I found four messages on my phone when I woke up… All from the same person, sounding very worried. “My dog has a massive hole in his shoulder, it’s really, really bad, there’s even some blood!!! He was out playing and running around, then he yelped, and we saw it! We need help, straight away.” I rang them back, asked enough questions to work out that it wasn’t quite as serious as they felt it was, organised a time to see them, and had some breakfast. I arrived to find a very happy dog, with a distressed pair of owners.
“We’re so glad you could come quickly, it looks AWFUL!”
The Lady was a bit pale, and very obviously not looking at her dog – he was a bouncy, happy, boisterous cattle dog cross. He had a wound maybe 10cm long on his shoulder, nice and clean, not bleeding, but gaping a little bit, with the fat and muscle visible. He came straight over, gave me a lick, and then went back to being his normal self, playing with a toy, wanting me to throw the ball for him. He really couldn’t care less, even though his parents both went a bit green every time they looked at his wound.
“I’ll just give him a sedative to make him sleepy, then the wound will need a few stitches in it. He will be as right as rain in no time.” I had to keep reassuring them, again and again. He relaxed down into a deep sleep with the sedative, and I got together some suture material and an 18 gauge needle. I popped the needle through the skin on both sides, threaded the suture material through the middle, and tied it off with a gentle knot. Seven stitches later, you could hardly see where he had hurt himself. The people could finally look at the wound without blanching, and I could see them relax. I gave the dog the injection to wake him up, and five minutes later he was back trying to get me to throw the ball, if a bit wobbly.
“No playing, ball throwing, or anything too strenuous for the next week, and I will come back then to take the stitches out.”
A week later I dropped in and nipped the stitches out. “You can’t even see where he cut himself!” the lady said.
There’s something very satisfying in stitching up a wound, making the body whole again.