Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 20- Oscar's wound is closed.

Day 20- 3/10/2011

Oscar's recovery has taken a giant leap forward. His wound was closed by Shady Oak Vet on Tuesday. In addition he was neutered, microchipped and given his rabies vaccine. He tested negative for lymes, heartworm and anaplasmosis. He seems to be on the final stretch of recovery. I picked him up early on Wednesday and I think he was happy to see me. He came home to his porch for some much needed rest. He really appreciates not having the bandage changes daily. He can finally clean himself and move around without difficulty.

He has only eaten a little bit since coming home so I will keep a close eye on him. Sadly, his ribs continue to be prominent so we have a long way to go in weight gain. His energy level isn't where it was before he went to surgery, but I will give him a couple more days before I get worried. He has met a potential family for adoption who just love him! If he is feeling up to it on Saturday he will go to their home to meet their dog and cat. If all goes well Oscar will have his forever home! However, if Saturday rolls around and he still isn't eating well we will hold off until next week. He has been through so much in the last month that recovery time may just take longer then the average, healthy dog. He will continue with another two weeks of antibiotics as well as return to the vet for his stitches to be removed in about 2 weeks.

As usual he has been a joy to have around. He is probably one of the easiest foster dogs we have had the pleasure of having. He is not demanding and very appreciative of what we do for him. He still isn't quite sure about getting into the car (I have to lift him), but once he is in he loves car rides. My kitchen is no longer a place of fear for him, and he LOVES to go for walks. He doesn't pull at all, but does enjoy sniffing everything. A 6 block walk took about 30 minutes! He loves to have his head and butt rubbed, and if you are sitting on the floor next to him he paws at you to pet him. He is a sweetheart, and will make his new family very happy.

Thank you for taking the time to read his blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 12- Oscar's wound is going to be closed!

Day 12- 3/2/2011

Oscar is improving by leaps and bounds. Every day he has more spunk and is starting to play with Matt and I. He still loves to howl with the police sirens, but never barks. As I have said before he loves the three season porch and uses it as his safe place. Matt and I have been slowly introducing him to the house, and he now can lay in the living room for about an hour before he wants to go back out on the porch, which is a huge improvement. He is following the lead of Thurman and Cree, which may not be the best, since their favorite game is jumping the fence and cruising the neighborhood. Thankfully, Oscar isn't into jumping.

Dressing changes continue to be daily, but we went for his one week check up at the vet yesterday. They were very impressed with his wound and think it is ready to be closed. The plan is to close his wound and neuter him next Tuesday. I am so excited for him because then his dressing changes will be OVER! He anticipates these changes daily and avoids the kitchen, where they happen, like the plague. Hopefully, he will not need the cone of shame. The most excited news for me is that he has gained 7 pounds in one week!! I attribute that to his high calorie/protein diet in addition to treating his tapeworm.

Oscar has really become special to Matt and I. It is so inspiring to have a dog that has been through so much and yet still licks your face and smiles at you when you bring him food. He is truly appreciative for everything we have done for him. Thank you to everyone who has donating to his care. It has allowed him a second chance at life.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 8- Oscar goes for his first walk

Day 8- 2/26/2011

Oscar's recovery continues to be a gradual process. Every day he seems to have a little more energy then the one before. He went for his first walk around the block yesterday. It was quite slow because he lifts his leg to every snowbank (not yet neutered). He walks well on a leash until I pull him in a direction he doesn't want to go, he then adamantly pulls in the opposite direction. He quickly forgets why and eventually follows me.

We are hoping the vet will be able to close his wound next week. All of the exposed tissue is pink and growing. They will evaluate him on Tuesday so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Once the wound is closed his daily dressing changes will be over and he can have more freedom.

When he hangs out with us he loves to have his head and butt rubbed. He is the kind of dog who strategically places his head below your hand so you have to rub it. If you itch his butt he arches his back like a cat and stands on his hind tip toes to get closer. He just loves the attention. He still has yet to have an accident in our house so I consider him relatively house trained. He whines when he wants something and is it my job to figure out what that is. It generally means he is hungry, he has to go to the bathroom or he wants attention. He is quite smitten with my boyfriend so I think he will be a daddy's boy.

Today there were some police sirens going off and he howled a sweet melody with them. I have never heard him bark so someone will be adopting a howler.

Thanks everyone for reading and continue spreading the word about sweet Oscar. We are almost half way to our fundraising goal for him so keep up the good work!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 6- Definite Improvement

Day 6- 2/24/2011

To put it bluntly... Oscar almost killed us today. We were driving down 35W on our way to Shady Oak Vet Clinic. I drive a honda civic, and when I have dogs in the back seat I put my arm across the center console so they can't come up front. Out of nowhere big white Oscar bounds head first over my arm, and puts his paws on the dash board. Thankfully, I stayed on the road, but I had to pull over to get him into the back. He didn't try it again, but I was definitely more aware of him back there!

So, on we go to Shady Oak for the dressing change. The wound looks awesome. Lots of new tissue growth, and the infection is definitely clearing. I am pretty sure he doesn't like the tramadol because when I try to give it to him he eats everything around it minus the pill. Even if I wrap it in meat he will refuse the meat unless I take the pill out. So we did the wound cleaning without it and he did fine.

As Oscar is starting to feel better some of his personality is starting to shine through. He loves to be pet especially on his belly. Even if he weren't feeling rotten I think he would be pretty lazy. He is not a big fan of the leash, and is quite obstinate when it is on. Believe me, 75 pounds can be difficult to move if he doesn't want to. But, he is treat motivated and I have learned his weakness for turkey and chicken. He loves other dogs and wishes he could play with Cree and Thurman. Lastly, he wants to be near us whenever he can.

As always thank you for following Oscar's journey and donating to his care. It makes such a difference for him. If you are interested in adopting Oscar he is still available, but will not be on the website until he is feeling better. There has been a lot of interest in him and I am not surprised!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 5 - A Note from Rachel

Day 5- 2/23/11

Today's post is from Rachel, Secondhand Hounds Director.

Today Kyle and I (Rachel) went over to Nicci and Matt's place to change Oscar's dressings. Nicci was working a 24 hour shift, so while Matt and I held Oscar and scratched him, Kyle had the opportunity to practice his medical skills! (He may not have seen it that way, but I like to think it was a mutually beneficial on both Oscar and Kyle's part!) Oscar did great once again; he is so incredibly tolerant and trusting. You could tell it hurt, but he was such a trooper. The wound looked a lot better today; there was a ton of drainage from last night, so today it looked very pink and healthy! It also smelled less. Tomorrow Oscar goes in to see how it is progressing, so fingers crossed!

Oscar still spends most of his days sleeping. It is obviously painful for him to move much. He is on 2000 mg of
Amoxicillin each day as well as Tramadol for pain. When he is up and about he just wants a couple scratches on the head and then goes to find a soft spot to sleep. At this point he is not much of a watch dog; when I knock on the door, I watch him roll over sleepily onto his back and slowly wag his big tail a couple times. So sweet!

Thank you to everyone who has donated. It means so much to SHH that we have such incredible supporters who make it possible for us to say YES with conviction when we hear about these sad cases. It is truly a testament to your compassion and love. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, both human and canine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 4- Nicci and Rachel change Oscar's dressing

Day 4- 2/22/11

Rachel took some very nice pictures of Oscar at the office yesterday. He loved it there because he could stare outside at the falling snow. He continues to move around slowly and only when he has too. He loves to be in our 3 season porch because it is cooler. Last night was another good night for him. After he took some tramadol he slept soundly from 9 pm until 9 am. When he awoke he immediately wanted to eat. His favorite concoction thus far is puppy chow, cottage cheese and turkey/chicken. I throw in his antibiotics and he doesn't even notice!

To the left was Oscar's sleeping spot for part of the night last night. He loves to steal Cree's dog bed. Usually she barks at any dog that takes this, but for him she made an exception. I think we all agreed he looked very peaceful and comfortable. His favorite thing so far is belly rubs which proves difficult with all of his bandaging!

After eating this AM it was time for the daily dressing change. We gave him a dose of tramadol before starting. Rachel was on hand for the necessary head holding and distracting while I cleaned and redressed his wound. There was obviously a lot of pus and bloody drainage which is good. The sooner he gets rid of all that gunk the better. The wound is very deep red and showed new tissue growth which is the first step toward healing. I wiped away the dead tissue and reapplied honey in the wound. We then redressed his stomach with a lot of gauze and tape. I must say we did pretty good. The picture shown is the 'after picture'. As you can see he still wants me to rub his belly. Thankfully he still likes me.

I am so impressed with all of the donations that are coming in. We couldn't do any of this without your support. If you are interested in fostering of volunteering for Secondhand Hounds, who saved Oscar, please visit for more information.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 3- The First Dressing Change

Day 3- 2/21/2011

Oscar slept quietly and comfortably all night. No barking or howling. But, if had to choose one I would say howling is his noise of choice. He gets along beautifully with my two dogs. It's odd because my one German mix loves to play but, she can sense that Oscar is in pain and doesn't bother him. She just sniffs him sweetly and leaves him alone. I have always known that dogs can sense things, but her behavior just floors me. Dogs are truly compassionate and empathetic creatures.

Oscar continues to eat and drink well. He has not had an accident in the house, but unfortunately his wound continues to ooze blood and pus. He loves to be outside and stares out the window longingly. The picture to the left shows him while my boyfriend, Matt, shoveled the evening snow.

Today was his first dressing change. He took it like a champion. It is obvious he is in a great deal of pain, but did not nip or growl once. The skin surrounding the wound is badly swollen with fluid, and there is plenty of dead skin on the edges of the wound and inside of it. The Shady Oak Vet taught us how to wash it out with water and then wipe away the dead skin. We will then put honey soaked bandages (honey is a great antimicrobial) in the wound and wrap it snug. These dressing changes will be done daily by two people.

He weighed in at 75 pounds so his antibiotic dose was increased and he was started on Tramadol for pain control. However, he is about 15-20 pounds underweight. Most likely from being homeless with a significant injury, but he also has tapeworm which we are treating. Once that has cleared he should start to gain weight easier. I am keeping the protein high in his diet to help with new tissue growth.

Many people have contributed to Oscar's recovery thus far and I would like to thank Shady Oak Vet today along with Secondhand Hounds who was willing to take this boy home despite knowing he would have an expensive road ahead of him. I can say from personal experience that he is worth every penny!!

Oscar's Journey to Minnesota

A bit from the volunteers who brought Oscar from the Rez to Secondhand Hounds:

Oscar was found in an area "off the Rez" near the home/farm of a gentleman named Dennis who is well known among the rescue groups as a self-admitted animal hoarder. Oscar had a "traveling companion" who was a Husky/Husky mix. They were both strays, and were likely roaming the area around Dennis' home because he keeps numerous dogs outside, with food accessible. Oscar was not fond of the leash (not aggressive at all, just put on the brakes immediately upon being leashed), indicating that he hasn't had much - if any - experience with one in his life.

Oscar's wound is not new, according to the vet. He has been self-cleansing the wound to the best of his ability, but it is deeply contaminated and will require daily cleansing until it begins to heal from the inside. In spite of the severity of the laceration, Oscar allowed us, without distress or any signs of aggression, to load him into a crate once, then move him out of the crate into a new crate in a different car, and then rode home for over 5 hours without a peep.

Oscar has the look of a very large, all white German Shepherd. Because of his height, and the size and shape of his head, he appears to have some Great Pyrenees in his breed makeup as well (this breed is often seen on the Rez because of its ability to survive the climate). He is significantly underweight - currently about 70 lbs - and could easily stand to gain 15-20 pounds to fill out his statuesque frame. His teeth are in beautiful condition, and the vet has approximated his age at about 1-2 years old. With proper vetting and a loving home, he will likely have many healthy years ahead of him. He has shown a loving and docile personality in the face of great pain and a challenging life. Ironically, we named him Oscar as part of our "Sesame Street" character theme, but he is the polar opposite of his "Grouchy" namesake. :)

He is so deserving of a warm, generous, and loving home...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 2- A Day of Firsts

Day 2- 2/20/2011

Oscar was picked up from the Emergency Vet this morning. Even though he just had major surgery, he managed to lick my hand when he saw me. The vet told us that he would need daily vet visits including skin stretching in hopes of closing the wound.

He was a little slow to move and had to be lifted in and out of the car. I could feel his ribs and hip bones without difficulty. Even though he yelped in pain he never growled or nipped. Upon arrival to our house he devoured two cups of food immediately. It was obvious he hadn't eaten for awhile. He then fell fast asleep for about 6 hours on a warm blanket.

When he woke up he had to be coaxed through the house with chicken, and had his first visit to the backyard. He did his business like a gentleman, and then had to be coaxed back inside with some more chicken. The whole time I am thinking, 'there's a fricken snowstorm outside get your butt in here.' He stayed up for a little while to be loved and just fell back asleep on his blanket. I am sure he is exhausted.

Tomorrow will be his first check up at the vet. He is on twice daily antibiotics, and his wound continues to ooze because it is not entirely closed. He doesn't let this get him down though. He knows he has been saved, and today was the first day of the rest of his life. He will never be hungry, thirsty or unloved again.

My only complaint: He is quite smelly!! And I can't do anything about it for awhile. So suggestions for odor deodorizers is much appreciated!!

Day 1- Oscar's Rescue

Day 1- 2/19/2011

This is the story of Oscar. He is a 1 year old German Shepherd/Pyrenees mix from Lake Traverse Indian Reservation who was rescued by Secondhand Hounds.

As you may already know, the Tribal Authority of Lake Traverse has issued a ban on all dogs living in tribal housing. As of April 1, all dogs must be off the reservation or will be shot on sight. Rescues have been working closely with volunteers in Lake Traverse to save as many dogs as possible before this date.

Oscar was rescued from the reservation on 2/19/2011. Based on reports Oscar walked right up to the volunteers as if he knew they were there to save him. He was leash less and collarless. They noticed his stomach wound and knew he needed immediate medical attention.

Oscar rode for 4 hours from Traverse to the Twin Cities. The volunteers that drove him commented that he slept the whole way without a peep. He must have been exhausted. He was sent to the Eden Prairie Emergency Vet where he was brought into surgery at about 9 pm. The wound, right below his ribcage, was the size of a grapefruit, and extended through layers of skin, tissue, and muscle. It was black and infected. The overnight vet team worked hard to debride all the necrotic tissue. Stitches were placed to stretch the skin. Therefore, the wound is not entirely closed yet, and he is still at high risk for infection. Antibiotics were started and he spent his first night at the Eden Prarie emergency vet.

We thank them for all of their hard work.


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