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Archive for August, 2012

A neighbor who owns a minature pinscher, like that pictured at right, is so lazy she’d rather risk the dog’s life instead of take him for a walk.

In the post “Chained chihuahua barks, owner snarls” (in which I mistakenly labeled a min-pin as a chihuahua), I described how this owner ties the dog each day by a short rope to a tree in her front yard and leaves him there for hours. Yesterday about 6:30 p.m., a coyote came into her front yard and for two minutes sniffed avidly around the tree and rope where the min-pin is tied before going back into the woods bordering her back yard.

Fortunately, the dog had not been out there.  A neighbor alerted the owner about the coyote. I rejoiced, believing that in the face of such clear and present danger, the owner certainly would stop tying the dog up outside, then ignoring the dog, his racket and the disturbance his barking caused her neighbors. But this afternoon, less than 24 hours after the coyote thoroughly investigated exactly where to find his prey, she tied him out there again.

Earlier this week, she came out of the house with a newspaper and hit the dog with it, even chasing it behind the tree it was tied to while yelling at it to stop barking. She correctly deduced, after a visit the next day from an Animal Control officer, that I was the person who had called them. She yelled insults at me from her front porch about the “lies” I had told.

I”m guessing she’s not bothered by the possibility of having to tell her children that a coyote ate their dog. Given how little attention any of them give the dog, it’s unlikely she or her kids would witness the gruesome event. It’s far more likely that I will, since my office window looks directly into her front yard.

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This is the fourth week of Brownie’s three-times-a-week laser therapy treatments for arthritis and a torn ligament. Just last week, unable to see improvement, I began to wonder if the expense and inconvenience were worth it.

This week, she started to put weight on her injured back leg, which had been dangling uselessly since she tore the ligaments in her back-right knee. We’ve started going for short walks, and she’s felt good enough to repeatedly initiate play sessions with a 90-pound doberman who was boarding with us for a few days. I hated to have to put a stop to that, but couldn’t risk letting her chase or be chased on a bum leg.

The picture above, taken off the Internet, shows what a session is like with a dog about Brownie’s size. The vet tech puts a comforter on the floor for Brownie, who gets very anxious and antsy if lifted onto a table. Brownie can stand, sit or lie down, as she likes, while the vet tech gets down on the floor with her and maneuvers herself around to reach whatever spot is being treated. My mother and I sit right there in a couple of chairs, petting Brownie and gently holding her in place if she gets restless. The vet tech simply moves the head of the laser back and forth and around whatever area is being targeted for five minutes, close enough to ruffle Brownie’s fur but without any pressure. In Brownie’s case, the tech treats her back knees, hips, one shoulder and part of her spine.

It’s likely that a combination of laser treatments, bi-weekly pain shots and special joint-boosting treats have led to this improvement as their effects accumulated over the past month. The techs say most dogs grow to enjoy and look forward to their laser treatments, but Brownie isn’t one of them. She cooperates, but remains very anxious about car travel and vet visits. We’ve added a Busy Bone treat to her car trips, in addition to a tranquilizer and a personal transportation aide (Mom) to hold her steady and pet her while I drive.

Laser treatments aren’t easy to find around here, as not many vets want to invest $40,000 in one machine. We go to Vale Park Animal Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana, and patients come from all over Northwest Indiana for laser treatments there. At our next session, we’ll meet with the vet to map out what’s next for Brownie.

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You might remember reading about Louie, the sickly Doberman who boarded with me all of last November (“With a little help from his friends,” Dec. 1, 2011).

He started his stay then as a 59-pound weakling who couldn’t have kicked sand in his own face. He left a month later about 20 pounds heavier and without the diarrhea that had plagued him.

Louie, pictured here, was back recently for a brief stay, and he has blossomed. He probably weighs about 90 pounds – sleek, not skinny. His coat gleams. The hair has grown back on his ears, which previously were leathery and dotted with scabs from scratching.

As before, Louie still has devoted owners, good vet care and high-quality food. So what has changed?

We’ll never know for sure, but it might be that his household has settled into a less stressful, more predictable routine. His family had been coping with a loved one who had a fatal illness. Louie thrives on attention and affection, and now that circumstances allow his family to relax, he’s probably getting more. He’s happy, handsome and healthy.

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