Xilone Pablo Picasso pedigree
15/05/2000 - 23/08/2011
Piper came to us on the evening of November 18 2001. Rebecca and I had been at our groups Christmas Party. It had been a wonderful day but lots of rain. There was one large white and fawn dog there that was totally out of control. He was one of two brothers who the Greyhound Adoption Program had taken in. His name was Pablo. " Not as a gift" I said to my friend " would I have one of them".
As we were leaving I checked that I wasn't needed to take a foster dog with me. "Would you mind taking Pablo?" I was asked. So we loaded up this huge, out of control dog that also suffered from severe car sickness and started the 3-hour trip home. By the time we got home Pablo had become Piper and he had travelled like a dream. Not that I was keeping him mind you. I already had 3 other dogs and a permanent 4th was not likely!
The vet, Richard, had Piper on the table and ready to operate in about 5 minutes. I meanwhile was making frantic phone calls to my Mum to go lock up my gate and put the other dogs away. Then to GAP to see what to do. I knew it would cost quite a bit but they gave the go ahead. 2 hours and approx 100 stitches later Piper was done. Now time would tell. What time did do to us was to kill off the flap of skin so carefully stitched back. We were at the vets nearly every day. On the 5th day some re-stitching was done in an attempt to keep the skin viable. It failed. It was the most awful feeling to just sit back and watch all this skin die and shrivel up. By the 8th day Piper had lost most of his skin damaged in the accident. The last bit of skin fell off while I was out doing some much needed shopping.
I was practically living in my bedroom, where Piper was confined most of the time, only leaving him when Rebecca, my daughter who was 14 at the time, was able to sit with him. I came home on the 9th day to find Rebecca in tears as this last flap of skin held on by 4 stitches. I can do most things but I couldn’t touch this so back to the vets we went. They removed the flap and Piper was bandaged. The wound was huge.
Approximately 8 inches by 8 inches of open flesh. The sayings "every picture tells a story" and "a picture is worth a thousand words" are so true. We had to bandage this wound every day. Sometimes it was twice a day or even 3 times a day if the bandage slipped. Being on his side/rib cage/back meant it was near impossible to keep the bandage in place. The best method employed used an old cotton racing jacket and 6 nappy pins! We would put Manuka Honey on the wound, then a layer of paraffin gauze, then ordinary gauze, then cotton wool, then vet wrap, a wonderful bandage that stuck to it’s self. Sometimes we managed to use the same bandage twice which cut down on the costs. After the bandaging we put on the racing jacket and stuck the 6 pins through various strategic spots. But it still failed to stay put at times. Piper was so good to us, never threatening us in any way. Rebecca and I would be exhausted after each change, so would Piper.
The idea for the honey came from one of the vets, Kerrilee Luxford. She had been reading about Manuka honey being used in old people’s homes for the treatment of ulcers and bedsores on the elderly. The results were very good. So we added the honey to the standard wound dressing and the rest, as they say, is history. We were lucky that the first thing we tried worked so well. At times it was obvious the wound had shrunk dramatically from bandage change to bandage change. We would get the ruler out and measure each side; sometimes a side might have shrunk by as much as 2 ½ cms( 1 in ) or more. It really was quite impressive! We were also very lucky through all of this that Piper was so calm. It was very easy to keep him quiet. He showed no inclination to move at all - a bit strange for an 18-month-old dog! As long as he had one of us near him Piper was quite content to lie around.
3 weeks later on 12/12/01 and the wound was half the size and we were hoping we could remove the bandages by Christmas. We had started to encourage Piper to move around a lot more now too. Rebecca and I would stand at opposite ends of the yard calling Piper backwards and forwards. Plus there were the walks around the neighbourhood 3 times a week. There was a concern that, as the skin grew back, especially when it grew so quick, that it may tighten up and restrict Piper’s movement. But we won that battle!
Crunch time had come………Piper was to be moved on as I felt it wouldn’t be fair to keep him until February when Gap resumed operations. I was worried about Piper being too attached to us and I was also worried that he may have some physiological problems with being here where the dreadful deed had happened. Piper wouldn’t even walk near the clothesline for weeks after the accident. Just getting out in the backyard for toileting was given a miss for the first week or so. I told Larissa all this but, deep inside; our hearts were breaking. Luckily common sense went out the window and we followed our hearts and Piper stayed. He has his forever home with us.
As soon as I knew Piper was staying I let Larissa know and took over Piper’s medical bills. Gap had paid the worst but there was still a fair bit to come, so Larissa kindly let me pay the adoption fee in February. It certainly helped!
After 6 weeks Piper was allowed to go bandage free. It was New Years Eve. We were all so pleased. Of course we were back to having drop sheets around everywhere to catch the “ooze” but we didn’t care. After about 12 weeks Rebecca and I noticed the wound had seemed to "stall". It wasn't going anywhere. It was decided to re-cover and see what happened. But what to cover with? In the end I used the last of the gauze and stuck it on with bandaids. OUCH! How to get them off?
We started using oil on the bandaids and they came off like a charm. Only problem was it made Piper's skin oily and we couldn't stick the next lot of bandaids down. So we hit on a method that has worked really well for us! Every night I would get his little dressing ready. We were now using eye make-up remover pads. I stuck on 3 bandaids, turned it all over, put a small section of the paraffin gauze in the middle and would sneak up on Piper and quickly put it on him. Then on went the stretch-racing vest to help it all stick. In the morning I would again sneak up on Piper sometime after his vest has been removed, and pour oil on the bandaids. Then with a bit of gentle rubbing they all come unstuck, so Piper was free of them all day.
I keep saying "sneak" but that's what it was. Piper didn’t like all this going on, he cowered and cringed and I'm not sure if we will ever be able to approach him from side on without him being terrified. But we love him and he loves us and so it goes on... and it's working. At 16 weeks Piper's wound was smaller than a 20-cent piece. I think it's a miracle.After 20 weeks and 3 days the wound finally healed! It has been a long hard road for all of us. Piper now has a magnificent “star burst” scar on his side.
The scar will always require a lot of care. If Piper has a good old scratch he can end up bruised or even open up the skin a bit. We use either Emu Oil or Aloe Vera Gel to help keep the scar nice and supple and of course there is the daily application of sunscreen.Piper is a fantastic dog, quite clown like, very loving and very loyal. While it has been a bit of a strain adding a 4th dog; the yard may never recover, we would never be without Piper.
We love him.
Nth East, VIC, Australia
Email : [email protected]