Rigel at 13

Samain and the thinnest Holiseason waning crescent

Friday gratefuls: Cleaning out the cabinets. Underway. Chicken stew headed to Judy’s with Bread Lounge ciabatta. Alan. Evergreen. Conifer. Our wildfire risk. Black Mountain Drive. Our only route out. The Lodgepoles that will burn. Renewal. Forest metamorphosis. The houses that will burn. Ecojustice. A chance for renewal. That slab of Taj Mahal waiting to be cut precisely to fit my counter. A beauty.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ursa Major outside my bedroom window

Tarot: Three of Stones, Creativity.


Rigel, 2011

Rigel. Has turned 13. A rascal still. Just this morning she grabbed an empty treat package, carried it out to the sewing room rug and ripped it apart.

The very day we brought her home to Seven Oaks in Andover she got her head stuck in the wooden gate going down to our perennial garden. I had to take the gate apart to get her head out. And, with my manual skills.

Kate told me this story. Rigel had come in from outside looking proud of herself. She got into the kitchen, coughed once, and threw up a Rabbit’s head. Eyes still glistening.

Rigel also got her sister Vega in trouble. Often. She discovered a downed Tree limb that provided a route over our 2,500 foot long chain link fence. Located in a far corner of our Woods it took me more than one escape to find the Tree limb and cut it down.

Rigel digging with Vega, 2010

Once she went over, took Vega and Hilo, one of our Whippets, with her. Vega and Hilo returned home for dinner, but Rigel didn’t. She was gone three or four days, having been captured by a neighbor. We finally found her through the dog shelter who relayed a message. While she resided at the neighbors, his son named her Queenie.

Seven Oaks was on the Anoka Sand Plain, the former shore of the ancient glacial River, Agassiz. Great for gardening. And, for two sisters tag-teaming to dig really deep holes. Not one, not two, but multiple holes deep enough to hold a 100 pound+ IW/Coyote Hound mix. Since I occasionally needed to drive a truck in the back, these holes were downright problematic.

the baby

Loud barking. Really loud. Baying. Non-stop. Geez, guys. What’s going on? I searched around in our woods until I found Rigel and Vega digging a hole under a downed Cottonwood. Something was up in the hollow portion of the long dead Tree. Took out my phone and snapped pictures because I could see anything. A baby Opossum. Never understand the strategy of barking at something in a Tree.

Up here on Shadow Mountain where Rigel has spent more than half of her 13 years she continues to hunt. She’s dug out around our deck, trying to get underneath to the tasty baby bunnies that live there. Same for the shed. In spite of severe arthritis in her rear left leg she continues to follow her predatory instincts.

With Rigel, Andover

Last year. August. I felt her forehead. It was hot. Kate took her temperature. 105. Something was going on. Covid raged outside our house. It was a weekend. As often happens.

I took her in to the Veterinary Referral Service in Lakewood. Because of Covid, they had signs on their front door and windows: Humans. Sit. Stay. I had to call in. A vet tech came to get her. I waited in the car, 94 degree heat, for six hours while triage pushed her back in priority. When they finally got to her, the vet confirmed she was really sick.

It took three or four very expensive days to diagnose her with endocarditis, the next to last thing on the differential tree. After that it took two days of high dose, high impact antibiotics to get her ready to come home.

Rigel and a bull Elk in our back a day before my first radiation treatment.

I cried when she same out because I thought I’d never see her again. She was thin, weak, but happy to go home. High doses of antibiotics continued at home for three months. It took about that length of time, maybe a bit more, for her energy level to return to normal.

Today she runs up and down the stairs to the loft. She and Kep have made home a welcoming place for me since Kate’s death. So important for me that I don’t have a word for my gratitude.

Each time she goes to the vet he says she looks really good for as old a dog as she is. At her physical he compared her to a five-year old dog. She’s still like that. How long she can go, I don’t know. But her life has buttressed mine and mine hers. Fair enough.

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