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The Angus Saga

Posted on: Wednesday, 6 August 2014 @ 11:11pm
Blatting about
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This is my 7yo and her dog Angus (aka "Angillian and "Ningle Nangle Jangaloid" and permutations thereof, don't ask, I don't know).

7yo and her spaniel

Yesterday (5th of August) at about 7:40pm Josh took both dogs (Angus and my dog Tali) for a walk as he normally does.  As he was walking past the Gosnells Football Oval a "stray dog came out of nowhere" and grabbed Angus and started shaking him.  The dog was halfway across the road before Josh saw it coming and had grabbed Angus by the time Tali noticed.  Josh started screaming at and kicking the dog as hard as he could while Tali bit at back of it.  A passer-by pulled over and called the police (who then posted it on their Facebook timeline) and after Josh finally succeeded in driving the dog away, carried Angus to our gate while Josh called Tali (who had broken his collar and was running around naked, fortunately he's obedient) in.  Josh came racing to the door yelling for me and after telling me what happened in one sentence appended "Angus is fucked" and racing off.  Our neighbour had come out having heard the commotion and went to the emergency vet with Josh to try to staunch the bleeding.

7yo had been coming to the door when she heard Daddy come back and had overheard part of the conversation, when I turned away from the door after closing it and getting Tali in I saw her in the corridor crying "I don't want my dog to be hurt!"

Angus was given fluids at the vet (link added 2014 Aug 23 as I forgot earlier - WAVES - they are good) and Josh and the neighbour eventually returned home at 10:30pm.  Josh was really jittery and had trouble sleeping, and close to 11 or so when we were woken from a partial doze by the vet ringing.  Josh talked on the phone to the vet for a little while and I think we found out at that point that Angus' spine was fractured but they couldn't do anything about it because he had massive swelling in his neck.  Josh told them to just call us back if anything major happened but otherwise we were stuck playing wait and see.

I'd called the ranger last night but not thinking I'd called a number for a ranger who had given me a number instead of the actual call centre, though apparently you can call the police and they call the ranger as necessary.  I floated around my phone ths morning just in case I got a call back, and then while going to the door to find out why my dog was whining at the door, saw a ranger vehicle pulled up on our driveway and Josh talking to one of the rangers.  I popped out there to stickybeak, and then noticed Angus' blood on the driveway.  The ranger told us that they would let us know if they found out or could do anything and would let us know at the end of the week if they couldn't find the dog.  The case itself would be open for another 12 months so if we saw the dog after the week was up we could still call in and let them know about it in relation to the job.

While we were naffing around waiting to hear from the vet, Josh shot off to City Farmers to get Tali a new collar, as his had come off some time during the fight.  He told me before he left he was "getting one of the spikey ones so he can't get bitten on the neck" and returned with a red one with three rows of spikes, and an engraved tag with the dog's name misspelled "Tally" on one side and both our phone numbers on the other.  Josh described the dog as a brindle, same size as Tali, maybe a mastiff or staffy or bully cross, and spent a bit of time on teh interwebz staring at dog photos trying to get a better idea of what he'd been kicking. I hypothesised that the dog must hate small fluffy dogs or something as the thing had just beelined for Angus and had completely bypassed both Josh and Tali, Josh reckoned the thing was just one angry dog.

Josh eventually got a phone call from the vet and after a bit of back and forth came to the computer room crying and saying we were going to have to put Angus down as we couldn't afford the $10k it was going to cost to get him the surgery he needed, and from his understanding there were so many things that could go wrong and he might never walk again anyway.  I started crying and told him to tell 7yo, he said he would in a minute and then went out.  Less than 5mins later I had a sobbing 7yo in my arms saying she didn't want her dog to die and she hadn't even had him for a year.  We very morosely drove to the vet to say goodbye, and on the way Josh and I discussed what the vet had said, and Josh said he had been trying to gauge their tone in the questions he asked.  I guessed he might have been having trouble gauging sometimes and suggested we ask them again when we got there so we could also read their body language.

At the vet we had a chat with one of the vets who explained the cost breakdown to us (we were already up $1500 for the emergency care, ideally they wanted to do a CT scan which would cost around $2k or so, an exploratory operation to see what was going on and to clean up damaged tissue which would be $1-2k, and if the fracture was bad enough that his spine needed pinning that was major surgery and would cost $5-7k and if it got to that point Josh had already decided that we had no option but to put the dog down and I was desperately trying to come up with other options), and on realising that money is an issue, said that if the dog belonged to them they would give it a chance, and after dire warnings that things could come back and bite everyone on the arse, started trying really hard to find a way to make things work for everyone.  They said that they would have to speak to the surgeon who was in a surgery at that moment, but we could go and come back or just "tread water".  We "treaded water" for ages (the kids played reasonably well in the little play area though 7yo was having many bouts of sad) before the vet came back and the plan seemed to be to transfer Angus to our local vet to do the exploratory/cleanup operation and hopefully his spine was all right as he seemed to be moving okay and the bigger concern appeared to be that one of his jugulars and his oesophagus either were or might be nicked.

7yo was sulky because I'd told her we would be seeing her dog, so the lovely vet of course let her in to see Angus.  When he saw 7yo Angus wagged his tail and tried to jump out of his crate, I told 7yo to sit with him to pat him (but watch the tubes).  She did so and Angus attempted to crawl into her lap.  He was doped up to the eyeballs and still had blood on his chest but I think was otherwise glad to see us and sad that we weren't taking him home.

Josh and I argued the whole way home as while he is right in that we can't afford $5k and can't afford to pay it back even if someone loaned it to us, he also seemed against the idea of accepting donations (I blame his pride).  As well as being distraught from everything leading up to know the poor guy then had to endure his wife and daughter thinking he was a right cheap arsehole for refusing to fix the dog if it could be fixed.

After we got home the ranger rang back, apparently a news person had seen the aforementioned police post on Facebook and had gotten in touch with the rangers.  The rangers don't give out information but had taken the guy's number and rang Josh to pass it on.  Josh, the news person and the vet played phone tag for a little while (for some reason they wanted to do an interview at the vet, the vet quite understandably wasn't keen).  In the meantime I was updating everyone (besties, sister, awesome friend whose mother owned the dog before us, mother in law, next door neighbour who had staunched the bleeding on the mad vet dash) on how Angus was going, wondering if I could start up something like a Kickstarter to raise funds for the major op should he need it, if I should post rolling updates on G+ and see if I could get a couple of friends who have a billion followers to help me out, or even just a CSA to warn people in the area about that dog as one of the things Josh had said was he was glad he didn't have the kids with him at the time, and counting money and working out what I could wrangle from where.  I then went for a walk to do some research and learned there is a brindle mastiff/staffy/bully type dog that regularly drags its human down my street.  Whether it's the same dog or not is another thing, but having seen Tali's busted collar after the incident, could be that the dog got off its lead rather than being a "stray".

I stopped in at a neighbour's and while informing them of what had happened/warning them to be careful with their cat etc, and while I was being plied with vanilla slice and tea Josh rang me saying the vet had rung and rather non-commitally told them that we could see how Angus went on antiobiotics and bedrest for a month, and that he may need the cleanup surgery down the track if any of the damaged tissue went necrotic.  Hopefully this means the spinal fracture isn't as bad as people thought it ight be.  7yo was so happy she was dancing, and I put up with a few rounds of the Equestria Girls soundtrack while she did so.  Tension really lifted in the house and the discussions focused on how we were going to care for the dog and as Josh had discovered that the spikey collars come in miniature and pink, decided we were going to get Angus one and acceded to 7yo's request for it to be pink.  We studiously avoided thoughts of major surgery.  One of my besties offered to loan us an Angus-sized crate to keep him bedrested while he recovers.

After I put 7yo to bed she tearfully told me she wanted her doggie home now.  I said we may have to go via the local vet but we would be bringing him home soon.

Tomorrow we are up bright and early to pick him up at 8am and find out what's going on and what we're supposed to be doing, and hopefully we have a happy ending.

Update 2014 Aug 07

Angus is home!

Cav in crate

There was a bit of confusion as Josh had woken us all up at 6:30am so we could get down to the vet at 8am to pick him up but then it turned out we had to go down there later, so he headed off to work, the kids did their thing, and after cleaning up the transport crate in the backyard and realising it was not in the best nick and also not terribly accessible, I realised we needed a harness and a crate.  What followed was several rounds of counting money and texts to both mothers trying to work out how much money I needed or needed to borrow.  I asked Josh's mum for some money to pay for the crate and the harness and my mother some money to pay for the kids' passports (I've actually gotten one application processed, some stuff with the other two needed to be fixed up).  When Josh got back he was surprised I hadn't gone yet and reminded me that he'd already paid a deposit to the emergency vet, so I suddenly had a lot more money available than I thought I had.

See this is why I can never work with numbers when flustered (this is not hurting my career prospects, I deliberately avoid any job that is going to require me to deal with numbers on a regular basis).

We shot past City Farmers, I ran in, yelled for help which was quickly provided by the lovely staff as always and briefly explained what was happening and why I was in a hurry.  The lady that helped me chose the lovely pink harness that Angus is wearing in the photo as probably the best one to not put too much pressure on his neck (and pink because I said due to the little girl the dog belonged to it would have to be red or pink and she understood completely) and the right sized crate and helped me throw them in the back of Josh's car.

We also met the Nine News people there, they were very nice and I wish I could apologise to them for being flustered, vague and uninteresting the entire time they spent with us.  They filmed Angus and then the reunion at the vet and some of the vet explaining what we were going to have to do to care for him.  5yo was really ratty by that point and being an awesome ad for contraception, then followed us home and did a very quick interview with 7yo standing next to Angus' crate, 5yo jumped in and they did a quick interview with him, got him to say "Welcome home Angus!" before we had to try to remove him from the scene as he was very ratty by that stage, which meant instead of calmly being able to observe proceedings we had to lock Tali in the master bedroom while moving Angus into the study where he is now.

7yo read a few stories to Angus to calm him down.

7yo reading to Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If the image hasn't been shrunk too much in the browser you might be able to see the swelling on the dog's neck under the harness.  I've been calling him goitre dog.

He's on a plethora of pills:

Dog medications and bloodied collar and lead

Included in the shot are his bloodied collar and lead.  I'm going to try soaking the blood out but if that fails there's a spare lead that I don't really like using because it's too long for me.  The cd in the foreground is the copy of his x-rays.  Unfortunately my cd drive made some rathe runpleasant noises when I put the cd in so no xrays showing the muscle tears and fractured spine.  We have a visit tomorrow with our local vet so they can see what's going on and the history is getting faxed over from the emergency vet.

Josh seems to still be traumatised by the event and Angus has growled at the very concerned Tali when the big dog came in to see him, even though both their tails were wagging.  I think Angus is glad to be home on his own bed, even if he is stuck inside the crate.

Update 0001I15n | 2014 Aug 17

We made the news ages ago but due to lack of the required equipment I can't get the recording off the tv.  I tried doing the dodgy phone recording thing but the sound is way too soft. I may try again at some stage when the kids are out of the house nd turn it up louder or something.  Anyway something I didn't know that was in the news report was that apparently the other dog's human is liable for up to $20k (and we got told they would be liable for the vet bills as well) so wouldn't be surprised if they were hiding out.

Angus seems to have really dodged a bullet, we continued on the antibiotics and pan meds and vet visits every couple of days, and on one of the visits the vet was surprised at how much the swelling had gone down and extended us to visits every three days and topped up the antibiotics and said the painkillers were fine to just run out.  On the last visit a different vet continued being impressed by Angus' improvements and that he's managed to avoid the abscesses that would happen in 99% of cases and has stretched us out to visits every 4 days, saying if he is too uncomfortable they can give us more painkillers and agreed with the conservative approach of continuing to keep him in the crate for another few weeks and possibly doing another x-ray furhter down th track to see how the fractured spine is going.

We're going to have to cut his food a little more as he is getting fat, poor thing.

Sad dog stuck in his crate

The above photo was taken a few days ago and the minor swelling visible around his neck has reduced to nothing.  He desperately wants out of the crate and to be following 7yo around the house and sitting with her on the couch and sleeping on the end of her bed and has been yodelling when left alone in the room.  He's stuck in there to make damn sure we avoid spine surgery though.

I'll do another update after the future x-ray (whenever that may be, probably sometime next month when he can hopefully come off crate rest) to report on how that went.  Regardless how the x-ray turns out we'll be taking him for walks on the harness for the rest of forever, the x-ray will just be to find out if he can play with those tennis balls he's constantly obsessing about again or whether we're going to have to get rid of everything ball shaped (whch will be sad for Tali who loves his tennis ball bone toys).

Update 0001I22n | 2014 Aug 23

We took Angus to our vet (that we have been seeing after WAVES) earlier in the week and have been given an all clear (with the caveat to stick him back in the crate if he is being too hyperactive and/or looking sore, and also to stick him in the crate when we go out and can't keep eyes on him and obviously to take it easy with no hard exercise) with a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks.  The vet is really happy with how he's recovering and we're all really glad that we've continued managing to avoid surgery.  That dog is so lucky! And terribly pleased to be out of his crate and able to get back to the places he wants to be.

Angus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sleeping where he likes to sleep

The human that had been walking a brindle looking bully thing from the original part of the post has been sighted again without the brindle looking bully thing so our search area has hopefully narrowed, although JJ has been entertaining thoughts that perhaps if the dog hadn't died of the injuries JJ inflicted on it, perhaps the owners had had it put down due to injuries sustained or simply to avoid a $20k fine.

The rangers rang JJ back to say they hadn't found the dog yet and if they hadn't found it by Monday they would close the case.  However we will still be able to reference the job for another 12 months if we see the dog again.

Unless anything comes up in the next vet visit or we manage to find the offender in a timely fashion, I think I can safely say we have our happy ending to this saga!

Moral of the story: if you're going to get a big dog. you HAVE to put in the hard work.

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