On Monday, Minky went one round with these little beasts of barbary and lost badly with a TKO (technical knock out for you non-pugilistic types). And I think it was our fault. She loves to snap at flies and we have encouraged her every time they find their way into the house. It has become part of her job description. We forget she isn't very discriminating when it comes to small, buzzy, and wing-ed. I think that tripped her up early Monday morning when she was outside.
Grizzly called my name while I was still in bed and he was downstairs making coffee. He is up early for work and sometimes finds me already at my desk. But if not, he does his thing (after turning off the snooze button at least eight times and no I am NOT even CLOSE to exaggerating), and takes off for work.
There are only a few exceptions to this routine. They all involve horror. The very second my name is called or he appears at my bedside, something has gone desperately or freakishly wrong. It stops my heart every time. My only response to hearing my name under these circumstances (or when he uses that tone) is and will forever be, "WHAT'S WRONG?!!!"
A sample list of his responses:
"They've attacked the World Trade Center." (Clearly the worst one ever.)
"Somebody bashed out the window of your car."
"There's something dead down here (cat hunting by-products)."
"I think Bess is home." (A beloved cat who had been missing for months - it wasn't her. It was a demon in white fur who summarily tried to rip my head off. He doesn't always check his facts before mustering me in my groggy state.)
I have never been summoned to breakfast, say, with the table all set and waiting for me. No exquisite sunrise has been announced. No bouquet of roses ever beckons. No, my name in the morning equals calamity. I really think he better balance this out one of these days or I may suffer a major coronary before hitting the floor running.
Monday morning, I heard my name. "It's nothing," he intoned. "I just want you to see something." Uh-huh. I bet it's not breakfast. "Minky's face looks swollen. I gotta take off and I just wanted you to keep an eye on her. I think she got bitten by a black widow and it could be crawling around the house somewhere." Okay then, honey. Thanks. I'll go back to bed now. Why would I worry? Have a good day. I'll try to remember to fend off poisonous attacking arachnids as I watch our dog go into anaphylactic shock. Bye-bye, now.
I took one look at Minky and either something bit her or she had taken up the habit of chewing tobacco and had perfected the art of stuffing her gums. The left (your right) side of her face was swelling. I grabbed the not-so-great camera (because I still can't remember we have a better one) and snapped this:
She looks a little concerned.
I hauled the kids out of bed and said, "Hold her while I shave her." I was, of course, looking for the telltale sign of two puncture points indicating spider fangs. Looking through hair is impossible so I needed access. Shaving is my immediate answer. If you ever develop head lice, don't come and see me. There'll be no nit-picking. I will shave you bald. Here's how poor Minky appears this morning:
Doesn't she look depressed? Well wouldn't you if I'd only shaved HALF your face? I promise, if I see you, I'll shave your whole face, eyebrows included. Oh, and the vet commented I removed her whiskers, too. Critics. I was trying to save her life. From a black widow. Who was stomping through the house heat-tracking us.
In the next few hours after Mr. Shock-and-Awe left for work, Minky's face swelled to three times this size and her eyes became red and puffy. I had dosed her with Benadryl but it didn't do much. So, it was off to the vet for a MONGO shot of Benadryl and then a steroid injection. And by then we could see little pin-pricks rising under her chin and on her snout where it became obvious the black widow was non-existent and a wasp, or wasps, had been the culprit(s).
Minky will be a wiser dog now, I hope, though she won't be ready for any close-ups on the silver screen with her unfabulous hair-don't. And the house has been temporarily restored to a bastion of safety against marauding black widows, and that is a comfort.
However, Grizzly remains a serious threat to my health.
(Legal disclaimer: Grizzly insists he also mentioned wasps as a possibility. My hearing was temporarily disconnected after I heard "black widow." The End.)