There were so many possible titles for this blog, but I rejected them all in favor of a simple statement of my feelings at the time (and the time was yesterday).
I was taking a short nap when Beloved F called, as per our plan. I was very pleased with her timing, because she called just as I was about to die in an out-of-control elevator headed for the roof. We had a lovely talk about Mazy and Sawyere. The two dogs’ paths to settling in have been running parallel, which is very odd, even considering that they arrived on the same day. Today’s parallel issue was, what should we give them to chew on? Both dogs love to chew to calm and comfort themselves, but Mazy is missing a lot of teeth, while Sawyere could take on a mastodon bone. This comforting doggy chat completely erased the nightmare panic feeling for me, and as I hung up I was looking forward to having afternoon coffee in a patch of the very welcome bright sunshine.
I looked over towards my computer desk, and saw that Giovanni was stalking something and poking it with his nose. Very startled, I rose up to get a better look, which had the effect of backlighting the thing against the sunny windows. And then I was even more startled, because what I’d thought must be a toad or frog (which amazed me, considering the weather), had way too many legs.
Of course, I did the wrong thing. Instead of calmly going over to Giovanni, I shrieked, ‘Giovanni, no!’, causing him to catch the thing up in his mouth and dash out the dog door. I dashed out, too, in time to see him pawing at his muzzle. I saw no trace of the thing. We all came back inside, and he went immediately over to my computer desk again, and into the kneehole area (where, at this moment, my feet and legs are pulled up as high as I can get ’em). I went to see what he was looking at, and here is a link to what I saw. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolomedes
Having been somewhat arachnophobic for years, I’d finally decided that it was just too stupid to have bad feelings about a pretty nice member of the animal kingdom, and I had actively trained myself to lose the fear. I don’t kill spiders, but take them outside. This one, however, and its location, taxed my hard-won courage to the max. Luckily there was an empty plastic dog treat container handy. I kept the dogs away and trapped it. Then I called the vet (because I was pretty positive that there had been two–that’s the worst part of the whole thing–and that Giovanni had eaten one, and been bitten by it, inside his mouth). I didn’t get MVDVM, but the other vet looked up what to do, and said that, until Giovanni was showing symptoms and they could do bloodwork, there was no action to take. After I hung up, though, I remembered to give Benadryl–if MVDVM had been there, he’d have told me that ;)–and I also threw in a couple of milk thistle capsules, in case the toxin made it all the way to his liver.
Then I cancelled the lessons I’d been supposed to give, and took the spider to a wonderful place we have here, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, linked with Cornell University. I had a nice talk with the woman who was going to identify my spider for me, and she wanted to hear about the circumstances of its finding, how I thought it might have gotten in, and stuff like that. Then I paid my $15, handed her my spider (which she assured me would not die overnight–she said she’s seen them live for days in containers–and which would be released the next day), and went to buy a vacuum cleaner with a really pointy crevice tool.
I found my vacuum cleaner, and treated myself to a creamy drink made with soy milk and strawberry puree–comfort food for those days when you realize that very large spiders have been walking around in your bedroom and have actually been spending most of their time right where you put your feet when you write your blog.
The drink, and the sunshine, gradually helped me fight off the combined effects of the nightmare (the terror of which had come back, escorted by the spiders) and the creepy crawlies. I went home and began vacuuming every inch of that area, in the process accidentally disassembling my computer a little, which caused a different kind of panic. I did find a couple of gaps between the molding and the panelling, where a spider might have gotten in, but the dog door would be a handy entry place, too. And right out that door is where I store a big wooden box of kindling and tinder. I really hope, really, really hope, that those weren’t the first two in a long line of teenaged spiders who hatched over the winter.
Giovanni never got sick, and in spite of my worries about insomnia, I was able to sleep normally (although I probably had all kinds of nightmares, now that I think of it). And today I got the first part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s report on my spider. I will link to it, if I can, but it may not be possible. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=12e96f04524db08b&mt=application/msword&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui%3D2%26ik%3Db8e17da57b%26view%3Datt%26th%3D12e96f04524db08b%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dsafe%26zw&sig=AHIEtbS2JRcxnGjJ9yQOVl9CTEa_m9oJtw
Today’s news was all good. Sawyere is great, and his progress just since two days ago is very rapid, but solid. Sherri worked with him today, and said it was his best day ever. And Rajeena, the Dog Goddess of this blog, who was unable to participate in the first part of Project Sawyere due to a pretty serious hand injury, will be able to meet Sawyere and be trained in his care on Saturday, only three days from now. It’ll be great to have another person on Sawyere’s team, and a very experienced one, too!
Another nice thing about today was that, when I was with Sawyere, I bought him the closest thing to a mastodon bone that was for sale at his ‘dorm’–a serious, heavy duty bacon-flavored Nylabone thingie, with knobby parts at either end and a green minty straight part in the middle, like a miniature barbell. He loves it. And I bought some cool things for dog-loving me, which I can’t describe because I bought duplicates of some of them for Beloved F.
Everything dog-and-cat-related was fun today, and the note factory was fun, but I’ve had enough excitement, and I’m calling it a day. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the woods the spiders to keep.