You just have to love any story that starts with the phrase, "The dog knocked himself out."
I got home from work Friday night and was standing the kitchen talking to my son Matt and my husband Eric. Our dog Jeffrey was snoozing on the living room floor. And Eric had a tale to tell.
"He literally knocked himself out," Eric said. "At first I thought he was dead."
Apparently, feeling all frisky in the spring weather, Jeffrey was in the yard running and playing while Eric puttered in the garage.
For those who haven’t met Jeffrey or read about him before, let me describe him a bit. The first thing people notice about our dog is his size. He is huge. The neighbor girl used to ride him until he started lying down everytime he saw her. He weighs about 120 to 130 pounds, maybe a bit more after a lazy winter. His head comes up to my hip. He is part German shorthair and part St. Bernard. We weren’t aware of the St. Bernard part when we brought him home as a tiny puppy. We were already in love with him by the time he started growing at an alarming rate.
So, the big, frisky mutt was outside running around, slipping and sliding in the mud, bounding over the snow banks and just having a good time in general. He zoomed around the side of the garage (he’s lanky, long-legged and can run like a deer), then spotted a bird and froze into a point. He points all sorts of things – birds, cats, toads, someone coming out the back door.
So he froze into a point, then started his creep-walking. He can move slow and quiet when he wants. He was stalking a little tweety bird that had landed in the driveway near the pickup truck.
Suddenly he exploded into a run and almost flew across the driveway after that bird.
Now, I don’t know if he’s just out of practice after a long winter, or if he just didn’t see it, but, according to Eric, Jeffrey was at an all-balls out run, dialed in on catching that bird. And ran head-first into the pickup receiver hitch.
The THUNK as he hit was quite loud, reportedly.
"He stood there for a second, then just fell over," Eric said. "All I could think was, ‘Oh, great. The dog just killed himself.’"
Eric walked over and bent over Jeffrey. He checked to see if the big guy was still breathing, and was relieved to find Jeff’s chest moving. He was breathing normally, but out cold.
Eric crouched down and checked for blood. Not finding any, he scratched Jeff’s head and neck until Jeff blinked, then slowly sat up. And groaned.
He got up, staggered into the garage and laid back down on the floor. He curled up like a fawn (he does that when he isn’t feeling well) and napped, every now and then waking up to stare at Eric with big brown eyes and a grimace of pain.
"Gee," I said after Eric told me what had happened. "Do we check his pupils or what?"
Granted, I’m a first responder, but during training we have never really touched on what you do with a possible concussed dog. So we just kept an eye on him and woke him up a few times over the course of the evening.
Right now, he’s sprawled out on the floor by my feet, which tells me he’s feeling better. He’s not curled up anymore. Well, he’s twitching, which means he is either chasing a bunny in his sleep or having some kind of a seizure.
Nope, just chasing things in his sleep. Probably safer than chasing them in real life for a few days.
Pictures: Jeff as a pup (check out the size of those paws), and Jeff in a hat. I was going to take a new picture to show how big he is, but he went in the dining room and is glaring at me because he knows I’m making fun of him.