Ok, so when I adopted husky-mix rescue dog Lily in 2008 a year after my precious rescue border collie mix Savannah died of lung cancer I really did not think my other Australian shepherd mix rescue Murphy would learn much from her. After all, Murphy was a dashing young seven-year-old (around 40, in dog years), while Lily was only a year. But she did teach him things– like barking when something moved outside the house without her permission, or flinging herself at trees when squirrels were faster than she was.

But the best thing, he thought, that she taught was how to bury a precious treasure of a bone with your nose.

Oh, Lily dug with her paws like any other dog. She dug holes when she heard a mole under ground, or when the mood struck because the springy earth was nice and soft. But burying something took the finesse of a delicate nose.

So now fast-forward to this year, the night before Thanksgiving. There are no vets open, at least none except the unimaginably expensive emergency vet. Lily is sitting next to me, I look down at her adoringly, and notice something not quite right with her nose. It actually bulged.

I touched it gently, and here will spare you the sordid details of what ensued just prior to the actual skin of her nose slipping away. That’s right, her beautiful coal-black nose, the part just at the top, fell off.

I ran downstairs to get some peroxide, witch hazel and anti-bacterial ointment. I knew none of those things would sting and believe me, that had to hurt. So I proceeded to doctor this as best I could (Lily, though a mature, refined dog now still wiggles a lot). And she proceeded to lick all the ointment right off.

So we progressed this way through the weekend. Ok, I thought, a scab is forming, we’ve got this. Then Tuesday she decided to “bury” a rawhide chip with her nose. She presented herself in the kitchen proudly looking like a Rudolph nosed-doggie. So more doctoring. Then by Friday her nose was  (not bleeding) looking an angry red. Ok, I’m in over my head. So I called the vet.

We know this time of year all about bells ringing, whether sleigh or jingle. And angels getting their wings when a bell rings. And five golden rings, which, by the way I recently learned represents the Torah. But for Lily?


At least that is what her vet thinks she picked it up from the backyard. Is it transmissible? Yes, wash your hands after treating her nose. Should I disinfect my yard? No. Evidently it is everywhere. I just never encountered it before, not with a dog anyway. He took a culture, sent us home with an anti-fungal medicine, so we will see how this goes.

It’s always something!