Monday, 6 June 2011

How Not To Be A Good Dog Owner.

I've just been to the park to walk the dogs while it's not raining.

While there I met up with a lady who owns a one eyed lurcher and we had a chat because her dog is now a one-eyed, 3-legged lurcher. The dog developed bone cancer in one of her hind legs and although has had it amputated, she's doing really well. She's now a very distinctive dog and I doubt her owner gets far on their walks before someone asks about her pet.

This lovely lady took one look at The Lurcher and said, 'Oh, she's been in the wars too'.
At first I couldn't work out what she was talking about and then I realised she was pointing to the 2 remaining staples in the almost-healed wound on her side. This not the wound she got from jumping into a tree, but the one that was inflicted by The Old Boy, about a week later.

The Lurcher likes to tease our older dog but is sometimes just that bit slow about getting out of the way, and The  Old Boy's teeth are still sharp enough to do some damage. It hadn't been a very big hole, so I left it for a couple of days before I decided I did probably did need to intervene. So The Lurcher had a light sedation, and I cleaned and stapled her up on one side, and removed the staples from the other side at the same time.

The first 'bad-owner' thing I did, was not leave an Elizabethan Collar, or 'lampshade' on her for long enough. The Lurcher is devastating with one of these one, marking furniture, knocking down children and damaging shins as she goes. So I took it off after a couple of hours and as a result she ate 3 of the staples out herself.

The second was leaving the staples in for too long. I should have removed them about a week ago but was distracted by half term. The remaining 2 staples were firmly embedded in the skin and one had turned back to front as a result of her harassment. They were more difficult to remove than they should have been

But it was all okay in the end despite my 'bad owner' tendencies. But I'm a vet and can fix things if it all goes wrong. I'd advise you to listen to your vet when it comes to Elizabethan collars and suture/ staple removal..

The other example of a Bad Dog Owner I want to bring to you today, isn't me.

On the way home I spotted a big, white dog ambling along the footpath, who then strolled out into the middle of the road and stood there. I parked the car and he walked back onto the pavement. A lady with a couple of small, toy breeds came out of the park entrance and I asked her if she'd seen anyone looking for a dog.

There was no one obviously looking for a dog in the park, but it seemed to be hanging around a particular house on the street, so I knocked on the door. There was no reply so I got a lead onto its choke chain so it couldn't wander off again.

He was a big, handsome boxer/ mastiff type dog and seemed quite young. I didn't quite trust him though, he was an unneutered male and was nervous, which can turn to aggression when a dog feels threatened.

The lady with the small dogs lived nearby, so she dropped her pets home and came back with some friends, one of whom offered to walk the dog down to the closest vet clinic where it could be scanned to see if it had a microchip. The dog was not keen on getting into my car, and there was no way we were going to be able to force him!

I drove down ahead of them, and about 10 mins later the guy turned up with my lead, but no dog! It seems the owner met them as he was walking back from the shops and was hugely aggressive about the fact that some stranger had his dog. Luckily our good Samaritan was okay about being abused for his attempt at a good deed but it certainly makes me wary about trying to help in this situation again.

But lessons to be learnt from this are : make sure your dog can't get out of the garden, make sure your dog has a collar with a name tag on and make sure it's microchipped.

I would lay money on the fact this dog wasn't chipped, which means it would have been picked up by the dog warden  from the vet clinic, and probably ended up in Battersea by the end of the day. If the owner was keen to get it back, he would have found him in the end but it would have cost him a bit of time and some money as well.

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