Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recovered: Missing Dog

'Reo disappeared on the 30th from around South 20th and Sayles. Today NJ got a call reporting a dog matching his description at Eula. She drove out, and ... Praise Yah! ... 'Reo is on his way home.

He's tired and worn out, but otherwise in good shape.

Now, for the rest of the story ....

Last year, 'Reo broke his elbow. Of course, it was late at night when the only vet available was the expensive Emergency Clinic. Preliminary triage at the ER convinced us that with his age, and the severity of the break, and the general lifelessness he was showing, and his increasing blindness/deafness, the sensible thing to do would have been to put him down. The ER kept him sedated over night so we could get pictures and make better decisions in the light of day. Come morning, it was obvious that although he was suffering, he still had too much life in him to put him down; we decided to amputate.

But before doing that, we tried one more vet (Dearing, out near Buffalo Gap), and learned that the surgery to attempt a repair was only another hundred and fifty or so over the $400 or so it would take to amputate, so we elected to go with the surgery. Praise Yah, he came through surgery fine, and although he's still slightly crippled, it didn't stop him from traveling twenty miles in the past week.

Then 'Reo came to stay a night with me at my house. I forgot that I had put down some rat poison earlier in the week. And 'Reo, being the vacuum-cleaner he is, found it. Rat poison is an anti-coagulant (your grandpa might be taking rat-poison pills on a daily basis), and the dosage he took would have killed him over the course of a few days when his blood-clotting ability finally allowed him to bleed out (probably internally, where it wouldn't be noticed). Of course, this was late at night, when the only vet available was the expensive Emergency Clinic. But we took him in, and they induced vomiting, and put him on a regime of Vitamin K (an anti-anti-coagulant). Praise Yah, he came through fine.

Then about three weeks later, NJ left a 6-ounce package of cocao nibs where 'Reo could find them. She had been careful all his life to keep him from chocolate, but on this day, she just missed a detail. When she came home later, she realized he had eaten all the chocolate. As many of you know, chocolate is a poison to dogs. Of course ... this happened late at night when the only vet available was the expensive Emergency Clinic. But I did my usual searching of the Internet for all I could learn, and I tried various calculations to see if he could withstand the onslaught of the poison. By the time we had discovered that he had eaten the chocolate, about 12 hours had elapsed, and as far as I could tell from the research I did, there's really not an antidote other than to make him throw up, which by now was too late, so we withheld from taking him to the ER and I just prayed that he might survive. I was particularly concerned that NJ would feel guilty if he died. I told God that if 'Reo survived, I would only be able to conclude that it was God that healed him, because as far as I could tell, that amount of poison should have killed him.

About a week after that, I had decided that God had indeed delivered him from death, and I decided to wait one more day before emailing my friends so that I could publicly (to them) give credit to God for this positive answer to my prayers. It was that night that 'Reo went missing, and I just couldn't then bring myself to praise God to my friends when now it looked as if 'Reo might have disappeared forever.

NJ, with help from Don and Jenn and others, made fliers and handed them out and put up signs and contacted newspapers and online classifieds and vet offices and made daily trips to check on the "scraped-off-the-road" and "picked-up-strays" lists.

And then today, 20 miles from where he disappeared, this old, blind, deaf, crippled dog meets up with his owner, licks her face, and heads home with her.

Praise Yah!

UPDATE: He gained 9 pounds while living out in the street. That dog can find food anywhere.

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