Oakley - A Different View

I’m relieved to report that Oakley is recovering well. The leg is healing quickly and he has already regrown an amazing amount of muscle and flesh. The wound is still large and open and keeping it clean is our main concern so returning him to pasture with the sheep is still not an option at this time, and may not be for awhile.

He is the first guardian dog we’ve had up to the house for an extended period. He has adjusted well to all the new changes in his life (he sleeps on the couch!) and he is amazingly tolerant of all the care that needs to be done every day. We do hydrotherapy (running cold water over the open wound) every night, allow it to dry, and then coat with honey and re-bandage. He allows all of this without fuss. He lives with a cone on his head whenever we can’t supervise him which has probably been the biggest adjustment for him as he can’t see his surroundings as he wishes or expects to.

He is well known at the veterinarian hospital because of the rare nature of his wound but also because the staff are in awe at how gracious and tolerant of handling he is. He’s even had a couple offers on a retirement home if he can’t return to work. The vet commented that not all the guardians dogs they see are as easy to handle and most times the staff are wary of these dogs for good reason. While I think Oak is a bit of a special case because his temperament is so solid and easy going, not all LGD’s share this quality. I'm so thankful I choose to handle our LGD’s rather than keep them half wild. This whole situation is without a doubt stressful to Oakley, but it’s also, without a doubt, far less stressful to him than it would be if he had no prior handling by us and pleasant experiences with others who have met him over the years.

Today we had a re-check at the vets and Allen also had an appointment afterward. While I waited for Allen, I took Oakley for a walk, making Oak the first guardian dog of mine to hit the city streets. We both felt a bit out of our element but took it all in stride. Oakley was a pleasure to walk and showed little concern over all the strangeness. The only thing he stopped to take notice of was good trees to pee on, and ambulance sirens sounding nearby.

It has occurred to us that Oakley may not want to return to pasture work after an extended stay at the house and yard with us. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but regardless of what his choice is, he’ll be staying on with us (after this vet bill, we’ve got too much money into him!!!).

Listening to the sirens