Sunday, February 28, 2010

"A Real Tale to Tell....

... and a real tail to tell it with" -Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When Hazel was about six months old, we had her spayed. She went in to our local veterinarian's office and returned home after her surgery that night. All was looking well the week following. The vet had used regular stitches and we would have to return to have them removed. This is where the trouble started. 

When we arrived at the vet's office on Stitch Removal day, there was a bit of a wait. I had Hazel on a leash and went to sit on a bench in the waiting area. When they called our name, I stood up. With that movement, a plank of wood fell off the bench and landed on the tip of Hazel's tail. I didn't realize it had hit her as she didn't cry or really act startled. It wasn't until I noticed blood spraying from the tip of her tail that I realized she was injured. 

The vet had to shave her tail and because it was at the very tip, could not put in stitches. Hazel had a bandage and plastic thingy wrapped around her tail to let the wound dry up and heal on its own. Well, if you had met Hazel back in her early days you would know she's not one to follow rules. That night, she ripped the bandage off and had her tail bleeding again. The vet gave us an enormous E-collar for her to wear. And she had to wear it all the time. 

This happened at the beginning of November 2007. Hazel had to wear the E-collar and keep her tail bandaged for two months. That was the entire holiday season. It was frustrating for her (and us) at first because she would run into things and she was still intent on getting that bandage off.  We would try to keep her E-collar off while we were home and could supervise her. But even then, she would sneak off behind the couch to go after her tail. 

The funniest part of this injury (if there is one) is that Hazel managed to amuse herself with the E-collar. She would scoop up snow with it and toss it into the air! To pick up treats on the ground she would use the edge of the collar to keep it still. 

When I think back on all that happened to Hazel within the first year of her life, I'm surprised that we ever got a second dog.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Beginning

When I first arrived in Akron in July 2007, I couldn't believe how quiet my house was. I had never lived in home that didn't belong to a pet. It only took me a day to convince my husband that we needed a dog and within the week we found a beautiful mixed breed pup at our local shelter.

It was love at first bark. Hazel was in a litter of about 6 other abandoned pups. Why did I choose her? Well, because she had brown, white, and black markings with speckled legs of course. We took her home and gave her the standard bath that I've given all animals that enter my home. I went out that day and made a trip to the pet store to stock up on all new puppy necessities. Word to the wise: this is something you should do before you bring a new puppy home.
The first day.

The first week was great. She was only about six weeks old. Since I had just moved and had yet to become employed, Hazel and I spent all day together practicing new commands and getting to know each other. That Thursday however, an unexpected situation arose. During the afternoon, Hazel began vomiting and could not keep down food or water. This increased in frequency and by Thursday night she was at a local pet hospital. Afraid that she had Parvo, the vet kept her overnight. On Friday, they called to tell us that she had eaten and was able to keep the food down so we brought her home. Saturday morning, we woke up to find loose stool and vomit in Hazel's crate. The vomit and diarrhea continued throughout the morning and by noon she was at the Green Animal Hospital.

At the hospital, Hazel was ultimately diagnosed with a form of the Parvo virus and we were told that we would just have to wait and see if she would live. Every day for the following week, we visited Hazel in the hospital both afternoon and evening. My girl is a fighter though. By the end of the week, after being in the hospital for six days, Hazel was released. She has a will to live.

After those first two weeks of our lives together, I felt as though we had been across years. I truly felt that as soon as we adopted her, she was ours. This meant that it was our responsibility to see that she had every benefit possible, including health care. I understand that not all families have the funds necessary for a week long hospital stay for their pets, but I am thankful that at the time, we did.

In the past two and a half years, Hazel has proven to be a faithful companion and protector of our home.

Stay tuned for more stories of Hazel.

Hazel at four months. We've never been able to keep her still.