Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Always something with dogs, but not always pleasant

It was a valuable - albeit, expensive lesson - I learned yesterday involving my two Labrador retrievers.

When newly acquired Millie came aboard the family as a landed immigrant from Alaska she quickly wormed her way into the hearts of Bev and me.

And it didn’t take much longer for her and Blackberry to become fast friends, either. So much so that they are rock-solid pals who seem to engage in never-ending play.

That relationship may, however, be in jeopardy. Yesterday, I fear, their world came crashing down.

During one of their tussles Berry’s lower jaw became ensnared in Millie’s heavy cloth collar and was unable to extract herself.

Worse, one of Berry’s canines appears to have pierced the underside of Millie’s tongue. That created a jet stream of deep red blood and which became mixed with saliva.

Blood spurted everywhere as Bev and I worked to free the two very obviously scared dogs.

I cut finally managed to cut through Millie’s collar, freeing the dogs.
More than a little worried, we quickly rushed Millie to nearby Lakeshore Animal Hospital in Mentor-on-the-Lake. By then it was closing time but veterinarian Debbie Ting didn’t take offense and was more than willing to work on the patient.

What Ting found was a large clot of red/black blood along with a nasty cut underneath Millie’s tongue.

Of concern, yes, but as much scary as actual damage. Being rich in blood the mouth tends to heal quickly, Ting said also.

So armed with some antibiotics we went home. There, Millie was kenneled up in her cage to help keep her active life style in check so her blood pressure doesn’t rise and set off the bleeding again.

By this morning Millie still appeared both sore and confused. She ate some cooked rice and had no problem eating her heartworm medication though it took a while to chow down on the antibiotic pill wrapped in soft American cheese.

A follow-up call from Ting this included the fact that some old and probably clotted blood was transferred to my shirt sleeve while I petted her.

Obviously, Millie is on the disabled list and won’t be joining Berry and me for the start on Thursday of the early Canada goose-hunting season. That probably will be allowed next week, Ting said.

Maybe my biggest worry is that Berry and Millie still appear dazed as to their relationship. Being dogs they obviously don’t understand that this was an accident, perhaps even thinking that one was attacking the other.

One low growl from the other sent chills down my spine, me thinking that all the progress toward developing a fast and lasting friendship may have been seriously damaged.

Give them time to work it out themselves, Ting said.

And so I shall.

I also learned a valuable lesson that cost me close to $100. Yeah, dogs should have their identification on them, including the required dog license.

However, with that being said I am done having them wear their collars while in the house or in the yard.

Ting even gave several horrific examples of dogs actually hanging themselves or being injured in one fashion or another because of a collar. I won’t take that risk

I am a dog man and I doubt that I’d ever hunt birds or waterfowl without owning at least one good Labrador retriever. That I now have two gives me ample reason to protect not only my investment but the joy I have in caring for and living with my two beloved Labrador retrievers.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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