Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning from almost tragedy...Bird Dog Edition

I learned a very long strong lesson in preparedness today.

Readers of this blog should recognize this little German Shorthair, Rex, owned by my bird chasing friend Marques.

With a few short days until my son is born, Marques and I got the dogs together to chase quail near our hometown which allowed me to get back just in case in under 20 minutes.

Nearing the end of a productive hunt which included a surprise rooster and 4 very nice covey's of quail, we had one more draw to hit up

No sooner than Murph Dog and Rex dove into the cut did the ground explode with the biggest covey of quail I have ever seen.  50-60 birds where spraying everywhere, interspersed with a big set of pheasants.  The dust settled and we set in to get the dogs on the downed birds.

Down at the bottom of the draw, I saw Rex and I knew instantly something was wrong from his body language.  Blood was covering his back leg, his head was down, and he wasnt coming to our calls.

Being the closest to him, I got to him as fast as I could.  Upon closer inspection it was plain as day, Rex was in a world of hurt.

The biggest gash I have ever seen on dog was wide open on his chest, from top of the breastbone to underneath  his front legs.  A solid 6-8 inches long and 2-3 inches wide and spewing blood.

Instantly I grabbed him up and sprinted up the draw back to Marquess and we then sprinted back to the truck.

Here's the lesson of the day that will effect what I bring with me bird hunting for the rest of my life.

We needed to tourniquet his wounds ASAP or he was going to bleed out there on the spot.  Marques busted out his triage first aid bag for Rex and as we bundled him with a t shirt and a towel, a simple roll of athletic saved the day.   Read that again... a simple roll of athletic tape saved the day

That tape allowed us to firmly affix the makeshift tourniquet well enough to stop the bleeding until I drove at mach 9 to Spokane's emergency pet hospital.  Lets just say a ride that normally takes 25 took us 10 minutes.

Only after we handed Rex over to the kind vet did the situation hit us.  It happened so fast that we just reacted in the best manner we could at the fastest rate of speed that we could.  Amazing what happens when you just have to do it and GO.

Two hours later, the vet emerged from surgery and informed us that Rex was on the mend.  The details of the situation became more hairier with information from the vet.  As to how Rex was cut, we're pretty certain now that he impaled himself somehow in that last draw and the cut was dramatically worse and more serious that we originally thought.  More like 10-12 inches long by 4 inches wide and he just missed puncturing his breastbone by about 1/8th of an inch.  If that would of happened, this story probably would have ended in a much different manner.

Rex is now out of the game for the season, but he should recover well.  Thank god. 

So what's the lesson here?  I will never hunt again with dogs without bringing a first aid kit specifically designed for our 4 legged friends.  I've always thought I should have one, now my first trip of the week will probably be to a local sporting goods store to pick up the biggest kit I can find.

You better believe it will have athletic tape, that's for sure

If you're hunting with dogs too, go find a first aid kit and make it part of the required uniform. It's best to have it and pray you never have to use it.  Our dogs hunt so hard for us,  crossing barbed wire fences, running through bogs, swimming through nasty swamps that we owe it to them to protect them as best as we can.


  1. Josh, I'm sorry to hear about that poor bird dog. We chase a little tail over here and had a bad deal a few years ago. Hunting A silage feald of corn that had been topped off, our dogs Tory and Gretta, were working the field, the female Gretta was getting thirsty tward the end of the stomp, she always had a bad habit of running low with her tongue hanging out. While running throught the corn with her tongue out a leave from the stock, literaly sliced her tongue off half way, blood every where. Hauled butt to the vet and they couldnt save the peice, but cotorized the end of the existing half. the dog went home with a half a tongue, she didn't hang that thing out again!
    Best wish's to your healing pooch!

  2. A great lesson for all who play outdoors. Glad the ending was not the opposite. Thanks for the reminder to carry tape.

  3. Absolutely brutal. Glad to hear your dog pulled through.

  4. I am glad I ran across your post, but I feel bad for the dog. Thank god you guys had what it took to get the dog to help safely.

    I know what I need to get done ASAP.

  5. Sorry to hear about the cut on your dog!

    Good luck with the baby birth!

    Best, Shawn