Butler County Times Gazette
Terry Spradley
Living with Dogs - High risk policy
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By Terry Spradley
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Lightning sporting a purple paw.
Terry Spradley
Lightning sporting a purple paw.
By Terry Spradley
Jan. 22, 2013 3:09 p.m.

Lightning is what insurance companies might call high risk or accident-prone.

I was pretty accident prone as a child from getting eight stitches in my hand after getting it caught in a lawn chair, then ripping out said stitches two days early by falling out of a tree, to piling up just about every wheeled vehicle I could manage to get my hands on. My mom spent plenty of time in emergency rooms.

I’m a lot older and a little smarter so my trips to the ER have decreased, but now Lightning seems to be following in my footsteps.

I noticed right off Lightning seemed to have a tendency for “oh, crap,” moments.

A few short days after we “rescued” Lightning from his former home he had a disagreement with Hudson or Theo while heading down the road at 45 mph in the back of the Ford Ranger. It ended with him running after the truck hollering “wait for me” after he fell or was pushed out. Nothing hurt but his pride that time.

A couple fights with Theo when the two were working out the pack hierarchy led to a few late night runs to Countryside Veterinary in Great Bend for stitches on one or the other.

Last fall while I was cutting wood around the farm. Hudson and Lightning were sniffing out the grounds and would occasionally disappear for longer and longer periods of time.

After one of these periods I noticed Lightning up by the house with a guilty look on his face and a slight limp. Upon closer investigation, I found what appeared to be a small caliber bullet hole in his right butt cheek.

As the spot of blood turned it was another weekend trip to see Dr. Niederee for stitches and shots.

Sunday loaded up the Toyota with gear to go cut some firewood for a disabled friend of mine near Great Bend. His dog died recently and he is found of the pair of big white dogs so after loading the chain saw, fuel and other supplies I loaded up Lightning and Hudson.

As an afterthought I grabbed the double-edge axe off the porch and tossed it in the back as well.

We stopped at Dillons in Great Bend to grab some baked chicken, dog snacks and other items before heading out to the field. As I rounded the backside of the truck I saw a bloody smear on the side fender and tailgate of the truck. Both dogs had a couple spots of red on them. Lightning lay in the back of truck licking a front paw.

“What did you do now?”

I can’t remember how many times I heard that growing up through my teens, 20s, 30s and 40s.

Fortunately, Dr. Niederee, who should be on my speed dial, was a few blocks south at a 4H function. He took a quick look and once again we were off on another Sunday afternoon run to the animal hospital.

From what I could gather from the evidence while Lightning was bounding from side rail to side rail in the back of the truck he must have slipped off the edge and landed on the axe I tossed in when we left. He had a fairly deep cut right where his toe connects to his foot. A few stitches, and some catbacker purple tape and he was good as new. At least until the pain medicine wore off later that day.

After we got out of the hospital I gave Lightning the obligatory, “see what happens we you horse around like that,” speech I got more than once growing up. But considering I was the one that threw the axe in the truck in the first place, I’m not so sure if Lightning has the accident-prone trait, or if he is just collateral damage from mine.

 

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