Dogs and Horses


Well, it has been one of those weeks. My two dogs were playing in the backyard and the puppy yelped. And here comes Scooby whining and limping pretty badly over to where I was sitting. The dogs weren’t doing anything too rough and nothing other than just playing. So, I wasn’t sure what had happened.

Arlo is a 2-year-old rescue “mut” who is full grown at 49 pounds. He is very athletic and quick and loves to run and play. He really loves his baby brother. Scooby is a little over 5 months old and 85 lbs. He is a purebred Bernese Mountain dog, puppy. He is growing up fast and loves his older brother and imitates everything he does. Which is funny since Scooby is so much bigger than Arlo now. The vet thinks Scooby will grow to about 180 lbs.

I checked Scooby out, no blood, no open cuts, but he was still limping and whining. Poor Arlo looked like, “I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean it.” So, he knew he did something he shouldn’t have. You could just see it in his face and demeanor.

I called the vet and made an appointment for the next day and took him in. They did x-rays and found that he had hip dysplasia in both of his back hips and felt that he would need cruciate repair surgery on the left side, which was worse.

However, the vet said this was not caused by an injury but that it was a hereditary illness that is common with this breed of dogs. She said it was a birth defect. I knew this breed had hip problems but thought that they came on with age. I was surprised that it showed up at 5 months old. Before we go for surgery, we will get a second opinion just to make sure though.

It turns out that Scooby’s hip socket is so shallow that his hip joint can easily be popped out with very little effort and cause pain and swelling. And that is exactly what happened when he was playing with Arlo. In playing around with each other, Arlo accidentally pushed something, and Scooby’s hip came out of joint.

The good news is that Arlo didn’t really hurt Scooby and that we found out about this illness early and can do things to help him as he grows. If anyone has any suggestions that could help Scooby heal, I would appreciate the help. I’m much more knowledgeable about horses than I am about dogs.

Speaking about horses, after this adventure with Scooby, it reminded me about an incident with my horses. One of those accidental, oops moments.

One of the days I was sitting out with Jazz, Apollo, and D’Artagnan in the pasture. Everything was going smoothly and quiet and out of the blue, D’Artagnan decided to go after Apollo. He attacked very quickly moving forward and biting at him. The he turned around and double barrel kicked at him. At first glance it looked like a warning shot, but unfortunately one of his hooves caught Apollo right in the neck.

Apollo had reared up quickly to get out of the way and turn around to run, but he wasn’t quick enough. But once Apollo got away from D’Artagnan, he calmed down and ran back to the fence line. I ran over to Apollo to check him out as I saw the impact. Luckily Apollo was ok, no blood and no open wound, except he had a dent in his neck where the hoof had caught him. It was strange. So, I called the vet out.

The funny thing, just like the look on Arlo’s face when he realized that Scooby was hurt…D’Artagnan had that look too when he realized Apollo was hurt. I honestly think that D’Artagnan was not trying to hurt Apollo and that it was supposed to be just a warning shot. It was an accident that he actually had contact with Apollo.

Once D’Artagnan realized there was something wrong and I was with Apollo checking it out, D’Artagnan came over to watch me, had his head down, and looked very apologetic with his eyes and his demeanor. Just like Arlo did with Scooby.

The vet said he hadn’t seen anything like it either, but that Apollo was fine other than having this indentation in his neck. So, no real damage on that kick, thankfully.

After the vet had left, D’Artagnan came over to me and Apollo very slowly with his head down and just stood there being close. Then he started to nuzzle me and Apollo very gently as if saying, “I’m sorry”. He was so sweet and gentle.

Even though dogs and horses are very different, it was cute to see in this one instance how similar they are when they accidentally cause injury to another animal. They both knew that they had hurt another horse/dog/friend and they showed sympathy, compassion, and genuine concern.

When we brought Scooby back from the vet, Arlo was so sweet, careful, and extra gentle with him. It was so sweet to watch. Both D’Artagnan and Apollo and Arlo and Scooby love each other as family. And it is so clear when you see them together.

Have you seen this type of love and compassion with your dogs or your horses? I’d love to hear about your story in the comments below.

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  • I am so sorry to hear about your pup. Have you contacted the breeder? They should be involved at this point because his prognosis is so severe for such a young age. Berners should not grow to 180lbs – that is too big. Keeping him light weight will be very important. Ask about having the top of his femur removed (TPLO surgery). They can do one side at a time. This removes the injury risk of the hip repeatedly popping out. Instead the muscles around the joint get strong enough to support the leg without further injury. It is easier to do on a smaller dog but not impossible with a larger one. We had it done to our Pom and he has never shown any adverse affects. You would never know he had it done. I know a Golden who had it done on both sides and did very well. I wish you both the best.

  • Loretta Adams says:

    I had a dog with hip dysplasia Teddy although not as pronounced as Scooby. She lived until she was 14. Every couple of years she would have a Cartrophen injection and it was amazing the difference it made to her mobility. She was a kelpie/ border collie cross so had boundless energy.

    As far as the sorrowful behaviour I have a bit of the opposite A cheeky Shetland pony that bosses my horse around and never shows any remorse. My horse Sasha is very protective of Panda the pony and Panda is quite heartless towards her. We have a dog that likes to demonstrate his Alpha position over the other dogs. He only shows remorse if he gets scolded for being too rough. The other dogs do show some beautiful compassionate traits at times.

  • Naomi Liller says:

    Sorry to hear about Scoobys hip. My dig Bella has a slight hip problem and we’ve found that swimming is really good for her. Chasing a ball, although she loves it, makes it sore. So maybe swimming after his operation?

  • Wendy Bushell says:

    I had owned my mare Cody for many years and bought a gelding to ride after her retirement. They got on quite well at first, but after a few months, jealousy and rivalry set in on both sides. I didn't have any real bond or relationship with Bandit at this point as he was nothing like Cody. I wasn't sure how to relate to him. I was taking them back to the paddock one afternoon. I turned B out first, gave him a carrot and a scratch then turned my back to take C's halter off. I took my time with her, hugging her neck and giving her carrots. I thought B had left by then, but he hadn't. As I moved away from C towards the gate, I turned around to see where B was. He had watched me take a couple steps and was backing up towards C. He gave one swift kick, double barrel, but got me in the stomach. I went down trying to get my breath back. The look of fear on his face was overwhelming. I know they say a horse knows exactly where it's kicking, but I truly believe he was aiming for C, not me, I just didn't move out of range quickly enough. An animal communicator spoke to him a few months later. She said he knew our future was already tenuous as we hadn't hit it off well, and he truly thought he was "off to the doggers" after he hurt me. He expressed his regret and appreciation that I took the time to understand his mindset and use it as stepping stone in our relationship. The old mare is gone now and I still have B.

    • I agree that they might know where they are trying to hit, but sometimes they accidentally catch something else. I’m sure he was so sorry to have gotten you instead of the other horse. Just by your recollection of his expression, he had to feel so bad he hurt you instead. I’m sure he is grateful that you gave him a second chance and kept working on your relationship together. <3

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