Warning: Some of the below information could be upsetting.
We live in an apartment, a basement apartment where our landlords lived above us. The retell of this story is not about them, or even their dog. It is about the events that landed my six pound shorkie in veterinary care on a mild December night, when it could have been avoided. The thing is, dogs are unpredictable no matter how well you think you know them, and as owners and people we need to take precautions to protect them, and ourselves.
I had went out to get groceries and Kobi was at home, while my boyfriend was at work. It was around 9pm when I returned home with arms full of groceries. Making more than one trip is the biggest hassle, so I loaded up my arms and brought all the bags from my car to our apartment door. Mistake #1: I should have dropped all of the bags, opened the door, and picked up my dog right there. Instead, I opened the door, arms still full of groceries, and Kobi went outside. This was fine as our backyard is gated and he cannot get out. Our landlords dog was out as well (Not unusual, and not a problem seeing as they usually got along) My landlords dog was an approximately sixty pound german shepherd husky mix (I am guessing) Let’s call her Buddy for the sake of anonymity. Mistake #2: Never assume the actions of a dog, yours or another. So, I go into my apartment entrance and just as I am about to put my bags down I hear this sound. It was a cry/whimper that I had never heard before. I turned around to see Kobi in the mouth of my landlords dog.
At this point fight or flight kicked in, or was it adrenaline? I don’t really know, but whatever lets mothers lift cars off their children, that was what shot through me in that moment. I literally threw my bags on the floor and ran to them. Buddy had at this point, let go of Kobi by throwing him on the deck. I picked him up and immediately thought he was gone, but I wasn’t accepting that. I held him, ran to my apartment and started rummaging through my grocery bags to find my iPhone. I had thrown it in there while trying to be Super Woman and carry all the groceries in at once. Mistake #3: I didn’t close my apartment door behind me. As I sit on the floor with Kobi in one arm, and my other desperately hoping to find my phone among all the groceries, Buddy was coming into my apartment, and jumping over me to get to Kobi. I pushed her out and slammed my door.
I found my phone, called the first emergency vet I could and as calmly as possible, explained what had happened. He told me to come in immediately and he would meet me there. I don’t know how, but it just so happened that this vet was located down the street from me. As I am driving my mind was drifting from “Please please hold on.” to “Oh my gosh, I have to call Marc (my boyfriend) at work” If you have been following this blog, you know we recently moved form Northern Ontario to the GTA and didn’t know anyone else, so I was all by myself with an injured dog, panicking.
When I got to the vets office he was already there and brought us right in. HE IS AMAZING! If you live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and are looking for a vet, email me and I will give you his name. Anyways, we got into the examining room and this is where I really lost it. I was no longer alone, and my baby was in the hands of a professional who I hoped could help him. The vet determined that Kobi had severe nerve damage to his spine. Kobi couldn’t do anything. The vet was telling me about what had occurred to Kobi when Buddy clamped down on his upper spine/neck. Nerve damage this, 72 hours that, but all I heard was wheelchair. I remember thinking in my head “No Stephanie, your crazy he did not just say that. Kobi is 5 not 50.” But, he did. He said Kobi would need a wheelchair if he did not regain function to his spinal nerves. I LOST MY PROVERBIAL MARBLES RIGHT ABOUT HERE. At the end of our visit, he told me that we were both in shock, Kobi and I, and to keep him comfortable at home for the night, as he was not in imminent danger in his current condition.
So as you do when you bring your dog to the vet, I paid the bill. It was an emergency and after hours visit so i’ll let you imagine what that costed. I really didn’t care though, who does after an ordeal like that. I was just happy to know my dog was going to live. It would be a long road to recovery but he would be ok. We brought him back in the morning as the vet requested so he could do more evaluations and tests. We were very lucky and blessed to find out that he had no other issues. We just needed to wait and see if he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life, or if he would regain the function of his limbs.
He also informed us that he had to empty Kobi’s bladder for him (TMI sorry) This meant that he was not able to control his bladder, and couldn’t feel when he needed to go, a sign and symptom of paralysis. This was really scary, but he told us that if Kobi could pee on his own in the next 72 hours it was a good sign that he would regain the function he needed to full recover. So we waited, and waited. As you can imagine, trying to encourage a small dog who cannot walk on his own to go for pee on his own, was no easy feat. It was literally a two man job as one person held him up, and the other person tried to see under him… if he was actually doing his business. But then, HE PEED! I had never been so happy to see him pee in my life. It was easily one of the biggest moments of relief in my life.
Nine months later…
Here we are in August, nine(ish) months after the accident and Kobi is great. He has regained about 95% of his limb function and is back to being a happy normal dog. We are so incredibly grateful and blessed. The biggest thing we did to help with his recovery was buy him a little lifejacket. He swims in a river near our house and it has helped to strengthen his right front leg that is still not 100%.
I won’t discuss Buddy or his owners, as they are not relevant. What is important however, is that we need to be aware. We need to know what is going on around us, and not assume that we know how things will play out. I never thought the events of that night would happen, but they did. When it comes to our animals we need to be responsible owners, know our animals inside and out, but also remember that anything can change in an instant.
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