Doesn't she look innocent. Like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. In previous posts I've referred to her as Houdini. A nickname that will have to change due to an addition to our clan who now bares the name. Even though her nickname will change her ability to escape, sadly has not.
Saturday almost became her last day on earth. I don't know what was going through her head when she pushed the fence out and slipped away but it was almost a fatal mistake.
If not for the persistence of three very tenacious children she might not be with us today. One of whom got an ambulance ride to a local hospital for the effort and Malka who got a ride in a fire rescue truck for her part. Yes, it was a very interesting day.
As most "interesting" days it started out as any other routine Saturday. The Engineer and the kids had chores to do and errands to run. They returned home around four in the afternoon. Someone let the dogs out and about 15 minutes later the entire course of the next 10 hours changed dramatically.
It's cold outside and Mickey does not like cold weather. It took him fifteen minutes to burn off a little energy, do a perimeter check for errant squirrels and bunnies and do his business. His latest trick is to jump up and ring the door bell when he wants to come in, when we answer the ring both dogs are usually standing there patiently waiting. That was not the case yesterday.
Only Mickey greeted The Engineer when he answered the door. A few minutes later when Malka hadn't returned he started calling her. The beginning of hours of yelling her name.
Faithful readers know this isn't her first escape. The few times she has gotten out she returned after we called her. When she didn't come this time the kids bundled up and started walking, calling her name. The Engineer got in his car and started driving. I was at work unaware of the drama playing out at home.
Later on when it became obvious that she wasn't coming back I received my first of many panicked phone calls and text messages from the kids.
As darkness fell along with temperatures the wind picked up and our hopes for finding her plummeted. We notified local police departments and a large veterinary clinic in the area (the only one open late on a Saturday). Her tags are up to date and she's micro chipped but that was little consolation with the weather and her lack of street skills.
At 11 PM The Engineer returned home to heat up some soup for some frozen kids who refused to give up. About fifteen minutes after he got home the kids, who insisted on staying out looking, heard a dog bark. A quick phone call to The Engineer and all four of them were slogging through a swampy field in the direction they thought the sound came from.
The wind was whipping across the field so hard that even yelling it was hard to hear. Nothing else could be heard above the sound of the wind.
Even with flashlights finding a black dog on a dark, cloudy night seemed hopeless. As they came across an area with large piles of branches they stopped to listen. That's where they found her. Laying silently on the ground, her front paw caught in a trap. When they bent down to touch her fearing the worst, only the end of her tail barely wagged. Relief was shortlived when they saw the trap and realized that getting her out of there was not simply going to be a matter of picking her up and hiking back out. The trap had her paw tight and it was frozen to the ground.
The Engineer, shining his flashlight around looking for something to try and pry the trap up saw what can only be described as a horror movie come to life. It turned out all three kids and The Engineer were standing amid an entire area layed out with traps all set to snare unsuspecting animals. A recently gutted deer was spread around as bait, several skinned animals (believed to be foxes) were thrown about and numerous other animal carcasses in varing stages of decomposition were everywhere.
At work my phone rings and I am instantly relieved that Malka has been found, but my relief didn't last long when the details of their situation became apparent.
Fortunately, one of the pluses of living in a rural area is the local volunteer fire company still does animal rescues. Describing their location was a little complicated but it wasn't long before help was on the way.
As The Engineer tried to reassure the kids and block them from the frigid wind Baseball Boy said he didn't feel good. Before anyone could respond his eyes rolled back and he fell backwards, passed out cold. Lifting him up brought him around momentarilly, but Baseball Boy only mumbled something about being tired before going out again. Once again my cell phone rang and the panic in The Scientist's voice was palpable.
Another phone call to the fire company and an ambulance was dispatched along with them. That's when I left work. The 45 minute ride home took about 30 minutes. About half way home The Scientist called me with an update. The Engineer and Baseball Boy are on the way to the hospital and the fire company had brought Malka and the girls back to the house to wait for me.
I walk in the door and I'm greeted by Mickey, his usual exuberance muted, even he realizes that something is wrong. I find Malka laying on the sofa. She doesn't lift her head but the tip of her tail is wagging. The girls are flanking her, both pale, and obviously exhausted, both emotionally and physically. I quickly check her paw and am relieved to find it firmly attached, it was swollen but didn't appear deformed. She's too weak to get up so I pick her up and carry her out to the van. On the way to the emergency clinic I call ahead and they were waiting for us when we arrived.
She is an American Pit Bull Terrier. Stoic doesn't begin to describe her. The vet wanted to see if she could stand or walk. I reluctantly put her down, she wobbles slightly, then pulls herself together. With some urging she hesitently takes a few steps. It's obviously painful but she puts weight on her injured paw. The vet goes over her from head to toe and cleans her injured paw. She was very lucky. No bones appear to be broken. We pack her up and take her home.
The Scientist, The Vet and Malka all tucked in safely at home and I head to the hospital. I find Baseball Boy awake and alert with The Engineer sitting by his side. Baseball Boy is wrapped in what looks like a giant space bag inflated with circulating warm air. It appears that Baseball Boy was overcome from the combination of hypothermia and stress. A follow up this week with his doctor should confirm that diagnosis.
Malka's leg this morning was swollen to twice it's normal size. She can barely walk on it but she's still so exhausted she not in any rush to go anywhere anyway. We're all tired today and the kids are still processing what they saw last night.
Their tenancity, which can drive me insane sometimes, saved Malka's life. She wouldn't have survived the night out there. They wouldn't give up looking for her.
I bought rebar today to secure the fence where she got out, Mickey and Malka will not be outside unsupervised until it's repaired.