Dig-In has built relationships with customers over the years. The people who have ordered repeatedly have joined Frank’s “call and check in” list. We start to know the names of their dogs and the special place that they hold in the hearts of their owners. You see, we’re all dog lovers here, that small bundle of warmth that haunts your footsteps, their steady unconditional love and that strange but unwavering affection we have for them is a tremendous inspiration for us. Sadly, we only get to share such a small time with our beloved pets. When we lose a dog it’s as though they take a small part of us with them and we grieve. So it is with Jason and Kane, long time users of Dig-In and part of our small dog-loving community. Kane has sadly passed and we mourn. To help celebrate Kane’s life we’ve asked Jason, his owner, for a few words and we feel privileged to share his story with you.
Kane was adopted from our local animal shelter on the 16th of August in 2008. He had been at the shelter for about a month, and his kennel name was Anton. It was actually my Mum that found him on the animal shelter’s internet site. He was apparently found wandering the streets after a thunderstorm, but I never had this confirmed. We had the opportunity to take him for a walk around the shelter, and so we had him brought out to us. His attitude right from the start was “What is happening to me now.” His head was right down, and there was almost no life in him. It was almost like the shelter staff were dragging a stuffed toy through the gate. He seemed OK on a lead though, so we decided to give him a home, and paid $150 cash for him, and donated around $100 worth of dog food, then he was ours. I renamed him, Kane.
He settled nicely in the car for the ride home and was no trouble during the drive. It didn’t take long for Kane to tell us in his own way that he must have been treated very badly by his previous owners. He was never aggressive but was showing signs of extreme nervousness after having been with us for a few days. We live in a house that is basically open-plan in layout, with few internal walls. Kane slept on one of our lounge chairs overnight, and soon chose one that he liked to use. I would only have to look at him from across the room, and he would turn over and hide in the chair, almost as if he was saying “You can’t see me, I am not here.” He would soon reveal just how badly he had been treated. He was scared or nervous about just about everything. Hoses, ropes, extension cords, water, even lighting the oven would have him hide under the table in the lounge. He absolutely hated the oven’s ignition button and never got used to it, until he would lose his hearing. The first time we used a hose near him, he ran from it and was found by the back door, shaking, so I suspected that he had been thrashed hard. It needed almost 2 years before Kane would drink water from a running hose, and he would only do it if no sudden moves were made and the flow had to be really slow. Any fast moves and he was out of there. He did get better with time though, but drinking from a hose was always on his terms. It also appeared that Kane had a mild case of epilepsy, presumably from being bashed on the head. This was never confirmed by testing, but Kane would start doing something, like scratching himself, then he would just shut down and stare into space for a few seconds, then come back to life and resume what he was doing. It was also suspected but never checked by X-Rays, that Kane must have been kicked hard or hit in the side with something, as he had a certain area in the rib section that appeared to be particularly sensitive. Amazingly though, Kane was not aggressive about food, and I could put my hand in his bowl while he was eating. I did not push him though, and generally let him be while he was having food. He was also generally good with other dogs while walking, and liked people. He never played with toys though, throughout his whole life.
Kane had a few odd traits, and when he was left home alone, he would re-decorate the house, moving chairs and cushions and so on, but apart from a remote control for the television, he never destroyed or damaged anything. In general, he would sleep OK overnight by himself, but there were times he would cause issues by wanting company during the night. He would also prove to be a routine dependent dog, and I was sure that he could tell the time. It appeared that he knew exactly what the time was, and as I worked shift work, he soon figured out exactly when I would be home from work. He also never came when called, and when called he would usually run straight past but just out of reach. He never ran away either, and would stay around the house, which was good as we don’t have any fences on the property.
It was not long before Kane started to show issues with allergies, and it was thought that he was poultry intolerant, so he went through a lot of diet changes over the years. Raw high grade mince, fish-based foods, specialised dry foods and a host of other things would become his diet over the years. He would also end up being fed a small mountain of additives; high grade Manuka honey, coconut oil, joint guard powder, and quite a few other things. It was also found that he had the equivalent of stomach ulcers in the oesophagus, and required a lot of medications to get this under control. He would drink water, then almost immediately throw it back up. This problem would last for his entire life, and could only be managed but never really fixed. He was helped though by having his food and water at an elevated position, so he ended up with his own dining table. I would also try to get him to lie quietly after having a drink, which helped reduce the problem.
Over the years, Kane developed quite a fan club, and people who knew him from the start would comment to me about how good he looked and how much he had improved while in my care. He would end up being invited into a few shops, and people would ask to see him or want to know how he was doing. He was also generally very well behaved, but sometimes other dogs would get confused because he would give conflicting signs regarding behaviour. I think he may not have been properly socialised.
Some of his biggest medical challenges would turn out to be his teeth, which would die internally and basically rot from the inside out. He ended up losing about half his teeth in this way, losing 13 in one hit at one stage. Kane also ended up at an emergency vet’s after he started passing blood. There were never any definite answers about where the blood was coming from, and Kane seemed perfectly happy with this. It was during one of these visits that Kane revealed more about himself. He needed an ultrasound to help with the diagnosis of where the blood was coming from, and this was done without giving him an anaesthetic. He just lay on the table during the whole procedure, and during this work, it was discovered that he still had undissolved stitches in his mouth after having some teeth removed. He had the hospital’s dental surgeon come in and pulled the stitches out of his mouth while he was fully awake. The vets at the emergency hospital said they almost never see this, and they thought this was because either Kane was really good-natured, or that he had been beaten so hard that he was too scared to do anything. He would also develop issues with his paws and would get infected spots in various places. These would require laser therapy, and proved to be very hard to get rid of. After a lot of work and testing, it was thought that Kane had become allergic to his own hair.
On the 3rd of January, 2017 Kane had his first taste of Dig-In Gravy powder and he seemed to really enjoy it. The Dig-In Gravy would prove to be really helpful, as Kane was getting a bit older by this point, and some of the things I had been using on Kane were no longer suitable because of his age, so I worked him off the additives and just went with Dig-In Digestive Gravy Powder. This seemed to work well for Kane, and as well as being cheaper than all the additives Kane was using, it also helped with giving Kane most of his medications. Kane was an expert at rejecting food with any meds in it, so anything that helped with this was very useful. Kane was at times an odd dog to own, and his fun was pretty much limited to walking, running about in the yard, and eating, which he generally loved, as long as there weren’t any tablets in his food!
As he aged, I had to start restricting him from running in the yard, as he was really fast and acted like an idiot when it came to running and jumping off things. There were many sore arms from having him leaping about on the lead like an excited pup, as he would stand still and not move, then take off at full speed in any direction. At around 28 Kg in weight, it was like holding onto a horse. He would go from zero to full speed instantly, even on a 2-metre long lead. He still enjoyed walking in the street though, and it wasn’t until 2019 that I had to start limiting the amount of time Kane could walk for, as his arthritis was starting to get quite bad by this point, and he was showing signs of muscle wastage in the back legs. Also around 2019, Kane started to go deaf, which was most likely another genetics issue, so he started to follow me everywhere, as he preferred to know where I was whenever I was home, and he would get stressed if he knew I was home but couldn’t find me.
Although owning Kane was at times very hard work and often stressful, not to mention very expensive, I really enjoyed the challenge of owning him, watching him grow and becoming the best dog that he could be, given his very rocky start in life. I like to think that Kane knew and understood that what I was doing was in his best interests. Sometimes I had to do some unpleasant things to him, and often we almost lived at the local vet clinic and I thought we should move in, but everything I did was to give him the best life possible, and it’s just not the same without him. Owning Kane was a weird combination of hard work, stress, and expense but he was also a special dog to own in so many ways. He made it all worthwhile though, and if given another chance to own him, I would not hesitate to do it all again, both for and with him. I think he just about has the record for the longest vet file at his vet clinic, which reached a total of 282 pages in length at the time of his passing in it’s unedited form. Kane was finally put to rest at about 5.30 pm on the 9th of April, 2020 and is now at peace. Kane was cremated to give him freedom from the body that caused him so much grief at times. I was absolutely shattered at his passing, as Kane was my second dog to pass from cancer-related issues. I know he is free now, which gives me some relief, but that does not make losing him any easier & for all his issues, I still miss having him around.