Posts Tagged ‘emergency vet’


Don and I went hunting for morels again today. We got “skunked”. We looked high, we looked low, we looked in places we haven’t visited for 27 years: nothing. We haven’t parked in front of this particular barbed wire fence since Memorial Day, 1991.

The road we pulled off of leads to McCubbin Gulch recreation area. This gate is a few feet and one cattle guard away from Oregon Highway 216 to Maupin, Oregon. The other side of this barbed wire fence is Warm Springs Indian Reservation land.We’re on the USFS side, where we were 27 years ago, hunting for morels.

We’d found them there before, in our early years in the Willamette Valley, just a 90 minute drive over the Cascades. We found a cougar there one year: that was when the infamous Rosie was still living, so it must have been 1988 or 1989. Rosie was a mutt I picked up for Don just after we were married, in 1980: Springer Spaniel, English Pointer, and Brittany Spaniel. She died of a “high iron diet”: she was hit by a car when she was 11 years old.

We purchased Sadie from a breeder just a few months after Rosie’s death:  purebred English Pointer from a show breed line with impeccable references. Our biggest mistake was not knowing the difference between a show dog line and a field dog line: Sadie was the dumbest dog we have ever owned, except – perhaps – for my beloved Harvey. She had all the looks and none of the street smarts of a field dog. In 1991, she cost us $350 and a long drive to Edmonds, Washington, where we picked her up from the breeder.

We were all in love with her instantly. She was all legs and love. She ate my sofa. She growled over her food dish. She adored our kids she hiked with us until the pads fell off of her feet in the desert and climbing rocks; she had fur that ingrained itself in our furniture and rests there today, 27 years later.

Rejoys Hannah’s Promise. That was her AKC registered name – I named her. The kids and Don named her “Sadie”.

Memorial Day, 1991. We were hunting morels, and we returned to the place where we’d encountered a big cat just a year or three prior. The kids were bigger, the dog, different. Commercial buyers were still non-existent. We had a picnic lunch packed, and we’d just settled down to lunch on a blanket one the Forest Service side of the gate where we had been hunting – unsuccessfully.

And, then: Sadie. The only dog we have ever owned that could not negotiate a barbed wire fence. She went through the gate and cut herself open from the brisket to the belly. On Memorial Day weekend. Seventy miles from nowhere.

Should we drive into Hood River and hope for a weekend vet? Into Maupin a short 30 miles, but a miniscule population? Or 75 miles back home, in traffic, and hope our vet would come into the office on a weekend? what do you do on a big holiday weekend?

Sadie was not bleeding: the barbed wire had sliced through the skin, but not through the inner layer of flesh that held her insides together. She was hurt, but not mortally. I sat in the back seat and held her head on my lap. We decided to go back over the Cascades and hope for the best.

It was awful: the traffic came to a standstill at Government Camp and into the first small town, Zig Zag. It took us over two hours to drive a 90-minute route. Sadie was in pain, but she was not bleeding – that was probably the weird part. And the miracle was that our vet was in the office, dealing with a pup that had been run over by a lawn mower. Sadie was just another emergency.

My husband was shooed from the operating room. The vet had to cut off the dead skin – the edges of the cut had died in the two hours it took us to get to a phone and drop off our kids. I played Vet’s assistant, and held the skin together while the vet made his stitches: ten in all.

She impaled herself on a stick years later: we were camping in the Ochocos, and she leaped over a log into a branch or something. It went an inch into her chest, as I recall. I told her that I was *not* taking her into Prineville to see an emergency vet. She would have to just heal after I doctored her with what I had for a first aid kit. She just smiled and behaved, and lived a long and wonderfully stupid life. She died of cancer in 2006, a rich 15 year old dog.


Huh. I still look at that dog and I feel my tear ducts swell. Big, stupid, loving, purebred, Rejoys Hannah’s Promise. Sadie.

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