A few days back, Joe got stung on his face pretty badly, or so I thought. The side of his face was huge and a little hot, but he was not complaining, did not stop eating or drinking and did not mind if I touched it. I figured in a few days the swelling would go down and he would be fine. I tried to get some Benadryl in him, but he is one of those uncanny dogs that knows when something is up. I wrapped it in hamburger and he would not take it. I had a pill in pocket and he ran away. How on earth he even knew it was there, I don't know, but he did.
The swelling did go down in a few days and I thought all was well.
Then, wow, a few days later, the swelling was back and Joe was drooling a little blood. Then I knew it was an abscess and needed to be taken care of. I tried to give him a shot of antibiotics, but, again, he just knew whenever I had that needle anywhere. I called my young friend, Pete, to see if he was available to load Joe in the truck, as he weighs quite a bit and is too heavy for me to lift. He came later that day after work, Friday, and put him in the truck and I immediately left for the nearest vet's.
I arrived at the premises at 5 pm, just as the vet was locking the door. I asked if she would see Joe and she said she would for 200 dollars because it is after hours. I asked if she could take a look through the window and tell me if he would live until the next day, hoping she would show some compassion for the poor dog, and she said she would take a look for 200 dollars. We exchanged a few brief words more and she again said the 200 dollars and I drove off. I drove home in tears thinking about poor Joe and how I needed to help him. Should I let him out for the night and hope to get him in the truck again in the morning or...? I got home and phoned the next nearest veterinarian's office.
Their first question was about the well being of the dog, was he fit to travel. They said they were open until 6, but it was then 5:30 and I said I was 40 minutes away. They said that was not a problem, and that they would wait for us. I arrived at 5 minutes after 6 and was greeted at the door by two assistants who carried Joe inside. They immediately weighed him and put him in a kennel once they ascertained he was not going to die, something I had asked the first vet to do. The veterinarian there was tending to a horse who just came in. The poor horse had torn open her chest and needed immediate surgery and a blood transfusion, I overheard them saying. Joe was next, but they would get to him as soon as they were able. They were compassionate and caring and consoling, telling me not to worry and that it looks worse than it probably is.
The vet called me later when she had a chance to look at Joe and we spoke about his treatment. I understood the fees from an over the phone basic quote and they were less than 200 dollars, even though the vet was technically closed.
It makes a difference in a small rural area when professionals show some compassion and care. The treatment for the dog and for me between the two veterinarian facilities was like night and day, and the fees were less than the after hours fee, even before any further treatment was done. It always makes one wonder why some people are that way. When I ran businesses, if customers came after closing and I was there, I always let them in and helped them any way I could. Who would not?
Joe will be fine, thank goodness.
Joe came home Saturday morning with a cone on his head. His face and mane are shaved on one side and he has stitches and a drain tube. He had a little surgery to excise the abscess and drain it and is on antibiotics and a pain medicine. He has a broken canine and the vet said it should be removed. I cannot afford to do that. The estimate is close to $1000 dollars for that. Joe's vet bill came to $600 for the abscess treatment. With this bill, the lack of processors for geese, the cost of feed and medicines and the low prices for heritage sheep breeds, I have made a decision to keep very few animals, just enough to feed myself and run the bed and breakfast. I need to make a decision about which ones stay. Hard to do!