unexpected heights.  I keep praying that it keeps up a little longer.  I need a tractor! Doesn’t have to be new.  I’m fine with used but well maintained.

All the while that I’m doing my thing, the dogs are pacing, Moosie pawing at the glass (I hate that “scree”), Bear doing his little dance. It’s the moon’s fault that I didn’t give them that much attention.  When the moon is this bright every critter that lives around here–fox, bobcat (saw a paw print in my garden, dang it), mountain lion, skunk, deer (they’ve been grazing in my lower pasture all summer), and stinky old javelina walk the road.  And that’s exactly what the dogs had done all night: they’d barked along the stretch of fence that lines Page Springs Road. So, I figured whatever it was that had them excited was on the road, safely beyond their reach.

At dawn I donned my Wellies, grabbed my pig buckets and started out the door.  Much to my surprise, both dogs went running to the gate that separates me from my neighbors.  Given the hour, this was so strange I figured I ought to check it out.  You see, the only time either dog acts this excited and heads for that gate is when the neighbors are having a party.  That’s my dogs–the world’s first and foremost party animals.  I mean, what’s not to like about families gathering on the creekside?  There’s water, children who feed them all sorts of tasty things, toys, other dogs, more children, grownups who also feed them tasty things then ooh and aah over Bear’s size and gentle nature and comment on Moosie’s bright blue eyes.  And did I mention children who feed them tasty things?  Moosie heads for that gate the instant he hears the first unexpected car pull into the neighbor’s driveway.

So, figuring I’d better check to see what was going on next door at this early hour, I opened the gate.  Both dogs thrust past me at full speed.  Instead of running for the house, they made a sharp right turn and raced up the hill for a giant pine tree with branches that brush the ground.  The tree exploded with motion.  Moosie yelped then yelped again as Bear gave his fiercest growls.  Then a medium-sized javelina burst out of the branches and raced at full speed toward the house and the gate beyond it that leads to the corral on the neighbor’s lower pasture. That barred fencing lets in all sorts of creatures from the wild, overgrown wasteland that fills the mile or so between their property and their next door neighbor.

Both dogs were after it just as quickly.   Now terrified for Moosie, I shouted for them to return.  And, thank heavens, they did!

Just as I expected, Bear was unharmed and Moosie was bleeding.  With no choice but to do my morning walk, I didn’t dare look until all the other animals were fed and/or released for the day. By the time we returned to the house, Moosie’s berserker nature had receded, leaving him shaken and hurting.  A chunk of his left jowl was torn loose and he had six good sized tears on his right side, one of them revealing the muscle beneath his skin. Gratefully, nothing important was damaged and he wasn’t spurting blood–in fact he wasn’t bleeding much at all.  That was a blessing because it was all of 6:30 on a Sunday morning and there’s NOTHING available as far as emergency vet care anywhere close to Cornville.

So, I washed his wounds and bandaged what I could, then went to the internet.  My choices were Flagstaff or Prescott.  Sigh.

Sunday is my cleaning day, the day I do laundry, wash my waterers and feeders and clean the bird coops.  Given the drive and his injuries, it looked like I was going to lose the whole day.   Knowing Moosie was hurting but not dying, and resigned to doing what needed to be done, I fed myself (I don’t operate well without food), then carefully slipped on Moosie’s collar.  Moosie doesn’t much care to ride in the car.  Where would I take him?  I mean, the dog lives in the dog park.  So Derek helped me lift him into the back of my Focus.  Like I said, Moosie’s not good with the car, so he immediately climbed into the front passenger seat.

Keeping an elbow in Moosie’s chest to prevent him from trying for my lap, I took off down the road, having chosen Prescott over chillier Flagstaff.  As I reached Cornville Road, I glanced at the gas gauge.  Time to gas ‘er up.  I love my Focus!  She gives me 35 miles to the gallon, more if I coast some.  There are spots on the 17 where I can coast for miles.

As I pull in at Crazy Tony’s, I find myself staring at the door to the Cornville Animal Clinic.  Dr. Oler is my vet, and a good one, too. That’s when the brain cells that had shut down the moment Moosie first yelped decide to click back on.  I remember that the clinic is open on Sunday!

At 7:41, I’m parked in front of their door, more than grateful to wait the twenty minutes until they open.  Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one waiting nor the first one in the door at 7:58.  A dog and cat (and their owners) hit the doorway ahead of me.  Within minutes, Moosie is being lead into the back with a promise that, although he’ll look like Frankenstein’s monster when all is said and done, he’ll be fine.


Poor Moosie!

And so he is.  Right now, he’s wearing an old nightshirt of mine and resting comfortably on the chaise near my desk that the cats usually use.

Bear, after being told three times that Moosie can’t play for the next 14 days–and despite doing his best to convince me that he only wanted to bite his own tail to make Moosie feel better–is laying behind my chair.  That’s the closest I’ll let him get to his best buddy.

I know better than to fall for that “bite my own tail” routine.


© Denise Domning, 2023