|It was a bloody gash.
We have a dog. A yellow lab. Her name is Amy. We got her almost exactly one year ago. I made a YouTube film when we got her from the pound (click HERE to watch).
Amy is more Marlene's dog than mine. She loves Marlene, which is understandable. I feel the same way towards Marlene. :-)
Unfortunately, Amy does not bark. We wondered if maybe she didn't know how to bark. But a couple weeks after her arrival, I got her to bark. I'm the only person who, thus far, can get her to bark.
When we're outdoors in the yard, I give her "the look" and I walk towards her, slow like. She stays at a distance, fully alert. Then I lunge at her. That gets her excited enough to start barking. At first she thoought I was serious. But now she knows its a game. And she plays along.
Amy is a good dog for Marlene because she needs to be walked, and Marlene needs the exercise. So, they walk together almost every day. On a good day they'll walk two miles. If it's really cold and snowy, they don't go so far. On some days Marlene will walk a mile down our country road and a mile back and not a single vehicle goes by. We like it that way.
A couple weeks ago Marlene called me during her walk. She said Amy cut her leg somehow. She came running out of the woods by the road and was bleeding. I grabbed a roll of gauze and got there fast. I wrapped up Amy's leg and we put her in the car.
The cut was bad enough that it really needed to be stitched. But it was a Sunday morning and getting a vet to do it would be expensive. I'm pretty sure it would have cost hundreds of dollars.
So we decided to stitch the cut ourselves. It's really not that hard to do, and Marlene has done it before... on me.
Before we started having children Marlene worked for a doctor in Moravia. She worked for him several years, and assisted with various medical procedures, including stitches. A lot of people thought she was a nurse, but she wasn't, at least not a formally trained one.
One Sunday morning way back then I was doing some woodworking and cut my hand pretty good with a knife. Marlene went to the office and got sutures and some sort of pain killer. She stitched me back together like a pro.
That was, however, nearly 40 years ago, and though Marlene felt confident (even eager) about stitching Amy, she couldn't quite remember how to tie off the knot.
The picture at the top of this post shows Marlene, hemostat in hand, making a stitch. The operating table is an enameled kitchen table in our mud room. I lifted Amy onto it and reassured her that everything was going to be fine while Marlene tended to the wound. Amy was the perfect patient.
Marlene put three stitches in the cut. Here is a finished view...
The stitches are out now. The wound is almost totally healed over. Amy is back to running through the woods on her morning walks.
It was twenty years ago that I bought a selection of sutures to have on hand... just in case. I had been thinking I should have them, and Y2K was on the way, so that was the incentive to actually get them.
Besides that, I was a Boy Scout and "Be Prepared" is the Boy Scout motto. It's a fine motto. It has pretty much been the motto of rural Americans for more than 200 years. It just makes sense.
You can buy sutures on Amazon or Ebay. They aren't that expensive. The ones pictured above are the ones I have left. They are not all the same. I don't know what the best "general purpose" suture needle and thread would be for a prepared homestead. Can someone who knows more about this give a recommendation?
For how-to suture instructions... YouTube, of course.
I have a friend named Dave. He once told me that when he was a kid, and he got a bad cut, his father would sew it back together. He did it with all the kids in the family. His father was a carpenter. Dave told me they couldn't afford to go to a doctor.
I asked Dave where he got the sutures. He said his father just used a regular needle and thread. You have to be really skookum to give and take stitches like that!
But, the point is, it can be done.
I'm wondering if anyone reading this might have a story of giving or taking amateur stitches?