Thursday, December 19, 2013

Update on Velvet

She went to the vet for a checkup/followup yesterday (December 18th) and the vet was very surprised at how well and how much she has recovered.  She's definitely a strong little girl and it looks as if there won't be any permanent injury.  She won't need any drains and they gave us a few more pain pills, but I don't think she will need many more.  She is already chomping at the bit to get out and play, but we will be limiting her activity for another week.

I have been slowly integrating her back in to the pack, but there will never be a time when she is free-roaming with the three girls, only one at a time and only under direct supervision by me personally.  In the plans are to create another dog yard that she can roam freely in without the three girls she has issues with.

I believe I have a good picture of what may have happened now.  Zena and Velvet always play together, and sometimes it gets a bit rough.  Velvet had a bruised and cracked rib where there were no bite marks, so I believe she was tackled on the hill and may have fallen on the rib and cracked it.  Knowing she was hurt, she snapped at Zena to get her to stop playing, and that set off Moony and Ace.  It is the best and most reasonable explanation, but a reminder that things happen that we can't always control and won't always be there for.  The best we can do is minimize the risk.


At a time like this I find myself wondering what I'm doing and second guessing my choices in life.  All has gone pretty well for the last 6 or so months, and Velvet has been playing well and fitting in with the pack... until Wednesday (December 11).  At the end of my workday I got a frantic call that Velvet had been in a fight with three of the girls (Ace, Moony and Zena) and had been hiding under the table as soon as the other dogs were pulled off her.  It is still a mystery what triggered the attack since they had been getting along so well. 

I raced home as quickly as I could, and found a very torn up girl in great pain.  We rushed her to the emergency clinic and thank goodness got her there in time to save her life.  She stayed there Wednesday night and we took her to our regular vet on Thursday.  She stayed there last night and is still under observation today.  Poor little girl, all she wants is to be loved and to play.  It will be a long hard road for her recovery, but I'm glad she is expected to pull through without permanent disability physically.  She seemed in good spirits when I visited her last night and laid down beside her on the floor of the clinic for a half an hour.  (Thanks again for allowing and indulging me in this, as I felt it very important for her mental well being to know that she was not abandoned and that she is still loved very much.)

I'm hopeful for her future, but this makes me realize that even though we've trained the dogs to get along and generally they do, we can never let down our guard again.  The pack will need to be divided between those we know will never conflict with Velvet, and those that we know have underlying issues with her.  I'm reminded of some advice from a musher I respect very much.  Racing dog pack dynamics change drastically when there are more than 10 dogs.