Not A Good Sign Of Spring

There is still two feet of snow on the ground, and more in piles shoved by plows and blown by wind. But, we’re also seeing patches of bare ground. Dead leaves are visible under the wood pile. Grass is visible circling tree trunks. These hints of springtime are welcome. But, the warmth awakens things that have rested protected under the snow cover.

On Sunday night, Lily’s face swelled up. Her lips thickened to three times their normal size. Her eyelids drooped. Her chin sagged. This came on suddenly. She did what she always does when she doesn’t feel well – she hid under my desk and blamed me. Pointing a camera at her stresses her out, and so I took this quick one, which doesn’t clearly show the extent of the swelling, but you can see how she feels about it!




Lily could still breathe and eat. There was no sign of injury. Her teeth looked fine. It was 11 pm. I gave her a Benadryl and we went to bed. In the morning her muzzle was turning black. We went to the vet.

discolored muzzle


Dr. Sarah is the rare medical practitioner who is both practical and intuitive. She looked Lily over. Lily’s temperature and breathing were fine. This wasn’t an old dog illness as I had feared. The issue was localized to the muzzle. Dr. Sarah knows Lily, she knows that my dog is a hunter and a protector. The best guess was that Lily surprised an emerging spider. A shot of steroids and another of Benadryl were administered. No invasive and expensive testing was done. If Lily didn’t recover by that evening, then Dr. Sarah would investigate further. But we didn’t have to return to the vet’s office. By Tuesday morning, Lily was back on the job.



Lily will be twelve years old on April 1. Such a good farm dog, even if she does sometimes stir up trouble.


  1. So glad to see Lily is OK! Wishing the snow would melt quickly for you.

  2. Poor Lily. I was very relieved to see your final picture of her, ears up, on the job again. Good dogl Lily!

  3. So glad Lily is okay, our old dog was always putting his nose where it shouldn’t be. Do you have poisonous spiders in USA or more allergy related ? Are you able to see your Pond yet ?
    1) Your Farmstead book arrived a few days ago, what can I say Brilliant ,Marvellous and more. The Piroshki was great, Chocolate-Walnut Meringue Cookies were to die for, had to make two batches didn’t last two mins with Grandkids around, and Pastry Crust has brought my pies to a new level. Thankyou.

    2) Gave ‘Trouble’ her Spa Bath yesterday, loved it wish I could have filmed her having her blow dry she just stood there enjoying every minute. She now has a lovely clean fluffy bottom. :)

  4. Poor Lily……Spider bites can be so nasty. I am curious how much Benadryl did you first give her? And one would think that Phoebe the rabbit would also be an easy target for critter bites with all the rooting she does. There is always something interesting brewing when animals are in our lives.

  5. Glad she is back to her old self! Our Westie is 12, but like Lily, still getting into mischief from time to time. :)

  6. Poor Lily! I’m so glad she’s feeling better! Unfortunately, I’m well acquainted with spider bites! :/ I ended up at the Doctor twice last year due to separate episode spider bites on my right arm (the arm that reaches into coop nests, hauls, pulls, and digs everywhere) – yikes! Yes…I’m a bit leary of these warming days – hello Spring! :D

  7. Oh, glad to hear Lily is back on the job! Spiders are the first bugs to emerge here in TN too. I found a fat lady spider making night-time webs in the rafters of the goat barn as soon as the weather warmed just a bit. We like the fact that they catch the other bugs, but we try to move them to another location in the garden where they won’t come into contact with our critters!

    Hope spring weather comes to you soon!

  8. So glad that she is OK. Hope your snow melts soon. Seems like spring is on the way, at least from what I can see!!!

  9. Actually, I vote for the spider as the troublemaker. Glad she’s ok.

  10. Happy Lily is back to normal. One of my fears, living in NC, is that my dogs will come upon snakes and bother them. We live out in the country but so far have been lucky. Summer will come and then we will all talk about how we want Fall and Winter again.


  11. I’m glad Lily is okay! The swelling of the head/face is unnerving and has me doing multiple checks on breathing ability.
    There are copperhead snakes around me. Laid back and non-aggressive compared to rat snakes, but somehow at least one dog (and last year the youngest cat) manages to get bit every year. I just keep the dose-per-pound written on the Benadryl box.

  12. Yikes! Very scary, and I’m glad it ended well. That black muzzle thing would have really freaked me out—what causes that? Is it like bruising—blood flow to the surface?? I, too, am curious about the Benadryl dosage for animals. Our dog usually avoids the vicinity of my beehive, but one never knows… Happy Spring!

  13. I had the same thing happen to our old lab Maggie- she swelled up horribly! This year it was Annie’s turn- but I think she was bitten by the wolf spider that I surprised when I moved her crate to vacuum…she sleeps in the sunroom where there is more egress for those nasty critters!

  14. Poor Lily. Must have been so uncomfortable for her. Good to see her satellite dish ears back in action.

  15. I always love a Lily post because she is the spitting image of my dear departed Molly my first dog, best dog, and horse show companion. I’ve long wanted to show you pics of Molly so you could see the crazy resemblance, and just found the email address for you on the FAQ, so I send a few pics your way. Hope you can see them!

  16. Great to see everyone outside in the warmer temp’s. Phoebe’s is enjoying running around on the snow mounds that are left, great fun !! :)

  17. Happen to catch Phoebe last Friday evening have a grand time outside after everyone had gone to roost. All over the mounds of snow remaining. She probably misses that 40 inches plus on the ground.

  18. Lily the Wonder Dog……happy she is better, and feeling herself again!

  19. OH, my. I suppose those spiders are necessary, but we don’t much care for them around here. So glad Lily is okay!