I wanted to share a story of a scary day I had with my dog, Hoonigan, mushroom hunting in an old logging cut on state land here in Pennsylvania. The day was a beautiful early fall day, I was searching for chicken of the woods with my dog Hoon (he wasn’t looking for mushrooms, just along for a walk in the woods). We hiked in about three miles without finding a single mushroom, not unusual for me as I am kind of new to mushroom hunting. I wasn’t paying much attention to Hoon as he was having a blast running the woods. I had a Garmin TT15 collar on him so I wasn’t concerned he would get lost or too far away. I would just check the Alpha handheld every so often to make sure he was reasonably near and not chasing deer. Thus far it has been a great day even though we didn’t find any mushrooms.
I noticed someone had cleared out for shooting lanes using pruning loppers to cut bunch saplings off and had left about 18” sticking out of the ground. They were cut off at a 45 degree angle, basically a bunch of spikes sticking out of the ground. I didn’t think much about it other than how thoughtless and lazy it was to cut them that way in an area that you are planning on walking into in the dark to hunt. I was careful not to fall on one and kept looking for mushrooms. What I should have done was turn around and called it a day. Not more than five minutes passed until Hoonigan showed up with his back end completely covered in blood. I took one look and knew what happened one of the cut saplings pierced into his thigh just above the knee joint. It was bad and we were in trouble. I had no supplies with me to help slow the bleeding; increasing the likelihood of him bleeding out before we could get to the vet. We made our way back to the truck as fast as we could leaving a visible blood trail as we went. I didn’t know if we would make it before it was too late. We did make it but by then Hoon wasn’t able to move on his own as he was weak from blood loss. I carried him in and the nurse was waiting for us (I called on the way there) took him from me and rushed him back for treatment.
I have since purchased our Ready Dog Gun Dog First Aid Kit because it has a smaller removable field pack with the essential first aid items in it. This makes it easier to carry with me and still have everything to get us to the truck, where I have everything I would need to fix him up or take him to the vet depending on the situation. This time required surgery so we still would have had to go get emergency care (that sapling went in at the knee and stopped at the hip socket the vet said) but if I had the first aid kit with me, I would have felt less helpless and would have been able to slow the bleeding, making me less frantic on my way to the vet.
After this experience, I would suggest that if you don’t already have some sort of first aid for your dog, I would highly recommend getting or making one up for yourself. Hopefully, you never need it, but if you do it’s definitely worth having in the truck because sometimes help is far away.
Author: Aaron Parker, Lion Country Supply Customer Service Specialist
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