We need to talk about Juno.
My sweet, sweet Juno did not run to greet me Friday morning as I left for work. I figured she was a smart one, staying in her house to avoid the wind chill. Ann the black shepherd saw us off. She did that another morning, when the skies were overcast and the porch was dark, and the only way I knew it was an imposter was when I felt her coarse, bristly, warthog-hair-like fur. That, and her nervous whining when I patted her. No smooth, silky Juno fur, fine enough to sell for a royal lady's wig. No nuzzling rubbery nose trying to torpedo my lips.
Friday afternoon, Juno was again conspicuously absent. We had been hit with surprise heavy snow flurries, so again, I suspected Juno had eaten her fill of fresh eggs and was sleeping it off in her porchside cabin. This morning as The Pony and I trotted out to head for his Academic Meet, Juno was not in evidence in her residence off the kitchen door.
I proceeded to The Devil's Playground all by my lonesome after releasing The Pony to his Smartypants herd. On the way home, I began to devise a way to carry in those supplies without help, in as few trips as possible. I decided to make one trip inside to take my purse, water cup, and sausage biscuit that I brought for the #1 son, still abed at the late hour of 10:00 a.m. Then I would carry the bags to the side porch as usual, and once all were out and the garage hermetically sealed, carry them from the side porch to the kitchen in about three trips. How do you solve a problem like my Juno? What problem? I am still not buying into the claims that she goes through the bags when I'm not looking. But just in case, I set out the meaty cold food last, and carried it in first.
Huh. Of course there was no problem. There was no Juno!
I put away my haul, cleaning out older items as needed. Don't tell my mom, but we had some SLAW to throw out to the chickens, dated back to Jan. 8th. Along with some potato salad, chicken wing bones from last night, shredded lettuce, and chunky milk. As I stood at the back porch rail, flinging potato salad and trying to bomb the hateful guineas, I heard a whimper coming from the far end past the dog dishes, where the other two doghouses are located. No, it was not whiny Ann, but my sweet, sweet Juno who padded up behind me. Padded is not exactly the word. Wobbled up behind me.
JUNO'S FOOT WAS AS BIG AS A BEAR PAW!
I had to look twice. It was surreal. Like a cartoon Mickey Mouse hand, only without a white glove, and furry. Her right foreleg was the normal size, but that foot was bloated. She could have been hiding a Clydesdale hoof in the midst of her feathery toe hair. At first I thought she might have broken it, but that seems far-fetched, what with many little bones involved. I next thought of a snake bite. Or an infection. Or a thorn from the thorn tree in the BARn field. But the rest of the leg was normal. I called for the #1 son, who was up conveniently after all the carrying was done. He squeezed her leg and she didn't mind. She put limited weight on her foot, but had a definite limp.
When Farmer H got home from work and picking up The Pony, I told him something was wrong with Juno's foot, and I thought she might have to see the vet. Farmer H sat right up in his La-Z-Boy and said he was getting his coat, to go take a look. I won't fool myself for one minute thinking he was concerned about my special furry friend. He heard the word "vet" and dollar signs ch-chinged in his pupils.
Farmer H returned shortly. "She let me handle it. I squeezed, thinking if there was something in it, that could push it out. (Note To Self: Do not go to Farmer H for help if you accidentally shoot a nail gun at your head.) Then I got to looking at it. She showed me her palm. She has a cut between her toes. Some red stuff came out."
I'm no vet, nor do I play one on TV. I'm pretty sure that red stuff was blood. "A cut? Just by one toe?"
"No. Two toes."
"She has two cuts?"
"No. One cut. In here." He showed me on his hand, between the pinky and ring fingers.
"Well, you said two toes."
"This toe, and this toe."
"That's one cut. I KNOW that BETWEEN means there are two toes involved! You can't have a cut between one toe!" I felt like Elaine and the "Not bang-bang! Woof-woof!" doctor.
"I'm going to take out a bowl of saltwater and soak it."
"She'll freeze! And then she'll lick her foot and get hypertension!"
"She'll be fine."
Farmer H, Canine Podiatrist, went about his mission. It lasted less than five minutes. "She let me put her foot in there, then she yanked it back and turned the bowl over."
"Now her foot is freezing!"
"It's 40 degrees. And I dried it off with a paper towel. She's not freezing. She ran right in her house. We'll see how it looks tomorrow."
Oh, Juno. You'd best get to licking your wound, healing it with dog saliva, nature's best medicine. As for me, I won't be licking anything like batter out of that bowl. Farmer H placed it right back in the clean sink, where he had commandeered it for his mission.
I saw it dripping. Farmer H says he washed it.