Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oh, Billy

You remember Billy? The little white Jack Russell Terrier Frasier dog who came to our little farm to escape boredom in Scottsdale? The one who's survived two brutal coyote attacks? Billy of the puffed up porcupine lips of just last week? The little scamp just can't seem to help himself - he must find mischief and misadventure. He recovered from the porcupine encounter handily and has been his regular romping self for the past week.

Last night, he begged to play outside with the other dogs and I relented because Billy is happiest among the bats and the stars. He made it through the night (I know because Mike was working last night so I was in my twilight slumber - awake at every noise, every shift in the barometer, every time I got to snoring a little too loud and could hear it myself....) During those wakeful periods I could hear all 3 of the dogs' distinct, happy, obnoxious nighttime barks.

When I headed to town to take kids to school, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye and Billy seemed fine. I returned 15 minutes later to grab Macy's forgotten flute and upon leaving the house again felt a thud in my stomach when I saw Billy come limping around the corner of the house - fur matted, mud over his eye, ear flopped back, quivering. There was no blood visible - had he been hit by a car? Attacked and bruised, but not broken? What could he have encountered in the early daylight hours?

Of course I reached down to pet him as I asked what was wrong, and he reared around to try to bite my hand with that awful combination of guilt and pain in his eyes that is the universal expression of an animal who is hurting and doesn't have words to say, "No! I'm sorry, but, no...please don't touch me." He slunk away, and I had to run the flute into town.

As soon as I returned, I searched the fields, the garden, the dog pen and other corners of the yard calling and whistling. I couldn't find him anywhere. I looked and looked, to no avail. I had to get to a meeting, take care of cub scout stuff and pick up kids in the afternoon, so after Tanner awoke from his lengthy nap today, I asked him if he felt like going out to look for Billy again while I was gone.

When I got home late this afternoon, Billy was in his kennel in the house. Mike and Tanner had found him under the bush between our poplar trees. He wouldn't let them touch him, but he allowed himself to be coaxed into his beloved kennel. He can't bear us getting too close, and because we don't know if he has internal bleeding, the vet can't sedate him to examine him closely. We're in a bit of a holding pattern, in contact with the vet, and hoping he'll show improvement in the morning.

Poor Billy. We love him and just wish he wasn't miserable cooped up in the house. He's only happy when he's free to roam, but my heart just can't take his constant misadventures. We hope we can nurse him to health again, then we'll have to start the sad process of finding him a new home, where he can have some room to roam, but won't be in proximity to so many harmful adversaries.

Love and concern from the farm,

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