Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Images I Owe You, The Images Of The Week, The Images Missed

It's been quite a week here at PFHQ.
The joy of new puppies was tempered by the reality of a very sick puppy, who still is not out of danger. I have spent 4 of the past 5 afternoons in the Vet's office ... so, you can imagine how many wild Florida pictures I took this week.
That's right ... about two.

Gumbo was only maintaining, not improving so yesterday I rushed him to the Vet after work. He was having trouble walking and did not want to put his left hind leg down. THAT was a totally new symptom added to his general malaise.

It actually helped though, as his high fever and lameness narrowed the selection of possible problems.
This puppy may have Lyme or a similar tick transported disease. The Vet wanted to keep him on an IV and begin a course of antibiotics ... so Gumbo is in the hospital for a few days.

I'm just going to switch my paycheck direct deposit from the credit union to the Vet's office.

Here's a non puppy, actual wildlife photo ... believe it or not.
Yes, I am not turning PF into a DogBlog ... it just seems that way this week. The plant in the picture is a Cherokee Bean growing amongst my blueberry bushes.

About midweek, I was picking some blueberries in the evening, when the hummer showed up to feed on Cherokee Bean nectar.

I set my bowl of blueberries on the hood of my broken down old truck (this is the South, you know), and slung the camera off my shoulder and into position.
Immediately the hummer buzzed off.

I sat down to wait, and about 15 minutes later, the hummer returned.

Cherokee Bean is a wonderful tough plant that is only showy for a little while, but it's worth the wait. Pretty indestructible, a quality that makes it highly desired here at PFHQ.

Above, the glamorous, high tech equipment of the nature photographer.

When the hummer flew off at the sight of the camera, I grabbed an old bucket of drywall compound and sat down on it to await his return.

We spare no expense here at PFHQ in the construction of our wildlife photography blinds.

This is where Gumbo and I slept Thursday night. I think now, as sick as he is, that the decision to do that and keep him hydrated with Gatorade during the night was a very important one.

I'm thinking right now how amazing it is that this time last week, I had not met him yet, and now he's stolen my heart and on my mind constantly.
Puppy power I guess.

Speaking of that power, Bear is doing just fine and keeps us in stitches. We are spoiling him while his brother is away in the hospital.

One of this week's events that didn't get posted was this blueberry cake Emma and Corinne made from fresh backyard blueberries.

It was incredibly good with coffee ... one piece was not enough.
My usual self discipline went right out the window.

Maybe this one pic sums up the whole week.

I did miss one incredible photo opportunity this week.
At twilight a few days ago, I carried sick little Gumbo outside in my arms for a bathroom break. As I got to the end of our little stone walkway, there was a rustling in the oak tree in front of me.

Still holding Gumbo, I looked up, expecting to see a pair of tree rats chasing each other.
Suddenly, out of the tree swooped a swallowtail kite just 10 feet in front of me. He was only a few feet off the ground.

I stood there transfixed with the little pup in my arms instead of my ever present camera as the kite swooped back and forth in front of me, over and over again.

It was right there ... so close, so preoccupied with something on the ground that I could not see ... perhaps a lizard or small snake. The kite did not want to give up and it seemed to go on forever.

All the while, I'm saying, "Oh my God, Oh my God ...", not believing what I'm seeing ... not believing that my camera was behind me on the porch, not in my hands.

And then the kite swooped up to normal treetop level, circled twice, and slipped away.

With trembling hands, I set Gumbo down to do his business, grateful for the moment, hoping it might come again someday when I'm ready.

Ce la vie, no?


roger said...

gumbo landed in the right place. i mean with your family. just how much cake did you eat?

Laura said...

ahh, what a post. ce la vie is right.
Especially in regard to the vet bills.
I liken vet bills to buying new tires for the car. I hate spending the money, and yet it's unavoidable in some cases.
All those IV's, antibiotics and the hospital stay, I can't imagine the bill. :(

My heart goes out the little Gumbo Limbo, I really think that name fits him best!

And I know exactly how you feel about witnessing the kite incident and yet having the camera out of reach.
Oh, how I know...!!!

There will be more and better opportunities, don't worry. You'll find them around every corner and we'll be waiting when you do.

Hang in there!

Dani said...

We keep sending good thoughts your way. We really hope the little guy pulls through.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Poor Gumbo. I sure hope he's up and feeling better soon. Those tick diseases are scary. Wow, to see a kite so close! We saw one several years ago down around Crystal River - really incredible birds.
Hope ya'll have a good weekend and we're saying prayers for Gumbo.

kathy a. said...

poor little pup! you're a good daddy.

Jen said...

Yeah, those free ones are always the most expensive. We took in two free kittens last year. I think our Vet bill has been right around 5K for the year. Hip replacement for one and a chronic eye infection for the other. Who needs to travel/eat/buy new furniture? They do steal your heart quickly...
We'll keep Gumbo in our thoughts for quick recovery.

Cathy S. said...

So sorry. Hope he is better soon and that Mr. Kite returns at a moment when you have camera in hand.

Suze said...

I love Swallowtail Kites - we've seen them by Fisheating Creek off Route 27 and up in the Lake Placid, FL area. We even saw one flying over Hialeah - I kid you not. My husband and I looked at each other and wondered what the heck he was doing THERE?? They also fly over the new park in Cooper City here - can't get enough pictures of them. And for one to be SO close! I know how you feel about lack of camera - it always seems I see something when I don't have mine available.

Prayers keep up for Gumbo. I hope the intravenous antibiotics kick whatever the heck he has out of him for good.

Susan said...


Get well, Gumbo. You can do it!
Rest up and be real strong.
Get well, Gumbo. Atta boy!
A lovely pup, you've done no wrong.

Get well, Gumbo. Come home soon!
We all want to see you play.
There's a water folly waiting,
and silly chickens to keep at bay.

Get well, Gumbo. You can do it!
We think you're a special guy.
You've already stolen many hearts...
'bout that we cannot lie.

Floridacracker said...

i think so too. double what i planned on the cake eating :)

Thanks for the empathy. Ditto on the comparison with the bill. No fun, but what are you going to do?

Thanks! He got a good report from the vet this morning.

I could hear the whistle of his wings.
You have a great weekend too!

Kathy A,
I have been trained by a long line of fine dogs :)

If we didn't laugh about it we'd all go insane.
I think your cats lucked out when they picked you.

Cathy S,
He owes me.

I was just out in the garden and high above me were Mississippi Kites and Swallowtail Kites wheeling about in the breeze.
Too high for good photos, but at least I had my camera. Thanks for the Gumbo prayers.

Spectacular! I'm printing that and sharing it.
Thank you.

threecollie said...

Keeping the good thoughts for Gumbo....and sometimes when those wonderful moments happen and the camera isn't in reach the words are plenty enough to show the world what your eyes saw...

Anonymous said...

Perfectly similar critters, Gumbo and Cherokee Bean. Worth the wait, tenacious, gorgeous, attractant. Yes?
I just know you can't wait to get little pupperoni back home. If he's getting better at the Doggerie then we are all sighing that deep breath with you. If some MLB (pharm lingo for mysterious little ba*****) is hanging on, I'm suggesting a Gumbo Care Fund or at least a link to the vet where readers can post some form of donation. It seems out of character for you to consider this but vets ain't free, either.
Just a thought. Feel free to ignore me.

S N B said...

I have had similar experiences with swallowtail kites and have come to think of them as angel birds. They seem to pop up in unexpected places just when I need encouragement the most. I have come to take them as signs from heaven and am thankful for the reminder to lift my head and look up.

Hurricane Teen said...

I've just got to wonder what would have happened to Gumbo if you did not adopt him that day. He is extremely lucky.
I see Flounder is teaching him the trade of chicken-chasing!

Deb said...

Wow, tick borne diseases are extremely scary. My Togo tested positive for Lyme when he got neutered, although he was pretty much asymptomatic. It would have caught up with him though. Again sending well puppy thoughts.

What an amazing encounter with the swallow tailed kite! Major bird envy here.

Floridacracker said...

He's hanging in there, the doc said he was actually frisky this morning.
Glad the word picture developed properly.

Very kind of you to think that way, but we'll deal with it.

Angel bird is very appropriate.

I hate to think about it.

It was breathtaking. I see them alot, but this guy was sooo close.

Sharon said...

I'm so glad he's improving :) Hope he continues on and can come HOME soon, and what a home he will have :)

That cake looks delicious!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks on behalf of Gumbo.
The cake was all that!