because polka will never die!
I never throw sticks for my dog. Sometimes we play ball but she gets bored after 3 to 4 times. Usually we just do find-the-dummy-and-bring-it-games. For that she has to concentrate and search thoroughly. Playing fetch isn't good for most dogs. First of all the sudden stop after a hard sprint isn't good for the joints of the legs, and second quite a number of dogs are on a constant adrenaline rush when playing ball. You might know those dogs as ball junkies. Sure, it's an easy way to wear a dog out and make it tired but you can do so with stuff that requires them to use their brain as well.
I am not sure how to add photos as there are two which go with the story but I figured it was more important to post the actual story than the photos.
here we go:
""""Please share this: A story that shows why you should NEVER throw a stick for a dog.
I find myself telling this story at least once a week and based on the reactions I get, it is clearly a story I should be sharing with the general public ...if for no other reason than to get the main message across -- DO NOT THROW STICKS FOR YOUR DOG.
I took Baby in about 3 years ago and while I won't give you the whole sob story about how I got her, you should know that she is a senior and she is my world. I would do just about anything for her and that includes what ended up being a $20,000 bill (give or take....)
At the start of 2013 Baby had a really nasty vomiting fit that lasted about 24 hours. While it is unclear exactly why this happened (vet concluded she had likely scavenged something really bad on her walk) the issue led to several tests--long story short, we found out she had a vaginal mass. Why is this important you ask? Well it has to do with her being on chemo medication (making her case a special one).
In late April we decided that Baby had been kept quite quiet for a while and was becoming a bit more stressed from all of the attention (surgeries, vet appointments, etc.). We decided to take her out and play fetch--a game she has played thousands of times with balls, Frisbees, and yes, sticks. Never before had we questioned our use of sticks--she would pick them up on walks to get us to throw them...she loved it. Upon perhaps the 10th throw my boyfriend and I hear this blood curdling scream. We look over to see Baby standing across the park trembling. Of course we run right over and try to decipher what happened. We noticed that one of her legs was shaking considerably more than the others--did she hurt her leg? We didn't know. I quickly picked her up (and this is a dog that did not normally like to be picked up, but she didn't fight me on it) and we called the vet and brought her straight in.
After a check and some observing it had appeared that she had some sort of issue with her leg and an awful cough--it wasn't clear---she could walk but she wasn't responding to basic neuro tests very well, not uncommon with her (and we more recently found out she has a neurological deficit--which got worse over night more in August). Anyways, our vet wasn't able to determine the issue and so they booked a neuro consultation with Canada West for the following morning. We were told that if her condition worsened over night, we should take her there immediately as they have a 24 hour ICU. When we left, she was still walking. By the time we got home, she wasn't able to get out of the car. We carried her inside and put her on the bed. She coughed intermittently and didn't move for quite some time. We realized this wasn't just her leg anymore.... we brought her straight to Canada West.
The staff took Baby into the back to get some diagnostics and keep her comfortable. We sat down with the night doctor and while he was extremely kind, he didn't sugar coat her condition -- we weren't sure she would make it through the night. I can't tell you how awful that night was. The next day the neuro specialist came in around 9 and took a look at Baby. After some tests it was clear that this wasn't a neuro issue--Baby had a tear in her throat (medical terms were beyond me...this is what I understood). We learned that, likely, the stick caught in the ground and Baby had impaled herself on it. I remember feeling helpless, guilty and furious. My girl had a tear in her throat from an honest game of fetch and it was my fault for not being smarter. We got to see Baby and her condition was no better--her eyes looked up at us but her body remained lifeless. We were told that what had happened was that because she was on chemo, her immune system was more or less shot--she went septic. For now the plan was to watch her and keep her comfortable.
We went again the next day and if you can believe it, she looked worse. She wasn't able to breathe through her nose because this bloody-like fluid was clogging her nose and dripping out--they had to insert something to help her breathe. At this time she also had massive swelling around her face and neck. She looked....no words can explain....she looked like every dog persons biggest fear---helpless, sick, scared and alone. Her body was still very much lifeless and her eyes told me she was scared.
The next day the swelling remained but she was able to sit up with the help of some pillows. I remember laying in her cage cradling her. The staff came in to chat with me every now and then--assuring me that while not common, such an accident as this wasn't unheard of. I was beside myself....how could no one have made this clear to the public? Even if the chance of an incident like this is small--shouldn't there be something, somewhere, telling people about how dangerous sticks are.
The next day Baby wasn't much better but as my boyfriend and I were sitting with her, we noticed that she lifted her leg as though to scratch her ear. This was the first sign of movement she made with us! We weren't sure what to make of it and we were both reluctant to get too excited.
The following day we were in the waiting room, waiting to be let in to see her and the receptionist excitedly greeted us 'she's starting to walk!' she said -- I don't remember what my response was beyond tears streaming down my face. My girl was up! She was walking! Proving the point, they brought Baby out on a sling to come and see us! Oh how happy she was trying to trot over to us but being slowed down by the women holding her up with the sling! We took her out for a pee and she was much her usual self--wagging, sniffing the bushes and WALKING! From here on out, every day she was improving!
We were there so often that Canada West waived their visiting rules for us--I found myself sleeping in her kennel with her whenever they let me. She ended up staying for 6 or 7 nights (I stopped counting) and we finally got to take her home. We were told that we weren't out of the woods yet--we would need to monitor her and feed her quite a lot of medication. There was also the possibility that the tear wouldn't close on it's own--surgical intervention was still a possibility. At home she was much like herself, wanting to cuddle and play-- even giving me a heart attack and picking up a stick on our walk -- though she remained a bit more lethargic and she vomited daily. Since she knew there was medication being given to her with food, she began to hesitate with treats and ate very little. We finally realized one of the medications she was receiving appeared to cause her vomiting which was quite surprising because the injection version of that medication was what gave her the amazing turnaround before according to the doctor--either way, we tried others. I ended up taking her to work to keep an eye on her--never leaving her for more than an hour at a time. Sleep eluded us as her coughing continued to an extent.
After a follow up it was clear that surgery was necessary--I was conflicted. In previous exploratory surgeries her blood pressure dropped considerably and we were told of the risks which weren't much in our favour. But what choice did we have? The decision was made easier knowing she would be in the best care possible--we were told she often had a platoon of doctors at her call. I cannot thank them enough. The exploratory surgeries showed us that there looked to still be some debris in the tear and that it needed to be cleaned out. She went in for surgery and the doctor didn't lie, she struggled quite a bit---to the point where she could no longer be put under again. But she made it through (thank you Canada West!) and we brought her home.
I stopped counting my receipts after a while but I had spent more than $20,000 on this (not including the several thousand from her cancer prior to the stick incident). Every day has been a struggle because new problems arise (skin infections from allergies and now a neurological deficit) but Baby's a fighter and she is still the same inexhaustible dog with an abundance of energy and love -- you wouldn't guess she was a senior unless you saw her cataracts or the bit of gray in her fur. 2013 hasn't been a great year for her but she hasn't given up on me and I damn well won't give up on her.
If you have the pleasure of carrying for a dog or know someone who does, please share this because this story shows exactly why you should NEVER throw a stick for a dog. And for anyone who questions how I could justify spending so much money on 'a dog' -- fuck off."""""
Canada West, the clinic my daughter is talking about is the best vet hospital in British Columbia and one of my dogs is there tonight, she needs a scan in the morning and will have her 4th chemo treatment. I only can second what my baby said: Canada West rocks.