Sunday, December 4, 2011

2 AM is NOT fun.

Here it is, officially 2 o'clock in the stinkin' morning, I'm wide awake and not even at work.   "What's up with that?" one might ask.  Well, I'll tell you.

There I was, lying in bed fairly peacefully when one of the dogs started going off.  It was Beau's distinctive voice, baying like a hound because he never has learned how to bark like a real dog.  I thought little of it at the time, he does that once in a while.  I hollered "That's enough, Beau." and he settled down.  Every so often I'd hear another dog bark, but none of it of a nature to draw any particular attention.

Then, a huge WHOOSH as the snow on my tin roof sloughed off.  On some other night I might have just ignored that, but with power cords extending from the outlet on the side of the house out to the rigs I decided I really did need to get up and dig them out before the snow slide sets up like concrete.  I lived in Crested Butte, Colorado for several years back in the 1980s, and responded to several calls in which people were buried in avalanches.  I learned back then that once the snow stops sliding it sets up hard and fast.  Besides, I've been slow about digging out cords in the past, resulting in the darned things disappearing until break-up.

So, I donned socks, shoes, pants and even a light jacket to do what I figured would be a fairly quick task.  I stepped out the door to hear the rhythmic 'drip, drip, dripping' of melting snow, perhaps mixed with a bit of rain. 

When I looked toward the dog yard, there was Innoko, looking back at me with his big old puppy grin, dancing at the gate.  "AHA!!" says I.  That explains why Beau was being so noisy.  When I went to grab him by the collar to return him to his post, I realized he wasn't wearing his collar.  He'd apparently slipped it and decided to play a game of run amok, or at least wander around the visit his buddies. 

So, I called him over to his post and he came trotting over willingly enough, until Orion decided to mess with him (probably pay-back from some earlier event).  The next thing you know Orion and Innoko are going at it hammer and tongs in a good, old-fashioned ballyhoo type dogfight.  I grabbed Innoko by the tail to drag him away, and Orion (bless his little heart) decided to get in at least one more lick.  Unfortunately, his eye to mouth coordination was off a bit, and he NAILED me in the left forearm.  It sure was a good thing I'd had the foresight to don that heavy canvas jacket, or I'd be treating puncture wounds rather than a bruise. 

I finally got the combatants separated, got Innoko back into his collar and that tightened enough to keep him in place (I hope), gave both dogs a cursory examination and didn't find any particular injuries, so returned to my original mission, all the while mumbling unpublishable words about a certain pair of young dogs. 

With a lot of tugging and hauling and shovel work, I got the electrical cords freed from the snow, rolled up and tossed under cover until they are next needed.  I went inside to wash up, and while doing so I saw blood - and it wasn't mine.  

So, I put the jacket back on, found my headlamp, and went back to the dog yard to check things out more thoroughly.  The blood was Orion's, coming from a minor ear laceration that neither of us are going to worry too much about.  

I finally made it back into the house, washed up, most of the extra clothing off, and my eyes are wide open, one of my handler's dogs is making all kinds of noise, and I'm just waiting to see what happens next.  It's obviously just one of those nights. 

When I was a child, my mother used to warn me that there would be nights like this.  What she failed to mention was that there would be so many of them.

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