Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

Doug's Blog

Rider's Spay

Posted by douggoodman on March 11, 2010 at 12:04 AM Comments comments (0)

I took Rider to the vet yesterday to have her spayed.  It was not an easy decision.  I seriously considered breeding her.  I wasn't looking at this as a money-making scheme.  The idea to breed her came as a result of all the difficulties I crossed in trying to find her.  Getting to Rider took almost half a year, and I thought that maybe I could provide some kind of service to people who wanted the kind of German Shepherd I liked.  What I mean is, breeding towards a dog with good temperment, sound body, and the kind of mental stuff/drive  needed for SAR work. 


On the other hand, breeding takes a lot of effort.  For starters, when in heat, she would attract every male stray dog this side of Galveston Bay.  And Mojo can be territorial.  To me, this was creating a bad situation.  Neurotic dog on one hand, sex-starved dogs on the other.  Bad.  Very bad.


Also, I have heard tales of owners watching their dogs around the clock, but that one time they had their backs turned is when the dog got pregnant.  I don't want to go through all this trouble just to have Rider get pregnant at a time that would either a. disrupt her training, b. prevent her from testing, or c. prevent her from working.  So I decided on the ovariohysterectomy.


Ovariohysterectomy is the scientific term for spaying a female dog.  In an ovariohysterectomy, both the uterus and ovaries are removed.  Longterm, this will help detract certain cancers.  In the meantime, I don't have to worry about having to stop Rider's training due to her being knocked up.


Take a turn with me now...


As I was going through the medicine cabinet this evening, I found an old bag from when we brought Voodoo back from the vet.  There was special diet food, dewormer meds, and several additional syringes to help with giving her iron.


I was a little taken aback by finding this little treasure.  It reminds me of all the struggles with Voodoo, and me being up with her all night to try to nurse her back to health, but the meds and iron weren't working.  Hookworms took her, and I still feel bad about it.  But even back then, I remember telling my daughter when this happened that "God has a reason."  I said that if God was taking the animal away, maybe that meant a better animal was on the way. 


I would like to think that Rider is a better animal than Voodoo.  Certainly, she is healthier.  Right now she is sacked out on the trainer pads I bought Voodoo and put into Rider's cage.  She is 5 months old, and I hope she will live a long life.  I think the lessons learned from Voodoo (for example, take a puppy to the vet IMMEDIATELY upon purchasing the animal) will make me a better pet owner, and the lessons learned from Mojo and Princess will make Rider a better search dog.  Time will tell...

Captain America's Dog Bath

Posted by douggoodman on December 27, 2009 at 9:48 PM Comments comments (0)

As part of her "treatments," Rider must take a bath with medicated shampoo, and Sunday night was the first bath.  She took to it better than I thought.  She didn't bolt at the first chance.  Rider stayed where she was, though she shivered in fear.  I had to calm her, so I said, "Easy Rider, Easy."  I'm really liking this name...

My Hand, The Chew Toy

Posted by douggoodman on December 25, 2009 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I wish I could show you the 1.5 inch serration from the base of my thumb to my palm.  I got this cut from Rider, who has clearly entered the chewing phase of her puppydom.  I could call her Chewbacca the way she goes after everything!  Her favorite chew toy is human flesh.  After that, human clothes.  Anything resembling a chew toy she avoids at all costs.  I have already spent several days trying to angle chew toys in her mouth while she tries to bite my hand, ankle, or toe.  This is a work in progress...


Socialization.  Some people do not like to socialize their shepherds.  They like the "guard dog" aspect of a dog that is more mistrusting of people.  Me, I think that even a shepherd that is fully socialized will still act like a shepherd when a stranger tries to enter the property.  More importantly, though, as a prospective SAR dog, I believe the animal needs to be socialized. 


Man, oh man, though...I have not been doing my job.  The first week I was doing well with Rider, but I kept her away from other animals/people mainly because I wasn't so sure what was going on with her skin.  Since then, it has been nothing but overtime and sickness for me.  Excuse alert:  I haven't had a chance to socialize Rider.  Now that she is being treated and bathed with the medical shampoo, it is time to start socializing her more, which means taking her to dog parks, Pet Smart, and time to start walking her. 

Tale of the Tentacle, Part 2

Posted by douggoodman on December 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

So my wife and daughter took Rider back to the vet for her 2-week checkup.  Again the vet wanted to do a lot of tests for infections, fungus, etc.  The problem I had with doing tests is that the tale is showing improvement, so whatever it is, it's going away.  To be on the safe side, though, I agreed to the skin infection test.  There are a few parts of her tail that still look nasty. 


Potential for Growth...


A few hours later, the veterinarian called back and said that some yeast was found on the puppy's skin.  We have a light - moderate antibiotic called Cefpodoxime Proxetil.  It is used for several different kinds of infections.  The vet gave us 100mg tabs which were quartered.  We are to give Rider a quarter tab once a day.  The side effects are diarrhea/vomitting, which is usually pretty instantaneous once the drug is taken.  So far, no puking...


The other thing we have is a medicated shampoo for the infection.  Coincidentally, it will also kill any fungus the puppy has.  Rider is to be bathed twice a week with the shampoo. 


With all this treatment, Rider is turning into a very healthy pup. 

Naming a Dog By Committee

Posted by douggoodman on December 15, 2009 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A week and a half ago, I bought a new dog, a white German Shepherd.  After everything that happened with Voodoo, I took this dog almost immediately to the vet.  The fecal turned up with no hookworms, but it is possible the worms just aren't producing eggs, so it is normal to put a puppy on hookworm anyway.  Again, I wouldn't argue with it! 


We have had her for a full week, and we have been going through names.  I had a ton (like Zilla and Cerbie) that we went through, but this time we were voting on the name, with me having the final say.   We had a lot of 2-way ties, but only one three-way.  By vote, here are the names:


Banshee - 2

Cthulhu - 2

Voodoo - 2

Rider - 3


Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!  The name shall be Rider.  My daughter liked it for naming the puppy after Ghost Rider.  I liked it for Pale Rider, and my wife liked the sound.  Like Mojo, I like the various "sources" of the name.  I can already see people asking if she is named for the actress or for a Harley.  I am also going to say cool things like "C'mon, Rider.  Let's roll."  Plus, there is the kind of irony only a person in my field can appreciate (essentially, a cadaver dog named death - this is like when I wanted to name the previous dog "Murder," as in "a murder of crows.")  I'm weird.  I know that.  Now it's time to fill out the registration forms...


Voodoo Update 2

Posted by douggoodman on October 22, 2009 at 1:37 AM Comments comments (0)

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers everybody, but I lost Voodoo tonight around 9. The hookworms were just too much for her. She wasn't moving much most of the day, and by mid-afternoon I was convinced she needed to be euthanized. I told the dog to give some sort of sign why I shouldn't euthanize her, but she didn't, so I called the vet's office to start making the arrangements to take her in. While I was doing this, Voodoo walked across our house to sit by me. It was more movement than she had made all day, and a definite positive sign. I decided that she had at least bought herself another twelve hours. By five she was sitting in her cage with her head erect and looking around, but this was her last hurrah. By 6 she was back to her former ailing self, and I was petting her at 8:40 when I stopped to go watch Angelina Jolie in Wanted. I came back after 9 to check on her, and she had passed away.



Hookworms Are Disgusting, Voodoo Update 1

Posted by douggoodman on October 20, 2009 at 9:04 PM Comments comments (0)

For the first four or five days, Voodoo did really well.  She was alert, active, playing.  Then she stopped eating.  I thought it was separation anxiety, which is common in puppies.  She had moved a few hundred miles from her home and was without her parents for the first time in her life.  It didn't seem like a big reach, but she ate her last meal Saturday.  By Sunday, I had decided to take her to the vet as soon as my morning meetings were over.  When I came home, she could barely walk to me.  Uh-oh.  I took her to the closest vet and told them she was constipated and puking.  The vet tech and I were both thinking the same thing:  blockage.  The pup ate something and it was lodged in her intestines.  Well, we got the location right, just not the prognosis.  The doctor called an hour later.  Hookworms.


For anybody who gets squeamish, skip the next few paragraphs.  This gets gross.  Hookworms are a parasite.  They lodge in a dog's lower intestines, using thes gnarly looking teeth to hang on to the intestine.  Unlike some other parasites that actually eat a dog's food, hookworms feast on blood.  They are like leeches of the intestine.  Very gross.


There are two ways a dog gets hookworm.  The first is by sitting on a larva or stepping on it.  Then the larva travels into the dog's intestines, becomes an adult, reproduces, and lays eggs.  The dog defecates the eggs/larva, and that is how the baby nasties get onto the ground for the next dog to step in.  The second way is via the mother.  The little boogers can actually be passed through the milk...


"She could die at any minute."  I'm not trying to overdramatize the situation.  The vet actually said that to me.  Voodoo was severely anemic.  She had white gums, dry hair, and 0 energy.  She was literally being drained of blood till she was dead, like some vampire was eating her from the inside out.  The forward plan was to giver her a blood transfusion to get some blood in her and start worming.  I agreed to it, and they kept her overnight.  The vet told me he did all he could and the only thing left was to cross our fingers and pray. 


I thought on this some, and I was reminded of Where the Red Fern Grows.  In it, a boy gets "puppy love," a.k.a., "dog fever."  He prays for a dog, and he makes every offering a boy can make.  I wanted to make the same prayer, and offer everything I could, whatever it was.  I also remembered that these things happen for a reason, and if the dog and I weren't meant to be, then so be it.  This was out of our hands.


The next morning the vet called me to say that Voodoo had made some progress.  She wasn't defecating as much, she had a little more energy, and she was trying to drink.  He wasn't ready to say she is better, but the outcome looked a little brighter.  I decided to pick her up in the evening and treat her at home.


When I picked her up, she did look better.  A little.  But not much.  I had to agree with everything the vet was saying.  This could go in one of two ways, he said.  Either she will have great improvement over the next few days, or she will keep sliding.  I am hopeful that she will get better.  Voodoo is known for resurrection and transformation.  This pup has something still left in her.


Posted by douggoodman on October 12, 2009 at 9:41 PM Comments comments (1)

Picked up Voodoo Sunday.  Her owner said she has German bloodlines, but Voodoo looked more East Texas than anything to me.  She was very alert and inquisitive about her environment.  As to the all-black nature, so far there are no tan or red markings on the dog.  Already stories are mounting about the new pup.  For one, she apparently has a head of steel and a rubber neck.  She leaped off the couch and landed on her head, and her body flipped over on her.  After she yelped cause she couldn't right herself, Andrea swooped in and turned her over. 

Another story, she is all shepherd.  She has defended me from the evil dog in the backyard who just wants to come out of the rain.  Poor Moj.  He looked at me to say, "Oh, hell.  Another shepherd?"  He has learned that there is a huge difference between how retrievers and shepherds act.  For one, shepherds don't let him inside.  Then they do that whole "herding" thing to him, which he doesn't much like either.  So this will take a little getting used to for him.

I will post later some video of Voodoo playing.  A month or two ago I took a tennis ball and shoved it in my "dead guy" bag, where it has stayed ever since.  I brought the ball out for Voodoo to play with.  Before I could get the camera up, she came up to the ball, gave it a big whiff, then started playing with it.  Let the game begin!