We were shooting yesterday and Dulcie and Podgie were the picking up team for the day. It was a hard day for them; they did extra 'dog' jobs - working birds over the guns as well as retreiving them. By the penultimate drive, Podge was limping. Her front leg. Probably twisted her wrist. She was retired for the last drive, much to her protestations. I learned that a dog's bark echoes quite a lot in the back of a covered truck. Excellent acoustics for a cocker spaniel.
Dulcie looked tired, not like the usual manic retrieving machine that she is. But she picked up 6 birds on the last drive which she hunted hard for, and then she stopped. She wouldn't go any further. I thought she'd just overdone it and needed some sugar water and electrolytes, and a good night's rest. I carried her back to the truck and brought her in the house to warm up. In the back of my mind something wasn't right and I knew to keep looking for the answer.
Although I had checked her for cuts, it wasn't until an area started to swell and get very hot that I found a small puncture wound. Puncture wounds are a 'big flashing light' injury. They look small but have the potential to be extremely serious. I felt an object behind the hole. Something had punctured Dulcie's lower abdomen and was still in there. Infection was setting in.
We rushed her to the vets at 6pm. By 8.30 she's had the operation and the vets removed a 2" piece of wood from underneath her skin. Very luckily it hadn't punctured the muscle or any organs.
She's got a drain in her and has pills to take, and she's going to be off work for a few weeks. She's recouperaing in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on her while I'm cooking, and Dakota seems happy to help keep her company. Or she's waiting for me to drop some food; it's hard to be sure of her motivation.
We're having a belated Thanksgiving dinner for a few friends tonight. I changed the menu to roast chicken so there are lots of leftovers to spoil Dulcie while she gets better. To think that little spaniel kept working until the end of the day, until the last bird was found. It's making me well up to write that.
Remind me again how much I love and admire her in 2 weeks' time, when she's doing the wall of death in her crate and howling to come out on a shoot day.
We've added the stick to the nature shelf.