Jul 242009
 

Here are some more friends from the animal medical center: Dakota, the German Shepherd, and Steve, his handler. These are a really proud and nice team!

dakota_steve_3Dakota guides Steve, who cannot see his way.  Dakota was in the hospital because one morning when Steve was going to work and the two of them were going up an escalator, Dakota’s paw got stuck. He too was in a lot of pain, just like I had been.  His toes were also broken, like mine had been. He too has to wear a collar, just like I did.

When they are walking together, Dakota helps Steve to walk in a straight line and around obstacles. Outside, Dakota also tells Steve where the curb is so Steve knows where to stop.

However, only Steve determines when it is time to go.

When they are stopped at a curb where there is a traffic light or a stop sign, Steve uses his sense of hearing to determine when it’s safe to cross.

Dakota and Steve are best friends but each one has his role and they work together as a team to ensure Steve’s safety and happiness.

I speak for Dakota when I say that dogs, even guide dogs, cannot understand or obey traffic signals and stop signs, and cannot make decisions about when it is safe to cross the street.

Jul 012009
 

Here is the topic that many of you have been asking about.  what happened here

As the weeks go by, my new coat is growing in and the bald spots where I was shaved are disappearing.  I never pay any attention to these areas of baldness. They don’t mean anything to me.   I’m not one to pay attention to looks. When I meet a person or a dog, the first thing I do is to sniff and see if the scent is attractive to me. With people, I sense if this person is friendly and most people I meet are friendly so that I’m happy.  I never care what another animal or person looks like.

Also, when my parents are out walking me, people stop and stare – fewer now than in the beginning. That didn’t mean anything to me either. When I’m out walking, other things are much more important to me.

But my mom says that it’s time for me to write about this this issue of my bald spots. So here goes:

I have a number of separate places where I was shaved and toward which people point and then ask, “What’s that?” or “What happened here?” And usually I have to stand still so my parents can explain each spot, which is really annoying to me but which I’m getting better about standing still while people talk about me. But let me get back to the story that you want to know.

I was shaved on two occasions. The first time was the first day that I was admitted to the hospital as a patient, right after the accident.  This is where I received the large square you see, the bald patch closest to my neck. I was shaved here so that the doctors could apply a patch that contained some medicine so that I did not feel pain. That patch remained on my skin for maybe two weeks.

In addition, the  emergency room doctors shaved all around my leg because I had many wounds to my leg that had to be cleaned up and have antibiotic creams applied. One area of my leg had an open wound which Dr. B closed surgically; by that I mean he stapled the skin closed. So my whole leg had to be shaved so that the emergency room team could patch me up.

The next time I was shaved was one month later, right before my ankle surgery.  Here the surgeons really went to town shaving my leg. I think they left me some coat – but not much.  The whole area had to be clean and sterile for the surgery.grounded

There is also a rectangular spot in the middle of my back, above my tail. This was where I was grounded so that, during the surgery, I did not receive an electric shock.

This sounds strange to a lot of people. I don’t understand any of this so don’t ask me; ask my parents. Actually, don’t even ask my mom because she doesn’t understand about electricity either. Understanding electricity is, to my mom, kind of like my understanding why I cannot dig my way out of the garden: Neither of us gets it. So maybe you can ask my dad. He understands electricity.  Or maybe a doctor or veterinarian will make a comment onto my blog and explain it to you. All I can tell you is that it was done to protect me so that I was safe. And that’s the most important thing!

The best thing about telling this story, from my point of view, is that after my mom took the photo of me that you see to the right, during which time I had to stand perfectly still, she said “Good boy!” and gave me a treat.

Jun 232009
 
We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

A dog who gets hit by a car isn’t going to tell you if he is in pain.  And if he is in pain, he certainly is not going to tell you where it hurts.

At the fence that morning after I was hit by the car, my mom saw blood and open wounds but she had no idea how seriously I had been hurt.  Because of my silence, it had never occurred to her that I was so deeply wounded.  I didn’t tell my mom and I didn’t complain, not a whimper. I didn’t lie down; I stayed sitting up and erect.  I did everything she told me to do and I stayed where she told me to stay.  My eyes were wide open the whole time and I followed my mom’s every move. Even when she had driven the car to the back of our home and was opening the back door to the car to let me in, I tried to jump in until she said “Joey, NO” and she put the blanket around me and lifted me in and onto the car seat.

The hardest part for my parents was when the first doctor said, “He could die if you don’t get him to Angell right away.”

Since then my parents have been learning a lot about how we dogs are different from humans.  For example, today my mom found me licking my splint again.  She knows that something is irritating my foot and that this means another trip to the hospital tomorrow to try to determine the source of my irritation – and that in the meanwhile she has to put the sock back on my foot and the cone if my licking my foot continues. She knows that I’m never going to tell her that my foot is being irritated or where it’s irritated. I’m not going to complain.  She knows that I’m just going to try to get some relief in the only way I can, which is to lick my foot. And maybe try to chew at the splint.

That’s just my way. That’s our – a dog’s – way.

Ask any dog and he or she will tell you the same.

So my mom and dad are going to keep looking at me and looking at me to see what I’m up to every day, every waking hour. And they’re going to keep the phone number of the animal hospital close at hand.

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