We were late doing the chores yesterday morning. Frank had errands to run in the village, it was 22°F outside and there was over a foot of snow on the ground, so I was moving a bit slowly. When I went out, Faith and Buffy showed up per usual for their morning cuddle, but I noticed blood on Faith’s face. Minor, but many. Maggie was nowhere to be seen, which of course worried me straight away. I found her, finally, in the hoop house, someplace she rarely goes, and clearly injured. She wouldn’t let me really check her out, wouldn’t stand. I rushed in to call the vet and Frank, who rushed home with the truck.
We got her into the truck and I headed to the vet and Frank went out to see if he could see what happened. We really didn’t think this was a dog fight. Despite all the warnings about having multiple female Pyrs, we just haven’t seen them fight. The only time there has been a dog fight, it was when Disa went into heat and I had to pull the little wolverine out of the mess by her tail. (We really learned the meaning of “bitch” — sudden irrational insanity with extreme violence. Man.)
He found where it happened. There were tons of prints and blood where clearly a big altercation happened. He wasn’t sure about the prints, though. It didn’t really look like a bear or a coyote. It was hard to find intact prints because such mayhem had clearly occurred and he also had four other dogs helpfully helping him check it all out, ruining what prints were there, of course. At least the one useful thing about this rare October snow (18 inches!) was that it was easy to see where it happened, at least.
At the vets, they quickly determined that they were going to have to sedate Maggie to treat her. Even with a muzzle on, she was so upset at being handled that there was just no choice. She reverted back to her fearful self — mostly okay around other women, shaking violently at any men at all, poor thing. Once they got her under (it took several doses, probably because of all of the adrenaline in her system), they found many, many shallow puncture wounds, over a hundred of them, all over her neck, head, flanks, belly, groin and especially on her right front leg. They stitched her up and inserted seven drains because there was already deep pooling of fluids.
After speaking to NH Fish and Game, the best guess is this is a fisher attack, one or more. (some track examples) They suspect the sudden snow storm had something to do with driving them closer to the farm in search of food. It’s hard to believe they would attack three Pyrs, but based on where it happened and the fact that Maggie had such extensive wounds and Faith and Buffy had very minor ones, I bet Maggie got there first and took the brunt of it. It happened very close to where Maggie hangs out by herself, and the other two would most likely have been hundreds of feet away. The vet said the pattern of many, many shallow bites is how they attack. A coyote or other canine tends to grab hold and you get much tearing of muscles and deep wounds, which she didn’t have. Fishers have the reputation of being aggressive, manic, mean, dangerous. Everyone around here calls them “fisher cats” and suspects them for all of the cat disappearances every fall. We used to see them pretty often before the got the Pyrs, and thought they had moved on to easier targets.
We’ve got her home now. The vet didn’t want to keep her, because they were afraid she wouldn’t eat or drink for them. I brought her into the house in an attempt to keep her cleaner and warmer. She’s wearing a cone, of course, and we’ve decided it’s a cone of valor, not shame. She’s in pretty grim shape, though. She’s confused from the cone, the pain, the drugs, and being inside. We have heavy duty antibiotics and pain killers for her. She had a really rough night last night. Much whimpering and confusion, and I couldn’t really do much except comfort her, and I don’t think either of us got much sleep at all. I did get her pills down her this morning, though, and Frank gave her the shot. I’ve got her outside now for a potty break, away from the other Pyrs to give her space.
Faith and Buffy have retreated close to the house, poor girls. They aren’t quite sure they are ready to patrol without Maggie. I really hope that whatever attacked them was convinced to stay away now.
In other doggie news, Disa is on day 63 of a 63 day gestation. Puppies any second!