The Wilson Times

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:39 AM

An unfriendly visit from a fox

By Lee Jennings

This is the fourth installment of Sandy the Farm Hound. Click here to read the other stories.

Sandy the farm hound was enjoying a light summer afternoon nap on the farmhouse porch when she heard the sheep in the pasture bleating their distress cry. She practically jumped down the porch steps and was at the pasture in a matter of a minute, her long legs taking her as fast as she could go.

There inside the fence, she saw a red fox with sharp teeth and a healthy appetite. Usually just a few barks and a showing of teeth scared the red enemy away, but this fox was a fighter. Sandy went at him with all of the terror she could muster up to protect the sheep, but the fox was a big daddy fox that was out for his lunch. He went around and around with Sandy until Sandy could grab his neck and sling him into the fence. This frightened the fox who came at Sandy again until she corned him against a fence post until the air was knocked out of him. She won without a sheep being touched. However, her leg had been between the fence post and the fox when she cornered him. His sharp teeth had also scathed her leg making it hard to move it at all.

Sandy lay wounded and hurt inside the sheep pasture. Her leg was badly broken, and her head felt like it might pound out of her soft blond fur. Where was Mr. Baker? Please hurry, she was thinking to herself.

Sandy didn’t know how long she had been lying there, but it couldn’t have been long, when she heard Mr. Baker’s voice. Sandy already felt relieved but could hardly bear the pain in her leg. Mr. Baker was talking to her in soft tones and stroking her soft, furry head. Her eyes were closed, but she did open them to look into his kind face whose eyes were focused on hers. Her eyes were soft and brown, and she knew that Mr. Baker knew her pain. He assessed her leg and pulled out his cell phone to call Dr. Robins down the road.

Dr. Robins would be there in about five minutes. While they waited, Mr. Baker was back and forth with Sandy. He covered her with a blanket. He rubbed her head. He did everything he could to comfort Sandy and praised her for keeping the sheep safe. She was the best dog a man could ask for. Her head felt so woozy, that she thought she might cry, but she was just quiet and still.

Four year old Emma Baker had wanted to come to the sheep pasture with her daddy, but Mr. Baker told her that this was a trip he needed to make alone. Emma had no idea that her favorite playmate had been attacked and was so badly hurt. Mrs. Baker was inside praying that Sandy would be all right. Her husband had called her too on his cell phone, and she was the one who had met him halfway between the yard and the pasture with a soft blanket for Sandy.

Dr. Robins drove as fast as he could down the sunny lane to the Baker Farm. He parked at the house and carried his doctor bag down to the pasture. Sandy could hear him tell Mr. Baker that she had some bad bites and a broken bone in her leg. Everything else was minor, but he would have to set her leg in a cast for it to heal properly.

He gave Sandy something to ease her pain and went straight to work cleaning and bandaging the skin on her leg. Then Sandy felt the two men carefully pick her up and put her on the front seat of Mr. Baker’s truck.

She heard the motor of the truck start and felt Mr. Baker’s strong hand on her side. He talked to her all the way to Dr. Robins’ office. Then she felt the two men lift her again and take her into the back room at the veterinarian’s office.

About an hour later, Sandy woke up. She was hungry and thirsty and felt a strange sensation in her leg. Her whole body ached, but she felt safe and warm. She opened her eyes to find herself in the Baker’s laundry room. She smelled something delicious cooking in the kitchen and tried to get up but couldn’t. Mrs. Baker heard her bark and came into the laundry room to find Sandy with a smile on her face. Her eyes had some of their sparkle back, and she was panting from thirst. Mrs. Baker already had a bowl with cold water in it for Sandy who lapped it up with delight. Then Mrs. Baker disappeared. She returned quickly with a bowl of pinched up hamburger steak and some scrambled eggs. She told Sandy that she needed the protein. Sandy ate it hardily and drank more water. Then she was exhausted and flopped her head down on her paws.

In a few minutes, Mr. Baker came in with Emma. He rubbed Sandy on the head and praised her again for what a wonderful job she had done taking care of the sheep. He told her that the fox was a huge one, and that he was proud of her for doing so well against such a big enemy.

Emma looked at Sandy and patted her on the head. She noticed the white bandage on Sandy’s leg, and wanted to make Sandy all better. She ran to her room and brought back one of her own small bandages with Cinderella and her prince on it. Sandy felt like a princess herself when Emma gently placed the bandage on Sandy’s cast.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was a blur to Sandy. She slept well that night considering the pain in her leg. By the time the next morning rolled around, Sandy was ready to try to walk again. Her leg was stiff and sore, but she managed to get up and walk to the kitchen where she found Mrs. Baker fixing her favorite breakfast. There were homemade biscuits, sausage, milk gravy and scrambled eggs. Coffee was perking on the stove, and homemade blackberry jam was waiting on the table for Emma’s biscuit.

Home was Sandy’s favorite place to be. She was usually outside most of the time where she helped Mr. Baker take care of the farm and watch out for the sheep. But it was a treat to be inside, too. She loved the good smells that came from the kitchen and the cool of the hardwood floors in the house. She loved Emma’s sweet little voice and the way the dryer sounded in the laundry room. She felt protected from the rest of the world by being inside with everyone. Usually she was the protector. But for now, she enjoyed this feeling of shelter and calm.

After Sandy made it to the screen door in the kitchen, she waited patiently for Mrs. Baker to let her out. Instead, Mr. Baker was coming in from the pasture and let Sandy out, walking with her and helping her down the porch stairs. After walking around in the yard just a little bit, Mr. Baker helped Sandy back up the steps and let her in the house.

Sandy lay down at the door, and everyone else sat down at the table. Sandy’s dish was brought to the screen door for her to enjoy her breakfast with the rest of the family. The milk gravy and biscuits tasted just as delicious as they smelled. Emma loved watching Sandy lap up the food and even get some on her fuzzy face.

Sandy knew that she would be out and about again soon, but she was so thankful that she had been spared from the fox and was on the mend. She was also thankful for such a loving family that took care of her and loved her the way they did. Mr. Baker was helping her to heal wonderfully, and he had provided for the rest of the family to help out too. He had a way of making even the scariest of situations calm. We all have a master that heals our hurts and provides the love that we need.

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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