Honey, Honey Bee, Bear, Bearington, Hon.
She answers to to all of them.
Our dog Honey, came to us in the month after the boy’s unexpected move cross country. I guess technically this makes her my step-dog. I came to be her owner when she was about 7 years old- high strung, anxious, distrusting and willful.
I think one of the worst things a dog can go through is abandonment and she had more than her fair share.
I was concerned about how she would react to Pele but that turned out to be a nonissue. They quickly became sisters, pack mates and friends.
We had to sell the boat (since live-aboards are not supposed to have pets in the first place) and now we unexpectedly had two dogs.
About a month after we moved Honey had a horrible accident.
She had gone bounding down the steep hill surrounding the house, barking at the neighbor dog. She came down on what looked like just a patch of ivy. It concealed a badly cut laurel stump, one that still had low cut branches coming off of it.
(Warning: graphic content eminent)
She ripped her chest wide open- in a wicked gash about a foot long.
I hope it is the worst injury I ever have to see on an animal.
With all the animal hospitals over 40 minutes away in Santa Cruz the town vet of Boulder Creek is very experienced in grievous injuries. We got her on the table and they managed to wrap her up.
She would need immediate surgery. When they went to take her to the back kennels I asked if they wanted us to go with them, knowing that she was going to freak out as soon as she realized we were leaving her there, hurt or not.
“No, no it will be fine”
It was not. Halfway into the kennel she flipped out, almost got away and had to be immediately sedated.
I told you she has separation issues.
Four hours (and about a hundred internal and external sutures) later I got a call.
She had come out of the anesthesia VERY quickly and was again violently trying to get out of the kennel.
We had to pick her up NOW!
That night was horrible. She would fight the tranquilizers she was prescribed as they ebbed and flowed. She would try to battle to her feet. Then collapse again as they took hold.
Every exhale was a shrill whimper of pain. Watching an animal suffer so greatly is one of life’s most tragic sights. I felt helpless.
I called the vet and told them the tranquilizers were not helping they said I could double them. I did and it had almost no effect. When I called again they gave me permission to triple it.
I decided not to. Instead I let her wake up fully and assessed her without them.
I think for her, the feeling of being drugged was making her more agitated. I was right, we continued on without them. Every animal is different and for her this was the right choice.
The next few days were rough but manageable.
It really is amazing how much an animal can go through and still function. In fact by day four, I cut back her pain meds because she was bounding around like she was not frankin-dog. We were really worried she was going to blow her stitches.
The vet recommended that I pack the wound with a paste made of apothecary honey and sugar.
Honey has aniseptic properties and is an amazing treatment for injuries with large amounts of tissue damage.
I had to re-dress her bandages three times a day. I came up with a system of shirts and pillow cases. I would fold the pillow case into quarters and sew it along the inside of a shirt.
This way her bandages were covered and she couldn’t get at them. I could cut away the fabric layer by layer as it soiled leaving fresh cloth.
She did not seem to mind.
It is absolutely amazing how resilient dogs are. She was on her way to recovery.
Less than a month after the injury my partner had to go back east for one of his visits with his sons. Leaving me alone to run the front and back of a popular restaurant (I was head chef and he was the GM) and take care of our injured puppy.
It brought Honey and I very close.
I proved she could trust me when she was in need- that I would do everything I could to take care of her. That I would not leave her when things got rough.
It was the tragic beginning of a beautiful friendship.
She healed well. Largely due the the honey treatments. Its effects were astounding!
When we moved, we promised her we would find her a place to retire.
A place to call her own, one she would never have to leave.
She deserves it. She has been with us through it all.
She is a rare dog; one that has touched both the Pacific-
and Atlantic oceans.
Driven across the country-
Been to more national parks than most people-
In our travels we actually came to the place in Vermont where Honey’s honey had come from. We were able to go inside and tell them the story of her recovery. It was pretty cool .
She is our matriarch.
A dog who has put up with endless silliness from all sides.
We have kept our promise and given her a beautiful place to retire.
She is a happy dog and we will do our best to keep it that way.
Because she is worth it.