This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. But one of us woke up with strep throat this morning, and she’s been particularly lacking in rejoice-ability today. It didn’t help that when we went to the doctor’s office (praise God they are open on Sundays) for a strep test, I requested Girlchild’s ears be cleaned out as well. The full 30,000 mile tune-up. Ear cleaning is the most dreaded procedure in Girlchild world. But she was not alone in her misery.
Out in the backyard, I had a small hutch containing 4 chicks that were sick. Hunched over, eyes closed, and puffed up, they did not look good. I was treating them with antibiotics, but wished I had vitamins and electrolytes as well. I was fresh out.
Just after a special take-out lunch of Panera Bread soup in bread bowls, hoping to get Girlchild to eat, we noticed on of my youngest hens was lethargic as well. I scooped her up, did a bit of doctoring, and decided at that moment we needed to go to Tractor Supply for supplements. While Girlchild may be ill, Tractor Supply was her favorite store. She grabbed the dog (who was welcome in this store) and hopped in the van. Manchild and Captain Schenanigans were at church, it being Sunday and all.
Typically, when walking Grover Dog, we use a regular leash. As recommended by Pet Smart’s puppy training class. But in the van, kept just for a pinch, we have a retractable leash. Girlchild suggested we just use that for our journey through Tractor Supply, and I agreed. We rarely see another dog at TSC, and Grover loves to follow his girl faithfully.
What I failed to know is that Sunday is the day a veterinarian comes to Tractor Supply for an immunization clinic of sorts. There was a line of 20 dogs just inside the door when we arrived, and happy ready-to-play Grover could not curb his enthusiasm. Girlchild was losing her control over him, and this little retractable leash was hardly doing it’s job.
In an effort to get through our shopping without any dog encounters (some pups were angry and scared), I scooped up 50lb Grover and plopped him into our shopping cart. He froze like a statue and we proceeded to gather supplies. A few moments later Grover was crying. I looked down and noticed that two of his toes on his left paw were wedged completely through one square of the plastic bottom of the cart. They were stuck, and they were stuck good!
I tried to pull Grover’s paw gently, but he screamed out in pain and tried to gnaw my hands off his leg. I tried to push up from underneath the cart, but the pads of both toes had gone completely through the small plastic square together, and the toes were beginning to swell. There was no wiggle room at all, and any time you attempted to free him, the dog howled in pain.
I eyed the line of dogs and people waiting in line for the vet, and didn’t have the guts to cut in front of them. Girlchild was panicking and asking if her dog was going to die. I needed some form of oil or grease. So we pushed through the swinging double doors to the back stock room, and found two female employees helping a man load sacks of pig feed.
“Um, excuse me. My dog’s toes are stuck in the bottom of the cart and I can’t get them out.” I began.
“This is the worst day of my life! Is he going to die?” Girlchild wailed, her big blue eyes filling up with tears. Immediately all three people were hovering over my cart, trying to free my dog without getting chewed up or causing pain. It was a dicey situation. Both ladies kept remarking that in all their years working at TSC, they’ve never had a dog with it’s toes trapped in a cart. Shocking, right? I would be the first.
The staff tried oil, and in the mean time sent for a vet tech. The oil only moved the toes a tiny bit while I gyrated the paw in a circle, and one staff lady pushed up from the bottom. The vet tech walked in, declared she had never seen anything like this, and was unable to help. She left, and we called for the vet. I felt bad pulling the doctor away from the huge line, but it’s not like I could plop my dog in a car and go to a Pet ER. I can’t call 911. I can’t leave the store. Who do you call when you dog is stuck inside a shopping cart?
The vet came back, noticeably irritated, pulled out the stuck paw, told us to make sure Grover could walk, and left in seconds. I was elated!!! The staff and I rejoiced until Girlchild returned, and made her first happy face of the day. Girlchild had ask at least 15 times if her dog was going to die, before finally escaping to the bathroom and missing the big toe release. When she came back to the stock room, she was thrilled to find that her pup had gained his freedom. I lifted my mini-Holstein out of the cart and watched him walk. He was so happy and puppy like, it was as if the past 1/2 hour had never happened. I love that about dogs, they just live in the moment!
The staff ladies made sure I insisted that Grover get a treat at the check-out counter for his bravery today. I sure did. The first time I checked out. I was so flustered and unable to find what I needed that I ended up checking-out three times that trip.
After the first check-out, I learned where the vitamins were actually kept (NOT in the chick aisle) and told Girlchild and Grover to stand at the front of the store and wait while I went for what we needed.
“Are you going to come back?” Girlchild asked.
“You mean for you?” I questioned, not understanding and heading towards the back of the store. Girlchild stood by the only exit to the parking lot.
“Yes. Are you going to come back?”
“As opposed to leaving you to live at Tractor Supply with Grover?”
“Girlchild, in 8 years of parenting, have you developed no trust in me at all?”
“I just want to know if you’re going to come back.”
“Yes, Girlchild, I am going to come back. I will always come back for you. ” I said in disbelief.
Girlchild made sure, several times, on the way home that I was aware that this was the “worst day of my life”. When you are an anxious 8 year old girl, I can under stand that. I was proud of myself for not crying in the stock room 25 minutes into a failing paw retraction. But once again the day did end in rejoicing. While my sad little hen did end up dying, the 4 chicks are improving, and my dog has all his digits. I planted several promising twigs that I purchased at Tractor Supply, for which I have hope by next spring will look more like the beautiful hydrangeas, loganberries, and roses promised on the boxes. We have hope, we rejoice, and we endure, because the Lord goes before us.