Update on Baby Attacked by Dog

Logan, the baby who was seriously injured by a rescue dog (and grandson of my friend Dee), is recovering well. He's home and showing no symptoms, though he will have scars. Dee reports that the fearless boy has been playing with her trusted yellow lab.

Here's the post detailing the attack (warning: graphic). 


Deer Bone and Badger Hole


Not long ago I found myself taking two French children and their grandparents on a nature walk. It's the sort of thing that happens to me fairly often. Both kids hoped to see a snake. They'd recently had the opportunity to pet a grass snake and found it interesting. No luck on the snake front, but we did see dragonflies, finches on the wing, male and female pine cones, and other cool stuff. 

Three-year-old Carlie fell asleep and had to be carried, though she woke now and then to look at things. Seven-year-old Jonah was excited to gather stuff for his cabinet of curiosities. He didn't know what a cabinet of curiosities was when the walk started, but his grandmother told him I'd written a book about them, and he warmed to the idea immediately. He found a crow feather to keep. We talked about its parts and how it can cut through the air to help a bird fly even though some of its parts are fluffy. 

Our next discovery was a burrow. The kids had taken an interest in every hole in the ground, wondering what might live inside, but this was the biggest we'd seen. I said it might belong to a badger. They weren't familiar with American badgers, so I tried to explain what they were--something like a raccoon, built low, hunt by night, that sort of thing. "Mostly a meat-eating animal," I added. 

"Do they eat persons?" Jonah asked. 

"No, they're too small for that," I said. 

He seemed disappointed. That's when I knew these were my kind of kids. 

"A bone!" Jonah said a little further along the trail. His mother is an American and he speaks English at least as well as I do, but the O in bone narrowed in the French manner. 

It was the shoulder-bone of a deer. I knew it belonged to a deer because I'd kept an eye on the carcass since last winter. I don't know what killed the deer in the first place, but when my sons and I first discovered it, we found it had been torn and slightly eaten by domestic dogs. We saw their paw prints all around the carcass. In later visits, we saw the scat of a smaller scavenger that burrowed in through the deer's flank to dine. The deer didn't decompose much because of the cold, so the scavenging went on for weeks. 

All of this scavenging had torn the carcass up a bit, but one day I found it totally disarticulated, scattered from the trail head for yards down snowy paths--here a hoofed leg, there a leathery pile of freeze-dried organs. The tracks nearby were clearly those of a canine. I pulled from my coat pocket a ruler I carry for just such an occasion and measured a paw print at five inches across. Probably just a big dog, I thought. But I looked around at the gray winter sky thickening into dusk and tightened my grip on my walking stick. 

That, however, was a lonely winter evening, and now, on this hot summer morning, we found only the one bone. I showed Jonah the hole where a canine tooth had pierced it.  



Rescue Dog Injures Baby

This one hits close to home. The victim is the grandson of my friend and frequent collaborator Dee Puett. I'll turn the floor over to her in a moment, but I wanted to note that this dog had been in the home without causing harm for two weeks. The child was supervised--in fact, he was three feet from his father when the attack occurred.--Gordon





By guest writer Dee Puett


Dear Irresponsible Pet Owner:

My daughter in her unfailing kindness and with all the love she has for animals, tried to save a dog you had disposed of like yesterday's garbage. She took the dog into her home and tried to show it the love and compassion you so very obviously did not give it in the hopes of finding it a home where it would know love and kindness. This dog that you threw away because you lacked the common courtesy to take the animal to a shelter and have it humanely disposed of, turned on my 15 month old grandson. He is in the hospital now with 3 skull fractures, 3 skull puncture wounds that penetrated the protective lining of his brain, one that actually did puncture his brain. He wants to run and play as any 15 month old little boy does, but he has a drain inserted into his head to keep the fluid from building up on his brain, he has an IV inserted into his tiny arm that is no bigger than two of my fingers held together. I have no idea how many stitches it took to reattach his scalp back to his head. His eyes are swollen. His nose had to be stitched closed. He is in pain, he is on medicine that makes it difficult for him to sleep. He faces several weeks of recovery and if he develops an infection in any of those wounds? He may die.

 
All because of you. All because of your laziness, your inconsideration, your stupidity.

The dog was euthanized, its head cut open and pieces of its brain sent to be tested for rabies. More things to think about while we wait to see how things are going to play out.

I don't hate you, but I am disgusted by you and by the millions of others just like you who dispose of your cats and dogs by throwing them to the streets to fend for themselves. You are deplorable, you are selfish and you deserve to be punished. You can never give my grandson back what you have taken from him. He will likely fear dogs for the rest of his life, he will have scars that will not fade from his body or his mind. You taught this baby to fear and you took away his joy. All because you were too lazy/stupid/inconsiderate to take this dog to a shelter and surrender it. I hope you see this, I hope you find these photos haunting your dreams as much as I have in the last 48 hours. 

Smiling through the pain

This is in the Topeka, Kansas area. Please share this, I want this person to see what they have done. None of this was necessary. None of it. And now good large breed dogs have lost a savior in this world because my daughter can no longer rescue them, the risk is too great.


Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). While some need to be put down, many of them are victims of people who simply cannot or will not take the effort to rehome them. Fostering and rescues are the only option because no one else has come up with a better solution. I will stand behind my daughter's decision to be a foster. She has successfully fostered over 40 dogs and cats in this year alone and with the exception of this single incident, all of her fosters have been successfully adopted. There will no longer be any large breeds though. I think she will be helping with the cats, toy breeds, and fundraising. Which is a loss to large breeds. I hope someone who can will step up and fill the void she is leaving. No animal deserves to be left to die in a concrete shelter at the hands of a stranger.

-Dee Puett




The Deer Near Table 65

Wayne T. Allison

“What the #%&@’s that?” I asked Griffin, interrupting our walk and our philosophizing.

“What the #%&@’s what?” he answered, but his voice went quiet on the last word, because he’d seen the two figures in the ditch, one stepping back into a shadowed alley to avoid us, the other raising its head to stare us down.

It was past dusk. We were walking in the small town of New Richmond, human population about 8000, and Knowles Avenue, with its neon signs and its traffic, lay only a few yards away. It wasn’t the most likely spot to meet a couple of deer. They’d apparently been feeding, or maybe drinking, in the grassy ditch. A row of trees stood nearby, but mostly we were among pavement and plenty of houses.

“Why doesn’t she run?” I said. Partly it was a rhetorical question. Partly I wanted her to hear my voice and know what I was.

She heard. She didn’t seem impressed.

I’m used to getting some respect from white-tailed deer. I meet them often in my walks, and often I’ve wished they’d pause a little longer before they go bounding away. They’re graceful even when still. This one wasn’t moving. I knew what that meant. She’d become habituated to people, maybe even purposely fed. She wouldn’t fear me, might expect to be fed, might even make a point of asserting her sense that I was crowding her.

“You know what to do around deer, right?” I said to Griffin.

“No, actually,” he said.

“Don’t bend over,” I said. “It’ll think you’re charging. And give it plenty of room.” We did, making a big loop to avoid her. She watched us the whole time. I kept giving more room, more room.

She wasn’t very big. “I can probably whip her if she tries anything,” I said.

“That doesn’t sound wise,” Griffin said.

“You’ve got my back, right?”

“I’ll let her kill you, then inherit all your stuff.”

“I’m changing my will tomorrow.”

However, we’d passed her by and were in the parking lot of Snap Fitness. Inside, some brightly-lit yutz was fiddling with dumbbells. Outside, we stood in the glare of red neon, sweaty from our walk in the humid air. Thirty feet away, the deer gazed at us from the dark.

*

The sequel happened a few days later. No violence went down, but a guy was threated a bit more forcefully than we were.

Fred, who works at Table 65, a restaurant just down Knowles from the gym, was walking home along the same dark alley when he met a deer. Like me, he expected it to give way. Unlike me, he was tired from work and didn’t feel like going around. He advanced. So did the deer. It crowded toward him with a sort of repressed charge, as if falling up a hill. He paused. It paused. He advanced. It charged again, sort of. I wish Fred were here to act out its charges for you. His impression is spot on. He bunches up his shoulder and whinnies and bobs. I’m taking Parker’s word for that; it was he who told me Fred’s story and re-enacted it.

In the end, Fred skirted the deer, giving a little ground but getting home safe. I haven’t heard a word about the deer since. Griffin and I have walked the alley several times since.

“You know what to do in case of a deer, right?” I say.

“Sure,” he says. “Shove you under its hooves and run away.”



Mass Die-Off in Kazakhstan, Plus Hideous Diseases


In an alarming development, saiga antelope died in droves this calving season. Scientists are trying to figure out why. 


60,000 Antelope Died in Four Days and No One Knows Why - NBC News: "Within four days, the entire herd — 60,000 saiga — had died. As veterinarians and conservationists tried to stem the die-off, they also got word of similar population crashes in other herds across Kazakhstan. "
The saiga bears a peculiar snout resembling an elephant's trunk. Apparently this adaptation helps filter dust.  

As mentioned, the bacteria suspected here are common ones that typically do little harm. The genus Pasteurella contains at least ten members, all parasites of animals. Most of them occasionally pass to people, typically through the bites of cats and other pets. When introduced in this way, they can become dangerous. The symptoms include swelling and bleeding at the site of the bite, joint pain, and, in more severe cases, infection of the respiratory system and the small intestine, meningitis, and blood poisoning. But these complications are uncommon; the infection is usually a minor affair. Animals that can transmit an infection to people,besides cats and dogs, include rodents, rabbits, pigs, Tasmanian devils, fleas, and ticks.


Clostridium is a genus of bacteria containing many species and types dangerous to people. They generally live in soil and feces. One route of transmission to people includes the feces of animals and the presence of an open wound. This is not so revolting as it may sound. For example, a gardener may take an infection because cats long ago defecated in her garden; the bacteria linger in the soil. Farm workers encounter similar risks. Another path to danger for people is contamination of foods derived from animals. The effects of the various species are surprisingly diverse:
  • Botulism, a kind of food poisoning caused by the neurotoxins the bacteria make. The symptoms include gastric unpleasantness, disturbed vision, and even death.
  • Gas gangrene, which occurs after the bacteria infect wounds. The results can include loss of limbs and death.
  • Blackleg (a.k.a. symptomatic anthrax, though it is not true anthrax), a disease of goats, sheep, and cattle which attacks the lungs and causes nodules to develop under the hide. It can afflict people who work with livestock.
  • Pigbel (a.k.a. enteritisnecroticans), an infection contracted from pigs that causes sections of the small intestine to die. It is often fatal.
  • Pseudomembranous enterocolitis, in which antibiotics ruin the balance of the tiny lives in the human gut. The result is that some microbes, normally harmless, gain ascendancy, causing ulcerations, hideous diarrhea, and plaques that slough into the feces and emerge in the stool as bits of membrane-like growth. One of the offenders is a species of Clostridium.
  • Tetanus (a.k.a. lockjaw), a notorious disease sometimes called the most painful death a human being can know. The species responsible often resides in the guts of horses and humans, doing no damage. It becomes dangerous when it enters the body through a wound. The symptoms include spasms of the muscles—not just the skeletal muscles, but those that control breathing. The victim’s spine may bend into positions impossible in a healthy person.

Thanks to Dee for the news tip.


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