Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jekyll Arrives

I thought I would start this blog with telling you about the most incredible dog I know.
My dog, (although I still call him one of my puppies), is Jekyll. 

Ok, I know the name doesn't seem like the kind of name one uses for the dog they love, especially if he's the "most incredible in the world," (don’t tell my other two, no need to hurt feelings), but we have a dog name theme going on here in our house. See, I am the animal person here, this happens when you marry a vet. My other half, well, he really isn't. So to try to help bond him to my clan I thought, “Hey, he can pick the names.” That he can’t screw up. Now mind you he’s a Georgia boy, while I am on the other hand a Yank. To meet at a compromise he picks his favorite southern cities as the names for our pups. 

Jekyll is the third addition to our dogs, Savannah and Charleston.

Savannah front left, Jekyll front right, and Charlie back row.
Jekyll was carried into my clinic two years ago. On that fateful day he was the size of a baseball. He was delivered in the palm of the farmer/breeder who owned his mother. He was the cutest bundle of brown fur with the biggest, most exaggerated mass of big soft irresistible ears. Now, we all know that few of us can pass up a puppy. There are a lot of vets who joke that we all really wanted to specialize in pediatrics. He, from the first minute, was the most exuberant, happy, ten-kiss-a-second love bug ever. It’s hard to be a "professional medically factual only" person, when your heart is melting.

 Vets learn to pay attention to the little clues we see. We are a very observant bunch, (you have to be when your patients don't talk). We learn to look very carefully at how a pet sits, walks, holds its head, and especially the way their owners act, when they bring in their pet. The worst case in the waiting room is the one with their pet swaddled and unrecognizable in their arms. Those are the people you should shuffle into an exam room ASAP. I can’t tell you how many people have sat there patiently in the waiting area quietly holding a blanket, only to be led into the exam room 20 minutes later to uncover their barely conscious, barely breathing, and barely alive pet. 
Back to Jekyll. Jekyll's butt was being protectively supported by a well-worn farmer's hand. However, his face was going crazy trying to meet and greet all the new friends he was being thrust at. Turns out the firm weathered palm he was sitting in was also supporting the entire length of his colon. 

This is a significant problem. Your colon belongs inside your pelvis, not outside your butt hole. It is a predicament in veterinary medicine that we call “prolapsed rectum.” (Just in case you were ever wondering; this is definitely very high on my list of things I hope never happens to me!). 

The story of Jekyll's short life was told to me by the farmer, whom I had never seen before, and as I noted by the age of his file, had not been to see us for anything in many years. He explained to me that this puppy, aptly assigned a patient number and listed as “NoName” (creative huh?), "had this,, umm, accident,, happen to him over a week ago." 

The farmer "tried to push it back in but it wouldn't stay, twice." (OMG, two weeks ago? Really? And you tried twice? And now, what am I supposed to do?).

I explained 'that "NoNames" chances of a fully functioning, (i.e. being able to defecate from his own rectum), was slim. He would likely need surgery with anesthesia, and maybe more than once." 

Mind you all of this conversation occurred with NoName in the farmer's hand being held over the receptionists counter. 

The farmer went on to say that he "couldn't spend any money, because he had no guarantee that this pup would make a decent hunting dog." 

I knew that this was yet another “OK, the world is sending you a test moment” and I knew I couldn't speak the words I knew he was thinking. So, I took a deep breath and said, “OK, its $50 to euthanize him, which I won’t do, or free if you sign him over to me, and I’ll do the surgery for free, then find him a home.” 

He promptly signed him over to the clinic and left the office, without having spent a nickel.

It took three weeks of carrying this little jubilant bundle of beagle with me everywhere. I carried him in a carrier every single place we went, including our annual beach trip. Alongside him was a personal surgery kit so that no matter where we were I could add a suture or two to hold that pucker in. Think about going poop every time and having your butt sewn up. That's what Jekyll had to live with for almost four weeks. After those first few weeks it was too late to imprint me on any other pup, and he was ours.  

Five years later Jekyll is still a perfect serial kisser with big ears and a wiggle-butt wag so charming you melt.

Age 9 months

Age 5

Related blogs;
Prolapsed Uterus. Dixie Carter's Story.

If you have a pet problem, question, or concern, or just want to hang out and learn about other pets please visit us on We are an open community dedicated to helping pets live longer healthier lives.

If you want to meet Jekyll you can find him sleeping in my office at Jarrettsville Vet, in beautiful Harford County Maryland. Or, find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.