Monday, September 6, 2010

Naughty Puppy Weekends...

It seems that, no matter how long the weekend, the weekend is never long enough.

I had big plans for this weekend. I left work a little early on Friday so I could hit the road with the puppies and The Interloper to head back to my parents before the traffic got too bad.

Apparently everyone else had the same idea. By the time we arrived, it was only a little sooner than we normally would have if I'd stayed at work all afternoon.

Nevertheless, it was still nice to get there. My parents are still in the UK so I was not only returning the Odious One to his home but also doing a spot of house sitting for the weekend. Since my parents don't get back until Tuesday, my sister is going to take care of Odie until they get back.

I had big plans for house sitting. I planned on having lunch with a friend on Saturday and then my sister and I were going to check out the very first 'fine dining' restaurant in my parent's town. It just opened. Given that my sister is now obsessed with Top Chef and I'm obsessed with food, we had decided to go see how really fine this dining was. It's a new restaurant, owned and operated by someone with whom my sister went to school. He trained in New York and is operating a 'big city restaurant with a small town feel' or something like that. His concept is farm to table which is very popular in big city restaurants. I think that's a fine concept...'s just, well, my parents live in Northern Indiana. In January when the ground is a frozen tundra, farm to table might be a wee bit of a hard concept to execute without having access to a big city selection of fresh produce suppliers. I salute the concept but am curious to see how it's executed.

It turned out that our dining plans were in vain, anyway. Even though the restaurant boasts "Walk In's welcome," we were turned away because there was a large party being hosted there and they were "full." Since it's only been open about two weeks and it was a Saturday night before 6 p.m. in a town who isn't used to "fine dining," we were a little perturbed. In addition, unlike most big city restaurants, this one does not politely post a menu on the window or outside so potential diners can, at least, see if it's worth making a reservation for the future or trying to 'walk in' on another night. Also, the website for a restaurant is not up and running. Perhaps I've watched too many Restaurant Wars on Top Chef but so far, this restaurant is not exactly winning me over. Since we weren't the only rejectees, we didn't feel so bad.

My sister and I ended up at a bar and grill type place in town. It was a nice evening in the end. It's rare when my sister and I get to hang out and we had a nice time grousing about being rejected from the other place.

Of course, no day is without stress. This weekend turned out to be quite stressful with the puppies.

Prior to my lunch on Saturday, I had gone to figure out where to put the puppies' crate for when I went out. I happened to glance out the window and saw little Rory running around in the farmer's field next to my parent's house. Given that my parents have a very large, very fenced-in portion of the yard set aside for the dogs and given that the farmer's field was not part of this area, I was a little alarmed. My parents live on a main highway. I think I've mentioned I've seen more than one dog get hit on that road. Needless to say, I flew into overprotective pet-parent mode and managed to coax Rory towards me by running out to her and bringing her inside to inspect for escape routes.

I thought I found it. Turns out, I had found one of them. There was another one I missed. Two more escapes later and I finally succeeded in stopping Rory from going AWOL again. I don't think she wanted to run away. I think she was just tracking the scent of all the wildlife that finds its way onto my parents' rural property.

Even though I got the fence fixed, it was still a bit of a worry for a while as to whether I really had managed to secure the fence.

It turned out I had. By Sunday morning, I stopped worrying.

I spent Sunday outside in the beautiful autumn-like day, writing on my little netbook. It was lovely. I took a break in the afternoon and went for a walk around my parent's large yard. I returned to the dogs' area and I heard the girls playing with a squeaky toy. "Funny," I thought. "I don't remember them bringing a squeaky toy that looked like that."

Turns out, it wasn't a squeaky toy. It was a very newborn baby bunny. They had found a nest. I managed to rescue the poor thing from the mouth of Sookie. I found somewhere out of the puppies' reach and I made a quick makeshift nest while I went to deal with the dogs. I hadn't thought about there being more.

There were more. Six more to be exact. Each time I rescued one, there was another waiting to be hunted by the puppies. I don't think they actually meant to kill them. Only one baby was bleeding and it was clear that it wasn't going to make it. The others were just carried gently in the puppies mouths as they showed each other their prize. I managed to rescue six of the seven.

I made their makeshift burrow cosy but I had a dreaded feeling they weren't going to make it. I made my brother, when he visited, come and look with me a few hours later. Miraculously, they were all alive.

In the end, my sister decided she would try to take them home and feed them with a dropper in hopes that they lived. However, I did some reading on the internet and discovered that while the intentions to save them were good, it was very unlikely, given their really young age, that they'd make it more than a day.

We decided to try to relocate them to a spot close to their old warren but out of the reach of the puppies. The best hope was that their mother would find them and adapt to the new location. The internet said that the scent of humans wouldn't bother them and the best hope to keep them alive was for their mother to keep taking care of them.

As of this afternoon, they were still alive. There were small signs that, perhaps, the mother came back last night. I'm hoping she's found them and will be ok with their new home. They were so tiny.

I was mad at the puppies for a while. It was hard seeing them hunt such tiny creatures. I know that's what they do; it's the dachshund nature. Yet it was still difficult to carry those tiny, pathetic, newborn creatures in the palm of my hand and not know if they would make it.

I'm hoping that they do. My sister is going to check on them. I'm hoping for the best.

Today, fortunately, the only puppy problems I had was Rory discovering the frogs in my parent's pond and trying to jump in the pond after them. She got her tummy wet but, fortunately, refrained from diving all the way in.

All in all, the weekend was not nearly the relaxing retreat I had in mind. Still, I got a lot of writing done, I rescued some baby bunnies (I hope) and I got to have some good company. I'd say, overall, that wasn't a bad way to spend three days.

Although next time, I think I'd rather it remained bunny-free.

Happy Tuesday!

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