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November 14, 2005

This Saturday was a traumatic event of enormous proportion for me, and more so for my friend Rebekah. We were walking and talking in the woods on a warm and sunny day. Yodel (one of her dogs) was right with us and we were looking around for Lichen (her other dog) though not overly concerned; I've been on numerous walks with the trio and Lichen always goes away the longest, while Yodel never strays too far. It's not that he's more loyal, it's just that she's more curious I think.

The humans and Yodel were standing around at the edge of the woods talking about where to set up our targets for some bow shooting practice when Lichen came running back. It was weird because she looked like she had a slight limp, but as she got closer to us we could see that the situation was far more serious.

Our first thought was that she had been shot; her guts were hanging out and blood was everywhere. She ran to Rebekah and Rebekah to her as we all began to react and panic. Yodel was freaking out, Rebekah was trying to hold the wounds closed as Anna and I ran for the car to bring it closer.

At first we all thought she had been shot, but while I was running back to the car to drive it as close as possible, I reasoned that there had been no gunshot. I never looked at the wound, but now I realize that she must have been gored by a buck.

From here there is a story is about human effort, physical and emotional challenges in an, as it turned out, vain attempt to save Lichen, but that's not the topic of this day. We all worked very hard, but we were too far out and she was hurt too badly.

What sticks out in my mind is how Lichen made it back to us in her state. She gave everything to return to Rebekah, her own survival was irrelevant, but she had to make it back. I could see the total collapse and sigh of exhaustion as she laid herself at Rebekah's feet, "Here I am, I made it, nothing else matters now." I respect that.

Lichen showed great strength and taught me about love and loyalty in her last moments. It reminds me of my own experience with dog death from years ago. Truthfully, I've never gotten over it and only now feel like I need another dog. Somehow seeing Lichen's devotion in the face of death, has reminded me of the value of having a dog.

Be well and have a Happy Thanksgiving.