It’s bright and early 5:45 am (actually it’s dark and early at that time!), taking care of my pack, and waiting for Lori to arrive with the goods. Buddy’s Acepromazine is on the way, and soon he will be sleepy and ready to go for another ride! Or so I think.
Lori arrives about 9:00 am, and we give Buddy the first 25 mg Ace. Wait 30 minutes. Since Lori has spent the past 10 days feeding him and building a bond we opt to let her go in the kennel and see if he will let her loop a small chain leash around his neck (he snaps through any other material). As he slowly walks back wards snarling, growling, baring teeth Lori says, “I don’t think one is enough. Shall we go for two?”
Agreed! A second Ace is given, and we wait 20 more minutes. Lori is sitting in the kennel run with him, renewing her bond. He is most certainly not happy with me, and the sight of me coming near him does not arouse good feelings. I hang back outside the kennel run, hand rather stiff, sore, and a bit swollen, playing cheerleader from the outside. No skirt and pom poms today! We’ll save that for another day when I don’t have a dog dead set on putting me in my place!
So long as Lori has nothing in her hands but hot dogs Buddy is great. Calm. Relaxed. Not stressed. As soon as she picks up the leash we see another dog. The growling, snarling, snapping, fighting, “Don’t even think you are putting that round my neck!” dog comes back. Lori backs off a bit and gives me a look that clearly says, “What did we get ourselves into? Did we bite off more than we can chew?” Nah! You just have to take a little longer to chew the big pieces slowly, that’s all. [Insert giggles and wink here.]
Ace #3 in hot dog and down the hatch. One for Buddy, one for us, one for Buddy, one for us – just kidding Dr. Saldanha! Ok, so we wait another 15 minutes. 75 mg of Ace should knock this guy out! What is wrong with him? Clearly its fight or flight mode; adrenalin is kicking in and he is fighting for his life (in his mind). He has no idea we are here to help him, not hurt him. Waiting.
Ok, one more try for Lori. Buddy is standing and looking at her, very clear communication coming from him... Lori walks in slowly, approaches Buddy, and in one swift movement he lunges teeth bared, growling, snarling, snapping, then he jumps strait up in the air about 12 inches from her face and snaps those teeth together loudly, clearly getting his message across!
Stunned, Lori stands there looking at me in disbelief. I’m sitting on my back porch steps, with a “what’s wrong?” look on my face, she clearly has never had a dog bare teeth, growl, lunge and snap at her – especially all at the same time, in the same morning, more than once!
I giggle to diffuse the nervous tension for Lori hoping it will make her feel better, and say something like, “Nah, don’t worry about that, if he really wanted to get ya he would have. He’s just reminding us he is not comfortable with this situation at all.” Lori backs out of the kennel run, with the old, “ok, your turn” look on her face. This is definitely a first for Lori. Welcome to the world of dog training and rehabilitation. Keep your arms and legs inside the train ‘cause this here’s gonna be a wild ride! Hang on to your hats and glasses folks!
I think this is about the time Lori discovers a quiet, contemplative moment to express a minor concern; she has something to tell me. Uh oh. Can you hear the ominous music in the background? My heart sinks. I’m thinking, “Ok, this is gonna be good, I can feel it!” She proceeds to tell me that Claudia on some level thinks that possibly, this just may have been a little more than she expected? Just maybe? Perhaps that this Buddy dog just may be a little more than she originally thought she would be working with. She is questioning herself at this point and pondering many things. I think this is a good time in her life for self-reflection perhaps? Ok, so WHO IS going to take this dog? [Insert Jeopardy theme song here.] And the winner is Lori! Whew! I was a little bit worried there for a moment. You know that feeling when your heart is either going to sink, or jump right out of your chest like a scene from the movie “Aliens?” Little sigh of relief, and then a little conversation about what Lori is in for, now that she has be snarled, snapped and growled at. No problem she assures me. She is ready, willing, and able. She is dedicated, and this is her path… this is Buddy’s path. This is my path.
With a quick phone call to the vets office to confirm we “can” give him all 5 tablets (125 mg!) of Ace, we pull out another hot dog and down the hatch it goes! We wait another 15-20 minutes while we create the next plan of action and hope that these two pills send him snoozing!
Time has escaped us, and we realize we have to get this dog to the vets quickly. It has to happen soon. It’s now approaching a bit after 11:00 am, and they close for lunch at 12:00 noon. As I begin to explain to Lori how to use the tennis racquet to protect herself, the look on her face says it all. I am doing the rest of this. Ok, no problem. I thought perhaps that since she has already built a bond with him that it would be less stressful for him to have her lead him out and to her car. Not the case. He was not happy with either one of us on this day, so as the professional, it’s now my turn to teach!
Tennis racquet in my very sore and stiff hand, simple chain leash in the other. I walk into the kennel run, Buddy automatically backs into the corner, lips curled – he is not having anything to do with me in his kennel or coming near me. He comes at me, I feed him the tennis racquet, and biting at it furiously he clamps down and refuses to let go. Realizing that he has to let go at some point, I wait. He finally lets go, and tries to dart away from me. He moves towards the child’s pool in the kennel run, I follow, racquet pressed up against him. He turns to bite again, and again. Buddy decides that choosing flight into the pool is not an option he wants to explore. He steps back and leans into the kennel run choosing avoidance. Ok, that’s better. Fight didn’t work. Flight didn’t work, and we are not ready for submission yet, so we choose avoidance. Chain leash in my left hand, tennis racquet in my right hand; right hand feeling a bit like it would prefer to freeze up and drop the racquet than have to continue holding on. Ouch.
Buddy is pressed up against the chain link kennel run, his head leaning firmly against it. My right hand and trusted tennis racquet preventing him from lunging forward or making contact with me, left hand works on sliding the leash over his head. Now, he is not about to make this easy for me. He does not want this leash around his neck and he figures as long as he keeps his head pressed against that fence I can’t get it on. He’s right. I realize that if I move the tennis racquet out of position he now has a clear shot at me, but also realizing I need to use this racquet to push and slide the leash between his head and the fence, all the while prying his head away from the fence and towards me. Can you picture that? So, as I pry his head away and push the chain leash around his head and neck I am actually pushing his head in the direction of me, the one he wants to bite, giving him a clear shot. Out of time and options, have to get him to the vets.
Leash slides down around his neck, tennis racquet has time to come back around and protect me, and we are now moving our way out of the kennel run. Using a tug-release-tug-release motion all the way out of the run, across the patio, down the walkway, and to the car directly in the driveway Buddy puts up an extremely good fight, lashing out at the chain leash and my fancy protective Cesar Millan Tennis Racquet. Thank goodness for both! He can’t cut him self loose, and I am protected.
Now, here we are at Lori’s car. Her beautiful car. Plan is to open both doors, attach an extra leash to the current one to give us more to work with, get him close to the door opening, throw the leash through the back seat so Lori could catch it and while I use the racquet to protect my self and herd him in the back seat, she pulls. He gets in and we close both doors and there you go. Not so much.
Let’s call this a disagreement which ensues next to the car, under the car (took both of us and a lot of strength to get this wedged doggie out from under her car!), behind the car, and then again next to the car. With all of this sedative in him where the heck is he getting the energy to fight? Yikes!
About 20 minutes goes by, Buddy is putting up a good fight but wearing down slowly. Goodness, he has 125 mg of Acepromazine running through him, he should be zonked out by now! He is biting at the leash less furiously now, but there is a bit more damage to the loyal and dedicated tennis racquet. Lori’s beautiful light tan leather seats now have blood splattered about along with the inside of the back door. The back door also took one for the team; two bloody punctures later.
Right about now Lori is getting really worried that he may never give up and we have about 20 minutes to get him over to Arlington Animal Hospital. I see he is getting weary and remind her that he can’t fight forever. At some point he will submit and see the back of the car as a safe haven. Buddy sits propped up against the car door, we wait, and wait, and wait, I want him to do this on his own. A few minutes go by, he looks at me and his archenemy the tennis racquet, and then looking at the back seat he slowly climbs in, lies down and submits. Oh good job Buddy! Perfect, and not a moment to spare!
Doors closed, Lori gets in, I run to open gate and call AAH; She’s on her way! Don’t lock the doors! She’s on her way! The receptionists are fabulous there, and thankfully with Dr. Saldanha, they wait as Lori high tails it down Van Buren Blvd! Sigh of relief. Did I mention just how incredibly fantastic everyone is at Arlington Animal Hospital? I love them!
Buddy, our lost soul is finally on his way to recovery. The one thing he really needs is immediate veterinary care. I only wish he knew just how much we want to help him. He is on his way to a place that will take very good care of him, give him the very best medical attention, and make sure he wakes up in a much healthier state physically. I will take care of him emotionally.
It is very sad this poor guy has had to go through so much in such a short amount of time, but one step leads to another, and finally I feel so much better knowing that he will be taken care of, and his pain will end.
Perfect timing. AT&T advertising rep arrives as I am opening gate for Lori. Time to go in the house, sign contracts, get a bottle of water and wipe the dripping sweat off of my face. Whew. Good to be back in the air conditioning. Also good to have a very understanding AT&T rep who loves dogs, and a good story!
Lori calls 30 minutes later to inform me they (AAH) would like us to bring them a crate so they can put him in it after surgery. Easier for him to wake up in this, than for us to now try to get him back in crate and then get him back home. No problem. I was still finishing up with AT&T, so she had plenty of time to get back to my place and then we’d take my Honda Element and run to get a giant crate real quick for this guy and drive it back down to them.
Lori back at my house, I finish up business, Petco 1 mile from me and on the same path to AAH. Easy trip; walk in, point, I want that one! They help us get it down and load it up along with a nice big bag of Blue Buffalo dog food for Buddy when he’s able to eat. On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again… ok, can you tell it’s been a long week? Back at AAH; drop off super giant crate to fit 65-pound Husky/Shepherd mix and plastic cone lampshade Buddy will be wearing.
By the time we finally get there they are almost done with his full tune up, and are just now washing him. Good. All is nearly complete for this guy to heal. We drop off crate and dash out of there so they can do what they do best!
On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again… ok, I promise I wont do that again. Couldn’t resist. By this time its got to be about 3:00 pm. I look at Lori, “You hungry?” I think we had a very weary conversation that went something like, “Oh food? Yea, starving! Must get food. Need energy. Can’t go on much longerrrr….” Thank goodness we were just about to reach a Subway! Make mine a 6-inch veggie on Italian Herb & Cheese with extra provolone, add avocado! Yum! So ready for food! Thank you so much for lunch Lori! Oh to actually sit in the air conditioning and eat super yummy food. Wow, can I just tell you how good that felt? Heaven.
Ok, refueled and on the way back to my place. On the road again… ok I’ll get over that song soon enough. Back home on the range, get my pack out for bit, relax for a short moment, and have a bit of good dog psychology & behavior conversation. Ok, times up. Less than an hour later we are on the road again…(how many of you are going to be singing that song all day now? Haha!)
It’s about 4:30 pm and we are now back at Arlington Animal Hospital, chatting with the girls at the front desk, and getting ready to go back to a room and hear all about our new friend, Buddy. Doesn’t take long at all and we are ushered into a room, and then Emma appears like magic to give us the run down.
Now, remember when I talked about things turning out the way they do for a reason? Remember me being so thankful that Greg at the Devore Shelter brought Buddy out to me? As Emma is telling us all about this rescue, all I could think of was, “Thank you Greg! Thank you Animal Control Officer! Thank you Devore Shelter! Thank you for transporting this doggy out to me! Thank you!” Here’s why:
Short and sweet, here is what you need to know about Buddy medically. He was neutered. This is almost a given, but thought I would mention it to you. He most likely has internal parasites, as well as external parasites. We are talking highly contagious Ring Worm, in addition to Fleas, and Ticks and whatever else is brewing inside. He also has three cracked teeth that seem to be old injury. He also has holes in his lips that go from the inside to the outside, and some that go from the outside to the inside. He has infection, puss, abscesses… no wonder this dog is so thin and miserable! No wonder his mouth is bleeding! He’s an absolute mess! Now, just for a moment, imagine you have all of that AND you are furiously attacking a snare pole repeatedly and a tennis racquet! Can you imagine the pain? So, the three teeth come out, and the holes are sutured. I’m sitting here thinking about the misery of us having a toothache, or one tooth pulled. I’m having a real hard time trying to understand the amount of pain this dog has been in since these are old wounds. He went a very long time without any medical attention at all. No animal should ever have to suffer for any reason. We would never allow a human to suffer in those conditions.
I am however still very grateful that he was transported to me. As a business owner I have to consider that the safety, health, and well being of my dogs and my clients’ dogs have to come first. My clients trust me to keep their dogs safe when they are boarding here. Their dogs become part of my pack, and as pack leader it is my responsibility to protect them in all ways. Had I picked up and transported Buddy myself I would have had a car full of Blood and ooze, Fleas, Ticks and Ringworm. This is not good to subject my own dogs to, or my clients’ dogs. I would have had to completely sterilize the inside of my car. Let me say this again,.. Thank You Greg Beck! Here is my reminder to everyone: Be careful about judging a situation too soon. The Universe may foresee a better way. Trust that everything happens for a really good reason!
Alright, we get the rundown on Buddy, go back out to the front desk and because Lori and Claudia just wanted to save this poor dogs life, they are the lucky winners of a $2,637.42 vet bill. Does anyone out there know of organizations that help with these types of bills? One of the gals at the front desk asked us, but I don’t personally know.
If you would like to help Claudia with Buddy's vet bills, or know someone who can, please contact Claudia at ClancyLab@msn.com.
Buddy is loaded up, sound a sleep, and here we are, on the road again…
We are gonna need help getting this guy out of the Element, and into the kennel run. Quick phone call to dad and brother, help is on the way. We pull out a giant crate with sleeping dog in it, carry it inside the kennel run and remove the door from it. It’s about 5:30/6:00 pm and no doubt Buddy will be out until tomorrow. Perfect. This poor guy needs lots of rest; it’s the best way to heal!
Now that Buddy will be in a peaceful, drug induced deep sleep until tomorrow, it gives us girls a chance to sit and talk about a plan for this sweet soul, and let my pack play for a while before dinner. As Lucius lays watch next to Buddy’s kennel, darkness begins to fall, and it’s time to call it a night. Time to feed my very hungry pack.
By this time I am thinking about a hot bubble bath and a glass of wine, then slipping into a deep slumber myself. May an abundance of all good things find you!