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Bear Injuries and Landlord Frustrations

WARNING: THIS POST WILL CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES OF PUPPY INJURIES.

Corey and I have always wanted to own our own home. When he moved out here last May, we moved into a rental house just to get us started. It was a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom split-ish level house with ~2300sf. Plenty of room for us and the puppy we would rescue only a few months later. I say split-ish level because you would walk in the front door and immediately turn left to get to the master suite, right to get to the kitchen/dining room, or you would go down a half flight of stairs into the giant living room. We loved how large that living room was! With ~12ft ceilings, Corey had space to hang a 120″ projector screen for us to enjoy. We might have gotten a bit spoiled on that screen, but that’s beside the point 😛 You’d turn right in the living room to go out onto the back deck, or you could continue around the staircase, go down another half flight of stairs, and you’d be in the bottom level with the utility room, the second bathroom, and the two other bedrooms. We used one of the bedrooms as a guest room a couple times, but mostly storage. The third bedroom was our office.

Beside the size and the wonky floor plan (which we adored), the house was a pretty run-of-the-mill rent house. The paint colors were generic (except for the LIME GREEN TILE backsplash in the kitchen! Still can’t explain that one), and we weren’t allowed to change them; everything was supposed to be hung with command strips or something else nondestructive (we totally broke that rule, but it was worth it for our travel gallery wall); and it generally felt unfinished, with paint either on outlet covers or kind of shadowed around where they got close but not quite, or baseboards with chunks that hadn’t been repaired, or doors that weren’t square anymore. It worked for a rent house, but we wouldn’t have purchased it had we been looking to buy.

Our landlords were good people, but this wasn’t their primary concern. For reference, the property owner was John, his sister Rebecca was the property manager, and most of the repairs were done by John or Matthew, Rebecca’s husband. All communication went through Rebecca. She was quick to respond to texts we sent acknowledging she’d seen them and assuring us she’d pass along the info to John, but either she was slow/forgetful/uncaring to pass the message along, or John was busy and couldn’t get to the requested repair. Anything non-critical (which was just about everything for us) would take weeks to get fixed. It was incredibly annoying.

When our lease was coming to an end, we started looking for houses to buy, but we were only looking casually at first. We were kicking around the idea of staying in the house for a bit longer when a few things happened to change our mind.

Naturally, they all had to do with Bear.

Bear has always been a friendly dog. Uncharacteristic for a German Shepherd, I know, but that’s his personality. He assumes everyone, human and canine alike, is his BFF5ever. So, of course, when he found a hole in the fence of our backyard, he stuck his face through to say hi to our neighbors behind us!

Y’all see where this is going, right?

The neighbors noticed, and so did we. We contacted Rebecca to get the fence fixed. We thought about getting a couple 2x4s and patching the hole ourselves, but decided to keep things moving through the proper channels, as it were. The neighbors, however, did not. They were renting as well (we looked up the property owner and it was a rental company), but they decided to “fix” the problem on their own by putting a piece of sheet metal up against the hole.

In case y’all were wondering, sheet metal is sharp, and puppy noses aren’t cut-proof.

Graphic image coming. 

See that slice on top of his nose? Ouch! It bled quite a bit, but it was really fairly shallow.

We called our vet and started googling, and since it wasn’t very deep, we did our level best to keep it clean with hydrogen peroxide and let it heal on its own. The problem is hydrogen peroxide doesn’t smell very good, and Bear kept trying to use his giraffe tongue to lick it off! It eventually healed, and we got the blood cleaned up, so we thought we were okay.

John and Matthew came over and patched that hole in the fence that weekend when we told Rebecca what happened.

However, Bear’s bestie on the other side didn’t think so. And Bear was mad that his line of communication had been stymied. I don’t know how it happened, but shortly after that hole got patched, another plank in the fence went missing!

I use bestie sarcastically here. There were two dogs that lived in the yard behind us, and neither was well behaved (neither were the humans that lived there, but we won’t get into that). Bear kept poking his head through that hole in the fence to say hi, and one day one of the dogs decided they’d had enough. I was at the salon getting my hair done, and I called Corey on the way home to see if I needed to pick up dinner. All he said was that I needed to come home and we were going to the vet. Bear had been bitten, badly.

Graphic image coming. 

This picture doesn’t do it justice. The sides of the bite laid over like a butterflied steak. Bear didn’t seem to notice, though. Weirdo.

There was a puncture bite farther back on his cheek that got one stitch top and bottom to close it, but the big one needed 7 or 8 stitches to close it all. Our vet tried to just sedate him to stitch things up (I imagine the dog version of laughing gas), but she had him on the table all relaxed, but he popped up full speed as soon as she started the first stitch. So they reversed the sedation and completely knocked him out with full anesthesia. A couple hours later, we had a very loopy puppy with half of a shaved face and a cone of shame.

We brought Bear home after his surgery, and he was still drowsy from the anesthesia. He walked, very slowly, up to his crate, and just stood there for a minute or two like he was lost. He eventually gave up and laid in the floor. Corey and I laid with him and petted him until he fell asleep.

 

This is probably the best picture we grabbed of his shaved face. His whiskers got clipped, too.

It was probably for the best that Corey was there when it happened and I wasn’t. Corey said he heard a single yelp, but that’s all. He went outside to investigate, and the woman who lived behind us (with her boyfriend? husband? not sure) came out to see what had happened also. When Corey suggested that her dog might be at fault (evidenced by the kind of bite and that fact that her monster was trying to bite Corey’s boots through the fence), she apparently flipped out. I don’t know details, and that’s probably better for everyone’s mental health.

Not only was this whole ordeal upsetting because my fur baby got hurt (not that it slowed him down very much), we had told our landlords about both holes in the fence well before anything happened. Had they been more responsive, or empowered us to fix things like that, this could have been avoided altogether.

Bear hated wearing the cone and would periodically pout about it. He doesn’t know how big he is on a good day, but add a cone to his face and he ends up catching corners a lot harder than he used to!

 

After that first night coming down off of anesthesia, he was his normal, happy, energetic self! Look at that smile 🙂

Thankfully, our vet is amazing, and her stitches healed up perfectly. Now that his fur has grown back, you can’t tell anything ever happened. The bill was nothing we couldn’t handle, either (I only bring this up because a decent human would have offered to help us out if their dog bit ours, but whatever. I’m not salty). All in all, we were very fortunate, because it could have ended much worse than it did. Our puppy is just fine, and we are now searching for a house with every intent of getting away from our lackluster landlords and negligent neighbors.

Yes, I am proud of that alliteration.

Stitches almost healed. Now that his fur has grown back, you can’t even tell. I’m sure he has a scar underneath the fur, but you’d never know it.

Check your fences,

Aiden

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