One observation should be apparent. Caymans well-being is my priority. In this post I will attempt to explain some of the obstacles we have faced, and how this has grown our trust, bond, and love for each other.
LITTLE RED DOG (sleeping underneath)
As a new puppy to the house environment Cayman adjusted, as did Sandi and I. But as the months went by I started to notice “issues” to his little personality. My little red dog was quick to pick up cue’s like housebreaking, sit and stay. But there was always something bubbling just under the surface that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Couldn’t quite figure out, just something not quite ‘normal’ with this little red dog. Then I realized he had “issues”.
Apparent right away was his yip/bark of which he would do with ear-splitting intensity, and frequency. This I would grow to understand was because he was hard of hearing. I believe he was trying his best to communicate. This is a problem I’m sorry to say that I didn’t figure out until later in his life. I now use what could be the equivalent of (canine) sign language.
AND THEN THERE WAS HIS LOVE OF FOOD
I saw merging in his personality an intense attraction to food. This I was about to realize, was his true ‘deeper understanding’. He was constantly trying to communicate through his eyes FEED ME, or WAS THAT FOOD? or WHERE IS THE FOOD? or DO YOU HAVE FOOD? To him, this little red dog, food was all-consuming. One positive point is the ability to use food as a tool. This has been especially beneficial to him in times of stress like grooming or vet visits.
FOOD – SURGERY 1
This adorable picture was taken only moments before someone held a 4″ sparerib bone just above his head so he would jump to get it. Which he did, and then he proceeded to swallow it whole. I immediately took Cayman to an animal emergency clinic. Where x-rays were taken, and gave him 8-12 hours to have the “object” pass. Unfortunately, the “offending object” didn’t pass as hoped. The Doctor at the clinic specializes in a technique that is somewhat like ‘lassoing’ foreign objects from our beloved pets. He went down to his stomach through his throat. The danger of this type of surgery is the throat could be easily damaged when retrieving the object. However, the operation was done successfully and Cayman was back to himself in a couple of days.
A VISITATION DAY WITH LITTLE RED DOG
In January 2004 I had a marriage failure and moved. Cayman went to live with my ex-spouse. Sandi, my lab stayed with me as she needed more care due to health issues. In a legal agreement drawn out by my lawyer I specified requirements to cover the care, both long and short-term, of Cayman. It included visitation rights, and regards to Caymans health care that I had final say. This contract though at the time seemed an unnecessary and frivolous expense, literally saved Caymans life.
CAYMAN’S BACK INJURY
His most debilitating injury is his lower back. In February 2005 I received a call from my ex-spouse that said simply, “I thought I should let you know Cayman hurt his back I am having him put down in the morning. I thought you might want to see him before I do”. Cayman was at the animal emergency clinic and when I got there he was in quite a state of distress. They, at the clinic explained that Cayman had experienced an “unexplained trauma” to his lower spine. Due to the instructions given by my ex-spouse, the staff had only given Cayman a mild pain-killer. This was intended to get him through the night as Cayman was scheduled to be euthanized in the morning.
Given the circumstances I immediately stepped into the role as Caymans caregiver. I requested that all that could be done to help him be carried out at my expense. Over the next month Cayman made steady progress at the clinic. And although he was still in some mild discomfort, he was ready to go home after the month. It was at this time that my ex-spouse informed me that he no longer wanted Cayman and would have him euthanized should he be returned into his care. That day I took Cayman into my home knowing he would be loved and cared for forever.
That was over 7 years ago. Although Cayman has occasional relapses with his back he is happy, and well-adjusted. His fears, and nervousness when anyone is near his back or stomach are becoming less frequent. Most importantly the Little Red Dog is loved, and cared for.
FOOD – SURGERY 2
Cayman needs constant attention when on his walks, or even just in the yard. He tends to always have his nose to the ground in search of any food source. Dirt, cedar chips, small sticks, or human food of any kind is especially noteworthy to this little red dog.
One day Caymans appetite was a bit off and immediately I knew something wasn’t right. Within a few hours he was lethargic and then vomiting. We took him to the animal emergency clinic who informed us that they suspected he might have eaten something foreign. He was kept overnight to see if it would pass. It didn’t, x-rays were taken and a foreign object was detected. Another two days of waiting to see if it would pass naturally. On the 4 day the specialist tried the ‘lassoing’ technique, which unfortunately failed. Then came surgery to withdraw the ‘foreign object’. This object turned out to be a sharp piece of plastic in the shape of a spear head, twisted around it was wire. The plastic had trapped low in his stomach and could not pass through his bowel. Then things turned for the worse for the little red dog as his 5 inch incision got badly infected. This was further complicated by Cayman’s complete phobia of having anyone, or anything near his ribs or his stomach. This fear makes him arch his back which then pinches the nerve in his lower spine. This reaction in Cayman compounded the issue as he needed to have the incision cleaned, and dried several times a day. This infection progressively worsened over a 1 month period. An antibiotic finally had an effect and slowly the infection cleared.
I have tried muzzles, both hard and soft to keep him from eating off the ground plus a multitude of other paraphernalia. I am however unable to find a suitable apparatus for the little red dog. This is because his eyes bulge and he has a very short muzzle. I have not given up on my search and hopefully will find something suitable to curb his scavenge hunt.
Love and a little red dog named Cayman
That one phone call in 2005 put into motion a series of events that would change me forever. It would make me aware of just how much this planet needs people to care, and have respect for the life living on it. To do just one kind act will not only affect the other in receiving, but yourself as well, in the giving.
As for the Little Red Dog, he needed me that day to save his life. I believe in that one-act of saving him I received in return, Love and a Little Red Dog.