Paying Gig…

I might be a bit scarce in the blogosphere over the next little while…I’ve taken a temporary job that is scheduled to last for seven weeks. It is a position which will allow me to use my communications, marketing and public relations skills…it feels good to have someone recognize those abilities again! I hope that some networking while I’m back “in circulation” may lead to a permanent position somewhere (my work at the bookstore is strictly sweat equity – it will be mine when Dad is gone).

In the meantime, I hope to write at least one new post a week, and try to keep up with my reading of yours (I may not comment as much)! I will fill in with some of my favourites from the archives (from back when I had two loyal readers!).

Here is the first installment from the archives (originally published March 26, 2010):

Creature Discomforts

One of the benefits of living in the country is seeing a variety of wild animals and birds on a regular basis.  On occasion, members of our family have close encounters with these creatures, which aren’t always fun…

Jake is our schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle).  This fifteen lbs. of curly-haired energy adores flying around our fenced back yard as fast as his little legs can go!  He is also the biggest suck ever, needing to have his head on your chest right under your chin no matter what else you’re trying to accomplish!  Unfortunately, he sometimes gets into trouble…

Jake at full taken by Jim

Last winter, we noticed that a porcupine was (literally) hanging out in our back yard.  We dubbed him “Mr. Prickles.”  He would sit in a tree all day, gorging himself on bark, even during a raging snowstorm.  When he got tired, he would inch backward, ever so carefully, down the tree trunk, and amble over to the next tree, climb up, and repeat the above process.  On his journey between the trees, he would leave little presents on the ground, which Jake assumed were meant to be his dessert!  Ewww!

Mr. Prickles Eating taken by Jim

Last summer, I let Jake out the back door, making sure the Mr. Prickles was nowhere in sight…I should have gone outside and checked over the little hill at the bottom of the yard!  Jake wasted no time heading straight for the intruder, barking wildly and circling the thorny creature.  By the time I had my shoes on, Jake had managed to get his small mouth around some of Mr. Prickles’ rear end, and ended up with a snoutful of quills!  While Mr. Prickles made his unhurried way towards the fence (which has holes big enough for him to squeeze through), I scooped up our dog and took him in the house to survey the damage.

I removed 19 quills of varying sizes from Jake’s mouth and nose…he was a trooper…he’s used to Jim grooming him, and he didn’t even flinch, even when I had to  use needle-nose pliers to pull some of the more stubborn ones (I found out later about cutting the ends off the quills to release the pressure).  There was one quill that I just couldn’t get, so I asked Jim to tackle that one after he got home.  Luckily, Jim was able to remove that one, and found another one which had worked its way in through Jake’s cheek and back out again!  Jim washed Jake’s face with peroxide, and we watched carefully over the next couple of weeks for any signs of infection.

It never occurred to me to take Jake to the vet…all I could think about was getting the things out of his face!  A friend of Jim’s told us she had spent more than $3500 at the vet’s with her two big dogs and porcupine quills!  Later, my snowplow guy told me about some woman at his camp who had been turned in to the Humane Society because she had taken quills out of her own dog!  That seems ridiculous to me!

After that, we made sure that Jake went out on the leash.  This winter, while there was snow on our back deck, we would just let him out there (leaving the gate closed).

One day in February, the kids decided it would be a good idea to let Jake run around the back yard again…we hadn’t seen Mr. Prickles for several weeks.  Down the steps he went…and stopped in his tracks, sniffing at something under the steps.  “Mom!  The porcupine’s dead under our back step!” reported Anna.

I said (a la Monty Python): “Maybe he’s not really dead…maybe he’s just restin’.”  I put on my boots, trudged down the steps, and poked Mr. Prickles gingerly with my toe.  He didn’t move.  Luckily, he didn’t stink either…it was still cold enough for his body to be frozen.

Jim came home from work, and I reported the sad news of Mr. Prickles’ demise.  “Did you do anything with him?” he asked.

“No…I don’t do dead bodies!  That’s your job!” I replied.  So Jim went out with a shovel, and heaved Mr. Prickles’ earthly remains over the fence into the woods.

A couple of weeks later, we noticed a couple of buzzards circling overhead…Dad said, “There must be something dead around here…”

RIP Mr. Prickles…


Filed under blogging, memories

54 responses to “Paying Gig…

  1. Poor Jake. Glad you were able to care for him. RIP Mr. Prickles

  2. Congrats on paying gig! Mine turned me into more lurker than commenter but I plan on being better. I’m really looking forward to reading more vintage Wendy.


  3. Many congrats, Kathy! Maybe the temp job will give you an abundance of new material to write about later!

  4. Congrats, Wendy, on the job! This sounds great for you! I look forward to more from the archives during your once a week postings! I’m happy for you, my friend!

  5. Wendy I am so happy that you got a paying gig. How exciting for you. There are days when I miss teaching and think about going back.

    Poor Jake…Our dog Sven was always chasing the woodchucks but fortunately he never got bit. Jake seems like he can be a handful some days.

    • Thanks, Jeanne! I’m pretty excited about it, but worried my head might explode with all the new information going in! Jake hasn’t encountered a groundhog yet, but that day may come sooner than later! Wendy

  6. Congratts on the new gig Wendy! Life always gets in the way of blogging…but without life, what would we write about? 😉

  7. Yikes!!! That’s cool though having a real live porcupine around. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one other than at the zoo.

  8. Oh, and BTW, congrats on the gig!!

  9. Big congrats on the paying gig, Wendy! So well deserved!

  10. Congrats on the new gig, Wendy! Even better that the new gig will allow you to use the skills you enjoy. Excellent!

    We’ll miss you on a daily basis, but we’ll look forward to seeing you weekly!!
    ~ Lenore

  11. Congratulations! I know you will be an asset. They may not know it yet…but they will be lucky to have you and your humor.

  12. Good luck with the new gig. I’m sure you’ll be great and hopefully, it will lead to something better, more long term. In the meantime, know that I’m going to miss seeing you around these parts and getting your very nice, sweet comments. Who were your two loyal readers?

    • Thanks, Monica! Besides my relatives, my first two loyal subscribers were Jane from PlaneJaner’s Journey, and Nancy from Embracing Myself (Nancy has been away from blogland for some time – busy girl!). Wendy

  13. Congrats on your new work, Wendy! It’s nice to be recognized for our abilities, and I know you’ll be an asset. Don’t worry — you won’t lose all your readers!!

  14. Turned into the humane society for removing quills? Okay, maybe if she jammed them in farther, but really? Wow.

    Good luck with the new gig, Wendy. They’re lucky to have you.

    And I love archives posts!

  15. congratulations, Wendy!


  16. jacquelincangro

    Jake is a very patient dog to sit so still while you removed those quills. I bet it hurt or was at least very uncomfortable. I don’t think that Reggie would be so calm (although we don’t have many porcupines in this neck of the woods).

    Congrats on your new position. I can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Thanks, Jacquelin…Jake is really good about stuff like that, because Jim grooms him, so he’s used to sitting still for us! I’m sure it hurt like crazy, especially when I was using the pliers! Wendy

  17. Congrats on the new gig! Will look forward to seeing the archives Wendy! Loved hearing about Mr. Prickles- may he rest in peace.

  18. Congratulations on the paying gig! It’ll be fun reading some of your earlier stuff!

  19. Turned into the Humane Society for attending to your own dog – what’s this world coming to?
    We’ll miss you while you are away but hope that your short term contract runs into something permanent. Good luck!

  20. Congrats on your new job. Will you tell us more about it once you get into it? And don’t worry about reading me, I’ve been getting behind in writing. Summer is like that.

  21. Good luck at the new post–enjoy using those skills!

  22. I hope you enjoy the new job, Wendy, and that it leads to something more permanent. It’s always nice to be hired to do something you enjoy.

    Great post, too.

  23. Congratulation on the gig. Fingers and toes crossed that it leads you where you ultimately want to go!

  24. Hi Wendy, I’m SO thrilled for you that you have found this wonderful paying gig! Enjoy every minute of it – they’re so lucky to have you! I’m dying to hear more.
    I find it so hard to blog and read and work … but what a good idea to post archive posts. You’re a wealth of good ideas!
    Hugs and blessings from London
    Sunshine xx

    • Thanks, Sunshine! I’m enjoying it so far, but it might be a little scarier once the person I’m replacing is gone! I’m doing the archive posts so that hopefully, people will keep reading! Hugs, Wendy

  25. Congratulations Wendy!! I hope you like the new gig 🙂

    Hugs, H.

  26. I’m glad Jake survived the encounter with Mr. Prickles. All those quills…you know what Wendy, sometimes these days, I feel like Jake, especially when Dad’s acting up. Those quills are painful 😦

    Hugs, H.

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