Poppy the Bull Terrier {and a bit of Her Story}.

Poppy the Good Dog

Memorial Day weekend is always fun. Usually it’s consistently warm by the time it rolls around and this year was no exception. We had plans to just hang out, grill, and go explore some camping sites. Well it turned out to be a rough weekend for Poppy and I. I came down with a nasty cold and Poppy’s nose ended up getting so swollen she looked like a bull terrier. We were quite the pair. Lucky for her, she wasn’t in any pain or discomfort. 

Poppy is one of those dogs that costs more than a child. She has her own line in our family budget for her monthly expenses. Calling her “high maintenance” from a nutrition and healthcare perspective would be a bit of an understatement. Some of the issues are her fault {swollen nose – we are circling back around to this, promise} but most are just the result of poor genetics. Which is why making sure you breed quality pets or livestock is very important! Fun fact: mutts are more often healthier than purebred dogs because of hybrid vigor. Go mutts! So how did we end up with Poppy?

Poppy running on the canal

Potentially purchasing Poppy turned into more of an animal rescue situation once we arrived to look at her, so quality genetics weren’t really on our mind when we were driving her home with us. Mostly her not dying was on our mind. She was barely a year old, weighed half of what she should have, had either just weaned pups or had them all die, and was literally skin and bones that farted a lot. So she hopped out of her “owners” car and into ours and we handed over a decent wad of cash for an animal we thought might kick it on the drive home.

Good times. I don’t have any great photos of her when she was so skinny, but you can kind of see how small she is in this one. Her paws look giant compared to the rest of her and you can see her backbone and all her hind leg bones as well. She was scared of floors and slept a lot.  Bless her heart.

Skinny sleepy Poppy

Anyways, she was a tough little gal and pulled through with the help of some puppy food and a good deworming and vet visit. Moral of the story: When you have a dog that was starved at such a young age and bred while starving and combine that with poor genetics, they will probably develop issues. She has pretty severe allergies that we have under control these days {genetics}, a mysterious leaky bladder {who knows, early breeding?}, and I’m pretty sure there is some neurological stuff going on as well {lack of nutrition during growth?}. And before you tell me this or that could be causing this or that, believe me, we’ve looked into all of it. She has had the most comprehensive tests, x-rays, and other exams done and they all come back the same: perfectly {actually exceeding expectations} healthy. So, it is what it is. She is comfortable and happy and we feel good about her physical and mental health. Besides the fact that her and I just struggle to be on the same wavelength, she is a stellar dog and I’d say pretty well adjusted for having such a troubled start. Remember this about dogs: They forget and forgive and move on – you need to too. She isn’t sad about where she has been. There is no need to treat her like a victim. If you focus on what they can be instead of what they were, you will find out they have great potential even if they do have some issues. This is her 3 or 4 months after we got her – we were figuring out how to train her and she was feeling more energetic and acting much more dog-like!

Poppy after 4 months

So, long story about her swollen nose. This vet visit actually was her fault. When we walk, she loves to hunt voles along the side of the canal. And she is intense and doesn’t mess around! Turns out she was so aggressively shoving her face into vole holes that she created a bruise and stress injury that filled with fluid. We thought she ate a spider or a bee and got bit on the inside of her mouth – ha! Also a possibility. It was looking much better after the holiday weekend {we love on-call vets} but I still took her in to actually see the vet, I was a little concerned about an abscess forming. The vet agreed, and punctured the swelling with a needle {brave Poppy didn’t even move} and it was just fluid, no pus so good news all around! She should heal fine, she’ll just look a little funny in the meantime. Bless her heart.

Pro-dog owner vet tip: Practice good leash manners and good manners around other dogs before going to the vet, it will help your dog know how to act once you walk through those doors into doggy chaos. Also YOU need to chill and just stay calm. Let the vet and the vet tech’s take over when they need to and don’t coddle your scared animal. That rewards the wrong behavior. Praise calm behavior and brave steps, like sitting or lying next to you or walking into a scary exam room on a heal. If you’re a brave pack leader with reasonably high expectations for them, they won’t fear the vet and they will trust you. Poppy walks right up to the scale and sits still on it these days.

And, because I was sick, I was only really half aware of what was going on with Poor Poppy’s Nose so I don’t even have a good pic! Dang it! Oh well, it would probably just embarrass her in a few years anyways. This one kind of shows her little bull terrier face {and the messy state of my house when I’m ill}.

Poppy with a swollen nose

Good thing we love her 🙂 She needs to start earning her keep! I guess fiercely protecting our property and making a good name for Dobermans wherever we go is good enough. It’s not a secret her and I struggle sometimes, but I’ll pay to keep her any day. She’s a good dog.

Silly Poppy

Bless her heart.

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