We had a brush with disaster yesterday evening. All three kids and I were playing baseball in the front yard around 5pm, and Scooter was flopped down enjoying the shade. Suddenly, coming up our road, we heard a loud roar. We turned and took a closer look, and it was our neighbor's tractor. It's one of those mammoth John Deere machines with tires taller than the average American male, and a complete size that's larger than some starter houses. He was pulling a big mechanical cultivator, which I guessed was to weed one of his corn fields.
Scooter jumped up, and my daughter immediately realized he was going to try to chase the tractor. She grabbed him by the collar, but he was much too excited about that tractor. Scooter pulled free, scrambled across the front yard, and headed straight for the front of the tractor like a heat-seeking missile. We all were screaming at him to stop, but the roar of the tractor was much too loud. I could see our neighbor trying to slow down, but it was too late. I realized Scooter wasn't going to be able to get out of the way, and watched in horror as he rolled under the front bumper.
Around and around he rolled and dragged as the tractor passed over him, bouncing off the various pieces of implements. "No! No!" I shouted, not believing we were watching yet another of our animals die on the road.
Eventually, Scooter rolled free and jumped up. About a quart of white fluid poured out of his mouth, and I immediately remembered the internal injuries that killed Tessa just minutes after she'd jumped up and I'd thought she was going to be alright.
Scooter went running back into our yard; again my daughter tried to catch him, but again he proved too strong. My neighbor eventually got the tractor stopped, and climbed out to apologize, but I ran and assured him that it wasn't his fault. We chatted for a moment, and then I dashed off to find Scooter.
In all the confusion, no one had noticed where he went. I'd hoped my daughter could help point us in the right direction, but she had gone in the house and was in a state of complete emotional meltdown. Mrs. Yeoman Farmer went in to console Artistic Girl, and the boys and I set out to find Scooter. We eventually found him sitting behind my office building, panting and looking cowed, but otherwise unhurt. Still, I remembered Tessa's deceptively good condition, and didn't allow myself to believe we were out of the woods.
I scooped him up in my arms, and he didn't seem to be in pain. One of the boys ran to tell my wife we'd found him; I asked her to call the vet for me, and then the boys and I jumped in the van and went barreling toward Paxton with Scooter.
We got there just after the usual 5:30pm closing time, but thanks to my wife's call they were waiting for us. They checked him out, confirmed he had no injuries, and gave him an injection of anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic. "He'll be sore tomorrow," the vet told us, "but he should be okay."
Grateful, the boys and I packed up Scooter and headed for home. We stopped by the church in Paxton to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and say "thanks" for helping Scooter survive. It's nothing short of miraculous that he missed the wheels of that tractor and the cultivator. And as he followed me around this morning as I tended animals, and as he helped me herd the sheep, I took every opportunity I had to pet him and tell him how glad I was he was still with us.