A couple weeks ago, a gentleman called our clinic saying that his dog had been attacked by a pit bull and asked if we had an available veterinarian to tend to him. Of course we did, and I told him to come straight away. I warned our doctor, Dr. H, that we had a bite wound coming in.
Tank, a 1.5 year old English Bull Dog, had not fared well against the pit bull that attacked him. The entire backside of his neck (along his topline) had several (and I mean, several) puncture wounds from the attack dog. In case you're wondering what an English Bull Dog looks like:
This breed is not exactly my cup of tea. They are sweet dogs, but I'm not a fan of the smooshed-face dogs. However, in Tank's case, he grew on me.
Because of his injuries, Tank was very sensitive and not overly cooperative. However, Dr. H and the tech were able to clean up the wounds. Dr. H told Tank's owner that she wanted to at least keep him over-night. The owner understood and left Tank in our care.
A couple days later, I came back in after a day off, and at some point in the morning Dr. H was working on Tank. His wounds on the back of his neck was now all dead tissue and was needing to be cut away. The end result was ugly. It was down to the last layer of skin that covered muscles.
Tank's neck later that night.
Taking Tank for a walk proved to be interesting. I put a leash around his neck very carefully, and just kept calling to him for him to follow me.
Tank's owners came to visit him daily. The first time the wife and her kids came in and I took them back. I had to warn them how ugly the wound was. I mean. Ugly. You can see for yourself. I also had to warn them about the smell. The poor dog was stinking up our treatment area pretty badly. I nearly cried with them when I took them back. The wife got teary, and her kids started crying. It took all I had to not lose it with them. I spoke to the wife about the dog attack and she said she got pictures of the dog that had done the attacking, including blood all down it's front. I told her that she needed to file a complaint with the police department - Animal Control wouldn't come get the dog unless they managed to trap it on their property. Evidently the owner of the pit bull has a total of 5 pit bulls (in CA you have to have a kennel license if you have 6 or more dogs), and they all keep breaking through the property fence no matter how many times Tank's owners patched it up. And all 5 dogs run wild and are aggressive. Tank's owners worry about their own children. I told her she really ought to file a complaint with the police and to take the pictures to them as evidence. I don't know if they have or not to date. But I sincerely hope they have.
As I said, they visited him daily. I told them that pets know when their people come to visit. Tank was kind of out of it, and not overly responsive the first few days. But they do know and they do like seeing their people while in the hospital. Just like people like having their family visit them.
After roughly two weeks of a hospital stay, the owners had to make some tough decisions. Tank had a very long road ahead of him in the healing process. And the owners only had so much money. In fact, they were out of money. Their bill was sitting around $1200. Tank's bill could easily run up to $5000 or more before long and the healing road would be long and hard. Tank still needs a lot of pain medicine and antibiotics and would require them for quite some time. We had been giving him IV fluids as he didn't always drink or eat enough.
Part of my sucky Saturday last weekend was that Dr. H called me at 9am (I went in at 10), to tell me that Tank was probably going to be euthanized because the owners were simply out of money and didn't want Tank to suffer anymore than he already had. She said that they'd discontinued the meds because of the euthanization.
The wife called the clinic a couple times saying that she couldn't get a hold of her husband and didn't want to do it with him there. The doctor on call that weekend told me to tell them that when they could come in, to call our answering service and he would meet them at the clinic.
I was asked to do treatments that evening, but was told that there was nothing to do for Tank. So I took care of the two parvo puppies and then when I was done I went to see Tank.
And I cried.
It was the worst thing I've ever seen. I could see the pain in his eyes. I have never in my entire life seen any living thing in that much pain. I petted him along his back and back legs. I felt it was important that he get some love. His owner wouldn't show up to put him out of his misery without her husband. They insisted on being there. I told him over and over that I was so sorry. I was so mad that I couldn't do anything. That the doctor wouldn't "give" away some pain meds so Tank wouldn't suffer so badly. I could only imagine the pain this poor dog was in, and even then, I still don't think my imagination came close.
My heart broke for Tank.
I left there to have dinner with my BFF. I got hugs. I got home, and I told my parents. My parents have never seen me cry over any animal that has come into a clinic I've worked for. I usually can hide it fairly well. But I couldn't hide my anger and broken heart over Tank. I got Mom hugs.
When I came in on Monday I asked the tech who had been on-call on Sunday if the owners came in over the weekend. She said no, there had been no need - Tank was dead when she walked in Sunday morning. He had died alone and in the worst kind of pain.
Rest in peace, little man. Rest in peace.