Really he is! I would give all I have for my dog if I had to. He is an absolute gem no matter the scoundrel that he sometimes is. But he is now worth a pretty penny. So here is what happened:
We were visiting my parent’s house. Much to my dismay no one on their street believes in the leash laws, and of course they all have related dogs, Mastiff/Pit Bull mixes, so HUGE! They really were gentle giants (reminder: all dogs are dangerous) and my dog who was on a leash, one of those extendable ones, so he was meeting one of the dogs very carefully. The owner was standing between them and I was close at hand.
There were two of the other dogs out visiting another neighbor who was giving treats so we thought we were good. But then the two other dogs realized the one dog was doing something more interesting and came to check things out. Well when three massive dogs headed his way Nahum panicked.
My dog can make some incredible noises, whines and whimpers, cries and squeaks and question marks, and of course barks. When he saw the dogs heading his way and that no one person could separate him from them as I said he panicked and the noise that came out of him was awful. You would have thought someone was sawing off his tail with no pain killer. This set the dogs off who had really only wanted to check him out and one of them grabbed him up. The other two, thankfully, remained just curious and didn’t get in on the chomping. I remember yelling out at the dog, “LEAVE MY DOG ALONE!!!” and trying to get to Nahum. The next thing I remember was I was holding him and the owner (actually the owner’s father but close enough) was on the ground both arms and legs around his dog. It was kind of surreal. I just remember walking toward the house, not at any great pace (I didn’t want to scare him more) and cooing to him that it was all going to be alright. I got into the house and started looking for damage. The owner came over and helped, he was sure that the little red spot on his foot was “make-up”, I said, “I don’t wear make-up,” I mean really all of that and it is going to be make up??? Finally we found a gash, about an inch long. So off to the emergency vet we go.
The vets were very nice and calming, and they got him right in to be seen. Also, there was no waiting to hear what the results were, they called me back pronto. They had shaved the area and found 2 gashes, the one we had seen and another half again the first one’s size. Also there was a puncture wound on the opposite side and a pretty, almost black, black and blue spot where the tooth didn’t pierce the skin. But miraculously no internal damage. But it does get more interesting.
While at the vet’s she commented that his pulse rate was really low. It was low for a relaxed dog so certainly for a dog under stress. She told me to have my vet look at it. They were also very nice about not charging for the EKG they did, my emergency vet at home would NEVER do that. So they stitched him up and sent us home. I will add, yes the owner went with us, actually he led the way, and yes he paid.
When we got home, well as soon as we left, Nahum was a wreck. He wouldn’t move except for his shivering out of fear and discomfort. So we got home and I laid him down in the living room. You are not likely to hear me talk about my parents on this blog as it would bother them, but I do have to comment on one thing. My dad absolutely can not stand a dog licking. Not licking him and not licking anyone or anything else! It literally makes him ill. So when we got home dad stuck his hand in the cone to pet his head and of course my dog, who licks constantly, licked his hand. My dad’s response, “Yes, I suppose you have earned a lick today.” For all the terrible of the day, that was a sweet moment to me. So I laid him down and sat next to him. After a bit I needed some water but as soon as I made a move to get up he started to cry. So my mom went and got it for me. I was stuck to that spot all evening. We watched the game and ate pizza as a family, doesn’t happen often as we all have different sleep patterns. It was a terrible situation but it was nice to have all the support.
So the next day I immediately got up and made the appointment for the stitches to be removed. A little while later, still first thing in the morning, the vet called, the one I had decided would be our regular vet for Georgia trips. He checked to make sure we were okay, he was actually concerned about both of us! Another thing my vet would never do. He made sure that I had gotten an appointment for the stitches and told me what would be done about the heart rate. And EKG and an x-ray that would be sent off for a cardiac consult.
Then comes the appointment and getting those stitches out. Well it was no walk in the park I can tell you. We had to give Nahum extra pain medicine and some of them were stuck and oh the sounds my baby made. But finally we got them all out, we thought. Two other times we found some hiding in his black skin/fur. The stitches were replaced with staples. One of the gashes, the small one looked good. The big gash, oh it was horrible. After the stitches were removed it just started to gape open and the staples did not want to hold. We may have issues with skin being visible despite the long hair for that one. Anyway, oh! and the doc checked his pulse before we tormented him and it was still low. The EKG wasn’t working, we had to come back for that but the x-ray they got.
The next day I came in for something and the doc called me back to his computer so he could show me the x-ray. He said the heart was only slightly enlarged, but the next words, oh my, as if we hadn’t had enough, he said, “We have a foreign object.” My head just dropped. Dog attack, slow heart rate, now foreign object. It was a spring off of a clothes pin and I knew when he had gotten it as it was the only time he had gotten hold of a clothes pin, 2 months before. That thing had been sitting in him for 2 months. So knowing that we knew it was unlikely to pass. So the plan was once the wounds were good and the situation with his heart addressed he was going to have to have surgery. I could have cried. All I could do was thank Jehovah we had pet insurance and sit around with my heart in my stomach. Even typing this my heart is in my stomach.
Okay, next thing, he finally gets his EKG and the doc sends out the two tests to the cardiologist and we wait for an answer. I asked, worst case scenario, when will we hear back, 5 days. Thankfully, we heard back that very evening. So they tell me a bunch of stuff, that jingles around in my head, but ultimately it was physiological and not pathological. So it is just the way he is made and and we have nothing to worry about. I did some research at the time and it said it could even be beneficial!
After a couple of weeks when we finally are making or have made progress with his battle scars, we look at surgery time. Try around 14,000 dollars! Again thanking Jehovah for pet insurance. So he goes in that morning and they set everything up and then take the x-ray (should have done x-ray first they tell me) the spring is gone. He had passed it and he didn’t need the surgery!
Oh wow! What a month was January!
So here are my lessons learned:
- Never trust friendly dogs, especially big ones
- Don’t use the extendable leash. During the whole thing it never crossed my mind to lock it so I could get closer to him. That gave the attacking dog a way to keep Nahum away from me.
- Pick the dog up and leave as soon as you see Niko or any of the other dogs. There are a total of 6 of them!
What the owner learned:
- Don’t take more than one dog out at a time…yes that is right, still never crosses his mind to use a leash. If it weren’t for the fact that this is the one neighbor that is close with my parents and helps out so needs to stay on our good side I would call the cops every time he stepped out the door without leash(es). Oh well.
So when we are there we are pretty much stuck to the teeny tiny backyard to pee and poop. No walks as much because of loose dogs as the fact my body will not do hills. Occasionally we will use the side yard, but I am still nervous of that.
So that is the story. I’d say in a nutshell HA! but obviously not. Nahum is doing great now. Was even thrilled to go back to daycare, not the least bit anxious about the other dogs (of course they were all small). His fur is taking way too long to grow back so I started him on a supplement and it seems to be helping.
The three things I really take away from this and cannot stress enough to other dog owners are:
- Don’t, don’t use the flexi-leashes. They will not help you in a pinch.
- Get pet insurance. The cost is based on how much you choose to pay, but it is so worth it. I will tell you you have to pay the bill first and then send it to them through their website but you will get your money back, up to 90%. That means that if he had had surgery we ultimately would have had to pay 1400 instead of 14000!
- Call out people who don’t use a leash, even if you have to call the police. There may be some scenarios that you feel like you can’t, this is one for me. But if you can, if you don’t have a need of that person to provide services to you, call them out! Protect your pets, yourself, and other people.