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Thursday, May 11 2017

     The Boyz went to the vet to be 'tutored' this week. They are approaching two years old now and almost fully grown so I felt comfortable neutering them. I'm a fan of neutering late when possible. Sometimes it's just not realistic but when it is, I wait because I want those hormones available for growth and development. It's time now. They have, hopefully, reached their full height, and although they could stand to fill out more, I feel like they're almost finished growing.

     Neutering giant dogs isn't as simple as loading them into the family car and driving off to Doctor Snip-snip. No. Livestock Guardian Dogs live outside. With the livestock. They stink. Not only do they stay in and out of the ponds, but they haven't perfected the art of killing a skunk without getting sprayed. When I scheduled the appointment I promised my vet that I'd bathe them. She said she'd appreciate that.

     The night before I locked the boys in outside kennels because "no food or water before surgery." I awoke the next morning to find that Jury had spent the night excavating an elaborate escape from Alcatraz. He was asleep under the tractor, not twenty feet away from the pen he put so much effort into breaking out of.

     It was time for a bath. Regret is realizing you've forgotten to train your puppy to take a bath and he now weighs 110 pounds. At least. And has teeth.

     This was a two-person job. Other Half held the leash while I went through the motions of bathing Judge. Imagine bathing a calf that isn't halter broke. By the time we were finished everyone was wet but the dog was clean. Jury watched all this with narrowed eyes.

     We locked Judge in the dog box compartment of the cattle trailer which is a roughly a five by six foot addition to the front of a normal stock trailer. It's designed for calves, or cowdogs, or saddles, or Livestock Guardian Dogs that are too big to fit inside the truck. While Judge stood in the trailer and dried, we got a leash for Jury.

     I snapped the leash on Jury's collar and he raised his eyebrow like Spock. I handed the leash to Other Half while I got a length of rope to tie around his neck and secure the dog to one of the poles that holds up the house. When I slowly turned on the water hose at his shoulder the giant dog whirled around on the hose and threatened the water. I continued the gentle spray. He then thrashed like a marlin and threatened the hose, the water, the rope holding him, and the leash holding him. It would be a short trip to threaten Other Half.

The rope around his neck came untied.

     Now here is where dog trainers fight. I didn't want to quit. Quiting was failure. Quiting would teach the dog to fight. I wanted to re-group, start slower, and try it again.

     Being on the end of the leash holding the dog, Other Half was all for avoiding an ER bill and an insurance deductible and quitting while we were ahead. Deleting the expletives, I will paraphrase,

"I'm not going to the Emergency Room over a ******* dog! The vet can just deal with a dirty ****** dog! He's a ******* Livestock Dog! It's okay if he's dirty!"

He had a point. So Other Half and Jury voted against trying the bath again. I was outvoted. We loaded the dog up with his brother and drove to the clinic. I went in to see where the vet wanted them while Other Half went back to check on the dogs. It was decided to bring them through the back door straight into the kennels rather than go through the front waiting room and chance being attacked by a poodle.

     I went back to the truck to tell Other Half. He interrupted. We had bigger problems than poodles in the waiting room. Jury had a mud blow-out and had stress-shit all over the dog box. The faint aroma of skunk on Jury paled in comparison to the way he smell now.  He and his formerly clean brother were smeared with dog shit.

     Nothing makes a vet question their life choices more than a frightened Anatolian covered in shit, so I'm not sure who was having a worse day, Jury or Dr Harvey. We snapped leashes on the boys and walked them across the parking lot to the back door of the kennels. A vet tech opened the door and Other Half led Judge inside. I followed with Jury. The big dog stuck his head into the threshold, saw a terrier or poodle or some small dog that resembled a piranha (frankly it happened so quickly I can't remember) and ran out faster than a teacher on the Last Day of School. I was a kite of a string as he sailed across the parking lot. No stranger to be dragged by large animals, I dug in my heels and got him stopped. While Other Half settled Judge in a kennel, Jury and I stood in the parking lot and thought about life, small dogs, big dogs, and why you should socialize large dogs before they exceed 60 pounds.

     When Other Half came outside, we pushed, pulled, and dragged the giant chicken into the building and put him in a kennel with his brother. The other vet came over to have a peek at them. He stood in front of the kennel and joked about ripping out balls. Judge quietly informed the vet that he kills feral hogs, and has no problems with killing vets too.

Alrightie then. When a 110 pound dog demands respect, it's really best to just give it to him. The vet backed off. A tiny vet tech came over to put a chart on the door. Judge smiled and wagged his tail. Tiny women bearing clipboards were okay.

I had serious doubts. How were these people going to be able to handle two frightened dogs the size of calves?

Never doubt a nurse or a vet tech.

Better living through chemistry.

The vet handed us pills to cram down their throats. Judge was moved to a separate kennel for ease of handling, and we left as the calm-down pills took effect. I apologized once more for their appearance and behavior as the vet tech smiled sweetly and assured me that everything would be fine. (Better living through chemistry.) I could pick them up tomorrow.

As we drove out of the parking lot, one fact nibbled at the back of my head. The Anatolians weigh more than the vet tech.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 02:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Thanks. Great learning item for why you must handle cute puppy soon to be BIG dog. As usual very funny but true.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 05/11/2017 - 07:17 PM
Can hardly wait to hear the end of this story. Hope those pills work.
Posted by Susan on 05/11/2017 - 08:27 PM
...kind of reminds me of the story....The King's Castration
Posted by Eric on 05/13/2017 - 12:12 AM
Chemical restraints do have their uses, don't they!And I imagine the vet does add additional charges when extra resources are needed to ensure safety of 2 and 4 legged critters. They sound like 2 giant toddlers who hate having a bath, so it's a good thing they mostly live outside.
Posted by clairesmum on 05/13/2017 - 09:56 AM

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