Roxy vs. The Rattler – There are Story Ideas in Everything

IMAG0040Roxy the retriever/hound mix loves snakes.  Specifically, she loves to grab them and whip them around in a frenzy of figure eights, beating them on the ground until pieces start flying off.  Of the snake, that is.

Hopefully she’s now decided this is a bad idea.  She tangled with one Friday night and got bit in the process, and she was none too happy about it.

Checking the swollen mouth of a 75 pound dog who loves you but is in pain is an adventure in itself.  Knowing that waiting until morning isn’t an option as the swelling continues to expand, the adrenaline rush of driving an hour to the ER Vet only carries you for so long.  The rural dark seems darker, the road more crowded but lonely, the cops setting speed traps the epitome of evil.

But as Roxy will tell you, I tend to squeeze the lemonade from all available lemons.  As she watched me in misery when I marshaled forces to get everyone loaded up and on the road, her look said, “Yeah, Mom, I know you’re going to get some story ideas out of this.”

And I did…

I now have a new appreciation for the phrase ‘time stood still’.  It did while I was driving – probably the longest hour of any in my recent memory.

An adrenalin dump leaves you exhausted.  Coming instantly awake and on alert was only more jarring when, after only three hours of sleep, my husband and I hit the floor running again, smelling intense smoke which signaled a forest fire a short distance away.

Profound joy came into play when I picked my girl up the next day at the ER Vet.  Despite having a jaw that was now bigger than a bowling ball, her elation was palpable even if her smile was hidden.  She wagged hard – I did too.

Someplace in the future, I am reminded that there will be a character who will be a veterinarian.  Between Roxy and previous dogs who have allowed me to share their home, I’m more than halfway to my own vet tech degree.

RattlesnakeAnd then there’s the rush of new adrenalin when a loud hissing sound brings me to my feet from a catch-up snooze.  A rattler – probably the same one – crawls across the patio less than 6 feet away and hides in the plants.  Hubby grabs knee-high boots and a shovel and dispatches it, along with a few plants that are a small price to pay for peace.  At least four feet long and with eight rings on the rattle, this was no baby, and I have no qualms about putting the ecosystem out of balance with its demise.

Finally, there’s resilience.  Roxy’s much better today, though the skin around the puncture marks might still require surgery.  But she’s barking, chasing around, and generally acting like her normal self again.

Whatever life throws your way, there’s always a sensation, emotion, or experience that we can learn from as writers.  Sometimes, though, I just wish the lessons weren’t so painful for all concerned!

Have you had a life-shocking experience that taught you something you could use in your writing?  How do you hold on to the feeling so that you can use it effectively in the future?