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Stories of Rural Life! That Dog Gets Me Into More Trouble!

Date Posted: 17/02/2015

By Jim Reid, Caledon, Ontario

“Dad, you had better go get Maisie.”

My daughter had just walked in the door about four in the afternoon on her way home. My mother, in her early eighties, was over for a visit at the time. Maisie was a Jack Russell. Maybe not the best dog to have on a farm. I guess because she was a terrier, it was in her DNA, but Maisie spent most waking hours looking for something to kill. That dog always got me into trouble. Killing was her nature, but that can get quite awkward sometimes, lots of times actually. Today was going to be no exception.

By now I had learned to distinguish her barks. I could pretty well tell what kind of critter she was after, just by her bark. Today I heard her barking for probably at least 4 hours. I could tell that it was either a racoon or a cat that had to be quite safe up a tree. Maisie, was one very determined canine. If she could not reach something, she would just bark at it, for hours, as if the critter that she was after would finally give up, climb out of the tree and let her kill it. That of course never happened, but to Maisie’s credit, she did manage to kill a lot of creatures around our place. It just frustrated her to no end when she could not reach something and barking for her was the only solution. Over the years her victims included groundhogs, possums, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, snakes, birds, toads and of course the dreaded skunk. Once I watched her chase a bird in flight and jump and catch it. Today I was betting that it was a cat. I was quite content to not bother to go and get her. I was just going to let her bark herself out, if that were possible.

“She is after something down by the highway.” my daughter added. “You had better go get her.”

Caitlin, my daughter knew, as everybody knew, that Maisie came right at the top of the priority list in my wife’s eyes. My wife, Cathy, was always worried about losing the dog. If that ever happened, you can be sure, that it would be my fault. Like I said, that dog always got me into trouble.

When I heard highway, I knew that just to be on the safe side, I had better do something. So, I just got up from the kitchen table and walked towards the highway. As I approached I could see that it was a cat that was causing all of the concern. All I had to do was lift the dog up and carry her into the house. By that time, surely the cat would be smart enough to make its escape and probably would think twice about ever stepping paw on our property again. This was going to be easy.

As I reached for the dog, the stupid and I do mean stupid, cat jumped from the tree, heading away from me towards the highway. If it could have just stayed where it was all would have been fine, but I guess this was not a domesticated cat and it had determined that I was tall enough to reach it, so rather than take its chances with me, it decided to out run the dog. That was a stupid idea. Maisie quickly latched on to the hind quarters of the cat. I reached and grabbed Maisie, also by the hind quarters. Not wanting to get anywhere near the cats claws or teeth, I decided that if I just hurled the dog around in a circle, centrifugal force would take over and the cat would go flying out of the dog’s mouth on its way to freedom, never to be seen again and I would still have Maisie safe in my clutches. It never occurred to me to look behind before I decided to do this. Unbeknown to me, my mother was standing behind me! I had no idea that my mother had been following me. She was standing in direct line of the cat and dog that I happened to be hurling around.  Naturally the cat landed on my mother. I can’t blame the cat for being a little exited, after all, half of its body was being swallowed by a dog and the dog was attached to my six foot six frame and now we had this other human in the way. So the cat attacked my mother. Now I was frantically trying to stop the cat from biting and scratching this 80 year old grandmother. That meant that the cat now turned its attention to me. The dog was still attached. As I was rolling around on the ground with this cat trying to cut me to shreds, my mother freed herself, grabbed one of my shoes and started beating the cat on the head with it, being very careful not to hit Maisie in the process. Finally the dog let go, the cat took off and so did the dog right behind. The two of us were left there, both of us bleeding from bites and scratches all over the place. You would be surprised at how much blood can come from a crazed cat in just a few frantic moments. I was a little dirty as well.

I suggested, that perhaps we should take the cautious route and go into town and get checked at the walk in clinic. Anytime you walk into a walk in clinic, it is full of people. Today there was standing room only. As I pleaded my case with the receptionist, all eyes were on these two people that looked like they just walked out of some battle zone. We had torn clothing and blood all over the place. Maybe we should have cleaned ourselves up first. I could see a doctor listening in. Then I heard this voice “That is very serious.” It was coming from another patient, not in the waiting room, but in one of the little private medical rooms. The doctor then opened the door to a neighbouring medical room and said to us, “Please come in here now.” Before he could close the door, I heard our neighbour warn us from her little cubicle “You can die from that.” The doctor looked at her and said “That’s enough, thank you.”

“Is that true?” I asked. At first I wasn’t sure if we should have even bothered, but now that the doctor had taken us to the front of the line of a packed clinic and we were getting warnings from another patient of possible death, I was beginning to wonder.

“Actually,” he said. “Next to humans, cat bites are the worst bites that you can get.”

This was sounding very ominous.

“You are going to have to go to the hospital and get a shot right now.”

A few days later I received a call from the department of health. The gentleman on the phone wanted all of the facts, so I told him what happened. He then asked if the cat was still around. I said that I did not ever expect to see that cat again. “You don’t live on a farm do you?” he asked. I knew what was coming. He was concerned about rabies. His advice was that we should now get rabies shots. I agreed. Until that afternoon. My wife and I were playing in a tennis tournament that day. During a break in the action I was telling our group of players about what happened that day. That is when one of the other players mentioned, that she had also heard about cat bites and how serious they could be. A friend of hers was also bit by a cat at a veterinary clinic. She got a rabies shot as well. After that she could never walk again.

That dog gets me into more trouble.


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