When “Bad” Things Happen to Good Wolfdogs

Kainan and shadow“This is going to hurt me far more than it’s going to hurt you.”

Did you hear that one growing up? I did. That line either meant that you were about to get punished OR you were possibly going to the doctor to get a shot.

For the record, although I grew up in the “spare the rod, spoil the child” era, my parents never actually spanked me. The threat of a pop on the butt was quite enough to keep me in line, thank you very much.

I did get one spanking in my tender youth. Scarred me for life. It was in the second grade and it was a rainy day, so no playground time. Instead, our class was supposed to be playing quietly…QUIETLY…in the gymnasium.

We didn’t pull off the quietly part very well. The gym teacher walked in and found us all running and screaming like little demons. She told the entire class to line up and proceeded to give us each a light, but meaningful swat on the bottom (yes, kids, there was a time when teachers were allowed to give spankings AND they had rather impressive paddles hanging on display in the classroom).

I was terrified. I kept moving back in the line until I was the last kid standing. The gym teacher was HUGE (in my seven year old eyes) and I was the second smallest kid in my class. It was the “tap” heard ’round the world, in my memory.

And I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt either of us very much.

So yesterday I had to deliver that line to Kainan. “Oh buddy, this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.”

You know you ALWAYS end up saying the exact things your parents once said to you. You remember…you rolled your eyes at the time and now YOU’RE using the same damn lines! Vicious cycle, this growing up thing.

Obviously I was not about to give Kainan a spanking. Do what you will to your kids, but do NOT strike my wolfdog.

I was delivering him to the vet for “a small surgical procedure.” YOU KNOW. That procedure.

Yes, it was time for our big, handsome wolfdog to lose a few vital parts. We had waited a bit to neuter Kainan to allow him to regain his health after finding him nearly starved to death last August. From his measly 38 pounds then, to his 100+ pounds now, he has grown and thrived.

And he’s been getting just a bit cocky in the process (is that a play on words?).

Actually, 9.5 times out of 10, he really does get along well with our other dogs. He loves to play and he has always been gentle, despite that fact that he easily weighs 40 pounds more than our next largest dog here.

Toby bossHe even bows down to our “big guys.” Toby and Howie are our resident dogs in charge. They are both 60 pound Dalmatians and Kainan submits to them on a daily basis. One look from either of these spotted boys sends Kainan into a slinking, groveling display. He presses his ears back, he lowers his head, he licks his lips, he licks their muzzles in a charmingly submissive display. And then he generally falls over on his back in ultimate surrender.

He could easily kick either dog’s butt if he wanted to, but HE doesn’t pull the “this will hurt me more than it will hurt you line.” He does not. He respects his elders.

Lately, however, he has had a little attitude change toward some of his friends here. Oh, not the girls. He’s still a big Romeo…and some of our littlest girls are his favorite play pals. No, it’s his friends Bernie, the pit bull mix, and Boog, the cattle dog.

In recent play sessions with these boys, I’ve seen Kainan’s attitude shift a bit. He has been a bit rough with this boys at times. And it hasn’t been any serious threat yet, but he will often stiffen his body posture and place his head over their backs with a hardened stare, a tight mouth and erect ears.

These are all little doggy/wolfy postures that suggest our Kainan has decided to assert himself…with dogs that really have no interest in being assertive themselves.

A little less testosterone is part of the cure for this new-found machismo.  And that brings us back to our “this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” moment yesterday. I was dropping Kainan off at the veterinary hospital to be neutered, microchipped, and to have a a gastropexy, an elective prophylactic procedure to head off the tragic complications that come with a condition known as gastric dilatation and volvulus, commonly called bloat.

Bloat is an unpredictable and almost always catastrophic event in which fermented gas accumulates in a dog’s stomach and causes the entire organ to twist and flip over on its long axis. Left untreated, bloat will kill a dog within a matter of hours. The condition hits hard and fast and requires immediate emergency treatment.

Jim and I know firsthand. In our years of having so many dogs in our lives, we’ve had dogs bloat and Jim even lost his beloved malamute to it. It’s a terrible, terrifying, agonizing illness.

Emergency treatment often consists of a gastropexy, in which the dog’s stomach is sutured to the body wall, preventing it from twisting. Larger dog breeds with deep chests are more prone to bloat, so many people with “at risk” breeds opt to have the gastropexy procedure done proactively when a dog is spayed or neutered.

Gastropexy will not prevent the build up of gas and bloat, but it will prevent the stomach from doing a deadly flip-flop and is a life-saving procedure.

Kainan is a big, deep chested boy and after consulting with our veterinarian, we decided the extra surgical procedure was a good choice for him.

But it did mean more time under general anesthetic. It did mean an abdominal incision in addition to the relatively simple (I know men…I know…) neuter incision. And it may not be apparent to Kainan in the aftermath, but this truly does hurt me more than it hurt him.

My big guy looked pitiful when I returned to the vet hospital to pick him up. He was still a bit groggy. He kept his ears pinned to his skull, his head hanging low, and his tail limply wagging just a bit upon seeing me. Pit-i-ful.

He was confused. He was sore. He wanted the heck out of there.

I’ll admit it. My heart ached for my sweet boy.

I would like to assure all Kaniacs out there (this is the name I have given to Kainan’s fans…and he has them!), that the big guy came through with flying colors and two less testicles.

He is recovering nicely, though I’ll anthropomorphize and say that he is milking it a tad. OH what a sad, sad face. I don’t know if he understands at all what just happened…and realistically I know he doesn’t…but the look on his face when he took a peek between his back legs? Well…priceless.

Kainan and friends

Kainan’s friends checking out his post surgery smells. Notice his “goat ears.”

A little pain now will help keep the peace in the dog pack at Tails You Win Farm and will prevent an unplanned army of little Kainans in the future (yes…they would have been adorable…but still!). And, just as the little microchip implanted between his shoulders is a proactive step to protect him, the gastropexy means that we have taken measures to ensure Kainan’s ongoing health and well being.

It was a good day. It really was. Seriously Kainan, it was a good day. I think it’s going to take me a bit to convince him.

Damn it. This does hurt.

One thought on “When “Bad” Things Happen to Good Wolfdogs

  1. Consider me a Kaniac! (That’s a great term, by the way.) 🙂 I really like reading all your updates about this fellow, and I’m glad to hear that he came through his surgeries with “flying colors”!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s