I didn’t even realize it had happened at first because he didn’t fight back.
As he often does, Lobo got a case of the “zoomies,” running back and forth and ’round and ’round and up and over – something Nikki haaaaaaaated. Most of the time, puppy zoomies are entertaining. But giant puppy zoomies can be dangerous, and since Nikki often feared being trampled she tended to lash out. She was old and blind, but her aim was accurate and her teeth (although rotten) were strong.
This wasn’t the first time either of them sustained an injury. But I noticed Lobo licking his leg obsessively, and when I finally managed to get a closer look I realized this one wasn’t going to heal on its own. She had flayed open the meaty part of his thigh, exposing a wound about the size of a silver dollar. I’ll spare you the picture I sent to Ryan, but trust me when I say – it was super gross.
A couple hours later, we paid a visit to the vet where they told us he would definitely need stitches. Five to be exact. Ugh!
After surgery, a tech escorted us to the car and gave strict instructions to protect those stitches with everything in our power, otherwise we’d have to start the process all over again. And let me tell you… it’s a very unique experience trying to hoist a drunk 110lb. animal into the back of an SUV.
We knew from experience that he was (mostly) content to leave his stitches alone, but I feared that if we weren’t around to remind him, he might chew them out. I reeeeeeeeeally didn’t want to use the cone of shame… because when you’re a giant breed, your cone is more like a satellite dish. So I used it sparingly, only subjecting him to it when we had to leave the house. He handled it pretty well, especially considering it meant he had to be locked outside in case he had to go potty (because cone of shame + doggie door = no). Two weeks seemed like an awfully long time to “shame” our goofy boy – after all, surgery and losing his “sister” all in one day was a tough pill to swallow.
I tried every possible alternative. Inflatable donut? He wedged his enormous frying-pan hands behind his head and popped that sucker off in the blink of an eye. Anti-chew hot spot spray? Yum! Ace bandage? Game on. I even rigged up a onesie using one of Ryan’s old t-shirts (don’t even ask), and this thing, whatever it is.
Luckily, after the first two or three days, he proved himself trustworthy and we didn’t have to use the cone. Ten days passed and it was Suture Removal Day… YAY!!!
Except that after being gone for a few hours, we returned home to find that his wound had reopened a bit. And it was Saturday night. Naturally.
In order to prevent infection or further damage, we had to endure two solid days of the cone – and yes, I said “we.” We were bumped, scratched, scooped up, and otherwise annoyed by that crazy thing and even our small group was treated to the Bull in a China Shop show as he crashed into every piece of furniture, wall, and human within sniffing distance. He had to learn how to scoop up his ball and could no longer chew on his bone. He had to aim “just-so” to eat breakfast and dinner. And we got a giggle out of tossing a sympathy carrot his direction because it kinda swirled around the cone before finally landing in his crocodile jaws.
First thing Monday morning, the vet mercifully responded to my email (complete with gross photo) and invited us back for a closer look. A tech led him to the back while we waited in the lobby and in less than five minutes, he returned – sporting one shiny staple.
That little piece of metal has been our saving grace because he is once again content to leave his boo-boo alone. The cone is back in the garage, and life is as normal as it can be with a horse-dog in the house. We’ll have the staple removed Monday and all will be right with the world.