The Wallaby in the Back Yard

Usually it’s just rabbits down in the Reserve that is just adjacent to our house in Beacon Hill, NSW.  So our dog likes to run down the lane and chase bunnies. Imagine her surprise this morning when we came across a wallaby where there’s normally just a rabbit or two. The chase was on and for some reason the two animals ran in a circle around me before the wallaby finally made it to the exit thru the brush and into the forested area.  Nope Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore!

Happy Seventeen, Mads!

From last week on Saturday when we observed Madelyne’s birthday. Still have this old denim shirt from our Knoxville days but the sentiment remains forever for me. Happy seventeenth, Mads!

Madelyne at Bundenon, NSW

Mads just got back from a 3-day retreat with her Year 11 arts classmates. Bundenon is well south of Sydney, even farther than Berry where Susan & I went during Australia Day in 2016. They stayed nearby the home of a renowned artist, Arthur Boyd, in Australia for 2 nights.  Look up “Bundenon Trust” on the Internet and you’ll see their program for artists. She brought back some nice drawings from her experience!

Not the best day

November 19/20 was one of our worst days for The Smiths in Oz. At about 10:30pm I let the dog Ziva out for a final potty break prior to turning in. Within seconds, I heard her crying in pain and when I turned the flashlight on her she was desperately trying to move but both her back legs were trailing lifelessly behind her. She was effectively paralyzed.  What the heck?  I rousted Susan from sleep and thus began a nightmare evening where I tried to carry this HEAVY dog back up the hill, up the steps, and back into the house. Susan called our vet and discovered where we should take her. We got her into the back seat and she was terrified and trembling. For all I knew, she’d been bitten by a snake but instant paralysis didn’t seem to fit with that. Susan and I were both beside ourselves. It was really like a second daughter had suffered a terrible injury. We got to the vet clinic and Susan hollered for help; we couldn’t carry that heavy dog any further.  The docs began by first checking to see if she had been poisoned, and then would do testing for snake bite. But first they had to cool her down. Ziva had worked herself up into a 40 degree C temperature so they used ice packs to cool her down to avoid brain damage.

Then they sent us home, promising to stabilize and watch over her until the 6am shift checked in. We got a few hours of sleep before they called us to say a conclusion hadn’t been reached but they were still working on it and would call us about the next steps to be taken (surgery.). Not what I’d call a restful night. In fact, the entire next day was unsettling as we basically went into a waiting mode while they continued to work on her. By the afternoon the specialist arrived and they did a CT scan on her.  The surgeon called Susan to report that the dog’s disc “shot out of place like a cannonball” and injured the spinal cord. But it wasn’t severed, thank God. The surgeon said he’d never seen such a thing in a dog only 2.5 years old. But the procedure had a high success rate, with 70-80% recovery odds. That was the first good news we’d had all day.  So now the surgery is done, the dog is recovering, and the Smiths are collapsing into bed to find some peace and get some needed rest.

Not a particularly sunny day for us.  But we did everything we could and are hopeful that our dog Ziva will regain the use of her legs and start down the rehab path toward returning to her old self.

Australia Day Weekend 2016 in Berry, NSW

Just got back from a marvelous getaway south of Sydney, out in the countryside where instead of cars, trucks, and buses it was the sound of crickets and frogs at night!  This little town had a lot of charm and we had a great place to relax-just the two of us–and reconnect.  It was misty and cool there; lots of birds and wildlife (a wallabee, parrots, and even an echidna.)   Here is a slide show of photos that I snapped while we were there.  At times it reminded me a little of Pennsylavania, but the hills around Berry are much more intense than that, as I found out on a 4-hour bike ride!

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