I got to the Arlington Animal Hospital at 8:10. I checked in at the front desk and told them I was there to pick up some "Ace", that Jenifer had called Dr. Saldanha earlier and spoke to him about it. I anxiously waited forty minutes, at which time, a gal named Emma came out to talk to me. She held up a bottle of pills and said, "Now, I've given you five pills in here. Start off with one and wait a half hour. If that doesn't seem to be making him drowsy, then you can give him another one and then wait a half hour. If he still doesn't look drowsy after a half hour, then you can give him a half of another one." I said, "Okay. Thank you so much. We'll bring Buddy back as soon as we can get him here."
I got to Jenifer's house at 9:15. I parked right outside her gate and left my keys in the ignition in case I needed to make a quick get-away (I was planning ahead!). She met me and we walked to the back patio where Buddy was laying in his kennel. I had brought a tube of liverwurst with me (Buddy’s favorite), and I pushed one pill into a ball of it. I walked into Buddy's kennel and held out the liverwurst to him, and he promptly ate it. Good dog! No spitting out the pill. That's the way I like it.
I had also brought a jar of Fly-Off with me. This is a cream that you can apply to a dog's coat to keep the flies off of him. Claudia and I picked it up the night before as we noticed that while Buddy was in the Shelter, the flies were eating him alive. This was due to the fact that he needed a bath desperately. We also noticed the night before that they had been hovering around him at Jenifer's due to his bloody mouth. Jenifer told me, "While we're waiting, why don't you go ahead and put some of that Fly-Off on him." At this time, I took some of the Fly-Off and rubbed it between my hands and then rubbed it on Buddy's shoulders and body area. It was rather greasy and oily and made him look dirtier than he was, but we had to try to do something about the flies as they were driving him crazy.
Jenifer and I sat back and talked while we waited for thirty minutes to go by. While we were talking, I told Jenifer, "I have to be honest with you. Claudia is not going to be taking this dog. I am." Jenifer gave me a look of concern and said, "Wait a minute. That's not what Claudia told Sean at the Foundation." I then explained that Claudia had never planned on taking Buddy, that we had originally planned to just get him off the street and find him a good home as Claudia knew some people in the high desert that were looking for a large dog. However, I told her that since we went through hell to save this dog, I wasn't about to let him go to some stranger, that I would be taking him instead. Jenifer then replied, "Well, that's good because you have the stronger personality anyway. I think you're a better fit for him than Claudia."
Jenifer then asked me if Claudia realized that she's possibly looking at having to spend several thousand dollars to rehab and get Buddy the medical care he needs.. I told her that Claudia realized it was going to cost quite a bit to rehab and treat him, that we had discussed it the night before and her response to me was, "It's for a good cause. I just paid off my car and my credit card, so the timing is good." She then confirmed that Claudia was willing to pay for Buddy's rehab even though she wouldn't be keeping him, and I said she was. Jenifer said, "Wow, what a friend! That's amazing. Lori, this is an incredible opportunity for you. You have someone willing to provide the financial backing for you. This will be an incredible training program that you'll get to go through. Can you imagine, you're going to be training with the same techniques Cesar uses. I will teach you them. How do you feel about that?" I told her I was ecstatic to have such an opportunity--I was thrillled! Jenifer then said she would train both Claudia and I in the techniques Cesar uses and there'd be no extra charge for training both of us. We could attend all the training sessions together. I thought it was a great opportunity and I could hardly contain myself!
We then sat back and continued to watch Buddy, and we both noticed, this guy wasn't even close to being drowsy. I looked at Jenifer and she looked at me, and I said, "How about another one?" She said, "Sounds good to me." So I took another ball of liverwurst and shoved a pill into the middle of it and handed it to him. Down the hatch it went, no problem! Good boy, Buddy! You take pills so well.
We then sat back and waited another thirty minutes. At one point, we noticed Buddy's eyes were looking kind of strange, like he might just be starting to get drowsy. At this time, Jenifer handed me a choke chain and said, "Here Lori. Try putting this on him." I sat down next to Buddy and petted him for a few seconds. I then slowly started to put the choke chain over his head. That brought immediate, swift action on his part and he whipped his head around towards me and clicked his teeth together. I looked at Jenifer and said, "Nope! He's not ready for that."
At this time, I had been there an hour. We had given Buddy two pills, and he didn't appear to be getting too drowsy. I asked Jenifer, "So, should we give him a half like they said or a whole?" She said, "Ah, let's just give him a whole one." So I shoved another pill in a ball of liverwurst, and he again ate it with no problem. I wish my dogs at home took pills as well as this guy! And then we waited........some more.
After about twenty minutes or so, Jenifer told me to try to put the choke chain on Buddy again. At this time, I was standing over him as he was now standing also. As I reached down and started to move the choke chain near his face, he suddenly jumped up, towards my face, and I could clearly hear him click his teeth at me, twice. He had just jumped up to my face level, where I had to lunge backwards, and looked me right in the eye! I'm 5' 7" tall, so this guy can jump when he wants to! I was quite shocked and surprised of course, and I looked to Jenifer for some kind of reassurance or something. She simply looked at me, kind of chuckled, and said, "Oh, that ain't nothing. You should have seen what he did to me yesterday! If he really wanted to get you, he would have lunged at you." Oh, so that was just a warning, huh? Exactly, she said. And then she said, “Gosh, I wish we had that on camera!” Yeah…….me too!
I then went and sat by Jenifer and said, "Okay, now what? Do we go for four or what? Can you give a dog more than three and they're okay?" I then told her what Emma had told me and how she had stopped at two-and-a-half with her instructions. Jenifer said, "I don't know. Let's call the vet and find out." So she picked up her cell phone and called the vet's office. I heard her say, "Hi, this is Jenifer. We've given Buddy three Ace and he's still not drowsy and is quite coherent. Can we give him all five if we need to?" After several more seconds, she got off the phone and turned to me and said, "Yep, we can give him all five if we need to." Really? She said, "Yep, let's do it."
So, I shoved another Ace pill into a ball of liverwurst and held it out to him. Again, he took it ever so gently and swallowed it. Even though he's getting drowsy, he's still able to eat and is gentle while doing so. That's good.......because we've got one more pill left.........if needed........We again waited and watched Buddy. He was getting drowsy, very drowsy. However, as he laid there and tried to fall asleep, every time he laid his head down on his paws as if he was going to go to sleep, a fly would land on him and he'd wake himself up, snapping at it. We watched this happen over and over again, and I told Jenifer, "He's never going to get to sleep. The flys won't leave him alone. Poor guy." She agreed. So much for the Fly-Off huh! (And that stuff wasn't cheap!)
At this time, we could see Buddy was nowhere close to falling asleep, and we were running out of time. When Jenifer had called about the Ace, she was told we had to have Buddy to the vet by noon because they closed from noon to 2:00 p.m. for lunch. It was now 11:10. At this time, Jenifer said, "Let's go ahead and give him one more. We don't have much time." So I shoved another pill into some liverwurst and down the hatch it went.
We waited about twenty minutes and it was obvious that the Ace was now taking affect. Buddy was staggering and having trouble standing. I again tried to put the choke chain on him but got the same affect--him snapping at me. He was still coherent enough to do that! At this time, Jenifer said, "I'm going to go get the tennis racket." I thought to myself, "Oh, the tennis racket. I've seen Cesar use one of those before! He uses those with aggressive dogs." After a couple minutes, Jenifer came out with the tennis racket and told me, "Okay, this is what I need you to do." I promptly moved out of her way and allowed her to walk into Buddy's kennel while I walked out, thinking she was going to show me what I needed to do with the tennis racket. However, I guess she could tell by the look on my face that I wasn't up to it (as this is what she said on her blog--link to the right). Now let me clear up any confusion. It's not that I wasn't up to it, it's that I wouldn't have known what to do with the tennis racket if she had given it to me. I've seen Cesar use it once but that was a long time ago.
So, Jenifer walked into the kennel and headed towards Buddy, holding the tennis racket in one hand and the choke chain in the other. She also had attached another leash onto the leash that was on the choke chain as she said we'd need the extra length to get Buddy into the car. As she moved towards him, he moved to his left and started to walk into the swimming pool that was in his kennel. He seemed to have second thoughts about that as he dunked one foot in the water and then immediatley backed up, against the side of the kennel. Jenifer stood to the side of him and held the tennis racket near his face, which he of course then latched onto. As he was biting on the tennis racket, she took the choke chain and held it near his face. He let go of the tennis racket and immediately pushed his face up against the fence of the kennel, as if to say, "As long as I leave my face pressed up against this fence, you can't get that chain on me!" He's right--she couldn't! He kept his face there for quite some time until Jenifer took her trusty tennis racket and lightly tapped the side of his face with it. She only wanted him to move his head ever so slightly so she could slip the chain over it, and move it he did! He turned to bite at the racket and over went the choke chain! Yes! Choke chain's on. Now to get him out of the kennel and to the car.
Jenifer immediately pulled/led Buddy out of the kennel and towards my car. He, of course, resisted, but she just kept on steadily pulling him forward. We had less than 17 minutes for me to get this dog to the vet by noon, and it was at least a ten minute drive for me to get there. Seven minutes to work her magic and get him into the car. I immediately went to my car and opened both back doors.
As Jenifer got near my car, Buddy really started resisting her efforts to lead him towards my car. At this time, she diverted Buddy's attention away from the car and started walking (yes, he was walking at this time, though she was having to pull him) him around her yard to get him to move forward without so much resistance. She walked him in a U-shaped pattern and then headed back towards my car. As she did this, Buddy immediately started fighting and biting the leash chain (remember--he bit through a nylon leash so Jenifer had to use a chain leash). I said, "My gosh! Look at him fight still!" Jenifer said, "He thinks he's fighting for his life. He's not, but he thinks he is." She then put the tennis racket towards his face and he latched onto that. The poor dog--his teeth and gums were bleeding from biting the tennis racket and leash chain but there was nothing we could do. We had to get him into this car. If only he would realize we were trying to help him. At this time, Jenifer said, "Lori, you're going to have to change his name. Buddy just doesn't fit him." I replied, "Yeah, when you hear the name 'Buddy', you think of a little Beagle with his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging. Not this." We both agreed.
As she got near my car, Jenifer told me, "I'm going to throw the leash into the back seat. You stand on the other side and grab it when I throw it in." I said, "Okay. Gotcha." She pulled Buddy towards the door and then got him close enough to throw the leash on the back seat. She threw the leash onto the seat and I then quickly grabbed it. However, at this time, Buddy still wasn't ready to get into the car willingly. As soon as I grabbed the leash, he pulled backwards, pulling me across the seat of the car, towards the other side. I tried to pull him back into the car, at which time, he jumped up, twisted around, and bit the arm rest on the door! Jenifer cried out, "Oh ....your beautiful car!" I looked and there were two puncture marks in the arm rest, along with some drops of blood (not much though). I just looked at her, with a "Whatcha gonna do?" look. I held on to the leash, and then Buddy all of a sudden got the bright idea to crawl under the car. At this time, Jenifer grabbed the leash from me and started to try to pull him back out. I immediately climbed out of the car and went to her side and assisted her in pulling him out from under the car. He had "wedged" himself in so tight under my car, it took both of us pulling on his leash with all our strength to get him out. I felt bad as the choke chain was as tight as it could possibly be around his neck, I was afraid we were going to severely hurt him. I asked Jenifer “Are we hurting him?” and she said, “No”. I couldn't even think about it at the moment anyway as our immediate goal was to get him out of the car. With both of us pulling, we were finally able to get him out from under the car.
Buddy immediately went and leaned up against the side of the left passenger door, and Jenifer kept him there using her tennis racket. He was looking up at Jenifer, growling and snarling. She gently nudged him with the tennis racket and said, "Dude, the only safe place is in the car." By now, Buddy was panting heavily and was totally exhausted. Remember, he's got 5, yes 5, Acepromaxine in him, when you shouldn't have to give a dog more than two. He's hurt, all over probably, and what we just had to put him through didn't help any aches and pains he originally had. He'd been living on the streets and then at the shelter and isn't in the best of shape and is rather thin. Where the dog got the energy and stamina to put up such a fight is beyond either one of us. Jenifer even said, "I can't believe the fight this dog has in him with five Ace in him. This is unreal."
As Buddy sat there panting, looking up at Jenifer, to our astonishment, he literally turned around and climbed into the car! We were both shocked! Jenifer said, "I don't believe it! He's in the car. I wish we had this on camera. Now, hurry, go. I'll open the gate and call the vet and let them know you're on your way.
I immediately jumped in my car and thanks to my planning for a quick get-away, I was able to start backing up and met Jenifer at the gate. She opened the gate to her driveway, and I backed out and headed to the vet’s office as fast as I safely could. While I was driving, I looked in the back and noticed Buddy was initially on the floorboard. A few minutes later, I saw that he was slowly climbing onto the back seat as he had half his body on the seat and the other half on the floorboard still. After another minute or so, he slowly pulled the rest of his body up onto the seat. The poor guy was so exhausted. He just laid there with his head resting on his paws, panting heavily. I hated that he had to go through all this, but we had to get him the medical care he needed and now as his jaw looked terrible.
I got to the Arlington Animal Hospital at 12:03 and pulled up next to one of the entrance doors on the side. I ran into the office and said, "We're here!" The receptionist looked at me kind of strangely and said, "Who?" I said, "Buddy. We got him in the car and he's here." She said, "Oh, okay. Hold on a minute. Where are you parked?" I told her, "Right outside that side door." She then went to the back for a moment and then came back and told me, "Go on out to your car. They'll be right out to get him."
I walked out to my car and looked in the window at Buddy. He was still lying on the seat, resting. After a minute or so, Emma came out with two male assistants. She was holding a come-along and I told her, "Please, let's not use that unless we absolutely have to. I think you can just get out him out using a leash right now as he's quite sedated." One of the male assistants then reached in and put a leash over Buddy's head and pulled him out of the car. He didn't exactly go willingly, but he didn't put up a fight either. They lead him into the vet's office, and I went and parked my car in the parking lot. I went back into the lobby and was told I'd need to wait for the vet to meet with me.
I waited for approximately thirty minutes and then was led into a room to wait for Dr. Saldanha. He came in and sat down. He was very attractive for a "bald" guy (shaved head) with huge brown eyes. He looked at me and said, "Your dog has a lot of issues, you know?" I said, "Yeah, I know, but that's why we hired Jenifer as our trainer." He said, "Well, you got the best then, but don't tell her I said that because I don't want her head to swell." He then proceeded to go over his findings with me. He said Buddy was about 5-7 years old, but he wasn't sure because he had chewed on metal at some point in his life and wore his teeth down, so it was hard to say. He could actually be as young as three. Dr. Saldanha said Buddy had two fractured teeth, and they would be removing them. The jaw obviously looked bad, and they would operate and put stitches inside and outside. Some stitches would dissolve, but some would have to be removed. They would be checking him for parasites and any other diseases and would be doing a great deal of blood work. In addition, he would be neutered and have a bath.
Then came the bad news. Dr. Saldanha pulled out a sheet of paper and turned it towards me. The price estimate was between $1,800 and $2,200. He wanted to give me an idea of what we were facing as far as cost, and that's what we were looking at. I told him that I'd need to call my friend as she was the one picking up the cost for Buddy's medical care. He then stepped out and I called Claudia and told her "the news". She said to go ahead, that we needed to get the medical care done. At this point, we couldn't exactly negotiate anyway, so what choice did we have. It's not like we could shop around Not with this dog.
Dr. Saldanha came back into the room a few minutes later, and I told him, "Okay, let's do it. Whatever needs to be done, we'll do." He then told me that Buddy would be ready in a couple hours and he left the room. While I was waiting for someone to come back with all the paperwork I needed to sign, the two male assistants who had gotten Buddy out of my car earlier came into the room. The one told me, "We need you to go and get the biggest crate you can find. We want to be able to do what we need to do with this dog and then when he wakes up, have him in the crate already. We don't want to fight with putting him back in the car or a crate." I replied, "I don't either!" He then said, "You need to get the biggest crate you can get because he's going to have an E-collar on when he wakes up, so we need the extra room for his collar."
I admit, I was quite overwhelmed at this point because I didn't even know if a crate the size they were talking about would fit in my car, even if it was taken apart and in two pieces. I didn't have a truck and couldn't even try to borrow one because I only had a couple hours to get the crate they needed. I told them I would see what I could do about finding one, and they left the room.
A short time later, a female assistant came in and had me sign all the necessary paperwork. She told me to call in a couple hours and see how Buddy was doing and plan on picking him up later that day. I agreed to do so and went out to my car.
As I said, at this time, I was very overwhelmed. It seemed nothing was going right. First, we had to give Buddy all five Ace and put him through hell just to get him into the car. Now, I have to run out and find a crate big enough for him, and there was no way it was going to fit in my car. I called Jenifer and told her what I had been told about a crate. She reassured me that everything would be okay, that I just needed to come back to her house, and she would see if the size crate we needed would fit in her car. She had one in her spare bedroom for Solomon (one of the dogs she trains) so she'd measure it. If it did, then we'd go get one at Petco, down the street. She made it sound so easy, and I felt so much better. That's why I called her--I knew she'd have an answer.
I got to Jenifer's house and met her mom, Yolanda, at this time. She was very nice and reassured me that everything would be fine, and Buddy was going to be just fine too. I could see where her daughter got her calm, reassuring demeanor--it appeared to be from her mother.
After Yolanda left, Jenifer told me she had measured the biggest crate she had and it would fit in her car. We then got into her car and went to Petco to pick up the crate. Jenifer walked in, looked around, found the largest crate in the place, and told the associate, "We need that crate." He got it down and took it to the cash register for us. We then got a bag of Blue Buffalo dog food and headed to the cashier. $300 later, I carried the dog food and Jenifer and the associate carried the crate out to her car. After Jenifer lifted up the back seat in her car, the crate fit perfectly in the back of her Honda Element. There's one good purpose for those funky-looking cars!
We then headed to the vet's office. We got there and took the crate in through the back door. As we carried it in, I saw Buddy lying on a table, with Emma and a vet assistant working over him. I guess they were bathing him as they were rubbing his fur with towels. Poor guy--he was dead to the world with some tube leading out of his mouth. We then left and on the way to Jenifer's house, she looked at the time and said, "I'm starving. How about some lunch?" I said "Sure" and we stopped at a Subway. Since Jenifer came through for me on purchasing the crate, I gladly bought her lunch!
As we got back into Jenifer's car, I checked my cell phone and found that I missed a call from the vet's office. I called the office and they said Buddy was ready to be picked up. We got to the office and we were lead into a room and told to wait for Emma to come talk to us. After a few minutes, Emma came in and gave us a rundown on everything Dr. Saldanha had done to Buddy. She said he had neutered him, pulled two fractured teeth, ran blood tests to check for parasites and any other diseases he might have, gave him all his shots, and stitched up his jaw. She then provided us with after-care instructions and said Buddy would be sedated for probably 24 hours as it would take that long for the Ace to wear off. She said he would more than likely sleep until tomorrow afternoon. We could give a small amount of wet dog food and water only.
At this time, I asked Emma about Buddy’s jaw. She indicated there was a really bad infection in the jaw and they had to put stitches on both the outside and the inside of the jaw to repair it. I indicated the jaw injury was from his fighting the come-along when he was taken to the Shelter and when he was removed from the Shelter and taken to Jenifer’s. Emma immediately said, “Oh no. This injury isn’t from the come-along. This is an older injury. It’s not recent. He’s had it for quite some time as there was a lot of dead, infected tissue that had to be removed. It was quite nasty once we got in there and started cleaning it out.” I replied that I thought it was from the come-along and she reiterated that no, it was not a recent injury. I was shocked to hear this and realized the dog must have endured an incredible amount of pain. No wonder he was growling and snapping at people. He was in excruciating pain. He had two fractured teeth and a nasty tear in his jaw and he’s fighting and biting on the metal pole of a come-along. I can’t even imagine the pain he must have been in and endured. Thank God dogs live in the moment and he wouldn’t dwell on all the pain he’s had to endure in his life.
We finished talking to Emma and then went to the front counter so I could sign paperwork and take care of the “damages”. I was presented an invoice and should have been sitting down. The total for this vet visit was $2,647—slightly higher than what I had been quoted earlier. I wondered why no one called me to advise me of the difference in cost, but then realized they had probably got to working on Buddy and found he needed more care than originally anticipated. Besides, there was nothing we could do. We needed to do what’s best for Buddy, and I was sure they did exactly that.
Jenifer pulled her car up next to the building and Buddy was brought out in his crate. The crate was placed in the back of Jenifer’s car and we looked inside at him. He had an E-collar on and he was lying in his crate, quite sedated at this time. He was barely able to hold his eyes open while looking up at us. I made the comment that a good day of sleep is exactly what he needed, and Jenifer agreed.
We proceeded to Jenifer’s house and she called her Dad and asked him to meet us there so he could help us unload Buddy’s crate. As we pulled into the driveway, Jenifer’s Dad, Alan, was already there and he followed us to the car. We all three lifted the crate out of the car and carried it to Buddy’s kennel area. We put the crate inside the kennel in the corner and took the door off so he could go in and out at will. It was obvious that Buddy was going to stay in his crate for the time being and he’d sleep for the rest of the night.
We talked with Alan for a while and then he left. Jenifer and I talked for a short time and I asked her about taking Buddy back to the vet to get his stitches out. I asked her how we’d plan on doing that without ripping his mouth back open if we put him on a leash. I suggested that we just put him in the crate and then put the crate in the car, but Jenifer replied, “No, he has to learn to ride in the car sooner or later.” I felt sick to my stomach as I couldn’t stand the thought of again putting the dog through what we had put him through that day to get him in the car. I thought to myself, “Well, we’ve got two weeks to figure out something.” Jenifer must have seen my apprehension as she said, “I’m not going to worry about it for two weeks and don't you either. We’ll worry about it then.” I said “Okay” and then I headed home as I was quite exhausted from the mental strain of the last week and a half, along with the stress just from today. It had been a very long day, but at least we succeeded in getting Buddy to the vet and getting him the care he so desperately needed. One hurdle down; one more to go—the next and hopefully last vet visit. I tried to tell myself, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not for two weeks”, but that didn’t help much as the whole idea just stressed me out. The dog had been through so much already. I didn’t want to put him through anymore. We’ll see what the next two weeks hold.......