Some of the long time posters might remember this....9 years ago today, a wolf attempted to turn Hobo into his dinner. Hobo wasn't even my dog at the time; I was taking care of him and 13 of his teammates for an injured musher. Going to the hospital to tell Jim about the attack was not fun! I believe that Hobo saved all the rest of those dogs when he ran. The wolf did some damage to one other dog, Diesel, who made a complete recovery and went back to British Columbia with his team. Hobo slipped his collar and ran for all he was worth. The wolf chased him, leaving the other 13 dogs and the 18 I had at the time alone! Hobo ran well over a mile and hid in someone's porch!
Hobo suffered horrific injuries. He was basically gutted. We wrapped him in a blanket and I held him all the way the vet to keep his abdominal contents inside his body! His tail had been pulled repeatedly and all the muscles were torn; he was missing part of an ear; he was covered in large wounds where the wolf had bit and torn away the flesh.
We didn't know our Dr. Candace at the time; our vet was Dr. Rick Brown. For years, if we had a crisis after hours, Rick was on-call. Even now, if I can't find Candace, Rick's the vet I want in a life or death 3am emergency! When he first saw Hobo, he wouldn't even give me odds on his survival. He very gently suggested putting him down, but Hobo made it clear to us that he wanted a chance to fight for his life. He's already beat the odds once by escaping the wolf. She ate over a dozen dogs in our area that winter, Hobo is the only known survivor! And fight Hobo did. He spent a week at the clinic. After that Rick said he'd likely make it, but he would not fully recover. The damage to his back end was so severe that Rick expected Hobo would never have bowel control, might have on going mobility issues. He'd certainly never be a working sled again. Hobo's owner was a very competitive musher and he decided that given that prognosis he couldn't keep Hobo. So Hobo became our dog!
I was a stranger to Hobo at the time & every time he saw me, I was shoving pills down his throat, cleaning wounds. Every time he saw me, he'd try to stand up and wag his tail. He seemed to understand that I was trying to help him even though I was hurting him at the time! The wounds on his back legs took months to heal. There was no skin left to stitch together. We ended up resorting to sugar packing them to get some skin to grow. The fur still doesn't grow properly on the scars. He developed a bone infection in a front leg that almost led to an amputation. To this day, only time I've ever heard Hobo screech in pain was from that infection.
Hobo bears the physical scars from the attack. There's a perfect half moon bite shaped chunk missing from his ear; he can't be outside in real cold weather as he has very little fur on his belly and even less on the scarred spots. He's afraid of the dark which is an issue up here in the winter when it's only light for a few hours a day! But he has no bowel control issues; he gets around just fine and happy dances for his dinner every night.
The next winter, Hobo returned to the harness with much delight. He had to run without a partner as he would get too excited waiting and all hell would break loose! A 7 dog team with Hobo in it was more powerful than 8 without him! He was used to sprint mushing, we were far too slow for his liking! He often ran looking back at me and barking! He wanted to go faster!
Hobo is 16 now and still defying the odds. His vision is cloudy and he doesn't always hear the treat bag anymore, but he still happy dances for his dinner every night. He'd still pull if I'd let him! He still enjoys a walk to the lake, although I see more of him now as he stays closer and doesn't dash down the trail! He's got multiple small lumps and bumps. I'm sure some of them are bad news, but he is unaware that anything might be wrong. He's senile and gets lost in the yard when he goes on patrol. He doesn't always sleep through the night, but he remembers the magic doorbell bark! When he was recovering, he was allowed outside for only a few minutes at a time. When he got tired, he'd bark three times and I'd open the door for him. That habit persists!
The world would be a better place if more people were like Hobo. He never holds a grudge. He lives in the moment and all the bad stuff in his life doesn't matter anymore. He's grateful for every little thing; the same kibble he's had every night for years is still worthy of celebration! He is the happiest being of any species that I have ever known. He delights in a treat, a sunbeam, his comfy crate, sneaking up on the couch. Hobo understands better than most people that his time here is limited and he truly lives every day of his life. He's an inspiration and even when he wakes me up at 2am, I am glad of him!