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Archive for December, 2013

Written Monday, December 30, 2013…nearly 5 AM.
“It’s 4 in the mornin’ and once more the dawnin’ has woke up the longin’ in me.” Who sang that line? No, silly! It’s Levi’s tune now.

Late Sunday afternoon when I returned from the Klondike, I found Levi happy to see me Yes, it was treat and drug time but he was sincerely feeling better. He’s curling up on his bed, not so sore in the nose, fever is broken, drinking his milk better, not snorting and blowin’ as much pus from his nose, sleeping soundly, breathing through both sides of his nose, sleeps by taking long deep breathes, and switches sides to lay on his left side then his right side, skips and trots when he goes out to potty, saw a rabbit in the yard and took note instead of ignoring it, is sniffing the ground for scents, but the cold air really bothers his tenderly healing nasal passages. I see a climbing up the hill in a positive way! God bless the notion of nasal saline. It is still relieving his nasal passages of goop and sloughy tissue and the key word here is “relieving”. Yes, when we drink milk it is not like we are both taking a shower. When he accidently sneezes I get less of a blast of pus. But hey, I don’t care. I wash. Levi is smiling again and that is really all I care about. If he is smiling with a sincere look then I know he is truly feeling better and not just grateful that I am helping him. I sure hope the docs find he is healing good. I am concerned about his right jaw and palates yet for the simple reason the swelling is still pretty significant. But they did tell me that there was quite a bit of potential for dirt, hair and debris (probably some of the bull poop) to still be present despite all their washing. But they had him under for so long that they had to move on with the sewing, bridging and wiring. I am feeling better about things. I just hope the docs find tomorrow that Levi will be able to keep his jaw and nose. ~Fingers x’d.

PS – clear and cold here but no wind…they had said hi wind overnight/this AM but it hasn’t happened. It might be near zero or single digits but it is not WC’ing. The “cedar patch sisters and their calves” are really disappointed in me though. Took them from the cedars and put them in the clean-up pasture and they came home to the corral wanting to go back to the cedar patch. Now the 1st calf heifers who inherited the cedar patch? Well, I fed them hay along the cedar line, near water and once they went down into the ditch I haven’t seen them since. But it was dang cold yesterday with the temps falling and the winds blowing. I’m thinkin’ ole baby Double Down is one happy youngster in the cedar patch.
Won’t be squirtin’ H2O in the cowdog barn today! Time to fire up the Bunn. ~5 o’clock Somewhere

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Saturday had this little piece of Americana in the “20 above normal” temps. It was nice, sunny, barely a breeze. Change of plans was in the making though. The weather man was chirping about “20+ degrees below normal” beginning with temps falling like a rock on Sunday and into Monday. From the 50’s to single digits, high wind and WC below zero. Ok, change of plans for me 2. Decided to take Hawk, Ducchess, Bandit and gather up the AI pairs and put them into one group of cows for the next 22 days. So, we went to this pasture, that pasture, over there pasture and staged all those pairs here at the home place. Went to the S and brought the 1st calf heifer pairs home. Got to see “Double Down” being the king of the calves on the way home. Went on to another place and rounded up some pairs that are being natural serviced by an F1 RAxSimm sire. Left these pairs in the trap. Went home gathered up 3 bulls and brought them to the arena. Sorted off 2, loaded up 1. Hauled this black Simm cross to the pairs back at the trap. Sorted off the red bull, turned out the black bull, loaded up the red bull and hauled him home to put him with the AI cows for “clean-up duty”. Fired up the Deere, loaded up the pair crew and off we went to merge and feed pairs. Set gates along the way so that the cows could follow the hay trail to their new pasture surroundings for the next 22 days. Figured if it is going to be hi winds, below normal temps, and below zero WC by Monday…might as well make my Monday a better day by doing Monday stuff on Saturday in the 50 degree weather. Plus, cowdog Levi has a return visit to the Univ. Vet Hospital for a look into his mouth. Got a call from them that our Tuesday appointment needed to be changed to earlier in the day since they wanted to take the afternoon off. They went on to say they might have to knock Levi out so that they can “assess his progress” with more detail and accuracy. Well, they didn’t use the term “knock Levi out”…but, whatever. It was actually the lead oral surgeon teaching his vet student that the way she set the appt. up was “not right”. It just all translated to me, “Better get as much cattle work done on Saturday becuz realistically it might be Wednesday before you can get back to cattle…once you plug Levi’s schedule into your ‘reality show world’.” Levi was glad to see the drug dispenser when I got home. I candied him up, flushed his nasal passages, rinsed his mouth, rubbed his face, gave him a shoulder, back, leg and toe massage, visited with him while I lay on that ‘soft’ linoleum floor, fell asleep and woke up an hr. later feeling “stiff”…lol. Levi was just looking at me with his soft eyes, “Nap?” “Ugghh, Levi…you’re a mess.” He is getting really picky, still refuses water and thinks he owns the place. So it is now Sunday, dark AM, the wind is beginning to shift from the S to the W, the speed is picking up and I guess the end of that beautiful Saturday has arrived in the form of “getting colder”. A friend in Minn. sent me their weather map and their WC from NW MN to SE MN is going to be -74F to -49F…as of last night’s forecast. So. I am not going to complain. Just hope all the cattle and spare bulls stay put today becuz I don’t have time for extra work. And we all know that when we don’t have the time for extra work…it shows up anyway! ~Happy Sunday

These pictures were from Friday…another beautiful day here.

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Written…December 27 at 6:24 AM.

Things are just not going smoothly with Levi. The past couple of days we have been tossing our head when we eat and drink. Having a hard time resting. So I have been laying on the ‘soft’ linoleum floor with a wash rag and rubbing his head, getting him to try to lay his head down and rest. He does for a bit and then when he nearly falls asleep he tosses and gets up. I guess I was so tired I just was not thinking anymore and definitely not “thinking outside the box” and with “intuition”. But this morning at 3, after hours of not being able to sleep, listening to Levi struggle, I thought, “Okay, go off script Tammy. Flush that damn dog’s nose out with saline. He tries to eat and when he needs to breath he can’t…bet his nose is so plugged he is fighting because he cannot catch a breath and eat, drink or sleep.” Saline? What do I have 4 saline? Eye saline! How to deliver it? Intra-nasal tip used for calves + syringe! Ok, that worked…sorta. Ah, mom’s nose saline! “Levi, head back, nose up.” After a few floodings (well, it wasn’t quite the cruel), I could hear him swallow goop. Hot dang! The right side was/is slower but that is the side that is broken the worst. Waited a bit. Checked on him and some sloughy goop was coming out the right nasal passage. Bingo. Flushed some more. After looking at me like I was being mean and cruel he is now looking at me like, “I can breath. Thank you mom…I think.” Going to try to feed him again here in a bit. ~Poor Cowdog Levi

PS – Coffee is ultra “tough woman” this AM.

Hopin' Levi gets back to this happy stage!

Hopin’ Levi gets back to this happy stage!

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NOTE: I’ll add this to the December 22, 2013 posting…at the bottom…as a way to read the entire story.
And then delete this post a littler later on.

Been a rough couple of days for Levi. He’s restless. Wants to go out to potty. Doesn’t want to go to potty. Wants to drink. Doesn’t want to drink. The healing/mending in his right upper jaw and soft and hard palate is? IDK! He continues to sniff and blow his nose all the time. Which is good and bad. Good to keep the sloughing gunk moving out. Bad because he blows his nose harder than he probably should. He listens to me when I tell him to take it easy with that blowing. But last night (well, this morning at 2 AM) he was obviously pissed about the nose thing. I had to get up and give him a mild scolding and a knock it off. He listened but he also gave me a look of, “You have no idea what I am going through.” I looked at him and said, “Yes I do. Remember a few weeks ago and the trailer gate smashing my face. Well, ends up my nose is cracked too Levi and I can feel a little of your pain. No, not the same pain I’m sure. But hell, this is no contest. Okay? Now, knock it off.” His sense of smell is returning. That is awesome given the fact that his nasal passages were destroyed and intricately sewn back together. He sniffs the ground when he goes out to potty. He’s sorting his pills out of his food. He can pick which tidbit has the pill and he leaves it and moves to the next tidbit. I’ve been testing him on this for a couple of days and today at 5 AM…he’s totally accurate on “the pill” tidbit. He is becoming sensitive to warm and cold. At 1st he did not want his milk at room temperature. It had to be cold. The past 2 days, the milk cannot be cold it has to be room temperature. So that is also a sign of the mouth becoming a little more normal (I hope). His fever is less too. He’s had a mild temp. increase since the surgery. The narcotics are helping to keep him knocked out for a couple of hours so that helps. He bumped his cone on the frozen ground yesterday and it split so we needed to gorilla tape it some more. And, I think he probably bumped his nose in the process. The sitter was sorry…but, as we know those things happen. The oral mouth antibiotic makes him a little sick so we have had to go off the prescribed recommendations so that his food can process before I rinse his mouth. I just hope that he is healing correctly. You cannot see in there so we are, “On a hope and a prayer.” I do appreciate all the notes, posts, calls, texts and Levi does too. I can guarantee you if he saw all of you in person he’d be swatting you on the leg with his left leg…telling you thank you and oh by the way, hi I am Levi, pet me! ~Levi’s Caretaker

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Written Tuesday, December 24, 2013.
Cowdogs on the rounds … checking cows, bulls and just taking it all in. Our ice will begin to leave on Christmas day…so they say. Warming overnight and maybe near 40F tomorrow. N wind has shifted to the SSE. It isn’t everyday that folks get to see “Christmas Cowdogs” going down the highway on the ranch rig.

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Postings from Tammy’s Cowdogs Timeline on Facebook.

Written…Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 7:30 PM
~~Cowdog Levi…Pray 4 Him~~

Gathering bulls today. Had a bull jump in a frozen over pond. Called my cowdogs off because I did not want a cowdog to get shoved under the ice and drown. Took the bulls we had on to the arena, loaded them, hauled them home to the corral for semen check. Went back to get the other bull after he left the pond. He went right to the arena. I was at the trailer gate and the cowdogs were bringing the bull down through the arena. I was just waiting on the cowdogs. Nothing was going on. Seen Levi make a little circle and then went right back to trailing the bull. Bull loaded up, told cowdogs to load up, shut the trailer door, went by the flatbed to tell the cowdogs, “Thanks” and Levi was pulling something out of his mouth with both front feet. Patted him on the head and he tossed his head up and his whole top jaw and palate/roof of his mouth flew up. His right jaw was broken, his palate was shattered. I ran and got a muzzle so that I could keep Levi from tearing his face off. The vet came for semen testing bulls, I left him to do the bulls, I took Levi to the clinic and had to wait 2 hours for the other vet to get there, and ended at the Univ. of MO Vet School – Emergency Hospital. Levi is in surgery to attach his jaw, and have a bridge fitted to hold his palate back up. I have the top surgeon working on Levi. They think he can be fixed up with amalgam and bridging. 4 hours of surgery estimated and am to get a call later tonight when the surgery is completed. I had to come on home to haul bulls back out and do feeding/chores. I’ve seen a lot of cowdog wreck results…but I’ve not seen anything this bad. Levi obviously got kicked and it must have been “just right” to do this kind of damage. He’s a trooper…never whimpered when it happened, never got angry while I tried to console him while we waited for the 1st vet and he did good on the 60 mile journey to the Univ. hospital. He is one tough sonofagun. Wagged his tail when I told him I wanted him to hang in there, don’t panic, it will be okay Levi. But, I have to say when the gal at the Univ. hospital tried to put a thermometer in his butt he ’bout came unglued. And he was still partially sedated. Guess he fooled her. She opted to not take his temp. ~Bad Day Here

9:06 PM…Surgeon just called. Surgery took an additional 2.25 hours. Levi’s mouth was much worse than they thought. Shattered. Pieced together what they could. Not sure at this point. Feeding tube in. In ICU. Keeping him knocked out. IDK, but this is almost 2 much. Thank you everyone for your kindness.

Thursday, noon… I was able to go see Levi. I spent about 1/2 an hr. with him. He is heavily sedated but he recognized my voice and he got pretty restless so I rubbed an eyebrow and temple – which is his “love me scratch”. So he definitely knew it was me and after 10 minutes or so he gave me a big smile and took his right leg and slapped my leg. That leg slapping of his is his way of telling me to “show me the love”! The surgeons admitted that they did not realize how accurate my description of his jaw and palette were – totally shattered and in 100’s of splintered pieces. Once they took my muzzle off his nose/face they opened his mouth and were shocked. They had to reassess their plan of what to do. They had felt that I was just another excited/exaggerating customer. They apologized to me for being – as they put it – “a little arrogant” yesterday afternoon. Levi has some acrylic and other synthetic bridging/casting to hold his right jaw in place from the back to the front wolf tooth, then wired over to his left front wolf tooth and back to his rear left teeth. There is wiring in the bridge work and a bridge built across his palate to hold the bone splinters and soft tissue in place. There are two options: (1) his body will accept the splinters/jigsaw puzzle pieces and heal or (2) reject the jigsaw pieces. If his body rejects the healing then he will have to have his jaw and palate removed. A critical part is to keep the infection from setting in. His mouth was full of hair, poop, dirt and it took nearly 2 hours to flush it out, collect all the bone pieces and assembled them back like a jigsaw puzzle – jaw parts versus palate parts. They found that his nasal passages were indeed destroyed/severed. They went ahead and did some sewing there too. He was blowing some serum and blood bubbles today so he has some degree of openness and air passage. But healing without granulation is the question. Putting nasal tubes in was not something they felt would be beneficial – more of a hindrance. And I agreed. They felt that Levi was one “tough son of a gun” to have handled the massive injury and pain that he endured before he got there. Commenting they don’t think they have ever seen such a disaster in a dog’s mouth and have never encountered a dog with so much tolerance for pain and not show it. They all felt he was the toughest dog they have ever worked with. That is a great compliment since the 3 people have been at the Univ. hospital for 14 years. It is my understanding that I have the 3 best surgeons working on Levi. Ole Levi has got a huge following at the hospital already…”Rock Star”. I had several vet students come to greet me and compliment me on Levi’s demeanor and for being one “tough and polite dog”. I have CIDRs to pull tomorrow and Lutalyse cows in the coming freezing rain. I plan to go get Levi and bring him home on Saturday…it is to be crappy ice/snow weather so I hope I get there and back! I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all your prayers and kind thoughts for Levi. I told him that Gabby was going to fill in for him for the Cidr pulling marathon and AI’ing on Monday. He just stared at me…lol! He’s going to be on a feeding tube and IV pain meds for awhile. But I bought him a fluffy comforter and soft AD food today…treat him like a king! Time and lots of TLC is what it will take.

Friday 4 PM…Levi’s oral surgeon called. Said he is amazed at Levi’s demeanor and progress today. They decided to take the IV pain meds out. Levi accepted being given pain meds orally. Ate food on his own today. Did not drink much if anything but they felt that he might not be thirsty since he is still on fluids. Said he is one remarkable dog with managing his pain. Ice, rain, snow has not hit here yet…wonder where it went. Maybe it is not going to be bad tomorrow either. That would be fine with me…will be good to not have icy roads on my trip to get Levi and bring him home.

Written…Saturday, December 21, 2013, 1:32 PM
~~Cowdog Levi’s Return to Home from ICU/Hospital (8 photos)~~

I take better care of my cowdogs and livestock than myself. No doubt. But, how could I not give them the best when they give me more than 110% all the time. Spent from 4:30 PM – 9:30 PM yesterday eve/night pulling CIDRS from cows and shooting them up with Lutalyse. Not one complaint from my help. Gather, sort, working pens/alleys/chute. Some folks would leave their working dogs at home in these kind of surroundings. But you know, a smart, business-minded cowdog is a big asset to me. Could not operate this outfit without them. Levi’s got some tremendous pups working around the country. Sure do appreciate all they do and give. Got the big ole leg slap from Levi when he seen me at the ICU door. He is a dandy. Thanks to Daddy Bert and MommaDog Hawk for some tremendous offspring. ~Good 2 Be Home

My post (reply) to some private messages I received via FB about Levi. I wrote…Saturday, December 21, 2013, 3:09 PM
Tammy’s Cowdogs. Not to be rude, but just shooting Levi was not an option. Please just hold those thoughts if you would. They are best just kept to yourself. I don’t need or want to hear those opinions in private messages. And as far as you never wanting a pup out of a dog like Levi that is fine. You wouldn’t know what to do with a damn good, dedicated dog anyway…other than to kick the bastard every time you walked by him. I see that all too often…some stupid dogs are made that way by stupid people. Keep it up and I’ll post your names so that folks will know how to contact you to buy one of your “good” dogs. ~I think you hit a nerve. Take a hike.

Sunday, December 22, 2013, 1:11 AM
~~Cowdog Levi’s Ordeal…What Happened?~~

Levi’s ordeal with the bull. The morning this accident happened I did not see what took place. But when the cowdogs loaded up on the pickup and I came around the trailer to tell the cowdogs, “Good job. Thank you,” I patted Levi on the head and that is when he tossed his head up ‘n down and his nose and whole part of his face flipped back between his ears. All I saw was shattered splinters of bone from his right upper jaw and his jaw and the roof of his mouth were in a million sharp shattered bone pieces. I ran to Martin’s pen and got a muzzle that I had put on Martin while I was gathering the bulls and loading them. I ran back to Levi and with my left hand I held his collar and with my right hand I pushed Levi’s feet away from his face and put his face back into place as best I could, aligned it as best I could, slipped the muzzle on his nose to keep his face together and to keep him from using his tongue to push his face forward and to protect his face from using his feet to try to pull his palette and face forward. He was ripping his face off. I noticed he had a tear at his left eye that was about an inch and a ½ long with the tip of the tear at the corner of his left eye. His ears were swollen and his left ear felt like it had a lump in it a little off center and towards the outer part of his ear. Like it had been crushed. His right ear was also swelling but not like his left ear. I thought, “He must have gotten turned on and pawed by the bull.” Tonight, I’ve been putting a cold wash cloth on Levi’s head and gently massaging his temple. I felt his ears, looked at the tear in his eye and took note of his crushed nose and jaw breaks and how they looked that day. Here is what I think happened now that I have studied all his head wounds. The bull turned on the cowdogs. He ran at them with his head down and pawing at the cowdogs. Levi was struck in the face and the toe of the bull caught Levi at the inside corner of his left eye. The blow of the bull’s toe tore the skin open at the corner of Levi’s left eye. The blow occurred with Levi holding his ground in the bull’s face…meaning Levi was low to the ground with his mouth open to bite the nose of the bull. The downward force of the bull’s hoof/toe drove Levi’s nose and right side of his face into the ground and crushed his palette or bridge of his nose and right jaw into the ground. The bull struck another blow that crushed Levi’s left ear and the bull stepped on Levi’s left front paw. This is probably about the time I had come around the back of the pickup and was chaining the trailer door to the gate, seen Levi make a little loop with his paw up and thought he must have gotten his foot stepped on. But Levi got right back in behind the bull and followed him on to help with loading the bull on the trailer from the corral pen. The cowdogs patiently held their ground at the open trailer door/gate, the bull loaded, I told the cowdogs, “D o g s … load up.” They all did like normal, went to the back of the flatbed, loaded up and waited for me to come by to tell them, “Dogs, good job.” We just work around here and everyone has a role and takes care of their business. I rarely watch every minute of my regular work crew. They know their job, they do it well and with respect towards the stock. A refusal of a 2,400# bull or a hacked off mature cow is not going to work with my regular cowdog crew. Turning back won’t work. If the goal is to go from the pasture to the arena to the trailer … then that is what is going to happen. The cowdogs were given the commands to bring the bull and load him. So, Levi got the brunt of an attempted refusal. Yet, he did not leave his job even when his face got crushed. Why would I pull out a 22 and just off him for doing his job. He gave his life for his work, didn’t he? He didn’t quit, did he? I owe Levi the best of care, don’t I? I think, “Yes. Yes, Tammy you owe it to Levi to fix him.” ~Grateful I have my cowdogs.
Levi's Eye...Sunday, December 22, 2013 001

~~Cowdog Levi…Healing Update…Dec. 26, 2013 6:30 AM~~
Been a rough couple of days for Levi. He’s restless. Wants to go out to potty. Doesn’t want to go to potty. Wants to drink. Doesn’t want to drink. The healing/mending in his right upper jaw and soft and hard palate is? IDK! He continues to sniff and blow his nose all the time. Which is good and bad. Good to keep the sloughing gunk moving out. Bad because he blows his nose harder than he probably should. He listens to me when I tell him to take it easy with that blowing. But last night (well, this morning at 2 AM) he was obviously pissed about the nose thing. I had to get up and give him a mild scolding and a knock it off. He listened but he also gave me a look of, “You have no idea what I am going through.” I looked at him and said, “Yes I do. Remember a few weeks ago and the trailer gate smashing my face. Well, ends up my nose is cracked too Levi and I can feel a little of your pain. No, not the same pain I’m sure. But hell, this is no contest. Okay? Now, knock it off.” His sense of smell is returning. That is awesome given the fact that his nasal passages were destroyed and intricately sewn back together. He sniffs the ground when he goes out to potty. He’s sorting his pills out of his food. He can pick which tidbit has the pill and he leaves it and moves to the next tidbit. I’ve been testing him on this for a couple of days and today at 5 AM…he’s totally accurate on “the pill” tidbit. He is becoming sensitive to warm and cold. At 1st he did not want his milk at room temperature. It had to be cold. The past 2 days, the milk cannot be cold it has to be room temperature. So that is also a sign of the mouth becoming a little more normal (I hope). His fever is less too. He’s had a mild temp. increase since the surgery. The narcotics are helping to keep him knocked out for a couple of hours so that helps. He bumped his cone on the frozen ground yesterday and it split so we needed to gorilla tape it some more. And, I think he probably bumped his nose in the process. The sitter was sorry…but, as we know those things happen. The oral mouth antibiotic makes him a little sick so we have had to go off the prescribed recommendations so that his food can process before I rinse his mouth. I just hope that he is healing correctly. You cannot see in there so we are, “On a hope and a prayer.” I do appreciate all the notes, posts, calls, texts and Levi does too. I can guarantee you if he saw all of you in person he’d be swatting you on the leg with his left leg…telling you thank you and oh by the way, hi I am Levi, pet me! ~Levi’s Caretaker

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Monday, December 16, 2013
Heat Checking, Sunrise Watching, Cough Checking…
Some in heats? Yes.
Sunrise pretty? Yes.
Coughing in the calves? No.
Busy Monday travelers? Yes.
Cowdogs patiently waiting? Yes.
Remember to reset camera clock? No.

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