shake your tail feather


Max showed up the next morning—Monday—and it became clear what had happened (see yesterday’s post). He had had a run-in with a javelina (peccary), the vicious, betusked cousin of a pig which has bristly hair and usually measures between 3 and 4.3 feet in length, and at full growth, weighs 44 to 88 lbs. This morning I watched as a particularly bold javelina responded to a dog bark by running up the road towards us almost a quarter of a mile about as fast as a dog could run. Luckily, it finally lost interest in the challenge and returned to its pack.

I can imagine now that Max may have been guilty only of standing his ground. Max has a skinned area on his side and a 1½-inch core of his tail which had the outer skin and fur slipped off like the paper cover off a drinking straw. It looks like a wooden peg has been exposed, but it’s flesh, bone, and blood. Our veterinarian Dr. Sam said the inner tail needs to be amputated and the remaining skin sutured together.  It sounds like a “tail-job” to me.

The dog will have to be put under general anesthetic, but the first trick is getting Max into the pickup. Max has been in the truck only once before, and he was terrified by the experience. My attempts to get him into the cab Monday resulted in dog bites to both my hands. (I am typing with both hands bandaged right now.)

Our solution is that Aliana will pick up tranquilizer pills in town from Dr. Sam, and we will administer them the next morning so Max will be more amenable to being transported in the truck. Aliana is going into town anyway. The surgery will just have to happen a day later, but Sam assures me it’s not an emergency.


Tuesday: Well, Max will look ridiculous for a while. His furry tail is shaved halfway up, and a big red bandage adorns the tip of his tail like a tail light. But the amputation is done, and in a month or two no one will notice. Right now, Max is pretty drugged-up and is sleeping it off in the shade. The procedure only cost me $30, and it’s probably worth it for the drugs alone.

I’m exhausted too, and am going to take a nap. There is a strange sympathetic thing going on, and though I have not consumed drugs or any other substances at all, I feel as if I have been the patient.




Groove of the Day

Listen to Ray Charles & the Blues Brothers performing “Shake Your Tail Feather”


Weather Report

97° and Clear


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