Working Dogs

Patched-up pooch

By Rodney Woods

If doggy treats were handed out for gutsy efforts, Patchy would have his own bucketload.

Despite breaking both back legs, his pelvis and hip joints, the tough little six-year-old Jack Russell terrier dragged himself back to his Arcadia home after 10 days in the wilderness.

Patchy ran away from owner Rowan Gribben’s farm during a storm in May.

Upon Patchy’s return, Rowan had no idea how much damage the little dog had done to himself until the vet checked him out, and assumes Patchy was run over by a car or kicked by a cow.

When his pooch went missing, Rowan placed an ad in the Shepparton News looking for him.

‘‘I put an ad in the Shepp paper and my brother said he didn’t think the advertisement would work because he said ‘Patchy can’t read’ but I think he must’ve been wrong because at the end of the week, I found Patchy at home sitting in the sun by the birdcage,’’ Rowan said.

When Patchy came home, Rowan realised his best mate had lost ‘‘a fair bit of weight’’.

‘‘I gave him a piece of chicken, he was very hungry,’’ he said.

‘‘His back legs didn’t look too good so I took him to the Kialla vet. They were sad because he was a bit distressed and in pain.

‘‘I left him there and they took him to another vet clinic on Wanganui Rd and they took an X-ray of his back legs.’’

Later that day, the vet texted Rowan to tell him he should come in to the clinic.

That was when Rowan found out all the injuries Patchy had suffered while he was missing.

‘‘It was a bit of a shock.

‘‘They said it will be a very big operation and it could cost somewhere between $10000 and $12000.’’

The operation, done by the company's Euroa vet, was a success — only costing Rowan $5700, well below what was projected — and leaving Patchy with plates, pins, stitches and screws in him.

After a few days of limping, the plate fell out of place, meaning another operation was needed.

With Patchy playing a major role on the farm, as he loves to work the sheep, Rowan was willing to pay to keep his dog intact — even if he has to wait a bit longer for Patchy to be back on the job.

‘‘He’s not allowed to work until the end of the month,’’ Rowan said.

At the moment, Patchy is recovering inside by the fire.

‘‘Patchy has cost me a lot of money but he’s worth it.’’