I can’t remember what we were doing that day. All I can remember for sure is that the colors seemed incredibly intense and that it was just Tilly and me and the pack of oddly assorted dogs running along beside us.
That morning Tilly had several Border Collies with her including her main dog Ila, and a little rat dog named Clancey. They took turns running behind their mistress and then darting into the brush to sniff what must have particularly tempting smells.
We had just trotted off a hill and had fallen into single file right next to the fence, and I felt like we had been in a hurry.
All of a sudden a terrible howling, squalling noise erupted from the black and white airborne form of Ila.
Tilly's dog was on the other side of the barbed wire fence and her body was flipping up in the air and all the while she was screaming in a completely non-animal way. Or a very animal way, if you’ve ever listened to an animal in pain.
At first I thought she was losing in a sore manner to something that was quite upset, like a badger attached to her nose, when I realized her front paw was caught in a trap. Tilly and I jumped off our horses, snagged our way through the fence and shoved our way past the rest of the now very concerned pack of dogs milling around their friend.
“If you can hold her, I’ll try and get this off.” I said. I was stronger than Tilly, plus her dog never really liked me.
Tilly latched onto her dog’s collar and as soon as my fingertips touched the trap holding the paw she snapped at me.
I yanked my hand back, cursing under my breath while Tilly wrestled with her dog and got her head locked down beneath her knee, effectively cutting off her air and her ability to bite me...I hoped.
The trap attached to Ila's paw had no teeth, and on the first try I couldn’t get it open. Second try and she was free, skulking through the sagebrush like WE were the ones who had hurt her, not just set her free.
I patted Tilly on the back when her dog continued to run around just fine, no limping or broken bones. We climbed back through the fence and as soon as Tilly’s seat hit the saddle, her horse bucked straight up in the air, very neatly and very hard, about 4 times. Which her horse very rarely did.
“Hang on, Tilly!!” I hollered in what I hoped was an encouraging voice.
And like that it was over.
Reins fixed, chinks settled into back place...we trotted off.
It’s always seemed funny to me how short in real time wrecks usually turn out to be, even though the event itself feels unending. A seemingly still and calm scene is briefly thrown into the sharp relief of colors, sounds, and smells and then all is still yet again. And life continues on.
Kind of funny, isn’t it?
xo xo Liz