Saturday was not a good day. John and Tommy went on a call to help a local hunter recover a lung-shot deer. At one point John had to drop the tracking leash in heavy brush. He thought that he could recall Tommy, as he had done many times, but this time Tommy was hot on the deer. He was located two hours later tangled in goldenrod 400 meters farther on.
Tommy had already tracked two miles, but he was ready to go, and now three of us tracked another 1/2 mile through a big swamp. We finally quit when the deer swam across a big pond and water became to deep to follow. Actually Jolanta got stuck in the swamp up to her butt. We had smears of blood to verify the line right until the end. But that's just the beginning.
On Monday we noticed a bulge on Tommy's right flank. It looked like a big hematoma, but we took him to our vets since he also had bad eye irritations. We wanted to be sure he did not have a scratched cornea. The eyes were not damaged, but the inner abdominal muscles had been torn and intestines were bulging out as in an umbilical hernia. Thee was no internal damage beyond this and no damage on the surface of his hide. We don't know exactly what happened, but probably he had an altercation with the buck during the time that he was out of John's control. He was tough enough to keep tracking, and we were unaware of his injury.
Another problem. We have a bitch that was brought in from southern Pennsylvania to be bred to Tommy. She is not quite ready yet, and we don't want to ask Tommy to breed her right after his surgery. So we must wait until Thursday, after the breedings, to have the damage to his abdominal wall repaired. Tommy does not seem to be in any pain, and he is eating well. But we are watching that hernia! He won't be able to track for 2-3 weeks following his surgery.