Sunday, June 12, 2011
Kurt- our Rottweiler
As a puppy he tripped over his large paws more often than he ran on them, and spent most of his time doing doggie messes in places where doggie messes weren't needed. He lived in and all around our home for the first 6 months, trying to get his bearings and grow into himself. We would take him down to the workplace to show our guys, but as that was a work zone, and Kurt wasn't ready yet, we decided against the integration of him yet into that zone.
At about the age of 6 months he was a large puppy--gaining his squarish head, and his large shoulders, but his legs were still too tall for his body and still somewhat gangly. It was those legs that caused the problem on that fateful day.
I had him at home in the backyard, and he was playing very happily with our little terrier, Elsa. As I went into the house to check on the phone, which had been ringing incessantly, I heard a squeal of brakes! I rushed outside to our front yard where the commotion was coming from and found Kurt laying in the middle of the street in front of our house. Apparently he had suddenly found the front yard, and just as suddenly jumped into the street, only to be hit by a car! The driver felt as devastated as I, but Kurt was the most woeful. He had a broken back leg, and we had to stop traffic until we could safely move him, and get him to the vet, hoping that he could be made whole again. Kurt laid in the car, so full of misery and in such a woebegone state! I felt like such a terrible person, for 'letting' this puppy wander into danger. Kurt was examined, and eventually declared in good enough health, but had to have his back leg repaired and set in plaster from just above his ankle up to his hip. He was so pathetic in his demeanour, and let me shower sympathy on him, often demanding more until he was satisfied that I felt as much sadness as he did, as he rolled his large black eyes up at me, and gave soft gentle groans of doggie pain! (Mind you, as time went by, these groans of pain only occurred in my presence. When I wasn't around, he tried to chase butterflies and snap at flies quite happily!)
Aftr his leg was set, we brought him home with clear instructions to not let him put undue pressure on his back leg and to try to rest him until his leg had mended further, allowing the bone to settle, (an estimated period of confinement for at least a week, until we could release him from his closed quarters for more exercise.) As he was still a puppy and prone still to puppy misdemenors and accidents, we confined him by a chain to his kennel outside, limiting his actions, and saving us from the enormous job of clean up after his puppy antics. During the day he was great, as we all tried to spend as much time with him as possible, including cuddles and lots of sympathy, but as night he was on his own. And he didn't like it! Neither did our neighbours. We often went to bed at night with his pathetic howling suddenly occurring and waking up the neighbourhood, and if we weren't woken by his howling, the neighbours made sure that their phonecalls of despair kept us awake. But, soon, he was well enough to be 'let free' from his chain and his closed environment, and allowed to wander around our house yard, and continue his investigations and fascination with life.
The local newspaper editor had a soft spot for Kurt, and while his original injury with his poor puppy face and gangly leg in a cast had made page 3, with a sorrowful photo and story of his pain and suffering, he was eventually made a local town icon as his progress was reported upon. This would occasionally cause us to share his story with him, as we would sit and show him the photos in the paper and read about him so that he knew what was happening out there in the real world. Sometimes he would lick the paper, or us, and sometimes he just would lay on his back, indicating that it was time for a tummy rub, while his awkward leg in the cast angled off to the side.
Eventually the day came when he was allowed to have the cast removed! By this stage, he had grown so much that the cast that had originally reached his hip was about half way down his thigh, and he ran freely on all legs, using the cast as a means of strength, rather than a hindrance. We took him to the vet, and the cast was removed. As he was lifted down from the vet's table, he stood uneasily on his newly freed leg, which without the cast, looked more shrivelled and thin compared to his other 3 muscly legs. He whimpered when we tried to get him to walk, and he just wanted to lay and nurse his smaller leg. The vet said that he was OK, but that Kurt would need to get used to his leg again. He whimpered most of the way home, as he lay pitifully on the back seat of the car, and insisted upon being helped into the patio at home. We all made a fuss over him, and encouraged him to walk, but he wasn't too sure. The attention was what he wanted, and he tried as hard as he could to make sure is lasted as long as it could.
By the next morning, he had forgotten that he needed to limp in front of us, and by lunchtime, he was tentatively running with the girls, trying to keep up with them as they ran around the back yard. The paper ran a story on his recovery--it must have been a lot of slow story days back then...and before we knew it, we had a good friend who volunteered to take Kurt daily to a large creek for swimming practice to strengthen his leg. In about a month, it was hard to tell which leg had been damaged. and Kurt was ready to take on the world.
And believe me, he did!