Saturday, October 18, 2008

The 'taser' dog

Here's another funny story, although not from the too distant past. Actually, this culminated about a year ago, last Halloween. What led up to it, however, lasted more than a year.

There once lived a dog down the street, a male golden retriever. You think golden, you think sweet, friendly dog, right? Well, this particular one was the mangiest, meanest golden retriever I have ever dealt with. To the point where when I would walk Hobie, he would come after us. And not just for the normal "sniff your butt and get to know you," he literally would COME AFTER Hobie. 

The dog got loose all the time, I later found out, because the guy who was charged with walking him was blind. Yeah, I know. Remember that important detail, it comes into play later.

So it got to the point where I'd start swinging at the dog with Hobie's pooper scooper to get him to go away. Then the scoop got to where it wasn't big enough. I started walking Hobie with a baseball bat.

I did my best to handle the situation through "unofficial" channels, telling my buddies at the police department about this dog and several other strays and loose dogs that always ran around the neighborhood. There would be weeks of peace, then the golden would get loose again and we'd start over.

On New Year's Day two years ago, the dog was loose again. I went and got the baseball bat and he came up in the driveway and started coming after Hobie. I swung at him – had to swing a couple times – but eventually he ran off, onto a neighbor's porch. I stood in my driveway in the early morning of a holiday (in my bathrobe even) and I could tell the dog was thinking about a second approach. I held the bat out and yelled "Try it again, fucker!" Yeah. Happy New Year, South Lewis Street! Even Hobie was a little shocked by Mom's behavior.

Things finally culminated Halloween night of that same year. The dog was out and I didn't realize it, I didn't have my bat with me. He came after Hobie and I couldn't get him off. Eventually the 7-year-old neighbor boy dressed as Batman (yes, my very own superhero!) yelled at the dog enough to get him to go away. Hobie was unhurt, but the dog did get close enough to get slobber on him and scare him, which was enough for me. No one messes with my baby.

I decided I'd had enough. No more waiting on my buddies at the police department, something needed to be done that night. Immediately. I called 911.

The cop showed up fairly soon and I stood in the driveway and told him what happened – and that this wasn't anywhere near the first time. Of course the dog was nowhere around at that point, so the cop said animal control would be out the next day, blah blah blah. I'd been expecting that so it wasn't a big deal.

But, while he and I were talking, the dog showed up. I don't know what the cop was going to do, but he started walking toward the dog. The dog came after him, he yelled at the dog and before I really knew what happened, the cop tased the dog. Holy crap.

I honestly thought he'd killed the dog. I didn't see anything for a few minutes after he did it. I'm thinking, great. It's Halloween night, there's all kinds of trick-or-treating kids in the neighborhood who will walk past this dead dog and I will be the scurge of the neighborhood. The dog had just run off, however, and would not be seen for at least a week after the "incident." He ran off with the taser leads still in his fur apparently. I feel bad someone's dog got tased, but I have to look out for my own. Like I said, no one messes with my baby. 

I underestimated by neighbors, too. Several came out to see if Hobie was OK (they see me walking him in the neighborhood all the time) and agreed that the golden retriever had been terrorizing the whole neighborhood, not to mention leaving "presents" in their yards. While all this was happening, three more cops showed up in the neighborhood – apparently when anything gets tased, things get a little more complicated for the police. That's probably good.

OK, remember when I said the owner was blind? Well, when the cop interviewed the family, who apparently was home during this whole time, they said the dog was a seeing-eye dog. 

Oh please. If that's a seeing-eye dog, I'm Miss Georgia, which is exactly what I told the cop. He found their story suspicious as well. They also said that a woman from down the street had let the dog out. No one believed that either. 

The dog eventually did return home, like I said, and I will say that after that, the owners did a MUCH BETTER job of keeping him contained in their yard and getting someone else to walk him. 

So other than the other stray dogs who sometimes still frequent the neighborhood, Hobie has been able to do his business in peace. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The $130 ear

Hobie's ear is finally back to its normal color and I'm weaning his off his prednisone – we're in week 2 of the treatment.

This has been the summer of Hobie's ear problems. I always knew bassets and long-eared dogs could get ear problems (less air gets under there) but it's never been a problem until this year. Earlier this summer, he got a yeast infection in his ear. Yeah, I know. Can you imagine, all that itch and no opposable thumbs?

So last Monday night (at 1:30 a.m.) Hobie was shaking his head so much he woke me up. I went to put the flush stuff in I had leftover from the other infection and when I lifted up his left ear, it was red as a beet. Poor baby! I did what any Mom would do – I got in bed with him and rubbed his ears so he could go to sleep, then hauled his butt to the doctor (vet) the next morning. He made it through most of the night, but threw up when he woke up in the morning. Either he was stressed or he really felt like crap. (Thankfully, as I have mentioned before on here, I do have good carpet cleaner!)

The vet confirmed my diagnosis by taking a swab from Hobie's ear and saying "Eww." Yeah, doc, thanks for the confirmation! It wasn't a yeast infection this time, but his ear WAS full of bacteria. So, we got new ear drops, prednizone for the infection (also known as the "I gotta pee, Mom!!" drug) and a general exam. The vet also aspirated a lump on his back, which turned out to be nothing. Thank God, because those "lumps and bumps" can turn out to be expensive!

I will admit that the visit could have been just a little over $100, but Hobie has needed a bath for a while, so I had them take care of that too. I take him to Petsmart but who can afford a drive out of town these days? Plus, since he's already at the vet, might as well get all the trauma over with at once!

And Hobie has been nice enough to wake me up in the middle of the night so we don't have a "Lake Prednizone" by the door. Good puppy!