Jester and the Mountain Lion

Jester and the Mountain lion…….
December 28, 2007

We had a horrific thing happen here tonight.

Probably the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed.  I took the dogs downstairs to go outside.  I put Jester’s Flexi lead on, turned on the light and opened the door.   He hopped out and started to pee..  Instantly I heard horrible barking and then Jester was screaming.  I shot out the door and a mountain lion had him in his mouth!!!

I started screaming and I ran at the lion (in retrospect probably not the smartest idea but I wasn’t thinking about myself) and by a complete miracle the lion dropped him and ran away.   Jester is alive and in the hospital with 2 fractured vertebrae in his neck and 3 puncture wounds, one with a drain.  The surgeon from our vet clinic will come to Boulder tomorrow morning to evaluate whether he needs surgery or just some sort of a contraption to completely immobilize his neck.   I am completely filled with gratitude that he is alive. Please pray for him tonight as he is stable but critical.   

December 29, 2007

We just heard from the emergency vet clinic that the surgeon has been there and is NOT recommending surgery. (thank goodness).  He also feels the bandaging he currently has will he sufficient (it is quite extensive) and he is not in need of some “halo” contraption.   They are keeping him though at least through today and they will re-evaluate at 6pm when the other vet comes back on duty.  He is heavily sedated with some combination of things including morphine and naturally in a lot of pain. Blood work is good showing no infection.  The wound that is most critical was done by the fang tooth of the cat.  It appears it penetrated all the soft tissue and then fractured the bone.  He has a drain in this.   

jester_neck (taken some time after accident)

Living in the mountains I have always realized that the dogs can never go outside by themselves unattended and we have functioned quite well with our combination of leash walks, highly elevated large deck that serves as their “yard” and letting them out the back door on flexi’s to pee in the evening.

The back door opens on to a small flat area (our house sits on a ridge), that is open to the right and drops off to the left.  Also to the left is a patio that extends the full area that is under our deck.  Last night the wind was blowing very hard and it was freezing cold.  I imagine the mountain lion had found himself refuge under our deck and was very close by when I opened the door.  What I believe saved Jester was having the leash on (so the cat could not just drag him away) and being startled by this hysterical human running and screaming at it and me being right there.  I’m sure another few seconds would have done him in as mountain lions go for the neck to break it and then carry their victim away.

We are operating today with the assumption that Jester will fully recover in time.  Please keep him in your thoughts.  I’ll keep you updated.

December 30, 2007

I don’t have much to report yet this morning but should have an update of sorts shortly.  We visited Jester yesterday afternoon and brought him his favorite stuffed rabbit and his favorite treats. (Not that he’s eating anything)  He was still on IV’s and very drugged up.  It is my understanding they are weaning him off these and getting him on oral meds.  They had to insert a catheter to empty his bladder because I think he is too heavily medicated to go.  The interesting part is the DR that came back on duty last night told me at 8pm he was prepared to release him to me!!!   I said I was not comfortable with this AT ALL yet and they kept him overnight.  I then paged my regular vet who is on call this weekend but naturally not open.  I told him I needed some help and guidance as to when Jester is really going to be ready to come home and he agreed that he should NOT come home until he is eliminating on his own and eating.  So, at 8am I will emergency vet for an update and then page my vet, Stan.    Stan will then call and get the scoop so we can come up with a course of action.  The situation here is that the emergency centers here are just that, emergency rooms and once they stabilize they are accustomed to releasing the animal to the care of their normal vet.  They actually typically close at 8am and open evenings. and weekends. With the holiday they are naturally open extended hours.  So, this reminds me a little bit of managing human care in the hospital.    I will feel much better once he is successfully weaned back from the IV morphine and isn’t staggering around in a stupor.  I am grateful they have made him so comfortable but know that this is not a condition in which I should be caring for him at home!       I did get a good nights sleep last night so I am prepared to take him today if he’s indeed ready to come home.
lester_wrap2 jester_wrap1

Jester is home and doing VERY well considering.  We picked him up early this afternoon and now that he is off the morphine drip, he is alert, eating, and going to the bathroom independently.  We are SO grateful and it truly appears he will make a full recovery.  The first thing he did when I brought him in was lie down (very slowly) and flip on his back so I could scratch his belly!  You will notice in the pictures the cute red hearts the vet techs made for his cast/collar.   He is on crate rest for 7 days, and can not have a leash on (or anything around his neck) for a minimum of 8 weeks.  I will be buying a harness as soon as he feels better so we can resume our walks.    I plan to walk with mace and a big stick from now on. J
jester_neck_healed

Thank you for all your prayers and support.  This has been quite an ordeal and my thoughts are now focused on Jester’s 100% recovery. 

Happy New Year!  Welcome 2008!!!

mountain_lion_med

This is a picture taken by one of our neighbors, of a mountain lion passing by…. probably not the same one, but it gives you an idea of how big they can be.

March 24, 2008

Subject: Update

It has been about three months since the attack and Jester continues to do remarkably well. His fractures are healing and his hair is growing back on his neck. We think to some degree the injuries still bother him since he has recently scratched another raw spot on his neck. We assume it must itch from the healing. The Vet suggested April 1st as a good target date to safely resume using his collar for walks rather than the harness. For the most part, life has returned to normal. My hope remains Jester will be completely healed and back in shape to compete at The National Specialty Show here in Colorado in October. I have not since seen a mountain lion, however, we have seentracks on several occasions. Unfortunately, there have been two dogs taken and killed by mountain lions within the City of Boulder since Jester’s incident. There is a thriving deer population in this area which are the mountain lion’s primary food. We still enjoy our daily walks in our mountain community, however,I now carry with me a walking stick and an air horn!

May 9, 2008

Subject: Back to the shows!

After countless hours of grooming as well as conditioning, Jester and I headed to Albuquerque, NM for a few shows. We took along two other beagles and enjoyed ourselves staying with friends. I, in turn, finished Jester’s 13 Inch granddaughter, Cagney, at these shows and had a great time while doing so! Even though Jester did not win, he stepped back into the ring and showed his heart out with complete confidence and enthusiasm!

May 12, 2008

Subject: Back from the shows

Jester is not feeling well. We drove seven hours home from the shows yesterday and once here Jester refused his dinner. Even though this attribute is very un-beagle like, Jester has been known to refuse a meal after showing due to the fact he prefers all those special treats given to him while showing over his less tasty standard diet. I have since called the Vet and he would like to do another MRI ASAP! Jester’s most recent follow-up x-rays showed ‘all is normal,’ this would naturally be the next step.

May 15, 2008

Subject: Really not feeling well

Jester is now stoic and those at the Vet clinic now tell me an MRI cannot be scheduled for over a week. Another Vet visit and many phone calls later, we found someone who can do the MRI right away! Jester is scheduled tomorrow morning at 9:30 for the MRI at VRCC (Veterinary Referral Center of CO) in Englewood, CO. www.vrcc.com/neurology/.

May 16, 2008

Subject: VRCC

I drove down to Denver this morning through late rush hour traffic hoping this appointment would yield some answers. Jester is in so much pain all he does is hang his head and stare at me with those big brown eye of his.

I met with Dr. Stephen Lane for almost an hour reviewing all of Jester’s previous x-rays and test results. He then told me he was quite certain the MRI wouldn’t show a problem with Jester’s neck or healing fractures, but rather a problem in the lower back. The MRI was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and I was to leave Jester with the expectation he would probably spend the night. More waiting, but I truly felt Jester was in competent hands.
At 4:00 p.m. my cell phone rang and it was Dr. Lane calling from the MRI procedure. Jester wasstarting to rupture a disc between L2 and L3 and will need surgery. The good news, however, since Dr.Lane believes this has been coming on for several days Jester will not need emergency surgery. They will stabilize him overnight, send him home tomorrow (Saturday) with heavy medication along with strict orders of almost no activity. We are to bring him back at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning for surgery.

May 18, 2008

Subject: Pondering

Since Jester’s critical injuries were mainly to his neck, the cat did, however, give him a significant swipe across his lower back. (There is a photo of this but it may be a bit blurry and mostly healed by the time we photographed it.) I hypothesized this injury created vulnerability in that area which simply took a while to manifest itself.

May 19, 2008

Subject: Surgery

Jester had his surgery Monday afternoon and all went smoothly. He was then hospitalized until Thursday afternoon the 22nd. I visited with him on Wednesday and noticed the incision down his back resembles a giant zipper! Barry measured it and it was over 7 inches in length!

jester_zipper_back

May 22, 2008

Subject: Home again

Jester is home again along with strict orders. He is restricted to flat levels for the next 30 days, with no running, jumping, stairs or unrestricted activity. Currently this is not a problem, however, I DO know this dog . . . Thirty days of restricted activity is probably wishful thinking!

June 2, 2008

Subject: Stitches are removed

The stitches came out today and we now believe Jester is well on his way to a full recovery! His re-check appointment is scheduled for June 30th.

June 15, 2008

Subject: Unrestricted activity

Tomorrow will be almost thirty days since Jester’s surgery. We continue to carry him up and down the stairs, much to his dismay and constant wiggling! We have done our best to abide bywalks that do not exceed 5-10 minutes in duration. It has become evident Jester knows better how he feels than do we, therefore, we will remain neutral on the subject until additional times passes by. Jester is now tolerating nicknames such as “zipper back” and comments from friends that suggest his shaved back resembles a moon roof!
As far as future dog showing and other activities are concerned, the jury remains out. VRCC stated their goal is for Jester to return to the same quality of life he enjoyed before the surgery. We are eternally grateful Jester is alive and continues to exhibit the spirit we believe has seen him throughthis entire ordeal with such flying colors!

September 30, 2008

Subject: Always believe in miracles

Jester stepped back into the ring today at the Rocky Mountain Beagle Club Specialty!! This show proceeds the The National Beagle Club of America show which begins tomorrow, October 1. He greeted the ring with tremendous enthusiasm and the crowd did not disappoint him with their cheers and support. He responded with perfect showmanship and an enthusiastic bark here and there, happily doing everything I asked of him. He judge also acknowledged him, keeping him in contention through the final cut.

This is a day I will never forget. Jester just sailed around the ring , ears flying, with a smile on his face. His delight in being here was apparent to all that saw him. He is a true survivor. Always believe in miracles. ,

 jester_show