Buster injured his leg jumping over a fence in the sheep yards last week. A trip to the vet and x-rays confirmed torn knee ligaments.
We were given two options: send him to Sydney for a $5000 knee reconstruction, with no guaranteed result, or, amputate the leg. After an extensive discussion with the vet we settled on option C, a three legged dog with four legs.
He can’t do any more damage to the joint and isn’t in too much pain, and we’d rather not put him through the trauma of surgery if we don’t have to. The best we can hope for is that scarring stabilises the joint; he’ll always hop around on three legs but he might be able to rest on four when he’s standing. So for (at least) the next 8 weeks Buster is wearing a leg brace. He’s a bit clumsy but getting around ok. The hardest thing is keeping him calm and quiet, he’s most upset that he’s not allowed to tear around with the others or go to work.
Buster has always been a jack-of-all trades kind of working dog. He has no special talents, but is OK at pretty much every job. So whatever we’re doing, he always comes along as the second dog. Jaco, our apprentice, is ready to take on his role with sheep, but he’s much more a natural sheep dog, so we’re reluctant to push him to work cattle until he’s more mature and confident. Pushing a young dog too hard to do the sort of work they’re less naturally inclined towards is the best way we know to ruin them. Coming up is the big cattle muster for the year, when all the cows and new calves get brought back from the big, steep rough country out the back. Floyd can pretty much handle it, but it’s really hard work and he could use some help. Maya isn’t much of a cattle dog and with Jaco not ready, we’re not quite sure how we’ll approach it.
He might not be the most talented dog we’ve had but, Buster, we miss your work already.