A Night at the Creek

Many years ago when I began my career I was in a rural area and spent many a night on emergency calls. Typically when an owner called, I would meet them at the hospital to see their pet. Early one evening I received a call from a client who had a great heart and always went the extra mile for her critters. She lived way out in a remote area and had discovered a dog that was hit by a car and fell down an embankment into a stream. They had a number of neighbors out there but the dog was very aggressive and they couldn’t get him out. After several minutes of directions I left my home with a stop at the hospital for some supplies before joining them.

It was dusk by the time I found them. The poor dog had been hit and fell down a steep slope into a stream. The stream was shallow and he sat in the water snapping and growling at anyone brave enough to approach. I knew he had to be hurt pretty badly to be in that position and hoped to get some pain medication into him as quickly as possible. The banks of the stream were also steep and dropped the final 3 feet into relatively calm water. I was glad it was a warm evening because it soon became apparent that I was going to join him in the water. I approached him slowly and was able to gain a little trust but he wasn’t about to let me handle him. It was dark now and as the folks on the bank held flashlights on him I was able to slip a muzzle on him. I calmed and reassured him and gave him an injection of morphine as we sat in the water.

He relaxed and I was able to hand him up the steep bank to the waiting arms of the folks who found him. They set him down and I started doing a cursory exam under the dim light they provided. As I worked I could hear a faint buzzing sound. When I asked, nobody else heard it and they looked at me like I had spent a little too much time in the water. I kept hearing it and finally moved the little fellow over only to find that they had laid him on a bumble bee nest. He wasn’t stung but we all moved pretty quickly after that.

I put a temporary splint on a broken leg and with everyone helping we managed to get him up to my car. We went down to the hospital and started him on his long road to recovery. He turned out to be a great dog and I never saw him try to bite again. It is the only time I ever started an exam in water and I am happy to report that we both survived the evening just fine.

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