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In A Pickle  

Horse tramples dog

Pounding hooves shook the barn’s thin walls and stirred the dust. I stared out the stable’s window as the feral horse charged.   

Tig’ger was a herding dog and had tried to round up the horses, but the young mare was having none of it. Socks, the filly, lashed out and stormed after the retreating dog.   

A blood-curdling scream came from my lips as I shouted Tig’ger's name, warning her of the danger.

Socks kicked sideways, bucking as she ran, and struck out with her front hooves. Normally, the canine was fast and alert, but not this time, Tig'ger was oblivious.  

More than 294 kilograms of horse ran over the dog, trampling and crushing it with those powerful hooves.

Tig’ger let out a high-pitched yelp as she limped over to the fence and crawled underneath, dragging her leg behind her. I rushed over and scooped up our injured pet, put her in the car and raced to Burtch Animal Hospital. 

Dr. Jatinder Mundi did an x-ray, discovering Tig’ger had a dislocated hip. The femur head had pulled away from the ligaments that held it onto the pelvis socket.

The veterinarian inserted an IV line to stabilize Tig’ger, so she'd settle in for the night at the hospital.

We spent the next two agonizing days discussing treatment options. I was unemployed, money was tight, and euthanasia seemed to be the only solution.

However, Dr. Mundi and his team refused to give up on Tig’ger. He found an organization, Okanagan Humane Society, willing to help pay for the surgery. Family members also contributed to Tig’ger’s expenses, and the vet reduced his fees.  

Dr. Mundi cut off the head of the femur bone. Over time, she would grow a false joint, resulting in muscle, instead of bone holding the leg in place.  

Tig’ger would limp, but be pain free, and lead a normal life. The kind-hearted veterinarian’s dogged determination kept Tig’ger on this side of the grass.

Feb. 13, 2015 was a lucky day for Tig’ger when they discharged her. She spent the next month in her kennel on wheels, confined in order to heal. I pulled the kennel taxi everywhere to observe the dog and keep her calm.

To prevent Tig’ger from chewing her stitches, she wore a cone, and the vet instructed me not to allow her to walk or run. I put her on a short leash and carried her downstairs and outside to do her business. 

On weekends, Tig’ger went taxi strolling on Beach Avenue in Peachland, with her humans pulling the wagon, doing her bidding.  

Stop doting on Tig’ger, I was told by relatives, but I couldn’t help myself. I showered her with TLC. Because of that, I believe she recovered quickly.

Unbeknownst to me, her quick return to health was a godsend, as I was going to need her help.

Three months later, as I walked home from the barn, I encountered a bear, and froze. The giant bruin locked eyes with mine.  

The dog appeared out of nowhere, charging at the beast, lunging at her huge opponent. I heard barking, snarling, jaws snapping, as an epic David vs Goliath battle ensued. The bawling black bear turned around, bolting out the gate with Tig’ger in dogged pursuit. 

Our crippled, 16 kilogram mini Australian shepherd showed no signs of frailty. She’s taken on other dangerous critters with both two and four legs after.

Eighteen months post surgery, burglars broke-into our house. Tig’ger’s valiant efforts to defend the place left her traumatized. It’d been worse had she not made a ruckus. The thugs would have stayed longer, causing more damage. 

We sold the acreage and moved to the suburbs, thinking we had left our problems behind us. However, she protected me from a coyote pack with the same ferocity a few years later.

Tig’ger is a super-canine hero, my furry guardian angel.

Our precious pet, 8 ½ years of age, now sports a grey beard. She’s healthy and playful as a pup.   

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human, I am,” Charles Yu wrote on an Internet post.

To that, I say Amen!

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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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