Iko's Long Journey

You might have noticed I've been missing.

It all started Thanksgiving Day. I'd been running around like a headless chicken, cleaning, cooking and prepping for company. That's the only excuse I have for not noticing Iko's injuries sooner.

I did notice that his fur was matted with a gummy slime. His coat is really dense right now so to get a better look I gave him a bath. The ooze was coming from two gaping wounds.

We had no shaver, so I clipped his fur as close as I could with scissors so I could clean the wounds.

Being a holiday the vet clinic was closed. I called the answering service nonetheless, and my wonderful vet called me back even though she was out of town. She insisted that Iko was in no immediate danger especially since I'd cleaned the wounds. Someone from the clinic was there to give me some antibiotics to hold him over until she could see him.

I worried over that dog ALL weekend long. He had a good appetite, normal bowel movements, and was in good spirits despite his injuries. From the outside, it seemed like he would be okay. But something wasn't right. I felt it in my bones. I didn't like the way that wound looked.

My suspicions were confirmed when my vet was able to shave him down to bare skin. It wasn't just the gashes on his side, the tissue further down his body had been severely traumatized and beginning to necrotize. He was in very bad shape, his body just didn't know it yet.

Our vet told us that she'd have to remove a great deal of hide to save him. On the plus side, Iko had lots of extra skin. The bad part was that he'd be stitched over more than half his body.

She kept him under anesthesia longer than she had hoped. There was so much damage.

We got him back late that evening. He was heavily drugged, but she warned us that it would wear off soon and to start giving him pain meds immediately.

To say that my poor boy had a miserable night would be an understatement. Nothing broke my heart more than to hear him cry all night. I gave him as much pain medication as I dared, and I slept with him so I could be there if he needed anything.

The next day our vet called, surprised to find out he was still alive. She had warned us that he might not make it.

I'd be lying to you if I said that had been the worst of it. We had weeks more of sleepless nights. The drainage tubes and sutures bothered him terribly. It was all we could do to keep him from tearing at his flesh.

We kept him in pressure bandages for weeks. After a while, part of the incision healed, but there were two more areas where the sutures didn't hold because of their location. He had to go into surgery again to repair the gaping holes.

Another week passed. He'd had a bit of relapse, most likely because of all the drugs in his body, but he was slowly recuperating.

Last week, we took him for another checkup. He'd need one more surgery. His sutures tore again. The picture above was taken after the second time the pressure bandages were taken off so the sutures hadn't torn yet. The area that kept ripping was down close to his legs.

So that's where I've been the last few weeks. If it hadn't been for the fact that I'd already compiled the gift list posts, you wouldn't have heard from me at all. It was important I focus on Iko.

As to how he got those injuries...we might never know. Poor Iko was literally shredded.

We've found tracks of a very large animal on our property. Our neighbors swear they had seen a black panther prowling between our properties. They're rare in these parts but this is their kind of habitat. I've also seen wolves and bobcats, the wolf, just the other day. We no longer go out at dusk or dawn without a gun. We are constantly on guard now.

I have to admit, I was scared to my socks early in Iko's recovery. I was walking him, and we accidentally startled a wolf in my neighbor's woods. All I had on me was a pocket knife. I opened up the knife and we backed away slowly, me never taking my eyes off those woods. After that we never went out without a gun or my trusty bodyguard, Greg.

And that's the story of Iko's long journey and why I was offline so much.

I never got around to decorating for Christmas and I won't be sending Christmas cards this year. I feel like all my energy has been sapped. All I want to do is sleep.

2018 has been a really hard year. In the end, we made it, but not without a beating.

As Greg always said when he used to fly airplanes: Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. And that's us. We were able to walk away. :)

How did 2018 treat you?

Update: It looks like Iko has to go back to the clinic on Wednesday. He tore his stitches again. I hope he won't have to go back under, but we'll have to wait and see what the vet thinks. This close to Christmas, she doesn't want to take any chances so she's asked to see him. Keep your paws crossed.

A sad update: Our poor Iko died suddenly the day after Christmas 2018, from a heart attack. After all he endured and all we endured, it was a bitter shock to lose him like this.

He was doing so well. The sutures were holding. He had a great appetite and a great disposition. His heart had been strong every time he'd gone to the clinic. Aside from that, we watched him like hawks and were aware of every change in pattern.

He died within minutes of the attack. Sometimes you get kicked in the gut no matter how hard you try. RIP, my poor, brave boy.


rmacwheeler said…
hugs, prayers, and love ♥ ♥ ♥
B.E. Sanderson said…
Poor Iko! And poor you! :hugs: Positive thoughts for a speedy remainder of the recovery.
LD Masterson said…
I am so sorry that Iko had to go through such a terrible ordeal and you and Greg, too. I'm praying for his continued recovery. Hugs to all. (Careful, gentle ones for Iko.)
jacabur1 said…
Terrified when saw the photo, horrified when read the post and now crying Maria as know how this ordeal is not over yet for any of you. Take care and our thoughts, prayers and wishes for a full recovery for Iko are sent as well as virtual hugs.
Marianne Arkins said…
Oh my GOSH ... poor Iko! Poor you and Greg! That's just horrifying, but he's in the best, most loving and caring hands he can be in. Sending you plenty of healing vibes and prayers. Hang in there. <3<3
Ronda Tutt said…
Wow, poor Iko. Glad he’s getting better but man what a experience he had to endure. And you are such a good loving momma. With wounds like that, he was probably attacked by a wild cat of some sort. We had a cat once who got bit by a water mosken and where the bite was the skin died leaving a big gaping hole in her leg. Poor thing had to endure what they call hydro washing. We had to fill her leg up with water and then squeeze the water out of it. It was an awful site but she knew we were taking care of her and she let us do it without fight. I can just imagine Iko’s pain, poor fur baby. Take care Hun and keep that gun locked n loaded.
Sarah Ahiers said…
Ohhhhh poor buddy. I hope he's finally on the mend.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Beth. I'll be glad when 2018 is history.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Linda. He's been so patient what with everything he's had to endure. I'll be glad when the stitches hold. I'm afraid it's back to pressure bandages for him.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Jackie. It's been a very, very long month.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Marianne. It's been a lot tougher than I expected. If we could all just sleep through the night that would be a blessing.
Maria Zannini said…
Ronda: That's exactly right. Flushing it is imperative. Good job! I hope she recovered all right. You were very brave to do it. Some people don't have the nerve for it.
Maria Zannini said…
Hi Sarah. He's better but I just wish he could get over this hump. If we can get the site closed he'll heal that much faster.
Carole West, said…
My heart goes out to you - caring for a sick/wounded dog takes so much out of you and when I saw those stitches in the photo my first thought was predator. We have wild cats out here saw a bobcat a few weeks ago in daylight.

So I as well don't go out without my gun because you just never know what you might run into. Robert says. "I've turned completely country."

T-tree oil is a great essential oil to rub on the skin for healing and pain relief. You might want to check with your vet first but we've always used this on our pets injuries including sheep and cows.

Hugs and will keep y'all in our prayers. As for our 2018 well it was rough as you know but I'm stronger and a better person and thankful for all of it.

It brought me to a place a focus and understanding to see where my time is most needed.

Merry Christmas sweet friend!
All of us here - humans and hard-shelled critters - will be keeping everything crossed for Iko and for all of you.....
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Carole. The nice thing about a year ending is that you get a chance at a new beginning.

I'll check with my vet on the tea tree oil. I know we have some. Thanks!
Maria Zannini said…
Awe, thanks, Madeline. :)
Stacy McKitrick said…
Aww, man! Poor Iko! I can only imagine what you must be going through. I sure hope everything turns out well.
As for 2018 for me, actually it was a LOT better than 2017 (the year of the cancers), so I don't have any complaints. I hope 2019 is a much better year for all of you.
Sending lots of virtual hugs your way.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Stacy. 2017 was awful for you, so I'm glad 2018 was better.
Lisa L said…
Oh my goodness...poor Iko! I'm so sorry he is going through so much pain and suffering. I hope that he is recovered soon! Thinking of you!
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Lisa. It's strange. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's just out of reach. We just have to get through the next few weeks.
Since I'm not on FB anymore and your posts were showing regularly, I was floored reading this post about Iko. I pray for healing for him and energy for you and hubby as you both continue caring for Iko during this time.

Hugs to the whole family, humans and furbabies!!!
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Angela. It's been rough. There's no getting around that. I'm just grateful we were able to save him. He's a tough little man.
Jenny Schwartz said…
Oh my goodness! Your poor brave boy. What a horrible experience. So glad he's pulled through. I don't want to even imagine the emotional nightmare for you. (((hugs)))
I am so sorry for your boy having to go though this! Sounds like he is a very strong in his will but I will send a prayer out.. no more tearing your stitches big guy, my bella decided to go though a wire area that she had to get on a counter, climb up and then got herself hung, by the time I found her, the wire had cut her to the bone and the whole leg was swollen. I know what is like to lay with them, praying over them, and try and get them to not pull or stretch things.. my heart goes out to you all.
lynnviehl said…
You know all the fingers and toes and paws and fins are crossed here for Iko and you two. I've even now got the visiting cockatiels singing for your pup when I do my morning meditation. From all the lovely comments looks like you've got lots of the same now coming from every direction on the compass.

Take care of him. We'll be here once you're on the other side of this. (But check the front doorstep for a little package from me when you get a chance.)
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: It drains you. Not just physically, but emotionally. I'll be glad when this is over.
Maria Zannini said…
Farmgal: How awful about Bella. That is a very serious injury. I hope she recovered from it.

Iko is a strong dog, but he's also old. That shouldn't have to happen to a senior. :(
Maria Zannini said…
Lynn: Oh, my gosh! You really did surprise me. I love that book. I can't wait to pore over it. Thank you, sweetie. That was very kind.

Keep them digits crossed. I'm pretty sure she's going to have him on the table Wednesday. That section opened up pretty wide. Oy. :(
Hi Maria, it was a very bad injury, she was six at the time and recovered very well, she lived to be 16 years old, it did show as a shake in that back leg in the year but at 15, I was good, we use a wobble board for balance and core strength in a safe way.. I agree it will be hard as a senior.. I am so sorry and goes well
Maria Zannini said…
Farmgal: That was a good run. You did good. :)
Michael Keyton said…
You're blessed with great friends, Maria. I'm just hoping today brings good news.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Iko had another surgery Wednesday but he hasn't popped back like before. Neither one of us got any sleep last night. I think I might take the rest of the year off and start fresh in January. It's just too hard for me to juggle everything.

On top of that, Greg has been sick too, so I've had my hands full.
Leigh said…
Oh my, poor Iko. It's so fortunate you were able to get him help, even if it was a bit delayed. It's a scary incident, but he looks like a trooper.

Really nice to "meet" you; thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. Lots of good things here on your blog.
[…] Iko was brutally attacked and he’s a big dog, so that’s not always the best answer. On the […]