Animal Care Responsibilities Begin with LOVE but There’s More, Much More

We will always have four dogs because we have room for them. All the dogs are crate trained and sleep in our bedroom with us. So when we lose a beloved pet, that empty crate rings the loudest. Loss of a loved one never gets easy but after grieving through several deaths, we’ve realized that the sooner we bring in a new friend, the better everyone recovers from their grieving.

Being German Short-haired Pointer folks, we work with local or near-local GSP rescue organizations. Everything about that breed is perfect for us. (Although we have made room for one boxer, Lilly. That’s another story.)

Our latest new friend came to us on December 26, 2012. That’s when the adventures began … .

GB, a GSP rescue about 10 years-old, arrived the day after Christmas 2012. That night he practically inhaled his food. However, the next morning, Thursday, December 27th; he didn’t eat breakfast. This began our concern. When he refused dinner that night we suspected something was up. Then he threw up everything he had eaten the day before, including part of a collar and some fabric. Terrific, we thought, now everything is out of his stomach. But when he refused to eat all day Friday, we knew there was more to this story. Sooooo, on Saturday the 29th we took him to the emergency animal clinic in Kannapolis. Come to find out he had complete blockage and needed emergency surgery. That afternoon the doctor removed some plastic along with more fabric from his stomach and fore gut. Poor baby stayed in the hospital until January 1st for his post-operative care.

When Mister GB came home from the hospital he had a list of special care that he would need so as not to rip-out his staples, which wouldn’t come out until January 10th. Finally we finally began living happily ever after. At last … it’s been a long few weeks. Or so we thought.

We always give our GSPs a German name depicting their personality or our experiences with them. It didn’t take much thinking to come up with a German form of “to chew”. (See above as to why.) Kauen fits him perfectly — unfortunately. To be such a darling, very loving and a wonderful critter he has chewed out the corner of his new bed (he now sleeps on several cotton towels). Terrific, now I have one more sewing project. But he didn’t ingest any of the stuffing — I don’t think.

Introducing a new dog into the K9 mix is always a challenge because we never know how that will go. The gang, three GSPs and one boxer, are getting to know Kauen. The GSPs seemed to have accepted him into the pack quite easily. No one fussed at each other, not a growl anywhere; everyone just sniffed each others butt then moved on. On the other hand, Lilly, our boxer, is a different story. She doesn’t accept change at all — not even the slightest bit so naturally accepting a new pack member has to be a challenge. We’re taking one day at a time and becoming better trainers along the way.

Within a day or two I broke up a fight between Lilly and Kauen when both of them were on their hind feet with their faces mouth-to-mouth. They stopped instantly and a decision seemed to have been made. Since then they’ve gotten along famously ever since.

Somehow he has managed to cut an an 1/5 inch gash in his chest. We’re keeping it clean and applying Neosporin every chance possible. Don’t know what but something in the backyard jumped out and got him. I’ll keep looking around until I find it.

Would you believe that Kauen and Meister got into a fight; Don was asleep and Bob was downstairs. I came running from the kitchen then dove into the middle of them trying to separate them. WRONG MOVE. Those guys are strong. Wouldn’t you know I’m the only one who got bit. Damn. Anyway, My screaming woke Don; he came running and grabbed one of the dogs. Then Bob came running up the stairs as I was holding Meister. The dogs still were wound up and wanted each other. Luckily the human boys were there to hold them so I could sit down.

Off to the emergency room we went. (Hate going there because it always takes soooo long.) Sigh … but come to find out, time was the least of our challenges. Now we were dealing with a ‘dog bite’ and Animal Control got involved. The good news is that Kauen’s rabies papers were in order — no problem there. But Meister’s rabies shot was outdated. We know he doesn’t have rabies because he’s so closely watched. He wasn’t biting me, I just got in the way. But he’s now in quarantine at our vet’s office for 10 days. If he doesn’t become ill, then all is well. {Update: Meister is home, safe and sound. My bite has healed and we’re all wiser. Although there will NOT be a next time, if somehow I’m ever bitten again by my dogs, I’ll not be going to the ER or notifying Animal Control. Lessons Learned $$$$$$$)

With that said, be aware and make sure your dog’s rabies shots are current — no excuses. Otherwise you could lose your dog, or at the very least, it will cost you a small fortune to get him back from being kenneled.

OK I’ve stepped up my game on the shot records. Call me Sarge when it comes to critical papers and certificates. No one out here is cut any slack any more. Even the horses, who never leave the property, will be getting their Coggins test every year.

If we’re going to have these animals in our care, then it’s our responsibility to care for them to the best of our ability and in compliance with the law. Rabies is almost always fatal, don’t mess with it. If we can’t give them proper care, then we need to find them better homes. I’d rather step up my game — and have.

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