An expensive, but great, first round draft pick

Wintoba Taffy, first round draft pick of the Hamilton Ball-Chasin' Bird Dogs, will be announcing her retirement.

Wintoba Taffy, first round draft pick of the Hamilton Ball-Chasin’ Bird Dogs, will be announcing her retirement after undergoing reconstructive joint surgery.

Dr. Paul Kennedy of the Pacific Coast Veterinary Hospital told Hamilton Ball-Chasin’ Bird Dog owner Todd Hamilton that Taffy had sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and surgery was required.

“I was devastated,” Hamilton said. “It is the best part of my day when we go out to train or play.

“While thankfully it’s not life-threatening, it certainly will be lifestyle changing.”

“He’s devastated, he’s devastated?” Taffy barked from her recuperating couch. “It’s my leg … hey look, squirrel.”

This is Taffy’s second training-related injury since the team moved to Prince Rupert in 2012. In 2013, Taffy was placed on the injured reserve list after lacerating her paw while playing for the Frisbee Flyers.

Taffy, who turned 49 in dog years this year, isn’t buying any of the retirement nonsense.

“I’ll retire when I want to retire,” she whimpered after chewing over Hamilton’s remarks. “Now, go get me a doggie bone … no, the large one … hey look, a crow.”

The surgery to reconstruct her joint went well, according to Dr. Kennedy, but there will be a long road to recovery.

Taffy is expected to remain couch-ridden with no exercise and as little movement as possible — with the exception of her daily three-legged piddle and poo regimen — for at least 10 days. After the initial 10 days of complete rest, she will begin a slow therapy for at least four to six weeks.

“Four to six weeks? That’s like 10 months to a dog … I want a second opinion,” Taffy growled. “And while you’re at it whatever is in those pain meds, um, can I get another one … hey look at all the pretty colours.”

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I hope you will forgive and allow me a little licence this week after my best buddy injured herself. In the grand scheme of things, a dog blowing out her knee while playing isn’t a big deal.

But to me, she is as much family, maybe more so — sorry, sis — as my human family. And seeing my Taffy dog in pain is heartbreaking.

The enjoyment a family pet can bring is unquantifiable. In my case, I’ve had three dogs: Candy, Nugget and Taffy. Okay, I shared Candy and Nugget with my sister, mother and father.

Nugget, who developed a rare enzyme deficiency when she was three, could have had medical bills of more than $200 month. Luckily, my sister, a microbiologist, discovered that the enzyme was present in pig pancreas. So for more than a decade, we chopped up fresh pig pancreas every day to add it to her meal — Nugget’s not my sister’s.

The point is, Nugget was a Christmas dog. My father brought home Nugget at Christmas about a year after we had to put down Candy at the age of 15. As a family we were ready for Nugget, whether it was Christmas or not.

But unfortunately, this cannot be said of all Christmas pets.

All to often, we hear and see sad stories of Christmas pets that when either the expense or responsibility hits months later, these poor animals are relegated to the end of a chain in the backyard or much, much worse.

If it is your plan this Christmas to bring a pet into your family, and rescuing an animal at the BCSPCA is a wonderful gesture, please just make certain you and your family are as ready for the great days as you are the bad ones. And as any caring responsible pet owner will tell you the good days far outweigh the bad, if you’re ready, willing and able to take care of your furry friend.

You take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

Right now, it’s my turn to take care of Taffy.

Even if she’s pretty ticked off at no more ball-chasin for a while.