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Not Cooper’s Weekend

June 12th, 2010

Poor Cooper!

This weekend was supposed to be relaxing. We had no plans, no camping, no commitments other than working on Year of Lace stuff and cleaning the house and working in the garden. Just regular old weekendy stuff. When Sandra got home from work last night, we fed the dogs and walked them to Trinity Bellwoods. It’s not the world’s best dog park, but our guys generally keep to themselves, and just love to run up and down the hill of the off-leash area bowl.

We had just arrived, and had just taken the dogs off leash. I had noticed the weimaraner walking up the hill with two women, but didn’t think anything of it. As soon as Cooper and Jackson took off running, the women started screaming “NO!” at their dog, and we saw the dog take off after our guys.

I didn’t see it happen, but within seconds, they had their dog, and Cooper was running and hiding between my legs. They apologized, and we both said, “Oh, no worries.” And then I looked down.

And then I saw the tip of Cooper’s tail, missing, and the bone exposed.

I freaked out. I’m not sure what I said exactly, but it was something like WHERE’S COOPER’S TAIL?!?

Sandra took Cooper immediately to the vet across the street, and I stayed and looked for the tip of his tail, with the two other owners, who said very little.

I eventually found it. I should have gotten their contact info, or names, or something. But to be honest, I was just concerned with getting my poor dog to the vet asap.

Unfortunately, it was just 7pm and the vet was closed. I switched into Sandra’s birks and ran home the nearly 2km to pick up the car, then come back and pick them up to drive to the very wonderful Emergency Vet at Davenport and Yonge.

The vet initially hoped she could just put in some stitches and close the skin over the protruding bone, but quickly discovered that he didn’t have enough skin left, and would have to amputate one of the vertebra. This is a major surgery for any dog, and there was some fear due to Cooper’s… ahem… girth… that the anaesthetic would be tough to manage.

We had Jackson in the car, so we spent the next six hours taking turns walking him, walking for food (Craftburger, which I could barely eat), reading through every possible magazine in the waiting room, and watching the repeated cycle of news headlines on CP24.

He was out of surgery around midnight, and I paid a bill more or less equal to my entire biweekly salary.

(And yes, we should have pet insurance on these guys… it’s on the list on things we need to do to be Grown Ups Again. So dumb to have not gotten to it yet.)

We had him home, cone and bandage and all medicated, by 2am. He cried constantly, and at 5am, started thrashing around and had removed the bandage entirely, within a span of a few seconds.

Because Cooper’s a very waggy dog, and he wags his tail constantly when he walks, he doesn’t exactly want to walk in that condition. We had to carry him to the car to go back to the clinic, a dance of ridiculous proportions when you’re thinking about two girls in PJs in the middle of the night and a 97lb lab with a cone on his head and a bleeding tail.

At 6:30, we all feel asleep for a few fitful hours.

The whole thing sucks. I’m so mad at those owners for not paying enough attention to their dog’s ability to be off leash, for not controlling their dog. Off leash is a major responsibility. You have to know your dog and what might make him unhappy or stressed. And you have to be able to compensate for that, by keeping him out of exactly this kind of situation. If your dog is set off by other dogs RUNNING, maybe the off leash park isn’t a great place to be.

And I feel so bad for Cooper. He’s never been hurt his entire life, except for his neuter surgery, and even then, his recovery was so quick. He hates the cone, but he has to wear it. The worst is watching him bounce around like a pinball, as he hits the cone on the wall, on the furniture, on my legs, on the planters in the back yard. (OK, can I admit it’s also kind of funny in that ‘if I don’t laugh I’m going to cry’ kind of way?)

I don’t know that he’ll be able to be left alone for awhile, or he’ll pull out the stitches and start bleeding. We certainly can’t leave him with Jackson; rough-housing would be really awful right now.

It’s funny, as you get older, how your definition of ‘luck’ changes. As bad as this was, it could have been so much worse. One severe dog bite could be fatal. We’re lucky it was the tip of his tail and not the base, not his side, not his neck, or his leg. We’re also lucky that Cooper is the kind of dog to run from a fight. It would have been worse had he fought back. And we’re lucky it’s Saturday now, and we have two full days to spend taking care of him at home.

I made a video of Jackson being silly

February 21st, 2010
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