View Full Version : Looks like we may have acquired a new, used dog

November 6, 2009, 07:53 PM
Just got a call from the significant other (I'm on a road trip at the moment, but will be home tomorrow). Apparently, a stray hound stumbled onto our property today. She wasn't sure what he was, but he looked so haggard she decided to call him Merle.

She gave him some food and water, and it would appear he's sleeping on our back step.

She said she won't get too attached to him tonight, but if he's still around the house in the morning, the odds are I'll have a new dog when I get home. (She won't get too attached, but she's already given him a tentative name.... you get the idea.)

He'll have to go to the vet, though. Need to see if he's microchipped; if he isn't, will need to get shots, bath, and appointment for a neutering (we have a female JRT; she's spayed, but doesn't need to be humped by a dog 5 or 6 times her size).

After checking online, the significant other thinks "Merle" is a Plott Hound. I just looked up Plott Hounds, and was surprised at how much they have in common with Catahoulas. Since my Catahoula mix died last year, I've been wanting another medium sized dog...

November 6, 2009, 08:13 PM
Sounds fairly serendipitous for you... and good for Merle that he wandered onto your spread instead of the highway... hope it works out! (pictures?)

November 6, 2009, 08:16 PM
... until later in the weekend.

First, she won't take pictures yet for fear of getting attached.

Second, after I get home, if Merle is still there, it's possible the vet will find a microchip, and his original owner will want him.

So, my guess is that if he is there tomorrow, and if the vet does not find a microchip, then Merle will have tag, collar, leash, and pictures by Sunday.

November 6, 2009, 08:41 PM
... but the temperature at home has dropped to around 40, and "Merle" has no body fat. The significant other and I just talked again, and surprise, surprise, "Merle" will spend the night indoors and warm.

Before anybody gets the idea that I'm picking on the lady, I'm not. My dogs have always been indoor dogs, or indoor/outdoor, and I'd never leave one outside in the cold, especially if his health was in question.

But now I can definitely plan on a vet visit after I get home.



November 8, 2009, 12:45 AM
"looked so haggard she decided to call him merle" just by that statement i have a feeling its gonna be a great dog lol

November 8, 2009, 12:53 AM
If you really want to make sure his owner ain't lookin' for him, I would post in the local breakfast eatery and feed stores of your find...

Many good huntin' dogs have shucked their collar on a hunt and been lost. I have several friends that tracked radio collars to where they were laying on the ground.

The plott is a GRITTY hunting breed, moreso than the cat quite often. They can be quite aggressive to other dogs on their home turf.

They do make great bear and cougar dogs as well as 'yote and hog hunters.

November 8, 2009, 11:05 AM
When I was a little kid, my dad brought me home a Plott hound puppy. We had it about 6 months. After the third tree he ate all the bark off of and killed, he found a new home.

November 8, 2009, 05:22 PM
Negative on microchip.

Negative on heartworm - excellent!!

Positive on a couple minor variants of worm, both of which are killed by regular heartworm meds, so our JRT shouldn't have been exposed to anything.

Vet gave Merle an antibiotic injection, and gave (ok, sold) us prescriptions of another antibiotic, plus doxycycline (which amused me, because CRC gave me a big prescription of doxycycline for deployment - Merle and I will have that in common....). He's due for a follow-up in one week.

The infected wound on the hind leg, in the vet's opinion, is the result of a poorly perfomed dew claw removal. She noted that he has a similar, smaller wound scar on the other hind leg in the same relative spot.

The sore on his right hindquarter was diagnosed as the result of a pellet, though whether shotgun or air gun the vet couldn't say. She didn't feel the pellet would cause any harm if left alone, so it's staying inside Merle unless it causes issues.

I'm not reading too much into the fact that somebody shot Merle.

First, he's a dark brindle, and a careless hunter could have mistaken him for something else. That would have been stupid, but not evil, per se.

Second, there's a coyote population issue around here, and somebody could have mistaken him in bad lighting for a 'yote. Again, that would have been stupid, but I could see it.

And third, Merle isn't scared by gunshots. In fact, when we've heard hunters in the adjacent WMA, Merle has wanted to run to the sound of the guns. That being the case, I could easily picture him jumping out in front of the shooter after the first shot, just in time for the shooter not to be able to stop firing the second shot. (My buddy's pointer has tried this once on me, in the past.... Luckily, I was able to avoid shooting Bogey, but he really startled me.)

Back to the vet, she wants him to gain weight and strength, as we'd anticipated, prior to giving him any rabies or other vaccinations.

I had guessed his age at 1 after seeing him; my lady thought he was 2. The vet split the difference in her estimate.

My lady guessed his current weight at 35#; it was actually 33.8.

Everybody at the vet's office commented on what a sweet dog he is.

Hogdogs - around this area, people routinely put up posters or flyers for lost animals. Haven't seen any for a Plott. Vet didn't have any reports of missing dogs.

Also, based on the botched and untreated dewclaw issue, I'm not sure I'd be willing to return him if somebody made the claim. And it's not a matter of the vet and other costs so far, it's a matter of having faith that the person would actually take proper care of the animal.

So, we took Merle home from the vet, and took him and the Squish (our JRT) for a short hike, maybe 2.5 miles. He's already getting much better use of the injured leg; not sure if this is due to the vet probing and expressing the wound, or quick initial efficacy of antibiotics, or just a major improvement in Merle's morale.

Last note: so far, he's not at all aggressive toward smaller dogs. He may have issues with larger dogs. Once he's healed up, I'll start taking him to some dog parks, to get him better socialized. And he really seems to hate squirrels....



November 8, 2009, 05:26 PM
... would be baths.

Gave him one this morning, before going to the vet. Since there was frost outside, we didn't use the horse washing station at the barn. Instead I took him into the bathtub.

He clawed and skittered at the sides like a cat.

I got a nice claw rake down the inside of my thigh, so Merle isn't the only one on antibiotics today. Mine, though, were topical instead of internal.

C'est la vie.

November 8, 2009, 05:36 PM
How many pounds light do you think he is?
Most plotts I have seen were 50+ lbs. (very few of them) with the vast majority being 60+ in field trim.

November 8, 2009, 05:47 PM
... and thickness through the shoulders as my Catahoula mix was. Blue ran 55# at his best weight, muscular but not yet fat, so my guess is Merle should be in the 50-55# ballpark when he finally fills out.

He's really emaciated right now. I was pleasantly surprised not to receive ugly remarks or glares while we were out with him today. My lady was, too. We'd both anticipated taking some abuse over his appearance, but happily that didn't materialize. I guess folks must have figured that if we were taking him to the vet, we musn't have been the ones who had caused him to look the way he does.

You can not only see every rib on him, but you can clearly see every vertebra in his spine. His hipbones stand out at least 3/4", with big hollows.

Strangely, his face actually looks fairly normal. This is why I figured he was only 1 or so; he had enough puppy fat around his face to keep it from looking totally gaunt, even when the rest of his body looks skeletal. The dog really looks like something out of a concentration camp picture.

Will try to post some pictures later. We took a few with the lady's camera, primarily because we wanted before and after photos so we can judge how our rehab program works out.

As physically bad off as he is, he is a very affectionate dog. I really prefer to think he just ran off on somebody, than to think somebody let him get anywhere near this condition, or abandoned him somewhere, allowing him to get into such poor health.

Because I'd punch somebody's lights out if I thought this were done by intention or omission.

November 8, 2009, 05:56 PM
I hope he works out well for you. Like was mentioned before it looks like he wandered into the right yard! This must be lost dog season. We had a stray black lab wander into our parking lot at work. He was almost hit a few times before a co-worker got him inside. I ended up taking him in till we could find an owner. We posted fliers and contacted vet offices and the local pound. No word in two weeks, so it looks like I have the first part to my HD plan, a loud alarm!

Tom Servo
November 8, 2009, 07:45 PM
He clawed and skittered at the sides like a cat.
Every hound I've owned hated baths. I currently have a foxhound mix who cowers in a corner and trembles theatrically whenever she sees me setting up.

(Contrast that with the lab/husky who sleeps under the lawn sprinkler)

Plott hounds are excellent dogs. They have an odd howl, though. Kind of a high-pitched, keening thing.

November 8, 2009, 08:05 PM
DRice.72, good luck with the new lab. They can be a lot of fun. They are very high energy dogs, as you probably know, so it's in your best interest to keep him busy. Prevents both unwanted behavior and the lab tendency to get very round if you let them.

Tom Servo, Foxhounds are one of the lady's favorite breeds, from back in her hunter/jumper days. Who'd have thought they had organized fox hunts in Iowa? But that's also where she got her preference for Jack Russell terriers. It seems the foxhounds find the fox, and the Jack Russells get them out of their holes. (Although the Iowa hunts were supposedly bloodless, so I guess the JRT's only stuck their heads in and said, "Pardon me, but would you care to come out?" and then politely went back to the huntmaster to relay the fox's refusal to accept.)

The bark and howl are surprisingly high for a dog this size, but as you noted, Plotts are known for that trait.

I'm just happy Merle hasn't shown aggression of any sort toward smaller dogs. I'm not so sure about the larger ones, at present, but as I said, once he's healthy enough (IMO, which will include both putting on some healthy weight AND getting vaccinated for rabies), I do plan to take him to a dog park or two, and work on socializing him properly.

November 8, 2009, 08:15 PM
May I suggest whole chicken leg quarters as a supplement... No threat of injury from raw chicken bones, just the cooked ones.

Also I use diamond or Nutreena River run High energy feed. It is a very high fat and also high protein. When not active I can cut back and maintain weight but when fully active I am still feeding 3-5 cups per day to 50+ pound bulldogs and 35-45 pound curr dogs.
In your case this feed and the chicken will be a fast healthy weight gainer formula... Also a tablespoon of real butter or bacon grease every day or so on the kibble is excellent.

You may well know plenty more than me of dog husbandry but feel free to ask me anything, I have many real devoted dogmen to ask. And I have an aunt who is basically a super geek about canine psychology whiz I ask advice of for behavioral issues...:D
Here is her website...

November 8, 2009, 08:20 PM
... thanks for the link and the input.

Heads up, though, chicken isn't used much around here. The little dog (the JRT) is deathly allergic to chicken in any form - we can't even give her treats that use poultry fat as a binding agent. We either make dog food for her, or go to Tractor Supply to buy "Blue" lamb, venison, or salmon mixes (no poultry products).

You'd be amazed how hard it is to find dog foods that have no poultry in them, in some shape or form.

So, if I give Merle anything with chicken, I have to be very sure the Squish can't possibly get into it.

The butter or bacon grease should be good, though.

Thanks again,


November 8, 2009, 09:39 PM
Yeah the kibble I suggested both use loads of poultry for the fat content:o

November 8, 2009, 10:25 PM
The first shot is Merle, taken today; he weighed in at 33.8 lbs a few hours before this was taken. The greyish area on his hindquarter is where the vet shaved around what she determined to be a pellet entry wound.


The next shot has some pretty aspects; unfortunately, Merle isn't one of them. Well, his spirit would be, but you can't see that in the shot. I really hope we have him looking a lot better before too long. It's apparent that he is already feeling much better than he did yesterday, so it's a good start.


The little dog is our JRT, Sara aka The Squish. She weighs just under 10lbs, for comparison.

The view is obscured by fencing, and by the fact that there's about an 18" drop from the land above the fencepost to the paddock immediately below, but the horse to the right is a 3yo warmblood. Her mother died in the birthing. My lady had to bottle feed her. One of my favorite pictures of the lady is of her, hard asleep on the stable floor, with a bottle crooked in her arm and the foal sleeping up against her on the floor.

The lady had a BS in pre-vet/animal sciences, but ended up working as a horse breeder/trainer instead of going on to vet school. Many years later, she decided to leave full time horse work, and is now working on a second BS, this time an RN/BSN.

Top student in her class.

Very compassionate, extremely smart, and a whole lot of fun.

I really do have a very good life.



Edit: before anybody asks, the shirt says "RAFT Chattooga" on the front, and "Paddle Faster! I hear banjo music..." on the back. From the outfitters at NOC/Chattooga; we did a rapids trip there in May with some friends.

November 9, 2009, 08:24 AM
Thanks MLeake, Labs are indeed a handful, this is my second one!

Looks like with some TLC that dog will be a good one!! Lots of luck to you! Beautiful pics!

November 9, 2009, 11:16 AM
nice looking dogs. hope it works out for all of you.

my dogs have always been rescues of one kind or another. I am not sure about it, but they seemed to be extra appreciative of a little TLC from their humans.

guns and more
November 9, 2009, 11:35 AM
Merle will be a good friend.

And I'm jealous of the place in the country. I need to get out of the city and a little ranch is my dream.

November 9, 2009, 11:36 AM
Out of all the dogs my family had over the years, only one came from a breeder. Of course, that one was the only one scared of its own shadow...

One of the things I disliked about the vet trip yesterday was the PetSmart where the vet keeps her office was having an adoption day. As we were leaving, after dropping Merle off for a while, I was stared at very hard by both a GSP mix and a Red Heeler.

The GSP mix whined softly when we walked away.

Man, it's hard not taking them all home.

November 9, 2009, 11:38 AM
Man, it's hard not taking them all home.
Thus mrs.h-dogs calls me "Noah" and refers to Casa del hogdogs as "the ark"...:o

November 9, 2009, 12:19 PM
... was both a perk and a priority for us.

It's cheaper to live on an acreage, than to maintain a place in the suburbs and board multiple horses.

Once the lady finishes school, we're looking to buy a place with more acres and a bit less woodland.

We like woods, don't get me wrong, but she's originally from a 140acre farm in Iowa, and she prefers to have longer sight ranges between trees. However, the fall foliage up here has been fantastic (at least by southeast standards; I'm originally from Maine; having lived all over the US, I can objectively state that nowhere else comes close to New England for bright, sharp, fall colors. Must be all those maples...)

With my job, I get flown to wherever I need to be to work, so I'm flexible, as long as I'm reasonably near an airport that can handle RJ's. We'll have to see what she gets for nurse job offers, and find the best mix of salary vs land and house costs (purchase prices and property taxes).

November 10, 2009, 07:18 PM
... turns out he lives just down the street, but was out of town for almost a week. Dog escaped from his kids.

I told him about the gunshot wound and the infected leg. He said he hadn't had the dog's dewclaws removed, and isn't sure what happened to him. He also said he'd been trying different dewormers on the dog, but hadn't been able to get any weight on him.

The thing is, while I hadn't met this neighbor before, I've seen some of his other animals, and they all actually look ok... The other thing is, while I haven't met him, I have met one of his sons. The kid tends our horses if we go away for weekends, and is a nice kid.

The dog ran right up to him when called. Turns out his name is Taz.

The lady and I turned the dog over, but we still have some misgivings. We gave the guy the remainder of the doxycycline; he said he'd pay the vet bills etc once we tally them up for him.

Here's hoping that the last round of antibiotic and dewormer the vet gave the dog has taken; that the owners will administer the remainder of the doxy; and that the dog will put on some healthy weight.

We're still concerned...

We've also decided it's time to get another dog.