Seven-months and one day, that is how long it took for Doug to have his first ER vet visit. Much, much longer than it took his brothers, something I had not missed at all. In fact, the last time I’d been at the same ER, in the same exact room, was when Jakey ruptured his eye ulcer.
I have been taking Doug to a local sanctuary shelter on the weekend. It gives us a chance to meet dogs over and over and see how they progress (and it makes Doug tired!). I’ve learned a lot about how dogs react to Doug and at the same time I’ve become more confused about how some dogs react to Doug. When it goes well, it’s easy to say yay. The confusion is among dogs who get to know him for a few minutes and then decided, no thank you. In sort of a big NO THANK YOU way. When it goes bad, I have found for the most part, it is the other dog that doesn’t react well to something about Doug and then Doug may or may not react to that reaction. The confusion is, what is it that Doug does that causes the other dog to have a problem. Of the five dogs where there has been a problem, there was only one dog where Doug did not like the other dog (a male) and Doug was the instigator. The other four (all female), liked him and then suddenly did not like him. These were all meet and greets so it’s not like they had spent too much time together. And for the record, play Doug does not come out right away. He saves that for later. None of the ladies had met play Doug yet, but maybe they could sense it was coming.
On Sunday we had a second play session with a dog. He and Doug did great. We then decided to meet one of the new dogs that had just come off of quarantine. She was a tiny thing at about 35 lbs (probably a few months older than Doug). She had not been spayed yet so we were not sure how Doug would respond to her. He pretty much ignored her. She was more interested in sniffing him and then they both just did their own thing. Good, right? It was so good, that we started talking about how good it was.
That is when she dove into Doug’s face.
I honestly don’t remember much about those 5-10 seconds. She lunged, Doug’s head tried to move back, there was a ball of confusion and then the volunteer lifted the dog off of the ground, and thus, off of Doug. That is when I saw all the blood.
I ripped my cast off and used the wrap part to apply pressure to his nose. I got a water bottle to clean it and to try to tell if there were multiple blood sources. I kept my voice normal ‘you’ll be fine bud – it’s ok bud – let’s get you to the vet bud’.
I got him into the car and started driving. I saw him move to the back of the SUV and cower. I thought to myself, no. NO. I had to mend this moment. I pulled over, got treats out, got into the back with him and turned the situation around. There is no need to cower, just wiggle babe, moms got you. You are fine and that situation is over and hey, here are more treats.
He wiggled towards the front as I got us back on the road.
I was told quickly that the mouth and nose bleed a lot, and that made me feel instantly better. They cleaned him up and it looked way less dramatic. He was unable to walk on one leg but there was nothing structurally wrong with it, likely just a muscle pull. His nose would heal. His mouth would heal. We got an antibiotic and pain meds and headed out.
He was a little off the rest of the night but I’m not sure I’d expect otherwise. I got him tucked into a well padded bed that I knew he would bleed all over (he did) and he fell right to sleep.
I went in to wash his blood off of me. Then I cried.
I hope this doesn’t change him.
I hope he still wiggles with delight when we see other dogs.
I hope he continues to loosely walk on leash.
I hope his joy continues to multiply every day he exists.
Those were the concerns my tears spoke to me.
I don’t know if this was ‘bad enough’ to disrupt any of who Doug is. I know he felt pain, I know he was scared, but from a human perspective, I think he felt calmness and cared for so most of me thinks he will bounce back. We’ll test him out with some of his friends to be sure.
I the meantime, I will over think why girl dogs do not seem to love Doug. I’m sure he does something that they dislike, it’s just not an obvious something that I can help him work on. The other dog did not have a scratch on her, I’m so happy about that. Part of me feels like the dog search is on hold, part of me says this was more than nothing but it doesn’t have to be something.
All of the parts of me are swirling right now. We’ll get it worked out.
Until then, Doug is fine. He will heal.
Here he is all cleaned up. He won’t let me lift up his jowls so no photos of those wounds.