Monday, May 28, 2012

Hens and Dogs

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend. We have been busy working around the place tilling the garden, weeding, mowing, fertilizing and trying to get the place looking at least presentable, like someone actually lives here and that there really are people alive behind all the tall weeds and grass.

Buff Orpington (BO) is at it again. She is on a clutch on the ground again- same old spot. Remember last time when she had 21 eggs and I came home from work one day to find only 10 eggs, no chicks with the exception of a dead one in the beak of a mean old hen running around with the others chasing her. The other chicks met their demise, too, and then she wouldn't sit on the eggs that were left so I tried to hatch them in the incubator with no luck. Yeah, that was a bum deal.

Our hen house is divided in two by a piece of wood that runs across the bottom and chicken wire separating the two sides. Well, this time, DH went in and put a box around her to the other hens couldn't bother her. Then he went into the other side and cut an opening so she can have some room to stretch her legs and get some food and water. She wasn't too keen about his idea but we are hoping that she will be able to brood undisturbed and we will have baby chicks running around in 3 weeks. Plus, with fewer eggs, we are hoping that things will be manageable for her.

On another note, our golden retriever, Cooper, is almost 6 years old. On Friday, he suddenly showed lameness in his right leg and was limping around, so of course we looked him over. Checked for swelling, an abscess, cuts in his paw, goat heads, between the paws, and anything else. Maybe just some slight swelling, although you really had to look. Nope, nada, nothing. He's still limping and really favoring his leg. We are the wait and see kind of folk when it comes to these things, as we simply do not rush off to the vet for every little ailment that most often will heal itself with time. This is not the first time an animal of ours hasn't had some sort of soreness and stiffness that corrected itself in a few days. No worries.

I woke in the middle of the night on Saturday with an awful thought. I shared it with DH Sunday over breakfast. What we see in Cooper is exactly the same symptoms that we saw manifest themselves in our late dog, Jake. Jake had suddenly one day started limping... same leg as Cooper.
Again, we found absolutely nothing but some slight swelling in his right foreleg. After several days with no improvement we took him to the vet. The vet had looked him over and could not find anything wrong but wanted to take an X-ray. Sure. Well, when the vet came back into the room, he was very grave and said he suspected and was sorry to inform us but that our dog, Jake, had bone cancer, it had spread by now,  he was in pain and did not have long to live.

We were heartsick to say the least. Jake had been such an awesome dog raising our daughters, how could he ever be replaced. You would not believe the stories I could tell about his protectiveness and loyalty over the years. We knew we had very little time left with Jake and so I immediately began looking to purchase another golden retriever to keep Jake company, and for Jake to teach him the ropes around our homestead. We were fortunate to find Cooper. He was very mellow for a puppy.

Cooper and Jake had about a week or so together. Jake deteriorated very rapidly and was having trouble breathing because the cancer had spread to his lungs. He could barely walk out the front door to do his thing.He is fondly remembered.

Well, you know what I am thinking don't you? We are sick that Cooper has the same thing! I am going to make an appointment with the vet tomorrow and get him in to find out. I am so sad, I don't want to go through this again. Once we got him trained to leave the chickens alone (chickens are our friends and are not sporting birds!), he has been awesome! He is a great companion and I cannot imagine life without the company we have from him. Sigh... I will keep you posted on his diagnosis.


  1. Very sorry about Jake and Cooper, will be praying all is well. Dogs are always a big part of the family.

    Boots and Clem were two of our best watch dogs and pets. Neither let any stranger around us without their permission;-) Clem was the goofier of the two. Loved to eat lemons. It was funny to watch and hear him eat them.

    blessings, jilly

    1. Jilly,
      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Lemons... that would be very funny to watch. We have our fond memories. I will keep everyone posted.

  2. please do not lose hope..maybe cooper has some other problem other than what you are suspecting. he might have just pulled a ligament or muscle-or he might just have a bit of arthritis. i am including cooper in my prayers. i have two chinese sharpeis. one just turned nine and the other is six yrs. old..they are my constant and loyal companions and when they pass on i will be missing them fiercely..i do know that our daisy has been showing her age for awhile we have pretty much retired her from any companion work-although evry now and then we ask her to do some little chore so her feelings wont get hurt. i am so glad your bo is sitting on more eggs...hope things work out better this time and look forward to the hatching announcement.

    1. You're right, I should not lose hope and it could be another problem. It is just so eerily similar. I believe you are right about letting our dogs help out with chores. DH went out this morning and came back and shared that Cooper never misses an opportunity to help with the chickens. I noticed that he has perked up much this afternoon. I think maybe mornings are rougher until he gets some blood pumping through his veins.

  3. I will keep positive thoughts for Cooper. Cooper could just have a sprain or sore muscle. You are remembering the bad that happened to Jake. It is always hard to lose a pet who is like a member of the family.

    1. Thanks, Mamma Bear. I hope you are right. I will be posting some pictures of Cooper, our hen and some misc. weekend pics later today or in a day or two.


Your thoughts are welcome!