Friday, 19 August 2011

First Casualty of the Season

It was Lily versus wasp nest. And it was bad.

Mike has been taking Lily and Pip to chase the youngest pheasants back home every morning. The pheasants wander from their wooded safety to chase the sun and warm their backs, which is fine, except they forget to stop wandering. Being disturbed by the dogs helps the birds define the edge of their boundary; they don't like to be bothered any more than we do when we're enjoying good weather.

The dogs were working away when Pip appeared from a bracken-covered hillside being chased by a few wasps. I guess they were dogging the dogs, reminding them where their boundaries should be. Mike heard Lily screaming and said she emerged blanketed in wasps. He met her halfway and wiped as many wasps off her as he could, getting stung himself.

When they returned home, Mike was carrying Lily. They were both already swollen and lumpy. Mike called the vets while I proceeded to remove yet more wasps from Lily, and check her over. Inside her mouth was stung and swelling. I was worried her airway would close.

We got her to the vets, and they put her on a drip of antibiotics, painkillers, and fluid. Poor dog - when she heard the clippers start up to shave her leg for the drip, she thought she was under attack again and tried to do a flying dismount from the examination table.

The vets kept her for observation this morning, but the triage was in time. I picked her up and she was well enough to hop into the Land Rover to accompany me on my now well-behind morning chore round, checking lambs, pregnant ewes, horses. She mooched about while I collected more field mushrooms.

I'm not saying she's not milking it for attention and maybe an egg in her breakfast bowl -

But I'm sure glad she's alright. And I'll put dog antihistamine in both trucks, just in case.


Oh, and Mike's fine too.


simplesavvy said...

Phew! I'm glad Lily's all right. The title of your post made me think someone had died, and then that imagery of Lily blanketed in wasps? Shudder. Talk about suspenseful.

Kate said...

I can actually empathize on this one. Not with you, as the pet owner, but with Lily. When I was only about six years old a playmate and I were walking through the woods. She was ahead of me and stepped into a ground hive of yellow jackets. She realized immediately what had happened and skeedaddled right on out of there. It helped that she was two years older than me. I wasn't so quick on the uptake, probably because the playmate didn't take much time to explain what was going on. She got a couple stings, and I got stung over 100 times. I staggered home, sobbing and wailing. My mother whipped my clothes off and a few half-dead yellow jackets fell out. The doctor told my mother to put me in a bath with epsom salts. Now I just look at it as confirmation that I'm not allergic to insect bites.

Go easy on Lily. It's a trauma I remember well.

Anonymous said...

From Jen@M&T

Kate - How awful! You know it from Lily's point of view. Some dogs are stoic about pain, Lily is, but when she came home she was panting heavily, so I knew the pain must have been awful. She's resting quietly now, but I promise to give her extra treats in her bowl tonight, and the day off tomorrow.

It's been a terrible year for wasps. There are news reports about kids and pets being attacked with alaming regularity.

Poppy Cottage said...

Thank goodness she (Pip and Mike too) are ok.


BilboWaggins said...

Hi, I wandered into here a while ago from .. erm... where on earth was I?!....Well anyway! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, would have commented before but Blogger hasn't been co-operative.

How frightening for you all, especially when stings are in the mouth. Years ago my aunt lost a dog who was stung in the throat - didn't get her to a vet in time. I used to hate it when my old boy would try and catch bees & wasps on the lawn ... Glad Lily and Mike are OK.

Fiona said...

Oh man - my worst nightmare. I'm allergic and carry an epi-pen just in case. But my collie, Pip, trod on a wasps nest a few years back and I had to get them out of her paws and then carry her to the vets quickly. She pulled through too. So glad to hear Lily is fine ... I think she deserves eggs for breakfast (and Mike too!)

Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore said...

Glad everyone made it out alive. Except for some wasps, that is.

Paula said...

Yikes, Jen! I'm so glad that you all are okay, really glad. Also glad you have the dog antihistamines now. Is it like an epi-pen?

I wonder what you can do about the wasp nest? Years ago I heard about someone finding a ground nest of hornets and pouring gasoline down the hole and then throwing in a match. From what I understand, it did the trick.

I'm trying to learn to live with the various wasps and hornets that show up in my backyard because it turns out they're a beneficial insect that eats the bugs that eat your brassicas. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they were interested in the kale and cabbage until I read about what they were really looking for.

However, if they were making a huge nuisance of themselves and making a nest in the ground, I'd seriously consider burning them out.

Good luck with whatever you guys decide to do.

Peruby said...

What a touching story. Bless Mike for not letting Lily fend for herself. What an ordeal for all of you.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Ouch! Poor old Lily.

I think one of the worst things about an experience like that is that it must make you afraid, for the rest of your life, that it'll happen again. In some ways, it's comforting to hear Kate's story -- she's grown up into such an interesting, intrepid adult despite the trauma. I think that bodes will for Lily.

Anonymous said...

From Jen@ M&T -

It's hard to believe how many people/animals have also been 'wasped' in their lives. It's also great to hear that the stories have a happy ending. Ours included. Lily was begging to go back to work this morning and has suffered no ill effects, physical or otherwise. I'm envious of a dog's ability to live in the moment and seem to shake off trauma.

Bilbo - glad you've joined us, and managed to de-lurk in spite of the commenting problems. I'm having them too, but I thought it was my lack of tech know-how.

Paula - The antihistamines are only a means to buy time until you can get to the vets. I guess it is like an epi-pen.

We have a nasty powder from the pest control man which gets tipped over the nests (while wearing a bee suit). I have had some success pouring diesel on a nest, though no need to light it as the fuel seems to poison them (though probably the soil too). It would take someone braver than me use petrol AND light it.

Tamar - My father's standing joke is that you should always traumatise your kids early, that way they have years to get over it. It sounds like Kate's family subscribed to the same philosophy. If you can thrive in spite of it, the bonus is that you turn out as interesting and capable as Kate is.

Kate said...

Geez, you guys are making my ears burn!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

A lot of bird dogs go through that at least once or twice. I'm glad she was able to get over it and I'm glad Mike is good too.

me said...

Oh poor baby. I'm so sorry...I live in fear of this because Mickey can't keep himself from sticking his pointy snout everywhere it shouldn't be...and wasp stings hurt like the devil.

Once he emerged from a hole with his little face COATED in red ants. You've never seen me move so fast. I keep a bottle of children's Benadryl in the medicine cabinet just in case...what do you use?