Paz’s Amazing Recovery

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Paz Update

WOW! I’m amazed at the number of people who have asked how Paz is doing and requested that I do a follow-up post.

In short, she is doing “amazingly well.” Those were the words of her local vet when he took her stitches out on Thursday.

For anyone who didn’t catch my first post, Paz was attacked by a pit bull almost two weeks ago. Her trachea (windpipe) was ruptured, she had a puncture wound on the back of her neck, she lost 4 teeth and she was pretty bruised up. But no major blood vessels were damaged and there were no broken bones. She had surgery that night to repair the trachea and large wound around it and was in “intensive care” overnight. They released her into our care the next morning.

ICU/Oxygen Cage

In ICU/Oxygen Cage — hard to see a white dog on a white towel, but she’s on the left

Paz has made remarkable strides in her recovery every day. Less than 24 hours after the attack, she was able to do her business outside when we carried her to an appropriate spot.

1st day

The next morning, she walked maybe 10 feet — she was obviously groggy from the pain meds and wobbly on her feet but she was determined to take a few steps. She slept most of the day but was able to eat and drink when hand fed.

Paz first day home

As a side note, the emergency vet prescribed Science Diet “a/d” critical care food. It’s pureed, easy to just lick, and very high calorie/low waste to support her as she healed. I think this was an important part of her recovery — she was on it for ten days — as it gave her what her body needed for healing in a really easy-to-eat and easy-to-digest form. Should you ever have a seriously injured dog, ask your vet about it (it is sold by prescription only but is not expensive).


A couple of days later, she was able to drink water on her own — first from a small dish that we’d hold in the right spot, then from her regular dish. She still had to be hand fed, though. Every day, she’d walk a bit more when we’d take her outside.


Five days after the attack, we had the boat ready to go into storage. After the first day of her recovery, Dave and I had alternated one of us staying at the hotel with her (she needed to be in air conditioning — it was in the mid-90’s out — and in a cleaner environment than the boatyard, and couldn’t be left alone) and one of us working to ready the boat for storage. And Paz got the okay to travel. That was on Friday, May 1.

By this time, she was walking 50 to 100 feet and showing some interest in her surroundings, sniffing all around. Once on the road, it was obvious that she had gotten mobile enough that she needed to be on a leash to protect her from traffic at rest areas. We fashioned a harness out of a bandanna to avoid the wound area.

Paz harness

On the way to our house, we stopped by Dave’s son’s house. John David, his wife and daughter have three dogs that Paz has always gotten along with very well. Two are large and we wondered if she’d be a little nervous or timid around them. Not to worry!

Paz with Wolfie

Wolfie checks out Paz’s stitches

And finally, eight days after the attack, she was able to eat on her own from her bowl, although it was still the special critical care food. Ten days out, she got the visible stitches removed (there are also stitches in the trachea and muscle layers that will dissolve with time).

Every day, Paz is a little stronger and more her normal self. We encourage her to take short walks and be more active (we refer to it as physical therapy) but not overdo it. With her stitches out, she’s now back to wearing her regular harness.

Paz walk

She’s walking about a quarter mile as of today — then gets to ride in her carry bag while we walk further. She’s very alert and twists her head around to see everything. Paz has almost her full neck/head movement back.

Paz carry

In between bouts of activity, she sleeps soundly — not just a normal “doggie nap” but very deep, healing sleep where even visitors don’t elicit much of a response. Her favorite place is atop the back of the sofa — and yes, she jumps up there herself!

Paz sleeping

She’s now eating “regular food” — kibble with wet food — and the dry food does not seem to be irritating her throat. She’s also resumed her “normal chores” such as pre-cleaning our plates before they’re washed.

Paz lick plate

We’ve learned that her vocal cords were damaged. She doesn’t bark often, and when she does, it’s a funny high-pitched squeak; sometimes she makes a noise that sounds like a heron’s squawk. The vet says that with time, it may become more normal . . . or not. She also snores pretty loudly now.

Next week, she’ll be healed enough to get a bath. It’ll be several weeks though before she can ride on the SUP with me or on the bow of the dinghy, where she could fall into the (dirty) lake water.

Best of all, she has started bringing her toys to us and asking to play. The play sessions aren’t long, often just one throw of the ball or stuffed toy, but she is running well. She coughs a bit after, but she’s always coughed a bit and the vet says that a small cough is actually good for the healing as it helps clear her throat. The video below of her chasing her ball is only a few seconds long:

Paz is doing really well!

Posted by Carolyn Shearlock on Friday, May 8, 2015

Bottom line: Paz is recovering really, really well. She’s still got a ways to go — the vet said it would be two to three months before everything is fully healed — but her progress so far is nothing short of astounding. She’s one tough cookie!

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  1. I am so proud of you little bit! I love reading about your recovery. Wish I could give you a snuggle. …. keep it up girl!

  2. She IS one tough cookie! So happy to see her doing so well!

  3. So glad she is doing well. These little animals are our babies and become so much a part of our lives.

  4. A little Miracle!!!

  5. I did not know about the special food available. You very very fortunate that you had such a great vet to care for your beloved Paz. I am so very happy for you and Paz

  6. Helen Costas Tesi says:

    So happy to hear she is doing well! And how fortunate she into have such loving doggie parents….. Recovery is a team effort! Best of luck to you all!

  7. Daphne is very happy about the news ! Me tooo

  8. Wow, she is so lucky to have you as her ‘parents’. Glad she will be ok!!!!!

  9. Oh, I’m so glad! 🙂 <3

  10. Carolyn, we (all 3 of us) are so relieved that Paz is recovering so rapidly and I am thrilled that her personality hasn’t changed! I know her recovery is due to the excellent care you & Dave provided, lucky doggy!!!

  11. So happy for you and Paz

  12. So glad to hear it! Yea, Paz!

  13. Happy for you all thait is going this well.

  14. So happy. I cried when I read about her attack. The poor little thing…how awful…and how wonderful that she’s recovering so quickly.

  15. I wish I could give that little sweetie a hug! I’m so happy to see she’s coming along and still has her spirit. Thank goodness you were able to find such great veterinary care during her emergency. Keep posting we all care!

  16. Thanks for posting. Glad she is doing well!

  17. What an amazing little pup!!!

  18. So glad she is doing well.

  19. Thanks so much for the update – so good to hear!

  20. Thanks for the update. GO Paz!!! What a trouper she is…

  21. So glad to hear she’s getting back to normal.

  22. Certainly a good outcome to a tragic event. Love the backpack photo.

  23. So happy she is a tough cookie.

  24. Do very happy for all of you.

  25. Cheryl Buckner says:

    Nice to hear she is doing so well! What a cutie pie!

  26. Did anyone suggest raising her water and food bowls so she has them at chest height? It makes it easier to eat and also is better on the neck throat

  27. I am really happy to hear this!

  28. Such a little unkin. So glad she’s doing so well. 🙂

  29. I’m so glad to hear this!!!

  30. Sailor is so glad to hear Paz is on the mend! Sending her healing energy! 🙂

  31. Ain’t love wonderful.

  32. So happy to hear all of this. She’s a real trooper!!

  33. SO glad that she’s doing so well. What a frightful thing for all of you to have to go through. Glad she’s got such excellent nurses!

  34. Yea! For Paz!

  35. So glad to hear she’s recovering so quickly. She’s such a cutie. After having big dogs, it’s hard for me to imagine having such a little puppy. They seem so fragile, but apparently they aren’t as fragile as I would expect!

  36. So so so happy she’s doing well. 🙂

  37. Love the photo of Paz in the back-pack! So glad to hear all is going so well. Thanks for letting us know. Keep Going Paz!!

  38. Ps thanks for the heads up on the critical care food too

  39. Yay! Thanks for sharing.

  40. Claire Ford says:

    Such a wonderful update. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  41. Wow, what an amazing little pupper. What happened to the dog that attacked her?

  42. We are so happy she is doing so well!! Whenever I see a little dog I think of her!! We are in NC and should be heading to ME by the end of the week. We hope things continue to go well and look forward to seeing more of Paz’s recovery!!

  43. susanlynn says:

    Carolyn…So glad Paz is doing so well – she is such a precious little angel. The photo of Dave walking down the road with her in the backpack is so adorable. Give her a hug and a kiss for me. …………..susanlynn

  44. So glad Paz is doing so well. This is one of my greatest fears with my little girl who is a Havanese. What happened to the dog that attacked her? Are the owners of that dog paying the expenses? I cannot begin to imagine what you went through that night.

  45. Jane Overbeck, Rising Tide says:

    Thank you for the update, especially since it’s such good news. We worried. It looks like you are settled in back home, too, a good place for her — and you both — to recover.

  46. Hooray! It does my heart good to read of Paz’s amazing recovery!

  47. Very, very glad to hear of Paz’s remarkable recovery. Good for you to give her the TLC she needed.

  48. So glad to hear the good news, those of us who cruise with our pets have a very strong bond with them. Keep up the good work.

  49. Daisy May Dashevsky says:

    Woof woof woof woof, (squeal), woof woof woof <<>>…
    Translation: Soooo glad you are feeling better! That surgery stuff sucks! Looking forward to running around and playing with you next winter!

  50. Barbara Lowell says:

    Louvre news, albeit bittersweet to see the terrible stitched evidence of her wounds. So glad she was able to heal, largely due to her parents love and devotion, and I’m sure all the love everyone sent her way aided her progress some. Mostly she’s a determined little girl who wants to stay with you as long as she can. My heart goes out to y’all and to all of us who have endured having to watch our innocent animal friends endure suffering of all kinds. Peace.

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