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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hunting dog and hunter both slowing down

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Both my bird dog and I are in trouble. After an unsuccessful attempt to heal the injuries to my dog’s foreleg, I was referred to a group of veterinarians in Kansas City. They reviewed the X-rays and concluded he had torn the ligaments in his right front leg. The diagnosis was he wouldn’t be able to hunt and run hard like before.

The news was a blow to both of us. Although I’m not sure the setter, Drifter, knew what the veterinarian was saying, in my case, with the approach of bird season, the fact that my favorite bird dog had now been relegated to being a full-time pet has been depressing to us both.

Then I remembered that back in the coaching days we used to tape athletes’ ankles, shoulders, and hands in order to protect them from further injury. So after a consult with the local veterinarian, he put me in touch with a Web site in Oregon that sells all sorts of orthopedic implements designed to help your dog. Now I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of what they designate as a partial foreleg splint and see if this will help alleviate the stress on those torn ligaments while at the same time allow Drifter some mobility without all the pain.

When I bought the dog four years ago, people questioned, “What are you doing buying a pup at age 65?”

My comment was that I hoped to have 10 good years, since that is about the average life span of a dog. The plan was for both Drifter and I to age together. Unfortunately, like all of us know, plans change.

The vet in Kansas City did give me some hope. He said you can probably hunt him for maybe an hour without doing damage if you take it easy with him.

Then he looked at me and said, “I bet you don’t cover as much ground as you used to.”

The nerve of some people!”

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College