Sometimes things just go another direction than expected.

So rescue dog Lulu. She was not dealing well with her dental procedure recovery, spitting pills out, not eating or drinking. Her vet said to call him to let him know on Monday the following week (this week) how she was.

That’s the day the tree broke.


The three of us (rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and I) were out in the yard, I was digging around planting things. I heard a large cracking sound behind me and turned to see the top third of a large river birch tree slowly falling toward us. I scooted Lily and Lulu to the other end of the yard and watched it fall in slow motion. This tree is about 15 feet from the screen porch corner of our house and about 12 feet of tree was coming down. I don’t know how to calculate the physics of height and distance but it was going to hit something.

And suddenly it stopped. I ran to the other side of the tree to see what happened and noticed a rotted place in a fork where the break was. The part that fell was now precariously resting on a smaller trunk. So I started calling tree removal companies. Two mailboxes were full, I spoke to one company I normally call and they could not get here until Thursday. I left multiple message at 2 others and got the last company I called. Long story short, the reason they were available was they are unlicensed, uninsured and not bonded, though they said they were. The guy who gave the astronomically high estimate told me. I said no thanks, bye, can’t afford it, they came down a fraction, nope, still no.

So I took the dogs for a walk. I saw a truck turn into our subdivision with that tree company’s name. I was talking to a friend and told her. She told me to go home immediately, before they started sawing on the tree.

“But I already said no,” I replied and she told me it did not matter. They were likely to start anyway for the money (naive me). So I turned and dragged the dogs home. Tree guy called just as I turned onto my street and I wondered what part of No was confusing for him. So they stood around chatting for about 20 minutes as I scrambled to lock my backyard gate, took down their license plate number and  waited for them to leave.

My friend drives up, takes one look at Lulu and tells me to get to the 24-hour emergency vet, now. I said I’d never been to an emergency vet before. She yelled, “NOW.” So we went. This is Monday evening.

IMG_0994.JPGthe local Arboretum, a lovely 7-acre garden near the emergency vet office

The following day I tried my regular tree people again and they came and looked at it. They could see, windy as it’s been this should be taken care of so they came the next morning and took the tree down. Affordably.

So Lulu. I won’t go into all the painful (especially for Lulu) details, but she still would not eat, even my visits with her availed nothing. She was groggy from iv pain meds, she was mercifully being rehydrated with fluids and now on antibiotics. But a small lump had developed on her throat, so we had to have a cat scan. This was inconclusive, though thankfully it ruled out a likely tumor. The area was drained and sent off for cytology and culture. The cytology came back inflamed but not infected and we are still waiting for the culture to tell what, if any, bacteria it has so a proper course of antibiotics can be given.

The hard part was this: Leaving her everytime I visited. So after the cat scan Wednesday I said I would like to take Lulu home at the weekend until the culture results came back and a decision could be made as to what comes next. Surgery is still on the table.

IMG_0979.JPGwhirly-gig art piece

After much discussion her emergency vet agreed I could come and get her Saturday. Each morning up to now I had usually heard around 10 or 11 a.m.from the ICU tech an update on Lulu. By 10:30 this morning I had still heard nothing so I decided to go over there. On my way I had second thoughts and detoured to the Arboretum, wander around the lovely flower beds and among the trees and wait. If I had not heard by noon I would go to the hospital.

I sat on a bench in front of this whirly-gig sculpture and watched each side madly twirl in opposite directions. I suddenly laughed realizing that this was what my life had been this week. There was a methodical, rhythmic routine to the care Lulu had been receiving. My anxiety over her condition was like these two sides spinning against each other at the whims of every breeze or wind that came along. My thoughts had run wild escalating to the worst imaginable possibilities. I watched it spin for a good while. It was as though God was showing me how ridiculous my worry had been.

IMG_0980.JPGheron in flight wire sculpture

After a while I got up and wandered through the rest of the gardens. This heron was comforting. Here is a graceful bird rising above earthly cares. I realized I had become mired in murky musings of my own making and had to stop bathing in it. My focus was all wrong. It was on things over which I have no control, not the One Who is in control.

IMG_0982.JPGwhimsical gnome

I began to truly feel the heavy weight I had created through the week disappear. I had realized, rightly, that Lulu, a quiet and shy little dog was in an environment that was by its very nature noisy and likely hadn’t gotten much if any real rest. So I was gratified in this strong urgency in bringing her home at least in that aspect. I noticed it was now around 11:30 and still no call….

IMG_0992.JPGflower sculpture behind the children’s garden

I slowly walked through the rest of the garden and sat on a bench near the exit. After a bit I saw it was almost noon so I headed to my car.

I arrived at the clinic and was surprised but thankful to see the waiting area nearly empty. I settled up Lulu’s bill, received her medications, spoke to her doctor about her follow-up appointment and brought her home. So far we have gone through one round of each of her medicines, I have held a warm compress to her throat and she has eaten a little. She is drinking water which, to see her do this when before she could not made me want to alert the media. But we still have a ways to go because we have the remaining test result and a decision to make about what this is and what to do about it. And there is her extreme dislike for the liquid medicines and hatred for me after I give them which fortunately is short-lived. Dogs are truly loving and forgiving creatures.

But, for now, Lulu is home.