Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Heartbreaking Turnaround

On her first, and as it turned out, only full day here, Miss No Name had a quiet day resting in a dog run at the yard and watching me come and go.  She was content to do so.  When visiting with her throughout the day I would handle her, chat with her, and clean her small wounds, but more of a worry was that rear leg.  The previous owner indicated the dog just recently came up lame on that leg but she didn’t know why.  When massaging each leg to compare, I discovered an old injury, now closed over, and what felt like a pocket of infection under the skin, right around the hock joint; and this was on the good leg.  The hidden infection became my biggest worry and I wondered that a trip to the vet might be needed.  

I was sitting in the grass with her that evening, and just spending time with her before ending the day.  She heaved a big sigh, and rolled onto her side placing her head in my lap.  We sat still for a spell and I enjoyed the peaceful weight of her large head on my leg. 

Monday morning I called the veterinarian and we headed in right after lunch.  The result of the vet check up was heartbreaking.  The vet concurred that the flesh wounds were minor, and they were indicative of cuts rather than an altercation with another dog.  They still needed to be tended to, one needed a couple stitches.  Since they would have her sedated to that do that I elected to have x-rays done and see what was going on with the hind legs.  

Well, she was a mess.  When I stated I bought a broken dog, I didn’t realize how close to the truth I landed.  Bad elbow dysplasia, bad hip dysplasia, knee caps not where they should be, and a long ago fractured pelvis.  Her front end was weak, and her hind end was weak, out of alignment and lacking support.   

We were very likely looking at a life of some amount of constant discomfort, but to what degree we don’t know.  There is a good chance this dog has been living with some amount of pain from the get go and knew no different.  To ask this dog to work as I am expecting her too was no longer an option. To ask her to continue to live with a life of pain was the choice in front of me.   

I stayed with her through the euthanasia, sitting on the floor, and this time feeling the comforting weight of her body, stretched and leaning against my leg.  She is gone. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dog Gone It Anyway

Well I bought a dog but I think I may have more of a project than I bargained for.  We are having a rough beginning. 

At her home she was at the back of the property, right with the sheep which is where she usually hung out.  A good sign at first glance, yet taking into account the setup and the dynamics with the other resident dogs, I think territory was at play as much or more than a dog wanting to stay with sheep.  She and her partner dog were staying out back because three other dogs were staying up front.   

She has been handled frequently and came when called.  During our first meeting she wanted little to do with me, which is fine by me.  She definitely had reservations about being collared and leashed, and loaded in my truck.  But after a few minutes of pacing about and checking the windows for escape possibilities, she settled down and traveled without making a peep.  

Upon our arrival at my place she now wanted to stick with me.  The tides changed and I am now the only source of familiarity for her (or maybe it was the beef and cheddar we shared on the trip home).   I had a smooth time of introductions to Zeus and Diesel and while she wanted to follow me rather than be with sheep, she made no attempts to escape when I left the paddock.  She is not interested in staying with the sheep yet and even ran them off.  Given that she is stressed and has two dogs nearby that she doesn’t know, this is understandable but a bit of a worry.  She is familiar with sheep, which is key, but she doesn’t know my sheep and she doesn’t yet feel any responsibility to them. 

Throughout the evening, I made several trips out to check on her and each time she was lying on the hilltop near the gate where I exited.  It seemed a good place to leave her to settle and destress.  The other two were not bothering her at all.  At dark, I thought to bring her out and to a dog run for the night but decided to let her be.  I was mostly concerned that she might run away but this concern was alleviated so I made the call to leave her, but that was a mistake. 

The first hiccup with her is that she has a recently injured hind leg and we’re not sure what’s going on there (yes, I bought a broken dog).  The second hiccup was that she had an altercation with the two boys sometime overnight and received a bite injury.  Not what the new girl needed, and in obvious hindsight a poor choice on my part in leaving her there so soon. 

I moved her to a dog run for today, tended to her wound, gave her some pain medication and she slept most of the day.  She was a sweetheart with letting me check her over and I am amazed at how quickly she has shown trust in me.  So far, she’s got good temperament going for her.  

So physically we need to let her heal the injury and that rear leg, and then mentally we need to get her bonded to the sheep.  She is apparently a great dog with lambs so hopefully we accomplish this by lambing time. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Find

I’m offering another photo as a means of a quick post tonight.  

I spent some time outdoors doing some fencing today and tonight I am cramming the last bit of formatting for the Crooked Fences newsletter.  Normally I would write more and see it through but I have an early, early morning tomorrow.  Just this week I located an adult, purebred Maremma for sale - not an easy find in our neck of the woods.  I’m off on a road trip tomorrow, heading to the next province over to go see her.   Stay tuned. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Smiling for the Camera - Or Not

Our livestock guardian dog Glory, would frequently smile at us in greeting.  This girl though is the most frequent smiler I have come across since.

She smiled for everyone - except for the camera.  Catching her smile on camera was a tricky thing.  The only times I capture her smile is the first shot when she is still some distance away from me, and the second shot when her attention is with someone else, in this case her owner.

Each time I look at her and she looks back at me, she smiles and makes her way toward.  When I put the camera to my face to capture the next smile I know full well she'll offer, she is shy and unsure and looks away.  I lower the camera and she gives me brief but not direct eye contact and smiles again.  I capture her shy cautious look and her tongue flicks but no more smiles for the camera.

The more I try to get the photo the more she asks me to stop.  Since she is uncomfortable with her photo being taken, I leave her alone.