Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Simon's Survival Story

We have this dog, named Simon, and he is quite a survivor. He used to be camera-shy, but here he is looking at it skeptically. I was thinking about his story this week because we had to rush him to the Emergency Clinic Sunday (he's fine now) and I was reflecting on our time with him, and his attitude about receiving vet care. Simon's prior owners decided to have him and their other dog, a terrier, killed. Yep - it wasn't enough to just drop them off at a local shelter, or even just set them loose - they actually took a hit out on the dogs. Apparently they hired their neighbors, two boys 19 and 21, to kill the dogs for $25. The boys drove Simon (who knows what he was called then) and friend to a cinder pit outside town and there they shot him. The terrier was fatally wounded, but apparently Simon was tougher.

They shot him twice in the head - but each time they missed the brain and got the jaw, destroying some of his teeth and puncturing his tongue. The photo above is of one of the bullet wounds. As the shooting didn't work, they apparently tried to run over him with a truck, injuring his right front leg. He must have appeared dead, because they left.....and then he rose again. It was around the fourth of July and it was hot, but Simon walked a mile down a dusty road, dripping blood, and rested in the shade of a tree, completely traumatized. A Sheriff's Deputy followed the blood trail and took him to a vet - who was kind enough to repair the damage, knowing there would likely be no loving owner to pay the bill.

Since he came to us, Simon's attitude towards vets has been pretty friendly. In fact, whatever happens, his attitude seems to be "I'm not getting shot - this is okay." He rarely complains about anything, despite being subordinate to our very bossy (yet adorable) other dog, Callie. He has a strong dislike of men in baseball caps, and usually tries to run them off the property. He clearly spent much of his life tied up, as he knows the boundaries of any leash or tie and respects them immediately. He wasn't fed enough, so he eats anything and everything in about 2 seconds. He can't get enough attention, and he doesn't have a clue what toys are for. Simon will not fetch - I guess he figures if I wanted the ball, I wouldn't be throwing it away; he certainly sees no reason to retrieve it for me. He hates violence, even in play - he separates the cats whenever they are mock battling each other, and he calls to us in desperation if Callie is playing with the cats. No tussling on his watch, period.

So this past Sunday morning I found him on the picnic table eating raisins that were out for the birds. Though he'd ignored them for four days, and they were frozen solid, he apparently discovered them and cannot pass up any food substance. As raisins are toxic to some dogs, we took him to the ER immediately and were able to retrieve said raisins before they did any damage. (When he consumed a pound of brown sugar on a prior occasion, no vet visit was necessary, and he showed no ill effects). We learned at the vet he has apparently been snacking on the magpies downed by the cats as well, to no ill effect. The dog has an iron stomach.

For the first time ever, I saw him shaking at the vet yesterday, as he got a blood draw to check and make sure his kidneys suffered no raisin trauma. It's a miracle that he can trust people at all after what he's been through. Although I know it's going to take more than a few raisins to take Simon down, he deserves to have over-protective parents who worry about him.

Like all dogs, he can be a pain from time to time - but he is at heart so good natured I can't help but wonder how awesome he might have been if he'd had a nice family when he was young. I admire him; he doesn't cringe in the corner, he gets out and enjoys life, he does his best to leave the past in the past.

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