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311Hemi

10 minutes from retrieving to "should be dead"

9 posts in this topic

I am posting this from another website as I think it may help prevent this for someone else in the future. This was posted 12-31-2007. It's a good eye opener and something to be aware of.

****Please do not post any negative comments about said event, I just want to inform people by passing along this story. Thanks****

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It is my understanding that traumatic events are often dealt with by talking about them to friends and strangers alike. No opinions, agenda, or B.S. here...just an account of what has been one of the toughest days of my life thus far.

The pain and grief I'm burdening my conscience with is more that anyone could possibly throw at me, so please save the "reply" button for support of my dog and not reiteration of what I now understand was terribly poor judgement on my (and only my) behalf. This morning I laid on the edge of a field in Jackson county Arkansas asking God and whoever else was listening why it had to end this way. On the week that Ace will age out of the Derby, I watched the life quickly slip from his eyes as I stripped my waders and clothes off trying to warm him while my hunting partner was running for the Argo.

We've been after the ducks pretty hard so far this season, and this morning was no different than normal. Picking up birds until about 8:30 when the "faucet" seems to shut off. Except, the faucet opened up on a buckbrush hole around 9:00 and two of us headed over to slip in and get in on the action. Even being his first season to hunt, 30 something days into it, he's really added "duck dawg" to his short, but respectable resume', dotted with some derby points and Q placements. While most of our spots have platforms or at least logs to get the dogs out of the water, this "makeshift" hunt had no decent place for a dog to stand. Seeing the sheer number of birds and knowing that we only needed a few, I figured 30 minutes tops...surely he can stand in knee deep water for that long. About 45 minutes into it he had just made a retrieve and I noticed a strange grunt/moan on the return that I've never heard before. As he came to heel, and another group was making a pass, he continued to make the sound. As he's not a "whiner" when birds are working, I gave a "quiet-nick". Continues to make the sound. Now I'm scratching my head. Knowing that he'll air even in swimming water, I rule that out. I chalk it up to "he's cold" and say "let's call it, my dog's getting chilly". As we're easing out, he becomes disoriented and begins to just tread water. I walk over and ease on his collar to pull him along. When his legs floated up to the sides, I knew we were in deep kim shi. Hypothermia was rapidly draining his time with us, as his core body temp continued to plummet. When I let go of his collar to pick him up, he sunk (head and all). Now I've heard of people doing amazing things in times of extreme duress (single person flips over car that is trapping someone, etc.), but I have never made it through 250 yards of beaver-run, smart-weed filled stump hole filled buck brush in under 20 minutes with my shotgun and blind bag. This morning I did that plus a 67 pound lab in 5. By the time I got to dry ground he was limp and unable to support his own head. I stripped my jacket, outershirt, and fleece to wrap and then curled up next to him while my partner (75 yards behind me without carrying a dog) was making to to shore to get the Argo. He had his first seizure on the edge of the field, gasping for breath, foaming at the mouth, and contracting every muscle in his body. As his eyes rolled back I pleaded with him "I'm so sorry buddy, I never meant for it to end this way"..."I never would have done this to you on purpose"....this was 10 minutes from the time he picked up the last bird. And I prayed for the first time in a long time. The selfish grief that burned from the fact that I was losing my first "real" dog and best friend was sickly overshadowed by the anguish that I felt from seeing the pain in Ace's eyes. That image raises the hair on my neck as I type this and will likely haunt me for many years to come. Argo pulls up and I hop in, with him in my lap, wrapped in my jacket, and I take the longest 1/2 mile ride to the truck that I'll ever take. Get to the truck, start engine, petal to the floor trying to get warmed up so that the heat kicks in. Lay Ace in the passenger floorboard and use everything dry that I had (handlers jackets, frogg toggs, gloves, etc) to get the water off. Then pile on my bibs, coat, and fleece to keep him warm. Second seizure hits as my buddy climbs into the driver's seat for the 45 minute ride to Jonesboro, where we have no clue how to find a vet on Sunday morning. Was going to give him some Coke to provide a shot of glucose, only to find out that his jaws were locked shut, front teeth piercing through his bottom lip from the seizures. Totally immobile and unresponsive, I pinch, pull, and pat to keep him from shutting those eyes. Notice that his gums are solid white. A few times he takes "his dying breath" and I jackleg attempt canine CPR. 10 minutes from Jonesboro and we get a call from the vet who responded to a page from his answering service. He's 15 minutes away, so I wait out another of the 5 longest minutes of my life in the parking lot. He pulls up, unlocks the doors, and I carry Ace in with the gut feeling that this would be his last vet visit. I prayed again for the second time in a long time. What happened in the next 4 hours is nothing short of a sho' nuff' miracle. I usually don't buy that cheesy [PoorWordUsage], but I "seen it with my own eyes". With a core body temp of 84 degrees at the vet (so we'll call it close to 80 before the 100 mph heater wide open truck ride), a blur of heated tables, blankets, heating pads, warm saline solution through an IV began. 2 hours into it, we got to 90 degrees. He began to shiver (which was a good sign), and opened his eyes. At 2.5 hours, he picked up his head and took a drunken look around. At 3 hours, we were at 94 and and eased outside to relieve the bladder (another good sign that the kidneys were functioning). At 3.5 hours he ate a high-protein tube of some honey-substance. At 4 hours he was at 97 and I was hauling to Memphis with him asleep in the back seat, destined for the emergency clinic. Out of the back seat in Memphis he's got pep in his step to air and meet the awaiting staff with vet chart faxes in hand. He leveled out a 101.5 for tonight and is resting while fluids are administered. And while this seems to be the happy ending, I'm fully aware that he's not out of the woods yet. A condition known as D.I.C. (can't give you the true acronym, but the slang is Death Is Coming) were clotting ability is reduced is a definite possibility, along with a string of other ailments, including kidney, heart, lung failure, and the potential for his "internal temp regulators" to spike and throw him into HYPERthermia in the near future are all very real threats. But that's tomorrow. For tonight, my dog is alive. And in better condition than he was on the edge of that field this morning.

What did I learn?

-You cannot leave a dog in the water, even for a short amount of time. They need a place to get out and shake the excess water.

-I've always been a critic of dog vests...not no mo'. After the [PoorWordUsage]-chewing I got from the vet, I got a good list of reasons to use a vest.

-You've got to listen to your dog. Generally, they'll show/tell you that something's wrong.

-There could easily be more than coincidence relating the request for divine intervention and the honest-to-goodness miracle that I witnessed today.

The deepest and most sincere Thank You from the bottom of my heart (and Ace's) goes out to everyone that has played a role in today and the upcoming days (you know who you are).

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And the owners follow posted on 1-1-2008 for those wondering.

 Quote:
And the miracles just keep on coming on this, the first day of a new year. As I type this, Ace is resting comfortably in front of the fire back at home! He was given the "clearance to go home" yesterday evening and granted all of my New Year's wishes a little early. The vet who has been monitoring his case felt that he was stable and alert enough to rest and re-coup in the comfort of his home, under the caveat that any alterations in behavior or temp (which I'm watching) are cause for the 5 minute trip back to the emergency clinic. He has slept in the deepest slumber I can ever recall observing, but I'm not complaining. We're alive....and kickin' (at least Ace is in his dreams, which I assume involves chasing cripples through the flooded woods of NE Arkansas).

Ace and I want to Thank each and every one of you from the deepest bottom of our hearts for your support and Prayers. I am convinced that this miracle was continually fueled by the tremendous amount of thoughts and prayers offered up by friends and strangers (who are far from strangers, rather family who are merely separated by spatial distance). We will make it. And we're stronger for this. Under advisement from several people whose opinion I greatly respect, Ace will likely sit the remainder of this duck season on the sidelines. Then in February we'll ease back into our training regiment and see where we stand. I must admit that I felt extremely guilty loading up this morning to head to the timber while leaving him in the warmth of his dogbed, and even worse after we lit our first big group of birds...but deep inside I know that Ace would want it that way, as he's just as "eat up wid' it" as I am. And we'll have plenty of time in our long journey ahead to go after just "one more bird".

Thanks again

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WOW!!!

Too close a call for me, but it does show how a lab will fulfill his duty long before quitting...

An important lesson indeed, a dog standing in the water up to his belly will easily become hypothermic as the water robs their core of any warmth they generate. This is important to think about when out in the Dakotas and shooting the small potholes w/o a boat...

Sounds like he's turned the corner and on the mend and hopefully back to a productive life!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Wow is right! That is an eye opener! I hope all remains well for both owner and dog.

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Good post Hemi, that is an eye opener.

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No other word to use than WOW.

I think i was about to cry just thinking what i would have done if that was one of my boys.

Hope he makes it back out.

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Makes a person remember again how important a role you have in the health and well being of your best friend. There is no other place me and Mav would rather be then in a duck boat busting ice to shoot green heads but none of that is worth loosing a life over. Nice post.

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I am not sure Hemi mentioned this but for those of you who are wondering, this did not happen in Minnesota, the hunter in question is from Tennessee.

Obviously it doesn't matter what part of the planet it took place at, it is all the same.

LOVE YOUR DOG AND CARE FOR YOUR DOG BECAUSE THEY ARE OUR BEST FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!

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Yikes!!!

Back in my younger days my brother and I would wade into cattails and swamps with our chest waders on, lab in tow, guns up and jump shooting ducks. I know after awhile the dogs wouldn't like it, and one time I had my young male lab 'cramp up', he started yelping and floundering, I hustled over to him and stuck him under my arm and headed for shore - and warmed him up. Thats as close a call as I'd like to see.

Another time my brother and I were doing the same thing, wading thru flooded timber and we jumped a bunch of ducks, we were having a real shootout, we got seperated chasing wounded ducks, each of us calling to the dog to retrieve ducks, and we got seperated. Next time I saw him he came up to me sputtering and shivering, he'd stepped into a beaver run and went in over his head. Luckily all he did was get wet, we ended up going to shore and he stripped off his waders and dumped out the water and I had a good laugh but I've always though about how that could have went bad on us.... We were both young and dumb and went on with our hunt.

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