Thursday, January 5, 2017

Someone Shot My Dog

His stature reflected his pain level.
I let my dog out at 7 am on Monday, January 2nd. I fed the goats and chickens and puttered around the homestead. Around 11 am I noticed Airies sitting off to the side of the house. Something just didn't look right. I called him over and noticed him favoring his front left leg. He cried and laid his head in my lap as I searched to see if something was stuck in his paw. That is when I noticed the puncture wound and a little blood on his left shoulder. I took him inside, cleaned up the injury and put some antibiotic ointment on the wound. It didn't look bad and wasn't even bleeding.

By the time we got to the vet
he was clearly not himself
He seemed to be doing ok at first, but as the day progressed I noticed he just seemed to lay around and wasn't his normal, spunky self. He looked so pathetic. He continued to favor his leg and cried out when he put pressure on it. I was getting very concerned. Even the way he would stand looked uncomfortable. Could he have gotten caught in a barb fence or maybe run into something hard enough to cause the puncture and maybe dislocate his shoulder? Getting annoyed with me fussing over him, Airies took himself to the lower pasture and just laid in the grass, continuing to look pathetic.

That night he cried out frequently and could not seem to get comfortable. After a very long, sleepless night, I called the vet and scheduled an appointment. Airies knew he was in for a visit to the vet because that is the only time he ever rides in the car. He looked torn between the pain in his shoulder and concern over the car ride.
The vet took one look at the wound and said, "I think he got shot. Lets get an X-ray and take a look."

 Here is what the doc discovered: 

The X-ray revealed the bullet
Can you believe it? I couldn't. Honestly, I was shocked. Yep, that is a 22 caliber bullet in his left shoulder. Thankfully the bullet did not hit bone. Thinking back over the morning, I didn't recall hearing any gunshots, however I live out in the country on a large tract of land. With a .22 I may not have heard it. but there are a couple of ways my dog could have met with the business end of a gun. 

First, he could have been on someone else's property. Out here a strange dog on your property normally means your chickens or other livestock may be at risk. It is not uncommon for folks to shoot an animal threatening their livestock.

Second, it is hunting season here in Oklahoma. Because the bullet did not go further than through muscle tissue, it is possible it was a stray bullet. That thought is not very comforting either.

Finally, someone could just have been being mean and have shot him on purpose. I am certainly hoping this is not what really happened.

Recovering at home

The vet said because the bullet is in soft tissue and did not damage any of the bone, the bullet will remain a souvenir of the time my dog got very lucky and dodged a bullet, so to speak. (Sorry, I could not resist.)

Three days of pain pills and a week of antibiotics combined with rest and Airies will be good as new. However, I have greatly curbed his freedom and now am securing him on a zip line when he is outside until I can afford to build him a dog run. Unless I can be sure he remains on the confines of my four acres, Airies will have to get used to the 70 feet of zipline he is allotted.

Airies has been spending a lot of time relaxing indoors as he heals. He even seems mildly irritated when I put hims on a leash to go outside. However, a good farm dog is invaluable and I don't want to see him come to harm. I consider my farm dog a member of my family.

Lesson learned ... the hard way.