Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

When you least expect it, is always an emergency

by User Not Found | Mar 29, 2013

Yard work is not always uneventful.  Warmer days bring us out in to the yard working on cleaning up all the debris we got sick of cleaning up last fall.  Sticks, leaves, weeds, acorns, and dead plants we forgot to bring inside when the temperature dropped.  If you’re lucky enough, you also have helpers….I have three of them.  Some of them take their yard work more seriously than others.  I rake up a pile of sticks, Gracie grabs one out, runs around the yard with it, tosses it aside and then starts all over again.  Gus, however takes his yard work much more seriously.  It’s not just all fun and games.  He carefully selects a stick from the yard and then finds a nice place to lay down and begins to chew it into tiny little pieces…or mulch if you will.  He rarely eats the shredded pieces, but manages to mangle his gums at times.  He gets a throat splinter every once in a while that he coughs up sounding like an old man who’s smoked a pack a day for 60 years.  Shaggy, well he just lays in the sunshine and watches the world go by…he’s like my little Ferdinand the bull.

Last weekend while I was fixing some fencing, I heard a hacking cough from the middle of the yard.  I looked up to find Gus making an awful racket.  After four or five coughs I began to walk toward him, concerned there was something serious.  As I walked toward him, I saw the reminents of a stick laying in the grass at his feet.  Another cough made me grab his mouth and pry it open.  I could see a small amount of blood near the edge of his back teeth but nothing else.  He squirmed from my grasp and shook his head but continued to cough.  My mind had already started rolling….where’s the closest emergency clinic….where is my phone….how do I get him to the car….At that moment I saw the seriousness of the issue, Gus began pawing at his face.  Breathing? Yes.  Something stuck in his throat? Maybe.  I pried his mouth open again and reached in and grabbed his tongue.  When I pulled it out, I looked down his throat and all around the back of his mouth for anything that could be stuck.  Nothing.  I felt the outside of his throat….nothing.  Just as I was giving up hope, ready to pick him up, put him in the car and drive like the wind, I pried his mouth open one more time….and then I saw it!  Wedged between his top two rows of teeth on the roof of his mouth, was a piece of the stick he had been chewing on.  It had broken off on either end and cemented itself there.  At first attempt I couldn’t get it out, it was stuck in there so tightly.  I put my game face on and reached for it again, this time, success!  Gus shook his head and looked at me.  I have a feeling he was waiting for me to yell at him, but really I was just relieved he was ok.  For the next couple of days I checked his teeth, gums and the roof of his mouth for obvious signs of scrapes and scratches that could lead to infection.  I also made sure he continued to eat and drink normally and of course continue to behave in his usual manner.

So what’s the lesson here?  It was just a normal day out in the yard with my dogs doing what they usually do, but in a split second, it could have turned in to something much more serious that included a trip to the ER.  But even in this instant, I learned a lesson about being prepared.  Sure, I may appear to have it all together, but to be honest, I didn’ t know exactly where I would go without thinking.  The truth is, in moments like this when we least expect it, you don’t have time to Google your nearest emergency vet or search for one on your GPS, because if it’s a real emergency, every second counts.  You may not have help, you may find yourself alone with three dogs, one in distress and not even a neighbor around.  Do it right now, go to your computer or whatever it is you use and find an emergency vet, close to your house.  Write the number down, map it out and save it in your phone or your GPS.  Seriously, GO!

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