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Friday, April 15, 2016

Brownie, Our Adopted Dog (And A Few Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke on Pets)

About 9 months ago, a frail, scrawny dog took refuge in our front steps. She was so thin and almost hairless, most people would feel too icky to come near her.

We were no exception. We wanted her captured. We didn't want her lingering around our property.

But she was persistent. She persevered to stay even if the village guards would chase her away day in and day out. She eventually recognized the sound of the guards motorcycles that even if they were still far away, we'd hear her growl like a tiger.

The guards and maintenance crew eventually gave up.

We couldn't just let her starve so we started feeding her. Once a day. Twice a day. And then before we even realized how far we're dragging ourselves into, it became a regular thing. A few weeks after, we started seeing her orange-y fur come out. In a month, she was far from the scrawny dog that she used to be. We saw how pretty a dog she is.

But we still weren't ready for a pet. So the husband befriended her and eventually tamed her enough to get a leash on her.  When we were about to hand her over to the guards, we asked where she'd be taken to and was told they will just throw her out of the village.

The hubs looked at me and I knew. That day was the day we officially became pet owners. My daughter immediately christened her "BROWNIE" and the rest was history.

Beginning that day, we arranged our schedules so we won't have to leave her alone for so long. Fortunately when we needed to go on long trips, we were very lucky to have family and friends volunteering to take her in temporarily. Come to think of it, her very gentle demeanor makes is very easy for people to grow fondness of her.

Soon we'll be celebrating our first year as dog owners. I never realized I'd get deeply attached with anyone else other than my little miss. But a few days ago, I lost myself in panic because I thought we were going to lose Brownie.

We were oblivious to the symptoms but it turns out she was already suffering from heat stroke. And early morning on Monday, I found her gasping for air almost breathing her last. For the first time, I was lost. I didn't know what to do. I was stroking her gently, hoping my touch would calm her down and take the pain away. But as I looked at her with tears streaming down my face, I felt her starting to close her eyes and giving in. I knew I couldn't just sit there and watch her die. I asked a neighbor if they can drive us to the vet clinic outside of our village and they did not hesitate. Unfortunately, the tricycle that we were taking wouldn't start.

I decided I will just try to carry her. I thought I had enough energy to carry her to the clinic but after about 100 meters of walking, my shoulders were already surrendering. The guards eventually decided to just use their motorcycle. The clinic was still closed when we arrived. I looked at my watch, 10 minutes to opening time. I knocked and called for help. But I guess I was too gentle, so the building guard approached and pounded on the rolled up door shouting "EMERGENCY!!!!". After a few seconds, the door opened and they let us in! "Thank you, Lord!"

They clinic assistant took Brownie's temp and shouted for the vet to come out. "Emergency doc!" They couldn't get a good reading of the temp because the 2 thermometers kept showing "E". Later I'd find out, her temp was just too high the digital thermometer couldn't display it anymore. They placed 3 ice bags on her and attached her to an IV bottle. They put her on whelping box and allowed her to rest. After about 30mins, oh boy, I was so happy to see her sit up and bark. Despite seeing her active after an hour, I was asked to leave her for the rest of the day to finish the fluid therapy. The doctor gave me some tips to prevent her from having another heat stroke:

1. Check her water regularly. Make sure it's clean and cold (as much as possible).
2. Spritz some water on her and her puppies several times in a day.. Even "aspins" need to be refreshed too.
3. Don't allow her to drink water immediately after a walk. It shocks their organs and that's not good. Let her rest for a few minutes then give her water.
4. For newly birthed dogs like Brownie, they're more likely to suffer from Hypocalcemia after 2-3 weeks of giving birth. So best to supplement in the meantime.

Brownie is doing good now. She kept us up for a few more days but I think she's recovering well already. Soon, her puppies will move to new homes. But for now, we enjoy having them around. Even the little miss is very eager to take on the responsibility of making sure the pups are well fed and well hydrated.
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