Monday, May 03, 2004

A long journey home

I was going to write about how beautiful our back yard smells because the honeysuckle is in bloom. But then today turned into one of those days when everything changes.

Around 3 pm, I opened the back door to take our dog out. I spied a reddish, furry form poking around in the herb garden and immediately put the dog back in so I could investigate. A few seconds later, I was hollering for the s.o. to come out.

It was a puppy, about five or six months old. He was horribly emaciated, was covered in ticks and fleas, and he couldn't put any weight on one of his back legs. He quietly came to us and leaned his head on our legs. We gave him some food and water and called the emergency veterinary clinic to let them know I was coming in.

The puppy was so mellow and sweet. I carried him to the car and drove through the rain to the clinic. He threw up all over the back seat of my car, partly because the car made him nervous and partly (I'm sure) because his first real meal in weeks wasn't sitting well with his starved system.

The vet took some x-rays, updated me, did some work, took another x-ray, and then (at 10 pm) came to me with some revised news.

Here's the deal: This puppy was hit by a car, probably close to a month ago. At that time, both of his back legs were broken, and one of them was ripped from the hip socket. Additionally, the x-rays revealed a bunch of birdshot in him, from people who apparently thought it was funny to use him for target practice.

The left leg was broken in the tibia and fibula, but looks to be healing up fairly well--especially considering the dog has had to walk on it for a month. The right leg is another matter. At first the vet thought the femoral head could be popped back into the hip socket, but it didn't work because the socket has healed up some without the leg in it. In addition, the break in the femur turned out to be way worse than she originally thought--it's basically partly healed at a right angle to itself.

So the puppy is supposed to be on "crate rest" for a month, with brief walks for exercise. After a month, once the left leg has finished healing and he has full use of it, we're supposed to take him in and have the right leg amputated. (At that time, we can also have him neutered.)

Obviously we have adopted this dog. We weren't really looking for a second dog, but sometimes the world deals you something and you know it's right to take it on. On the bright side, all his bloodwork was good and he is negative for heartworm, so other than all the physical trauma, he is a wonderfully healthy little guy.

But I'm left with a lot of anger at the people who have made this puppy's life hell. Imagine all the pain and fear he has been through. Here he is, the sweetest, friendliest, most guileless creature, and he has been crippled and shot at. When I cleaned up the dog barf from my back seat, it was (besides the kibble) mostly garbage and sticks.

Anyway, he's home now, and we're going to make sure these horrible things don't happen to him anymore.

We're thinking of names...