Never a Dull Moment at Our Little House

Dakota watching birds at the window

There’s never a dull moment, it seems, at Our Little House.

Two weeks ago, a seemingly itchy eye on Dakota turned into a full-blown infection. As it turns out, her eyesight was at stake, so over $300 later, 14 days of antibiotics, drops 4 times daily and keeping her legs wrapped so her dew claws wouldn’t poke her healing corneas, she’s better.

Last weekend, it was Chloe. She came home rather early from one of her woodland excursions. As I got up to get Dale and I some ice cream, I bumped her face, which prompted a “Yelp!”

Knowing I barely touched her, I told Dale to turn on the overhead light.

Chloe with a very fat head

She was already swollen so badly her face looked like the canine version of the boy Rocky from the movie, “Mask” with Cher.

Snake bite and in this area of poisonous snakes, it was probably a copperhead, although it could have been a water moccasin or a rattler as well.

I called our vet, who instructed us to give Benadryl and aspirin.

This was when I learned we didn’t have any Benadryl in the medicine cabinet. “I know I bought some,” Dale said. “We’ve been told this about snake bites before.”

I remembered having cleaned out the medicine cabinet last year of expired drugs, but we never replaced the Benadryl. Luckily, our neighbors had some, which was far better than a 10 p.m. drive 20 minutes into town.

Chloe is fine and looks normal again, but the whole incident got me to thinking more about how to handle emergencies in our rural area.

I have many things we need such as bandages and aspirin. We also have a membership to the local helicopter ambulance service. I’m pretty squeamish, but when it comes to driving 20 minutes to town and a huge vet bill vs. trying to attend to some things on our own, I’ve done some things here I thought I would never be able to do. For example, on two occasions, I extracted small bones with tongs from Emma’s throat.

Dale had been certified for years in CPR as part of his job as a mechanic in Kansas City, but I don’t know human or doggy CPR or really anything about emergency first aid. Taking classes in both pet and human CPR are things I’ve thought of doing, but have never gotten around to it.

I think it’s time.

Do you have specialized first aid or CPR training for humans or animals?

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16 Responses

  1. Yikes! Just the word “copperhead” gives me shivers. How interesting that there’s a simple solution when I think of these snakes as so deadly. I’m so glad to hear the dogs are alright!

    • kerri says:

      Large dogs will likely survive unless they have a severe reaction, Melanie. Not true for smaller dogs, we really have to keep a very close eye on them.

  2. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    We can’t get Benadryl here in Greece! And we have poisonous snakes and scorpions and bees galore. Your timely article reminded me to order from a friend who is in the UK now. Thanks!

    I always keep a stocked first aid kit for my dogs. I also have the remedy for organo-phosphate poisoning always on hand. Here in Greece they like to poison dogs and cats with this pesticide. It’s a perennial danger but the animal can be saved if one reacts quickly. I keep a list of precise instructions (when it happens, I can’t think) and I saved two of my pets this way. Xiao Ming was a stray when someone in the village decided to do a “sweep” and she was poisoned. She was only a 6 month old pup then, but you should see how happy and healthy she is now! The days after the incident though, were terrible, really touch and go at moments.

    I also know how to give CPR to our pets and I have a “super glue” for closing small but deep wounds. I even have a professional instrument for examining doggy ears and extracting any object that might be lodged deep in the ear canal (In spring, grass seeds are quite “dangerous”). Any thing that helps us avoid an hour long drive to the vet is useful and sometimes, life saving.

    I’m glad that the vets here are still very reasonable, though. No way we’d have to pay $300 for treating an infected eye… our vet charges 20 euros per visit and sometimes when it’s a small ailment he waves the charges.

    • kerri says:

      Oh, my Vida, that is so horrible about the poisonings. Why can’t you get Benadryl there? Interesting. Thanks for the emergency kit list. I’m putting one together now.

      • Vida says:

        HI Kerri,

        I don’t know why Benedryl is not available here. I went to three pharmacies and asked, first for the product’s brand name then for the actual ingredient but I was met with blank stares.

        For really useful healthcare info. for your dogs here is a link:

        Alot of info. is for active working dogs, but I think that much can be very relevant to someone who has dogs living in a rural area. the writer also deals with cheaper sources of medications, debunks myths about vaccinations and overly prescribed meds and expensive vet procedures and he has a good list for an emergency field kit. The link to the article on “Veterinary Care without the bite” is:

        And yes, poisoning animals is horrible, it is a slow and painful death. It’s one of the things that we fight against here in Greece.

  3. Having been through two rattlesnake bites to the face with Lilly, I know all too well that fear. And, that moment of panic … what’s wrong with her face?

    We do keep several things in the house that are good for people and pets in a minor “emergency,” like benedryl.

  4. mat says:

    There is no scare like “kid scare”–whether they’re human or not. My son was (is?) prone to ear infections during the first two years of his life and the resultant fevers of up to 104 were some of the most stressful times of my life. I know how to perform CPR, spine board, and rescue someone who’s drowning, but trying to fix someone who can’t explain what’s wrong is frustrating and scary as hell.

    • kerri says:

      Oh, you’re so right, Mat. To have someone or an animal sick and not know what is wrong is so, so scary!

  5. I didn’t even know there were dog first aid and CPR classes. Does the Red Cross offer those? I’m so with you that it’s time to re-up my CPR certification and I hear that it’s changed, so there’s another good reason to go.

    • kerri says:

      Yes, Heather, Dale says it changes every year. And yes, on the pet CPR classes. In KC, it was offered at the local Red Cross. I can’t find one here, but you should be able to find it in a city the size of yours. I’ll probably have to find out when it will be offered in KC and go back for a weekend (as good as an excuse as I will find!) 😉

  6. Olivia says:

    I cannot IMAGINE living in an area where there are poisonous snakes – or insects or bears or mountain lions or anything dangerous like that. I am uber cowardly about that sort of thing. The scariest things we have on our island are coyotes (and ours are a wolf-coyote hybrid so they are large.) There have only been a couple of reported attacks and that was over on the mainland.

    We once had a dog who was allergic to strawberries. I didn’t know that at the time and one day when I was hulling strawberries an odd one would drop on the floor and Luke would eat it. After a few minutes I looked down at him and thought “That dog really is quite ugly.” Then I realised he had a really lumpy looking head. Finally it hit me that he was allergic to the berries so I phoned the vet who told me to give him Benadryl which we had because all three of our kids have various allergies.

    What a hoot. I don’t think I have had a dog OR a child who didn’t have allergies.

    But poisonous snakes . . . .ugh!

    • kerri says:

      I know, Olivia. The only poisonous things we had in the city were drug dealers and we knew to stay away from them! 🙂 Sometimes I wonder why they call this area “paradise.” 🙂

  7. kerri says:

    Oh, how scary, Sheryl! I too once had a reaction to medication. I spent the day in the hospital on a Benadryl drip. I could hardly breathe by the time I got there! Now I know how important it is to also have on hand here.

  8. Sheryl says:

    Oh, goodness, you’ve had quite the adventures lately. Poor Chloe! I have a Chloe, too, but she’s white and much smaller (and less outdoorsy) than yours. I learned to always keep Benadryl in my medicine cabinet after having a bad reaction to a vaccine one night.When I called my doctor and told him I had 103 fever and hives all over, he asked me, “can you breathe? Take some Benadryl right away.” Well, I barely COULD breathe after he scared me like that…and my husband went running to the nearest supermarket to pick some up! (PS. it all turned out ok. and I could breathe all along 🙂