Boom, boom, BOOOM!!!
Yes, the 4th of July in the good old USA is always exciting, especially for kids, dogs, war vets, and survivors of terrorist attacks. The big, professional displays are noisy enough, but at least they tend to be far away. The problem is the surrounding neighbors. You know, the ones who can’t afford decent cars, can’t afford the upkeep on their homes, but have plenty of cash for stuff like beer, cigarettes and illegal fireworks.
I’m not talking about the sparklers sold by Walmart and other retailers and which are now legal in New York State. I’m talking about the huge incendiary devices which are sold across the state line in Pennsylvania. Apparently, the neighbors also have plenty of cash (and time off) to drive there for their purchases.
At any rate, we knew it would be tough because it was last year. We had discussed going to a hotel for the night but ultimately decided it would be better to keep Puppy Cody in her own, familiar, surroundings with windows shut, AC running, TV on, and us at home with her. Just in case, we had obtained a bottle of prescription doggie tranquilizers from the vet.
Fortunately, we didn’t need the pills. Cody spent the evening hiding in various places, at one point wedging herself in the tiny space between my bed and a small dresser next to it. I thought about taking a photograph of the pathetic sight, but heck, even dogs deserve some respect, right?
But we got through the night and will get through the next week or so until the neighbors run out of firepower.
Allow me to backtrack now. We took Cody for her walk at the school early in the day on the 4th (hence the photo at the top of this post), and then late in the afternoon we took her out in the yard to do her business, knowing it might well be the last time she’d go out. Some neighbors had already started shooting off rockets and M80s, but there seemed to be a lull.
As soon as we stepped into the yard, I saw a brown heap near the side fence about halfway back. Afraid it might be a dead bird, squirrel or bunny, I decided to investigate before Cody saw it. Fortunately, I got there first, and it turned out to be a turtle!
(If you click on the photo to make it bigger, you can see its little face and its tail.)
In the two years we’ve lived in the house, I have never seen a turtle in the yard, and this was a big one – at least 6 inches wide. Perhaps it was trying to flee the fireworks, too?
Or perhaps it was a female who had decided to lay eggs in my yard while the humans were presumably distracted by the noisy events.
In any case, I didn’t want Cody to eat it, so I gingerly picked it up to move it to a safer location. Never before have I been eye-to-eye with a turtle, and it gazed at me in total confusion – but did not retract its head and legs, so maybe it knew I was trying to help. Carefully, I reached over the 4-foot fence next to the pine tree in the church lot next door, figuring it would be safe there – no dogs, no people, shade, and it could get back under the fence once we were gone if it wanted to.
As I moved the critter over the fence, it peed. I don’t know why that surprised me. After all, everyone pees (sounds like the title to a toddler’s book, doesn’t it?). Good thing I was holding it by the sides of its shell so the stream went straight down without hitting me. Ugh.
I held it as far down the other side of the fence as I could and let go, hoping it wouldn’t land too hard.
The good news is, the shell protected its little body. The bad news is, it landed on its back.
Did you know that pooper scoopers have uses other than picking up poop? Fortunately, we rinse ours off after every use, and fortunately my husband has really long arms. He was able to reach over the fence and flip the turtle back onto its feet. At which point, we all retired into the house for the rest of the day.
In case you’re wondering, the turtle was gone at 5:30 am today when I took Cody out for her first pee. Since it was obviously not a young critter, and had already survived for many years, I figured it would manage to escape into a safe place. I’m feeling better about the whole thing now.
May the rest of the weekend be peaceful for all of us. TGIF, folks!
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalie Studio