Mr. Packetthead

The fateful day: July 5, 2005

On July 4, 2005, I was at work.  It was a hot day, typical of the area, humid and bright.  It was a Monday afternoon, and I was at work at the luxury boarding kennel in B’ton.  A sheriff’s car raced into the parking lot, right into the spot in front of the vet’s office next door.  I thought the car was going to shoot straight through the vet’s front door.  The officer ran out, pounded on the door of the vet’s office, and ran back to the back seat of the car. 

I went outside to see what the vet emergency was, and the officer was applying cold packs to the near lifeless body of a large Rottweiler.  I called the emergency number for the vet, and told the officer that we had to get the dog inside to the shower.  The dog was too heavy for us to carry, and I ran back inside the kennel to get a crash cart.  By that time, all the kennel staff was standing around, in shock and unable to move or comment.  They could only watch as the drama unfolded. 

We loaded the dog on the cart.  He didn’t move, and his head and paws flopped off the cart as we clattered into the bathing room.  The dog’s body was hot, and failing.  I hosed him down with the shower control set at the coldest setting in an effort to cool him down. 

But it was too late.  His core body temperature was out of control, and as I hosed his body, he slipped away, and his eyes gradually receded back into his head. 

Some people were in the lobby to follow the progress of the story.  They had been in the area on vacation for the holiday weekend, and they, like others, were out and about.  They had stopped at a Dairy Queen, then the gas station next to it, then wandered to a plant nursery next to the gas station.  The nursery was closed, but they wanted to get a closer look through the fence.  It was a pricy, showy establishment, with expensive shrubbery, plants, planters, fountains, and hardscaping displays.  That’s when they noticed the dog lying still at the end of a chain, in the sun, with his overturned food and water dishes.  It was probably 100 degrees in the shade, and the dog’s black coat soaked up the sun like a death shroud. 

The people called 911.  The officer had to climb over the fence, cut the dog loose from the chain, and push the body over the fence.  The dog seized twice, and when the officer applied the first cold pack, steam came off the dog’s body.  The nearest vet’s office was next door to the kennel, but closed, like most places, for the long holiday weekend.  The vet came as soon as possible, but the dog was deceased, a welcome relief to a probable three days of a torturous death alone at the end of a chain, in the heat, protecting the valuables of a luxury nursery.  His name was Pansy. 

The next day I was driving home, and at the edge of my crappy little town, I saw something in the middle of the road by some roadkill.  At first I thought it was a fawn.  It was so thin and leggy.  When I got closer to it, it looked at me as I went by, stepping almost into my path.  I drove past, pulled over, turned around and went back.  I got out of the car, spoke to the dog, and reached over and scooped him up with one hand. 

A trip to the vet found that he weighed 17 pounds, was infested with fleas and intestinal parasites, and his ears were bloody, open wounds from the biting flies. 

I didn’t intend to lose 2 in 2 days.  I didn’t want another dog, but this guy needed help.  He was near death.  He was wearing a small harness that was almost growing into his skin.  His long bones showed signs of malformation and malnutrition.  And five weeks later we have this…

Packett: "Nobody knew my ears were this big! She could have named me Dumbo!"


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One Response to “Mr. Packetthead”

  1. Becky Says:

    Here we read of the agony and joy of caring for animals. The part about Pansy makes me ill; something like that you could never forget. 😦 Peanut went to the vet today with a bladder infection and I am grateful that was all. She will be 17 in November.


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