Saturday, January 8, 2011

Certain things are inevitable

It was fifteen minutes to closing time. Dr. M had been in the surgery room for 2 hours trying to set pins in the puppy's leg. It wasn't going well. An external fixator is difficult enough to set when the dog is an adult with a clean break. This was neither. Really, the owner should have taken the slightly more expensive option and taken her to a specialist to have the bones plated, but it was too late for that now.
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He tried one more time to screw a pin in the tiny space of unbroken bone below the elbow joint. There was a soft but ominous crunching sound. Dr. M set down his tools, took off his gloves and left the room. I glanced at S, who had been monitoring the puppy throughout the surgery. I had just come into the room a few minutes ago to check out the surgery. All the end-of-day chores were finished a few minutes ahead of schedule and I was curious. "He going to call the owner?" I asked.

"Yep."

Dr. M returned in a few moments. "They want to euthanize."

S nodded and left to draw up the Euthasol.

"Why don't they just amputate?" I asked. "I've met quite a few perfectly happy three-legged dogs."

"So have I." He said, "in fact I even knew a three-legged working ranch dog. But this owner said he couldn't bear the sight of a crippled dog. He also said he's afraid the other dogs will pick on it."

S returned with a syringe filled with pink death, and a small body bag. She went to the end of the table and lifted the surgery drape to find the puppy's IV line. A soft, black nose appeared. Spotted around the edges, rounded in that way that 3-month-old puppy features are. Eyes shut, slow breaths fogging the tube. S started to insert the needle into the port. "Wait." I said, and turned to Dr. M. "How much would it cost to amputate?"

He raised his eyebrows. "Probably around a thousand, all told. Why? You thinking of buying yourself a dog?"

I bit my lip and looked at the spotted nose. "Yeah. Let's do it. Tom said he wanted a puppy anyway."

Dr. M grinned, "I'll call up the owner again."

An hour, eleven hundred dollars, and a bottle of Rimadyl later, and I've got myself a puppy.

I've known for a while that Tom and I would end up with another border collie. They're the kind of breed that becomes addictive. I never imagined the circumstances, though.

I gave Tom the honor of naming her. He chose "Samus", named for star character of the Metroid video game series (third most popular Nintendo franchise after Zelda, btw). In Metroid, Samus has a bionic laser canon instead instead of one of her arms.

We'll wait until Sammy is full grown before we fit her with her own laser canon. Those things are expensive. For now, she'll have to make do with her Border Collie Puppy Control Stare Of Cuteness(tm).


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5 comments:

BorderWars said...

OMG, Congratulations! What a gorgeous puppy!

Do tell, how are you pronouncing Samus, is it Sam-us or Same-us?

Gosh, she's just so beautiful, look at that face. And the tripod thing, more power to her. There are so many awesome tripod BCs, I doubt she'll even miss it.

If you have her papers, I'll even run her pedigree for you so you know how many awesome dogs she has to live up to.

What great news. YAY Border Collies!

CyborgSuzy said...

Thanks Christopher! I doubt the rancher registers his dogs, (he wasn't even sure which of his dogs is the father to her litter), but I'll definitely ask.

And we've been saying 'Sam-us'. Or Sammy, which rolls off the tongue better. *G*

MTWaggin said...

She looks like she has taken it all in stride - literally! She's where she is supposed to be and bless you two for giving her life - and a great one to boot.

Retrieverman said...

What a cute little baby!


The reason why I would never do this work is I'd probably have several dozen dogs within a year or two.

jen said...

oh my goodness! just look at her go, too. Beautiful!

you guys are my heroes. I can't wait to watch this pup grow up!