Thursday, August 23rd, 2018
We can talk about this now, because she’s doing fine.
But this girl got walloped by Buck on Tuesday.
A lesson she hadn’t learned yet, and one that could only be learned the hard way. One that definitely isn’t fun for anyone to go through.
She always helps bring horses in in the evenings; she enjoys bringing them up into the paddocks. Her herding style tends to lean to the Border Collie side, so she stands back and uses her body and eye pressure to move them, which I don’t mind when she’s out with them. The horses will move off of her pressure, but no one gets riled up.
On Tuesday, however, the horses came running in. As Henna ran out to meet them, Buck dropped his head, snapped his front feet at her a couple times, and I saw the look of Australian Cattle Dog come out, and she met Buck’s challenge head on.
Cattle Dogs are tough, confident dogs – they’re herding style is more aggressive; bred to take kicks of a thousand pound animal, and go in for bites to the nose of a stubborn cow to get them to move. They are much more physical. So when Buck gave her attitude, Henna was on Buck’s heels like a magnet. He tossed his back legs out a couple times to tell her to back off, but she didn’t. It only egged her on. So by the time they made it up to the barn she was barking at him and ran him up into the paddock – and cornered him.
That was a mistake on her point. You don’t corner an animal who survives on a “Fight or Flight” mentality. He couldn’t flee, so he fought.
It happened so fast – Buck’s back leg shot out like lightning and solidly connected with Henna’s left side.
It was like slow motion, and then it all came quickly into regular time again. She was screaming like something was broken, and as she turned to run into my arms, she wasn’t putting any weight on her limp front left leg, and my heart stopped.
I tried to calm her down, but she screamed for 30-45 seconds. Which may not sound like a long time, but stop and sit in your chair for that long and imagine an animal in pain desperate to be in your lap, looking to you for help.
Once dad and I finally got her calmed down enough to check her over, I started down at her toes and worked my way up her leg, looking for broken bones or a reaction from her to tell me what hurt. I made it up to behind her shoulder, and onto her ribs, and while I found a swollen spot, she didn’t flinch at anything. She had started putting her weight back on that front leg.
At that point, I was satisfied nothing was broken, so I went in and grabbed a bag of frozen peas and she let me hold it on her side for a bit to hopefully help with any swelling.
She laid low for the remainder of the evening, and enjoyed all of the extra attention she was getting because no one was really willing to leave her alone.
A couple hours after the incident she had a healthy appetite and was drinking water, so we put her down for the night.
I called my mom the next morning to check in on her, and mom said “It’s like nothing ever happened! She’s running around with no limp, and happily went to check on the horses in the pasture. She’s bringing me all of her toys and wants to play.”
When they say Cattle Dogs are tough, they mean it.
They’re also smart – I’m happy to report that she did indeed learn that tough lesson – Buck now gets a wide berth, and she keeps her wits about her when walking around them.
And I’ve recovered from my near heart attack, so we’re all on the mend.