6/7/2012 - 8/18/2016 Height: 21" Weight: 54 lbs OFA Hips Good Elbows Normal Eyes Clear Full dentition/scissors bite DM M/N DNA panel clear of all others ASCA DNA Profiled
Guilty was one of a kind. There was not a sweeter, more loving dog out there. He was in a home local to me when I got the phone call February 2015 - can you please go pick up this dog, he's not in a good situation. So I met the dog and owner at a local restaurant, having very little information at hand, and hoping I wasn't looking at a disaster.
The lady stepped out of the truck, shoved the dog out of the truck, and said, "Good luck, he bites." Then she got back in and took off. I have never been so horrified in my life. I squatted down and opened my arms, and he came crawling into my lap. He was emaciated, covered in fleas, matted from nose to toes, and trembling in terror. I just sat there and held him and cried. This poor baby boy. I pulled my phone out, called his breeder, and his other co-owner, and managed to choke out, "I have him, and it's not good. I'm going home, will call you when I get there."
It was too late to get him into the vet that night, and he wasn't in any sort of life threatening condition, so I took pictures of everything for documentation, and got him into the vet first thing the next morning. To my horror, he weighed a total of 26 lbs. This was a fully grown, adult 2.5 year old that should have been at the peak of his condition and close to 60 pounds!
There were some positives - he was heart worm negative, his temperament wasn't completely ruined, and while he had a fully loaded fecal, that was easily fixed with some dewormer. That was great news, he just needed food and exercise! So off we went. Yeah, it wasn't that simple. I got his weight back up, but something was still off. I started taking him to my chiropractor, and we started weight and water therapy, as well as doing laser treatments. He was having some issues with his pelvis, it kept popping in and out of place. The muscle memory just wasn't there to hold everything together after he had been so emaciated. By April, I knew I was looking at long term rehab, and that it was unlikely he was ever going to enter the show ring again. He had been too damaged, both physically and mentally, to ever make a complete comeback. After speaking with his breeder and his other co-owner, they both agreed that he should stay here with me, where he felt safe, and where he was very, very loved.
After several months of rehab, he finally started to build correct muscle, and he was looking great. I took him and got all his clearances, and he passed with flying colors. That was amazing, we weren't sure what we were going to be looking at with his hips after his body condition and the issues with his pelvis! Guilty had his third birthday in June, and in consult with his breeder, I did one litter with him in August. Pups were born November of 2015, and I couldn't have been more thrilled! Guilty was a daddy, he was happy, healthy, I started his performance training, looking at spring trials, and then....
By the time February rolled around again, and the anniversary of Guilty coming to live with me hit, I knew something was off. I started seeing personality changes. My happy, outgoing boy started hiding in his crate. He became aggressive with the other dogs, particularly males and puppies. I started having to separate him. He wasn't able to go out and play with anyone anymore, except for Charm and Ali. He started squinting a lot, and then he started forgetting things. He started having trouble walking, and then he started looking at me like he didn't know who I was. He seemed very confused. This slowly progressed over the course of 4 months, and by June, I knew something was seriously wrong. We went back to the chiropractor, had him checked for pinched nerves in his neck, and noticed some atrophy starting in his pelvis and left thigh region. We started therapy again, but had to stop, his personality changes had become so severe that he was becoming aggressive unexpectedly, and would snap for no reason.
He attacked a couple of the other dogs on the property, and then to my horror, he bit one of my friends, completely unprovoked. I called his breeder, bawling, and told her what had happened. She immediately instructed me to quarantine him for the 10 day required period, and then have him euthanized. I was in agreement - one thing I have always been absolutely adamant about is that I will not keep or harbor an aggressive dog. So I made the appointment, and we went in. Because he had a bite history, he had to go in with a muzzle on and completely restrained. Once we got checked in and into a room, I asked the tech if she could talk to the vet and find out if he could be given a mild sedative, so that I could take his muzzle off and say my goodbyes with him as relaxed and happy as possible. He was given a mild sedative (telazol), which is known to be completely safe in Aussies, and he had a severe reaction. The euthanasia was immediately performed, and with all of the other behavioral issues, I requested he be sent immediately for a full and complete necropsy.
Results took over 2 weeks to return. The necropsy revealed that Guilty had been suffering from hydrocephalus, a condition in which spinal fluid leaks into the cranial cavity and puts pressure on the brain. The vet's exact words to me were, "I don't know how he was even still walking, over 70% of his brain was completely edemified." The results took so long because they had to send samples to Purdue and a couple of other places to rule out infectious disease such as meningitis. Final necropsy statement was that he had trauma-induced hydrocephalus, due to repeated impacts to the skull, which happened while in the care of the "handler" who severely abused and neglected him. I can only take comfort in the fact that for the last 18 months while he was with me, I did everything I could to give him an amazing life filled with love and kindness. He will never be forgotten.