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I have written before about Cayla, our small dog who sails over our 2 meter high garden wall (Animal Additions) We thought we had solved the problem by filling PET bottles with wet sand and laying them along the top of the wall, she would still jump up but was unable to get a grip on the bottles and would slide back down. Unfortunately this solution proved to be only temporary, she soon worked out that if she pushed at the bottles, they would drop off the top of the wall on the other side, she would then take another run at the wall and over she’d go.

I bought her a body harness and attached a cloth bag on either side, then filled each bag with an equal weight of sand, this worked beautifully for a while but then she adjusted to the extra weight and over she went again.
Finally, after receiving complaints from neighbours that Cayla was bin raiding, I reluctantly tied her to a long cord during the day, only letting her off when we went out for their daily walk, or at night when she was safely in the house.

One morning a few weeks back Neu took the dogs out for an early morning walk, he was way out over the dunes when Cayla got the scent of something, took off and carried on going. Neu spent the next hour looking for her but as it soon gets too hot to be out on the sand dunes with the dogs, he had to come home and hope she would show up there.

When she goes off over the wall on her little jaunts, she usually comes back before it gets too hot but today she didn’t, I had a sinking feeling that something had happened to her.

Late in the afternoon, we got a shout from my mother in law next door, Cayla had arrived but as I had feared, she was not in a good way. Covered in cuts, heavy bruising and unable to take weight on one front leg. Her breathing was very laboured, the pads of all her feet were sore and those on the foot of the bad leg were completely raw, where ever she’d been she’d found something revolting to eat, she absolutely stank.

Cayla took a long drink which she must have desperately needed, I have no idea where she was all day, but the mid day heat out on the dunes is furnace like, between 10 am and 3 pm the sand is too hot to walk on and would account for her sore pads. I hope she managed to find some shade and rest up where ever she was and was not struggling to make it home all that time.

We couldn’t get her to a vet as quickly as I’d have liked, there is no vet here in the village, he’s over an hours drive away, only open until 6 and not at that practice every day of the week. We had to go into Fortaleza early the next morning for a string of Hospital appointments for Neu, so wouldn’t be able to take her then either.

As we live so far from the vet, we have quite a store of animal treatments, pain killers, antibiotics and creams etc, so we cleaned Cayla up and gave her pain killers which must have helped as she began to breathe more easily, she had a big hole on the inside of her leg just below where the leg attaches to the body, it was about 3cm in diameter, with some skin sort of rolled up inside itself on one side forming a ridge, the bone was clearly visible in the center part where the wound was at it’s deepest.

Cayla would have spent some time cleaning the wound, it was spotless, so after giving it a rinse with clean water, I filled it with cane sugar and bandaged it. Her leg wasn’t obviously broken but she certainly couldn’t put any weight on it, it could have been fractured, tendon damage or just really badly bruised, it was certainly painful. I also suspected she might have broken a rib or two, which would explain her laboured breathing.

We ran through what might have happened to her, a run in with a cow or a donkey, there are lots out on the dunes and donkey’s in particular can be extremely aggressive, a bite from one of them is a nasty thing indeed. Then we thought she could have been beaten by someone, but we finally settled on her being hit by a car, it was the only thing that would explain all her injuries and their locations, being hit side on (ribs) thrown in the air, landing with one foot first (raw pads, damaged leg and shoulder) and then sliding or rolling over the tarmac (cuts and grazed skin on other legs). If it was a car, she had gone a long way from where she left Neu.

The next day I did what I could for her before heading off to Fortaleza, we didn’t get home until late but she seemed considerably brighter, though still holding her leg and obviously sore, dogs are amazingly resilient things.

The vet was not going to be around for the next few days so a friend of mine who’s a nurse came over to see if she could help, she suspected that Cayla’s leg was broken and so we strapped it up. Over the bandage I put a wrapping of rolled up newspaper, taped round to hold it firm and covered it all in an old sock. The sugar treatment on the hole in her leg was working well, it always amazes me just how well it works, something so simple yet incredibly effective. As my son watched me he said “You are just like a vet mum.” I wish!

Even strapped up and bashed up like Cayla was, within a few days she tried to jump the wall again, she couldn’t make it, not anywhere close, but just what is it with that dog!

Finally we got her to the vets, he still wasn’t there but his assistant checked her over and said her leg is not broken, what a relief, but it is really badly inflamed at the shoulder with muscle damage that will take time to heal but should be fine as long as she rests (he said with raised eyebrows because he knows about her wall jumping habit). He prescribed a 2 week course of anti-inflammatories and said to keep on with the sugar because it’s doing the job.

I can see that the anti-inflammatories are helping, she is already moving about more and currently trying to entice one of the other dogs into a game, keeping Cayla at rest is not going to be easy. Two of our other dogs having had a romp around in the garden are now limping, is it catching or are they just wanting some of the attention Cayla’s been getting?

Cayla feeling relaxed, still with a sore front leg but after 3 weeks of sugar treatment, the hole on the inside of her leg is nearly healed as seen here. Hopefully she will now give up trying to get over the wall and come back when she’s called.