American Field

Poor Judgment?

By Thomas George | Sep 11, 2017

New York — I write this narration of my experience with the best all around bird dog I have owned not in search of condolence or sorrow but hopefully to help other dog owners in the same situation.

Last spring I lost the best all-around bird dog I have ever owned. Scout, a nine-year-old German Shorthaired pointer, was bred from one of my males on a whim. I wanted to continue the line I had, bred to a relatively unknown commodity owned by a local pro, probably not the best way to go about such decisions but, boy, did it work out.

Scout started getting around clean in trials at the age of three after a number of training mistakes. I trained the dog; the mistakes were mine. But she had “IT”. She dug in hard, had gorgeous style and intensity on her game and she just wanted to work with me.

Scout never garnered any official titles but she was the champion of my heart. I had every major accomplishment on her, retrieve, major wins all in open stakes. The American Field side of championships eluded us as she slowed quite a bit in the later years. But she still worked with me and found birds where no other dog could.

Woodcock were her forte, pheasant no problem. I often thought: This dog could find a game bird in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. A dog that you could sit back in the saddle and just enjoy what transpired in front of you.

Literally overnight, in February, she awoke with a large swelling under her lower jaw. That was accompanied by excessive salivation which we addressed with our veterinarian immediately.

Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory prescription calmed the swelling but the salivation continued and that turned to bleeding.

Long story longer, this went on for a month and my local veterinarian referred us to a specialist. That took two weeks to get an appointment. Now we were six weeks in, still salivating, still bleeding.

Here is the “poor judgment” part of the deal. I went to my dentist and the hygienist heard my story. Being a dog owner and my dentist also she made reference to hers and my dentist’s veterinarian who had just hired another veterinarian  with Cornell (University) background and was a soft tissue specialist. That was my old veterinarians’ office with whom I never had a problem in the fifteen years I had been using them. The problem I felt I had was that my new vets had come from that office and left under difficult terms to start a new practice. I followed them.

So my feelings were that I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers with my new office by going back to my old vet even though the whole idea made sense and I really wanted to. I never called my old vet. I wish I had.

Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 a. m., I dropped Scout off at the specialist for surgery. No food, no water; we all know the deal. I was hopeful that the problem would be corrected. They didn’t touch Scout until 4:30 that afternoon. No food, water; strange place, no good. At 6:30 that day Scout was put down. The “tech” asked me if I wanted to spend some time with her first. Scout came in and didn’t even know who I was. I shook my head no, I thought, “She’s already gone.”

So, I wish I would have put “politics” aside, ruffled those feathers with my new vet’s office and did what I thought I should. Maybe the result would have been the same but at least I would look back and know that I did all that I could, not almost all that I could.

I miss my best friend. She never got to be a hunting dog or a house dog as was my plan.

So, ruffle some feathers sometimes when you think you have to and avoid “poor judgment”.

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