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Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Paws" of Life

Many years ago, I was living in atrocious conditions with even more atrocious people, mainly meaning my mother. Our relationship was...well...turbulent, to say the least. We were very different people with very different priorities. I was interested in survival and she was interested in death, mainly mine, go figure. Mind you this story is NOT about my mother. But it does start out with her.
We lived on a very large mountain in Maine. It was late in the winter months and the snow was as high as the sky. I had been on an all day excursion with my sister and seemed to be coming down with something. So I wanted to go home.
My mother and her...ahem...boyfriend, were down the road a ways (about 2 miles from the bottom of our mountain) at a friend's house for....um....lets call it dinner (more like an all night crack house affair but whatever). So I had to get her to bring me back up the mountain as cars and trucks could not make it in the snow. Had to be a snowmobile or snowshoes!! Thats right, it was a rough living. The trail to get up to the cabin was about 2 miles up. And we had none of the luxuries that we've got now, like plumbing, electricity or heat. So yes, it was rough.
Anyway, ultimately my mother denied assistance. So I walked all the way to the bottom of the mountain, getting sicker by the minute. When I got to the bottom and began the long trek across the potato field to the mountain trail, I heard my mother behind me screaming from the snowmobile!
As I said before, we did NOT have the best relationship. She was put off by the fact that she was instructed to leave the party by her....ahem....boyfriend to help her sick daughter. So she decided to take it out on me. Instead of giving me a ride to the cabin, she proceeded to make several attempts on my life with the snowmobile....but this story is NOT about my mother.
After her many attacks and with my many sustained injuries she got tired and headed back to the party. I did my best to ignore the repeated attempts on my life as well as the new shooting pains coming from my legs where she hit me with the snowmobile and my back where she kicked me several times on her way by.
But I've always been resilient...so I continued on trudging through the deep and unyielding snow. My body was aching, tired and the pain was becoming more and more intense. The sickness was getting the best of me. It was getting so cold and the sun had long been gone. The hour was getting late and I knew I had to keep moving. But the more I tried, the worse it got. I was losing the feeling in my fingers and toes and my body had developed a terrible tremor in an attempt to rewarm itself.
It began to snow again...and soon the snow became so heavy I could hardly see the trail. This in itself was extremely dangerous as the right side of the trail was a steep cliff with a sheer drop off. I could trudge no longer. My lungs couldn't hold my breath, my body was at its limits and ached terribly! And before I knew it, I couldn't feel my legs much at all.
I dropped to my knees. My head fell low pounding under pressure. I knew if I didn't get back up, things would get very real, FAST! I was out in the middle of the woods on a mountain at night in Maine. The animals would come. I had to move. But every time I tried, I lost more control of my body. Before I knew it, I was laying down in the snow and drifting in and out of consciousness. Somewhere deep inside, my life flashed before my eyes and I felt that this was perhaps my end. To some extent, I wished for it.
When I woke, I was buried in the snow. The layers of snow seemed to act as a blanket and gave me some feeling back. Not much, but some. I used my arms to drag myself up out of the snow...but I never could get back on my feet. The struggle exhausted me. And I knew if I wasn't dead yet, it would be a horrible way to go if I was awake when the wolves came. And they WOULD come. They always do.
I had only one thing left to do....call the dogs. I prayed I was close enough to the top for them to hear me. The snow coming down in sheets acted as a sound filter making it harder for them to hear. And my best efforts in calling them came out as a muffled cry. Deep down I knew they didn't hear me. And my heart sank as I had no energy to call again.
I had never been so happy in all my life to hear the sound of speedy stomping paws in the crusty snow heading straight for me. I knew it was them. I could hear their heavy breathing and recognized it as my three best friends. Two male Huskies and one mid size mix hunting female. Venus, the female was the leader. She was older and trained the boys. She led the way and found me FAST! The boys, Kodiac and Uetec were red on her heels. I had never been so relieved in my life!
Venus kept pressing her nose into my neck moving my head...as if to check on me. And the boys were whining in a way I'd never heard before. It was a serious and nervous kind of whine, a bit high pitched and they were dancing around me and crying. I swear it looked like Venus was barking orders to them. Like a fire drill, the boys came close and began pushing on my sides to get me up. I couldn't do it on my own so I grabbed hold of their collars. One husky at each side and Venus in the front leading the way.
To anyone watching from a far it must have looked quite odd. As I was being dragged up the trail by two huskies and a mutt. But it was not at all funny to me. Don't know exactly where we were when the boys started acting strange and broke away from me. I recognized the signs and prayed I was wrong. They heard animals in the woods. All three dogs tore off into the woods barking. Venus quickly returned and kept an eye on me while looking back for the huskies.
It wasn't long before they came back and got me to hold on again and they hauled me all the way up to the cabin. It was a difficult task but I somehow managed to get into the house. I couldn't even start a fire. I was too sick, and beginning to lose consciousness again. I narrowly made it to my bed and fell deep into the darkness of a dreamless sleep.
Ultimately my mother's ...ahem... boyfriend came home and found me and gave me meds. Thank god for his drunken innocence, because I later found out I had an extreme temp and was suffering from Pneumonia. I was told if I hadn't gotten myself out of the cold when I did, that alone could have killed me.
It was a close call. But I survived.....thanks to the "Paws" of life. My angels: Venus, Kodiac and Uetec. Respect your pets. They may save your life.

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