Athena has recently made a sudden and unexpected transition from outdoor goat-guardian to indoor house-dog. We have always been big advocates for spaying and neutering, and in this case, with the high potential that she could be bred by a coyote around here, we did not want her coming into heat and possibly bringing trouble with it. So, we decided to spay her. There was only one problem standing in the way. Back when I was a vet tech, (and I really don’t feel it was all that long ago), it cost about $60-70 to spay a dog. When I called the local vet here, the cheapest I could find was over $200. We felt that was absolutely insane! My children’s out-of-pocket medical bills don’t even cost that much, and, with all due respect and appreciation, she is a dog!
Then I found out about a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in town that would do it for closer to the price I had in mind. The only problem was that they were booked up until May. Nonetheless, I got on their waiting list, and S and I prepared ourselves for the idea that her surgery could be very expensive if we wanted to do it in a timely fashion. Then, 2 evenings ago, the phone rang. The low-cost clinic had a last minute opening. Did I want it? We took it, and quickly got things together.
Athena came inside that evening, as she couldn’t have any food or water after a certain time, and being in the house was the easiest way for me to control that. She was very timid at first, and I began to see that this experience could be very good for her. It didn’t take long before she convinced S to allow her to join him on the couch. He’s a big pushover when it comes to big puppies with cute faces! I threw a kennel together, thinking she may have to stay inside for a couple days to recover. And, of course, she isn’t necessarily house-broken or trained to be indoors in any way.
Nonetheless, she seemed to adapt well. She wasn’t thrilled with the kennel at first, so I worked with her to make her comfortable and help her view it as a safe spot that she could call her own. She caught on quickly. The only real problem we had was that she refused to relieve herself on leash. She also tends to wander–fast–and doesn’t always come when called, so we couldn’t let her off leash to go in the yard. So, we did the best we could.
I took her into the clinic the next day, and then picked her up that afternoon. I had to carry her up to the stairs–all 56 lbs of her!) Of course, she felt horrible, and when we got home, she decided to go right into her kennel and rest. Other than some upset tummy issues thanks to the residual anesthesia, and one accident on the carpet when she absolutely couldn’t hold it any longer, she has been a very good house guest. She, surprisingly, hasn’t whined or barked at all, hasn’t chewed anything, and is getting increasingly comfortable with the chaos, noise, and commotion often found in our home. I think she is enjoying the extra attention, too. She is spending a lot of time locked in the kennel, though, both to control her activity while she recovers, and to protect my carpets.
The only thing I haven’t figured out is how and when to get her back outside with the goats. She obviously misses them, and I notice they are a lot more panicky without her presence. Wouldn’t you know, the clinic told me to keep her indoors for 2 weeks! I’m not sure that will happen. I can remember my vets telling customers 2-3 days, and at most, 1 week (after sutures were removed). Things sure have changed!! Guess we’ll figure it out as we go. At least we no longer have to worry about unplanned puppies, though.