Tico came back with a big gash in his shoulder Saturday afternoon. The gash was interesting, there were no other tooth wounds, and the timing was a little suspect. Saturday afternoon, there is no vet care available locally, and I don’t have a car. I’m sometimes the victim of “economic terrorism”, that is the deliberate sabotage of property to stimulate the economy: that is a thought to be ruled out. But considering those possibilities I can do something about, I find 3:
1) Dog is in heat in the neighborhood. Tico has a tendency to disappear for hours in this situation (he is unneutered). Dogs are barking all night long. The various packs out in the woods are honing in, and one hears fighting amongst them. Perhaps he got into it with another dog. No other wounds or teeth marks though, and if the gash was a tooth wound, it was relatively superficial (no sutures required, and about 2 inches long).
2) His arm got caught in something with a hook – like a trap, and he pulled himself out.
3) He was intentionally hurt, in retaliation for my posting the day before about the puppies, and to flush out whatever resources I have.
Tico is quite the vocal dog – screams easily when hurt. He was howling in the front yard, when I came out of the tent (just after a car drove by). I picked him up and was able to check his gums (they were pale, but he had good capillary refill, his respiration was about 16, and his pulse about 60). So he’s not in shock, although somewhat woozy on his legs (his eyes closing).
I watched him use his leg to walk, and checked his appetite by giving him some food. This was ok. So, I turned him on his back, and compared his articulation, all joints moved similarly in both legs (no pain). When I went to palpate the shoulder however, he howled, and bit me, and would no longer let me get close to him. Picking him up was also problematic because of pain, although I was pretty sure that a rib wasn’t broken because of the breathing. So, I put a leash on him and led him down the street, to help walk out the stiffness and distract him. Letting go of the leash, walking away and returning, his tail wagged when I spoke to him.
So, I decide this is not an emergency. I give him 25 mg of amoxicillin, and 100 mg of Bayer aspirin, and crate him with a lot of protein, water, and electrolytes (that he drank). At 3 am, he wakes up, and starts vocalizing pain. I can’t give him any more aspirin (he is at the limit), and so, I walk him (which distracts him), and then hold him in my arms, singing to him until he falls asleep. He wakes up the next morning apparently ok (using his front leg without a limp), and excited and wanting to explore. His appetite is good. I keep him on the antibiotic, but discontinue the aspirin, checking him again for pain at lunch after church.
That afternoon, he disappears, and does not come back. I go out looking for him, but do not find him. All of my dogs except Petey are put up for the night in the car because of the “dog in heat” situation. So I can sleep. Tico, would have come back, sleeping right next to my head, if he were able.
Some notes about Tico.
Tico is a 15 pound dog, he’s really street-smart, and he’s very affectionate. He chews through leashes and can’t be easily constrained (crating him alone is quite distressful for him). He does alright with the big dogs. He once ran all the way back from church (1.5 miles of complicated woods) to get back to the tent ahead of me, when I wasn’t the first one out of the church (I had stopped to fill up a water bottle for him). He was all cuddles when I showed up.
Why isn’t he neutered? Well, for starters, he’s not my dog. But, secondly, and more importantly at this point, if there is 1 loose dog in heat in the hood, and 50 loose unneutered dogs, the dog in heat is going to get pregnant. So, I decide, that in the overall scheme of things, it’s not a bad thing to be producing “little Ticos”. They are small dogs, that won’t require a lot of food (because we don’t want to see starving dogs) and any vet care they need will be cheaper. Thirdly, and finally, I don’t have the money to neuter him. If I did have the money, I would neuter him for his own protection at this point.
Tico is kind of an emblem in this neighborhood (outside city limits). If you read his background, he’s the dog of someone who stood up to a cop. So the guy goes to jail, and Tico is probably bail money, but I’m guessing that there is no point in bailing the guy out, because he’s just going to pick up more charges. So, he’s still in jail. In a Deus ex machine coup not unlike “Erik, the foreman, getting hit in the head by the demolition ball when he picks up the axe to kill the boss in Pelle the Conqueror, the brewing revolt cannot boil over into an unstructured anarchy, but its energy must be tempered and harnessed. So, in this hood, where gangs rule, and the police are afraid to come in, everyone wants a Tico.
People ask me, “Aren’t you afraid to sleep out here in the open like this?” I thought about this because I was a little afraid in the beginning because of the wild hogs. But, in the end, when all is said and done, when your time comes, God is going to call you home, and all the security in the world will not protect you. So, I live here without pretense of security, and the gangs, well, with a little bit of analysis, different forms of government probably serve themselves and offer their own unique types of protection…