The dogs work as a pack and on occasion, even though I do not encourage it, the border collie joins in the predator work. That is why, when Harley was home and Charka was not, I began to worry. Harley had a gash and bite on his leg, quiet severe and a few bites on his back, so I knew they had all been fighting for real, not just barking and chasing. I treated Harley with antibiotics, but his old arthritic bones were sore and tired and that wound was nasty. It has been two weeks and is primarily healed.
But where was my Charka?
Charka was not home when I went out to do chores in the morning, but when I went out at noon, there he was, wagging that big shaggy tail and looking at me with those adorable brown eyes. I hugged him and then he followed me around doing the chores, and curled up in the hay to have a sleep, relaxed in the sun. That is when I checked him over thoroughly. I saw bites and scratches and lots of chunks of fur missing, but he was fine overall, so I thought.
Only in the next few days, the wound on his neck began to open and I saw his throat was slit deeply, then that the wound encircled his neck. He began to stink and I called the vet. I would have to bring him in as soon as possible. Getting Charka to do what he does not want to do is not easy. He would not go into the truck , nor a livestock trailer we had. He can get aggressive when he feels threatened, so we do not try to make him do things for everyone's safety, yet 99.9 % of the time, he is the biggest, sweetest teddy bear ever.
The wound kept opening until I was aghast. I could not believe the extent of it and the deep cut. There was a second cut closer to the top of his head. I called my hunter friend and was told he was likely caught in a wire snare trap. One kind of trap will allow the animal out if he is lucky. Charka is lucky, but it cost him a lot of pain. He also was very thin from not eating for 5 days. Finally, in desperation, I got the Vermillion vet clinic to send two technicians out to sedate Charka and take him in.
We discussed options once he was shaved and they reviewed the injury. It was very deep under his throat and less deep at the top of his head. It was infected, even though I had administered antibiotics (good thing). The vet said his idea treatment would be to surgically clean the cut, removing skin from both sides and then stitching it together. The total cost of treatment, fetching him, medications and pain killers would be estimated at $2500 or so. I asked if he would make it without the surgery. Yes, he would, with a slower recovery and he would require much more care, being kept inside for at least a couple of weeks and taken out on a leash. They did put a halter on him since he cannot wear a collar.
So, Charka is home. He is sleeping in the porch. I will gladly keep him in and take him out on a leash to keep the wound from opening. He is on the mend and will be OK.
But what about the snare traps? Charka is my friend, my dog, my family. A coyote or wolf is not, but they do not deserve to suffer from these horrendous traps either. Snare traps are easy for the trappers, but they are not at all humane. The poor critter cannot move and could easily slit the throat seriously enough to bleed to death. That would be a blessing. Most often, that does not happen , and the poor, helpless animal suffers, dying a slow death in excruciating pain, starving to death and dehydrating too. Sick. Do what you can to speak to anyone you know who sets these traps. Tell them to quit. No living thing should be made to suffer in this way.
I am grateful for the outcome for Charka. Your kind thoughts and prayers were most welcome. Charka will survive and be around to chase more critters, greet you at the farm gate and bark at the bad things in the bush. But the coyotes and wolves will not be so lucky. Can you please help ban snare traps?