Poor Judah, we have had a bit of a stressful past couple of days. Saturday afternoon we went to a friend’s house and our three dogs were running around having glorious fun dog times rolling in the dirt, chewing on each other’s legs and seeing who was the fastest (or most evasive). After the black flies got too overwhelming we piled them all inside and had a pretty subdued evening. The next morning (Sunday) I got up farely early, let each dog out for his morning bathroom break. Then, per my usual morning dog routine we had some play time. A few minutes of one on one for each boy and then a little bit of dog on dog time. I played fetch with Judah, as always struck by how fast he is. Then I let he and Goose tackle each other and race around, next it was Jordan and Goose. Eventually, it was time for the tick check (I check everyone at least once a day during this time of year).
We all agreed that the front deck was the place to be yesterday morning so 4 people and 4 dogs all hung out drinking coffee and soaking up the sun. As I made another trip across the deck I noticed that there were a few dark stains on the deck boards. When I bent down to check them out I saw that they were blood. Not a whole lot, just little prints that I can honestly say I recognized as dog foot curves. I told my mom to check her dog while she brushed him and we checked each of our dogs while we did the tick check. I wasn’t too concerned, no one was limping or moving slowly- everyone seemed totally fine.
Well Judah was the last dog that was checked. Marshall was sitting next to him and I was standing in front of him so he was up at eye level. From that vantage point I don’t know how I had missed it. Just below his ankle there was a flap of skin hanging. Well we sprung into action, hot water rinse and flush and a better look at the skin. It was maybe an inch and a half long and not terribly big but upon closer inspection it was the least of the problem. The flap was concealing a clean, long, deep laceration. It started above his ankle and wrapped around his leg ending at the heel of the pad on his right hind foot.
Goose had found and demolished the last of the vet wrap we had left over from his foot injury so we piled into the car and headed to the local tractor supply co. (the feed and grain was closed). We picked up some vet wrap, some horse ‘pack’ gauze (thick, absorbent, doesn’t stick, and the backing is plastic) as well as a topical treatment. When we got back to the house and cleaned it out some more Marshall called me over as I gathered the dressings, “Hey, this is really bad.”
“How bad? Like, ‘do what I do and keep a close eye on it’ or like, beyond me bad?”*
“Come look at it, but it’s pretty bad.”
Honestly I still wasn’t all that worried, Marshall is pretty squeamish and he was right into it so it couldn’t be that bad right? Wrong. I climbed onto the dog bed with him and took his foot from Marshall, I am not squeamish so I pulled that sucker right open. Well let me just say, I could see how his toe works!
I admit, I had a little melt down. I don’t think I would have had Marshall not been there, I am alright at keeping it together under pressure- but Marshall always makes me feel safe enough to melt down, weird right? But, come on, this is my dog, my best buddy, my LIFE LINE, and I’ll say it, a little bit my baby. “This is REALLY bad. Has it been too long to stitch it?”
We talked back and forth and decided that we would wrap it properly (keeping it closed, clean and dry) and call the vet in the morning. We are supposed to be going to Pennsylvania next week for my little brother’s college graduation. We are playing it pretty close as far as money for the trip and knew that this vet visit would probably mean no trip. This didn’t help me keep it together much, I love my brother and he deserves an audience when he graduates. Once again, my parents to the rescue!
Not only did mom pay for the condo we will be staying in while in Pennsylvania but she also said that she would cover Judah’s bill at the vet (to be paid back when I go back to work). So of course mom is the hero of the day, thanks mom!
This morning, like any good (obsessive) mom, I began to call the vet’s office an hour before they opened. At the stroke of 8am they answered.
“Good morning. This is Emilie and I have a little bit of an emergency. I was hoping you could squeeze my husky Judah in today…?”
“Let me check the computer. What sort of emergency?”
So I described the nature of the injury and the timeline so far.
“How far away are you?”
“I am right down the street in Effingham, maybe 20 minutes away.”
“I have an appointment available at 8:30, that’s in 25 minutes.”
“I will go drag my boyfriend out of the shower, thank you!”
I burst into the bathroom (poor Marshall) and told Marshall we had to leave NOW. Like the good sport he is, he rushed to get dressed (as did I) and we piled everyone into the car. I sat with Judah on my lap because after I unwrapped his foot he (and the other dogs) couldn’t resist the urge to try to remove (chew off) the flap of skin that was there.
We got to the vet’s office and he walked around like everything was fine. Once in the office the first thing the vet and the tech said was how cute and kind he was even with his leg bleeding all over the place. It took one quick look and she informed me that he would indeed need stitches, I did the right thing by not rushing him to the emergency vet because he didn’t need it, and that they would keep him for at least the first part of the day.
“Is that alright. I know he is your service dog, are you alright leaving him here.”
“Honestly, I am fine with that, I trust you guys.”
“But, I think you need to know- he doesn’t kennel well. At all…” They gave me that questioning look…
“When you say that what do you mean?”
“Well, he eats crates. All kinds.”
“So we have to make sure we don’t give him a blanket or anything?”
“Well yeah, I wouldn’t give him anything. honestly, I would suggest you drug him first. I know that sounds, well bad, but he just doesn’t kennel. I have been working on it for 3 years, he’ll do it for me but not to be left.”
After waiting with Marshall and the tech for a couple of minutes she came back into the exam room, “He said he could just take him first thing. So if you want to go get a cup of coffee and come back in about 45 minutes he should be all set.”
Well it was a long 45 minutes and we were back at the office. Well, Judah is all stitched up, vaccinated, and on the mend. He did test positive for Lyme and is going to be on antibiotics for about a month just in case (no symptoms or anything, not really a concern), but he is doing well and other than being a little groggy seems to be fine. He was able to perk up and beg for a dog cookie at the coffee wagon on the way home, so it can’t be all bad.
As I finish up typing this post this afternoon he is sleeping across the room on a sun spotted couch with his camo print vet wrapped foot running just fine along with the other three in some dream pursuit. I think it is important to note that not only did Judah alert as we were getting ready to head out to the vets office (a high, he was of course right) but he also alerted after we returned home, still under the influence of some drugs- he alerted to a low and hit it exactly on 80 mg/dl (which is his target alert for low glucose). You just can’t stop this boy and I am thankful for that everyday!