Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Life's a Handful...

I am typing this blog with an injured hand. You see, I did a very dumb thing early this morning...well, actually a couple of really dumb things.

First, I put my spare batteries on the charger so they would have a full charge when I went out on a photo safari today. Second, I let the dog out (which I have always done in the morning), but did so before he had a chance to eat (which is inside the house). It wasn't intentional, it just happened. I fed the horses and the cat and the dog, but Rosco (the dog) was so glad to see me this morning, he followed me on every step I took and when I went out to feed the horses, he naturally followed me outside.

Well, when I finished the outside chores, I came back in to gather my things and got ready to go on my safari. And even though Rosco wanted to follow me into the house, I told him to stay outside. When I was ready, I climbed into the rig, backed out of the garage and headed off.

I went eastward at first, to see if any Rough-legged Hawks were around to photograph. And although I saw a couple they were too far away to get any good shots. Since I was close to Prineville (somewhere I used to live), I thought I would stop and say hi to folks there I hadn't seen in a while. At one of the stops, I was told I should go see a friend's daughter, and that she would love to see me. So after getting directions, I headed that way. But I never got to the daughter's place....well, maybe I did, but the directions I got were so bad, I had no idea which building or which place (or even if I was in the right place) her daughter lived, so I turned around and headed to one of my main areas of interest for some photography.

When I arrived at the Ochoco Reservoir, I gathered my camera and headed towards the waterline to check on the shore birds. There were a number of birds there, most of which I have yet to photograph. So I started to move toward a good group and a Great Blue Heron caught my eye. I turned, fired off five shots and my camera froze on me. Actually, it just stopped working. This had happened before and I knew the problem...the batteries were dead.

I headed back to the rig, reached for the fanny pack I keep my spare stuff in and suddenly realized that the spare batteries I was about to get weren't where they were suppose to be. They were still on the charger here at the house. DUH!!!!! So, after kicking myself several times, I got back in the rig and headed out of town. At this point, I was so angry with myself, I blew off going back to another friend's place, didn't stop to clarify directions to the daughter's place, and didn't notice the poorly marked change in traffic flow at a construction site.

Lucky for me, when I did notice my error, I was able to swing back to where I was suppose to be before anyone came from the opposite direction, but the folks behind me must have wondered what kind of yahoo was driving that Jeep Cherokee. By the time I got back here to the house, I was really angry at myself. So I decide I would grab my fully charged batteries and head back out to shoot some photos somewhere. However, I remembered Rosco and figured I would keep up his spirits a little and play a game of catch, or fetch, with him.

For those who don't know, Rosco is like a 120 pound baby. Actually, he's a BIG Pit Bull and one of the best dogs I have ever been around. He isn't mine (he belongs to my sister's family), but I know he'd take a bullet for me. I'm one of his favorite people...or so I thought.

When I walked into the backyard to see Rosco, he was on the far side of the yard. The moment he saw me, he headed straight for me at full speed. I figured out a moment to late what he was going to do. He leaped off the porch and hit me square in the chest, knocked me flat on my ass and had his tongue covering my face before I could react. After catching my breath, I rolled over, got to my feet and reached for the hard rubber toy I had been tossing around for Rosco to run, get and bring back to me and as I went to toss it, Rosco figured he would get a jump on the fetch part and leaped again. This time, he headed straight for the object in my hand.

He grabbed it before I could release it. Unfortunately, he grabbed something hand. He realized what he had done as soon as he did it, but the damage was already done. His powerful jaws had come down on my hand just inside the area of the right thumb. He let go as soon as he could, and slinked away knowing he was a bad dog. I naturally, jerked my hand away from the pain, and luckily did so just a split second after Rosco had released his jaws, which saved me from pulling my hand out through his teeth.

I grabbed my aching hand, winced in pain and looked for Rosco. He was laying down near the back door of the house, ears back and tail still tucked between his legs. I walked over to him and he naturally went into a submissive mood and when I scratched him behind his ear and said he was a good dog, he jumped up and once again, began inhaling my face with his tongue.

That happened two hours ago, and the hand still hurts. Typing this isn't helping it, but at least I can move (more or less) all my appendages. There is swelling and a very sore spot about an inch above the wrist. But overall, I was lucky.

Rosco didn't mean to get my hand...all he wanted to do was play and he got a little over anxious. And, it wasn't the first time a dog my sister's family owned missed something and got me.

Years ago, I came home on leave and found my mom visiting my sister when I arrived. Since I had been gone several years, they were making me a dinner in the house. I had gone out to the backyard to see Brutus, my sister's beautiful Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull in other words). After he welcomed me back (in the typical fashion Pit Bulls welcome me), he brought over a rope he liked to play tug-of-war with. I think he played that because he knew he could win every time...well, almost every time.

We both started pulling and I was yanking and pulling as hard as I could, when Brutus decide he wanted to better grip on the rope. So he loosened his grip at the same time I gave the rope a yank. His end of the rope went flying out of his mouth and directly towards my crotch. Again, I realized what was going to happen a moment to late. Brutus lunged for the rope, mouth opened wide, headed straight for my family jewels.

And he got them...and the rope.

I was suddenly in so much pain, I fell backwards with my hands covering the source of the pain and rocked back and forth. And then I saw my mom looking out the kitchen window. She had seen the entire incident and was laughing. I got up, slightly bent over, and headed into the house. When I got to the kitchen, my mom said, "I sure wish I had had a video camera. We could split $10,000!" At that time, America's Funniest Home Videos was not in reruns, and I am sure my fun in the sun with the dog would have made the show, if not taken the prize for that episode.

But there was no way I was going to play tug-of-war with Brutus for a long time.

Well, the incident with Brutus is long over, but it was the first thing that flashed through my mind when I saw Rosco leaping for the hard rubber toy.

I don't think anything is broken, but my hand does hurt. I'll keep an eye on it for now, and keep it away from Rosco.

The worst part of it is the hand Rosco clipped, is the hand I hold I my camera with.

I just wonder if it wasn't revenge for leaving him alone in the backyard for long...without food.

Oh...he gobbled down his food and I even gave him a new chew toy. Hopefully he won't want to go leaping at me for a while.

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