Late Night Lancing

Yes. Lancing. Not dancing.

I wasn’t going to blog again quite so quickly, figuring the suspense was good for “business” and so on.


We had some exciting late-night pasture surgery last night, which is typical of my new world and so I thought I’d tell you all about it. Whether you like it or not.

I grew up on the very long suburb called the south coast of England. You’d sort of have to be English to get my drift here. It’s very lovely, post war homes and newer homes, intertwined with charming thatched-cottage villages with names that sound like something out of Tolkien’s Shire. Places like East Wellow and Farleigh Wallop.

I kid you not.

Nature was not something I was particularly exposed to, certainly not in a hands-on manner. We occasionally had a fox in the backyard which caused enormous excitement .

Here’s Mr.Fox, enjoying the sea view from a construction site at the Lee on Solent seafront when we were in England this summer.

We also had a wonderful house cat, Tiger. And you had to drive 30mph in the New Forest because if you hit one of Her Majesty’s wild ponies there was a harsher punishment than if you got too close to an Illinois road construction worker, heaven forbid.

So, medical procedures in the dark on not-so-wee beasties STILL strikes me as a new and exciting thing. Every time. Even though I’ve been known to deliver a lamb or two while the kids are setting the table for dinner…

We have a few dogs at our house, all important members of the family and farm. Agnes is our Border Collie and lives outside around the house. She keeps smaller critters out of the pet food. Last week the power went out in the middle of the night, and the next morning we found a very stiff raccoon laying on the ground under the electric line. It looked like a stick-figure drawing with fur. Apparently Aggie had chased it up the pole.

And then we have guardian dogs. Frenemies of Agnes, who never crosses into their territory. Moose, our guard dog, our great protector of goats and sheep and slayer of raccoons, possums and the occasional unfortunate bunny, is a Great Pyrenees. We have two of these dogs, the other is Duke, who is older and heavier.

Duke in front, waiting for food. Moose in rear, keeping watch for “dangerous” starlings.

Moose definitely has the better work ethic. Spends all day barking at any bird larger than a sparrow, always looking out, And thoroughly scares the hoards of coyotes that creepily yelp and howl around here after sunset. Yes, I know, it also makes my skin crawl. There was a bobcat carrying a squirrel on one of our trail cams recently. I’ve no doubt I’ll get back to that later….

Duke is also fabulous but not quite so motivated unless there is a donut involved. That’s ok. He growls nicely when you scratch his ears.

Great Pyrenees have double dewclaws. Dewclaws are those odd higher up claws on a dogs leg, and the Pyrenees got lucky and got an extra set.

These are healthy paws by the way, so it’s safe to zoom in….

And there’s a reason for that. The Big Guy knew what He was doing ( I don’t care if you want to argue with me, but first you have to tell me about when you last designed a sea anemone 😝) and so these claws tend to be found on more of the mountainous/harsh terrain dogs who needed greater traction. St Bernard’s, for example, also have them.

So these extra toes, with their own individual bone structure, are delightfully useful.

Except, sometimes they get infected. Well, all claws can really, and our dogs are working pretty hard in timber and probably snag their nails like everyone else.

Moose had been gimping around on three legs for a couple of days and Scott had noticed a badly abscessed double dewclaw. I made an appointment to take him in to the vet today when Will got home from school. The dog weighs more than me and I needed either a strong boy or a small crane to hoist him into the vehicle.

But Moose seemed under the weather, listless and laying around and not caring about your average pigeon as much as normal. The normal “mom fever test” with the back of the hand on his furry forehead didn’t work, but his ears felt hot, so I “diagnosed” a fever.

I began to worry about septicemia and other scary things I hear Scott talk about, And we discussed “emergency clinics” and so on at dinner. Then Scott said “well, I could lance it!”.

So immediately this bad little creature on one shoulder says “but you’re not a vet…” immediately followed by the little angel on my right shoulder saying “um, you know full well he’s done a million of these on actual people, Sam, seriously woman…” (actually maybe it was Scott saying that, lol) and so after dinner, Scott and I kitted up and headed outside in the dark. We had some antibiotic and a syringe, a few clean towels, a flashlight, a random unopened scalpel we found laying around (don’t ask- we went through a Prepper phase) and some Dettol which is an English antiseptic that is also amazing to keep buffalo gnats away. Try it next spring, Illinois friends. It’s on Amazon 😁)

All set.

It was great. After a nice dose of penicillin, Scott lanced that big abscess and the PSI on poor Moose’s paw dropped like a blown-out tire. You could practically see the relief on his face, bless his heart.

Really all I did was point the flashlight, and there were a lot of “not in my eyes, please” moments from the surgeon, but I felt very important and useful. And I also said kind things to the dog. Which may or may not have been helpful.

Don’t zoom in on this one too much.

Really, our “date nights” have some amazing substance to them, don’t they?

Anyway, he’s doing much better today. Still being hoisted to the vet for follow-up on the emergency field surgery, but much better.

Definitely not something I would have done on the other side of the rabbit hole.

After all, where would I have found a random unopened scalpel?!

3 thoughts on “Late Night Lancing

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