Lucky dog: CSU vet hospital, owners nurse Hudson Border collie back to health after dramatic injuries
Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital
To learn more about the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, go to csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth or call (970) 297-5000. The hospital offers care for small animals, equines and livestock, as well as support for veterinarians.
When Katherine and Josh Hawkins brought Boone home as a puppy, he wouldn’t come inside. The little border collie sat on the back porch in Hudson, waiting for a job to do.
He was always happy outside in their big yard, even while the couple was at work during the day, Katherine said. He liked trotting alongside the thin legs of their horses and chasing fluffy barn cats. The couple was about to train Boone to be a herd dog.
On Oct. 7, 2015 Boone jumped the fence and headed for the neighbor’s horse across the busy highway. He loved other animals.
Katherine’s phone lit up at her architecture job in Denver. It was someone from the town of Hudson. Her neighbor found Boone in the street.
At first, Katherine and Josh took Boone to a veterinary clinic in Fort Morgan. Once they realized the severity of his injuries, they got back in the car and went to Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
That car ride was the longest, scariest one of her life, Katherine said.
“A couple times, I thought he was going to stop breathing,” she said.
Boone had a broken pelvis on both sides, dislocated joints, bruising on his heart and lungs, a fractured facial bone and a brain injury. But he still had fight in his eyes, Josh said.
Katherine’s best friend is a veterinarian and was at the hospital with them. Katherine kept asking her if they were doing the right thing and if the injuries would be too much for Boone. Her friend reassured her and said she thought the dog could make it.
Even when the cost of surgery became overwhelming — the vet bills cost more than $10,000 — the Hawkins family kept going.
Josh and Katherine didn’t want to give up on Boone unless he was ready to give up.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
Boone spent 10 days in the hospital. He had several surgeries to fix his broken pelvis, dislocated joints, injured soft tissue and head injury.
Every time he had another procedure, Katherine said he would look happier and like he was in less pain. For the Hawkins family, it was like seeing his world get a little better.
The day after a big surgery on his pelvis — one of two day-long operations — he was already trying to walk.
“Boone is such a sweet boy. He would just lie there and give you kisses. He would have wagged his tail if he could have,” said CSU anesthesia technician Misty Moranville in a release from the university. “You have to take a step back and compartmentalize, but there are certain patients that pull on your heart strings.”
When Boone came home, he had to have round-the-clock care. Katherine and Josh had to change their work schedules to be at home with him. They had physical therapy exercises to do with Boone, but after they showed the dog how to do them, like one where he had to crawl under the coffee table, he started repeating them on his own.
Tug, their older border collie, finally got a break from the year-and-a-half-old pup’s energy, and instead protectively helped nurse him back to health. After December, the Hawkins family finally got to ease back on the constant care. By March, Boone was released almost full-duty. For him, that meant he could start crawling under the horse pen and giving his big ol’ friends some trouble again.
Even though his bones were fixed, his tail and back right leg were still weak. The Hawkins use his tail, and the amount of function he’s regained, as a good marker for his recovery. He still hasn’t regained full bladder or bowel function, but hasn’t had any accidents in the house.
‘THIS IS HOW HE WAS BEFORE’
If you look closely, you can see a divot in his right hip — that is, if he stands still long enough for you to see. Sometimes when he runs, he picks up his right leg and runs on the other three.
There’s a wiggle in his walk, but Josh just calls that the Boone sashay.
“He waddles his butt a little for the girls,” Josh said with a chuckle.
Since the accident, Boone is a little wary of strangers. When a new person approaches, he barks.
That’s something Katherine said he never did before. After a few minutes, though, he’s nudging Tug out of the way for nuzzles and scratches under his white chin.
Boone’s back to pouncing on and playing with Tug, though the older dog does it reluctantly. He tries to herd the horses and even can jump on his back legs to drink water out of their trough.
“This is how he was before,” Josh said.
As he blocked an errant horse from leaving the barn, Josh laughed. Boone’s a herder at heart, he said, and he hopes to start training him to herd sheep in a couple months. ❖