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Killing, Part VII

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June 30, 2011 by wcobserver

Reece also frequented the pond, not just because it offered dragonflies and lizards, but also because he enjoyed walking in the shallow water where he stalked frogs. He seemed unconscious or at least unconcerned that his feet and legs became wet. (This principle held when he would decide to investigate a half-drained bathtub.) It wasn’t unusual for a day to pass without Reece being in the house, all while Elmo James loitered on the couch.

Elmo’s take on life was to shmooze it up with petting as often as he could get it, so persons passing by the couch might find themselves suddenly solicited by a friendly paw, as if to say, “Hey wait a minute, didn’t you forget something?” Elmo fulfilled his life duty by holding down the furniture.

So it was unusual when Reece ran through the kitchen late one morning and then disappeared into the depths of the house. With no subsequent reappearance, an investigation ensued. Room after room, in all the familiar spots, Reece could not be found. Finally, in the back corner of the closet of the farthest bedroom, there crouched Reece’s Pieces.

Blood covered his face, which was swollen horribly around the right eye. The eye itself was puffed shut. Blood oozed from the eyelid. The side of his face from the nose to the ear was strutted three times its normal size, misshapen and discolored with blood. He stared at me with his other eye and let out a miserable yowl.

I picked him up, certain even before I looked closely that he had been snake bit. There were two small spots still bleeding, one about a half inch above his eye where the skin was torn as if the end of a fang had hit a glancing blow against the hard skull bone. The other bloody spot was on his eyelid. The spots were about one and quarter inches apart, not a small snake. It was a long drive to the vet.

“Rattlesnake, I’d guess,” the vet remarked as he began cleaning up the blood and shaving hair around the punctures. “There’s not much I can do—the venom is already in his system. Say, isn’t this the same cat …?”

We exchanged glances as I nodded.

Examination revealed the amazing fact that the eyelid puncture had occurred with the eye open. The fang hooked the eyelid, but had missed the eyeball. Still, with a load of venom released into such a restricted area, the vet warned that he would probably lose the eye.

“Biggest danger is infection,” he said, injecting a hypodermic of antibiotic. “Snakes carry loads of bacteria.”

Two difficult weeks followed, holding Reeces down to clean the wounds and force antibiotic down his stubborn throat. His stubbed off tail switched in aggravation during each doctoring session. Gradually, the swelling disappeared, the hair grew back, and within a month everything was back to normal including his eye which suffering no permanent damage whatsoever. (To be continued)

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