The Sea and Other Not Gentle Updates

This is Brandi.


She’s a fine girl.  She’d be a good wife.  And if you think I will get sick of this joke while fostering her, you have obviously never owned a braided chain made of finest silver from the north of Spain.

Brandi has been with us for two weeks now.  (Which I had to edit because I started this a week ago.)

Two years ago?  (sure, why not.  We’ll never know her real story) she was struck by a snowmobile and lost use of her hind legs. Somehow she survived with her owners (or relatives of?) until she was recently surrendered to the Humane Society.

You might think the whole “can’t use half her body” thing was kicker, but that was just the start.


Heartworm positive.

Tape worms.  (Who the eff has TAPEWORMS after over a month of SNOW??)

Bacteria and yeast infections in her ears.

While completely in control of her bathroom facilities, there has been definite distress.  (Probiotics!  Not just for crazy white people!)

She pulls herself along gamely with her front legs which has led to: 1) abrasions (rug burn) on her hind legs and 2) cuts on her front pads due to the ferocity in which she believes she can scoot long.

We get told a lot by well-meaning people that, “I just couldn’t give them up!” as to why they don’t foster animals.

As if we are not bereft when we hear an animal in our care is going somewhere else.  As if we are immune.  As if we don’t love as strongly as we should when animals are torn from their lives.

For every Brandi enjoying a meal inside with well-meaning people today, hundreds (YES HUNDREDS) of animals were killed.  Today.  Because no one came.  Because their kennel was passed by one too many times.  Because life is a commodity that must be cute and young and (shall I make a Ferguson metaphor?) white to be traded up in this society.

We rage against that machine.  Against that dying of the light.  And it is sad and fierce and makes for poor blog flodder because there is no tidy cliche to fall back on in the end paragraph.  But we do it anyway.  Because we can’t not.  No matter how much we couldn’t give them up.  We do.  Again and again.

Brandi is getting a wheel cart and a “drag bag” (kind of like a sleeping bag with a harness) so she gets around safely.  We dose her ears and wrap her cut paws and don’t take it personally when she cowers at us standing near.

She gets fed.  A lot.  I am scared of the day when we get a foster that needs to go on a diet.  I will have to lock up the food and not give Tom a key.

Like previous fosters, we see the most progress at our home.  It is a calm, animal-centric environment.  Her ears-down (scared/don’t-beat-me) to ears-up (happy/interested) ratio in the cabin is almost 50/50 these days.  I think she would benefit to another dog in the house, but the cats do a reasonable facsimile so that she knows animals are welcome and loved and can have as many turkey treats as their stomach can stand.

In other news, there has been no sign of Markey.

We took a break from looking from him because it was deer gun season here.  (Actually, I went out on the 2nd day of gun season – complete with orange vest – but found no signs.)  Not that there weren’t hunters with guns in the woods before deer season – or that there are suddenly no hunters in the woods after deer season.  It’s just that the other seasons and other hunting methods aren’t half as revered as gun deer season here in the north woods of Wisconsin.

I wonder what Dylan Thomas would have to say about deer season?  How gently should that go?  Who should rage?  If it is the deer, well, that’s futile.  Because, you know, guns.  Which may be the entire point of that poem.  (Futility.  Not guns.)

We have gotten into a routine with Brandi.  To the point that Tom felt he had some free time and went looking for Markey yesterday.

No sign.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I hit a deer with my car.

To be more accurate, I hit very-fresh-almost-roadkill with my car.  The body went under my front passenger side and threw me for a loop landing on the opposite side of the highway.  I still didn’t know what happened until a gentleman in a truck with hazard lights on (which I had noticed a mere half-second before the impact.  “Hey, he has his flashers on…” bam!) crossed the highway and fired two bullets.

He had hit the deer with his car minutes before I showed up, then pulled over to put the deer out of its misery and move it completely to the shoulder, per Wisconsin roadkill law.   He was rather disgruntled with the fact I hadn’t noticed him sooner or paid more attention to the road.

I, in turn, was not disgruntled with the couple that stopped to make sure I was OK.  Even though they had been driving erratically behind me and were part of the reasons for my inattention to flashers and deer carcass.

The only things to suffer in the incident (besides the deer) were some body parts to my car and one particular body part to me.  My left shoulder, the weak one that has been through physical therapy after an abrupt fall years ago, has been killing me.  Literally.  (Slowly, if literally.  Since I do not wish to do anything more active than lay around the house and moan with a particular neck loll that doesn’t aggravate the left side of my upper body.)

And…I think you are all caught up to the current episode of It’s an InProgress Life.  Dogs come and go.  Injuries come and go.  Car parts come and go.  Just like the tide.

“She could feel the ocean fall and rise
She saw its ragin’ glory
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand”

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2 Responses to The Sea and Other Not Gentle Updates

  1. Jim Richmond says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this blog. Well, “enjoy” might not quite to the accurate word. Brandi is inspirational; and so is the effort you and Tom are making to give her a healthy, active, positive, supportive life. As someone who worked for a large Humane Society, I know the importance of people like you who are willing to foster Brandi and other hard to place animals.. As to the deer…..was the guy shooting across the road? That’s against the law here in Michigan….but you take your life at risk driving north to Charlovoix or Petoskey. A real shooting gallery. I write a blog and wrote one about a year ago about deer hunting. The blog was not popular, but then I am in the definite minority on the topic of guns and deer hunting. Thanks for you blog. Here’s a copy of what I wrote:

  2. Jessica In Progress says:

    I have edited the post to make it more clear what happened – he hit the deer with his car and pulled over to try and finish the job and move the road hazard but there was too much traffic and I got there first.

    I’m not a fan of hunting and I personally would like to eat less meat in general. But I do appreciate those who understand the life cycle of steak does not include a cellophane wrapper.