Human : Tom Shroyer, Decorah, Iowa
After a number of years of longing for a Scottish Deer Hound, the timing was right and a puppy was available. The plan was to drive to East Lansing, Michigan to meet the Canadian breeder, Cynthia, to obtain a male puppy. Cynthia was delivering puppies to a few other recipients as well. Unfortunately, she was held up at the border due to vaccination requirements with the CDC since the puppies had not yet had rabies vaccinations and were without paperwork. So Tom drove all the way to Flint, Michigan and literally met Cynthia at a somewhat random interstate exchange. We met at this random location, it was really weird how it turned out. We got our puppies and met and hugged and all that. I got in the car, and I was by myself with this dog at 4 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon north of Detroit to come home and it started snowing…. I couldn’t see, but we made it we made it home at 2 in the morning with this puppy. Everything about our journey together literally and figuratively, there was always a story. It fit him, because he had so much personality.
Since the puppies breed is Scottish and they came from Canada and Tom’s wife Maureen’s family came over from Scotland they chose “Coming to America” as his registered name. They called him Maclean because that is Maureen’s clan’s name.
Maclean grew to be 34” in height at the shoulder, and weighed 95 pounds. HIs tail measured about the same as his height. Maclean and Tom were active at The Good Dog Center a local canine training center. They participated in classes and workshops and competed in confirmation. Maclean also earned his Canine Good Citizen degree.
Maclean was a character. He always liked to be touching, he was very tactile and it was usually with his feet or legs. If you were sitting down he would come and lie down, but then he would stick his foot out to touch you. Even walking by, you would think he was joking and was trying to trip you. It was the oddest thing. He wouldn’t get up, he wouldn’t raise his head up or shift his body he would just put his foot out and touch you.
His big bed was in front of the fireplace and of course the dachshunds would lay on that and then he would never go near it; and he would go over and drape himself over the top of their small bed. He would also get in the craziest sprawling positions and he would never lay on the sofa without his head hanging off the edge.
He loved to bark and his favorite weather was those 30 degree drizzly snow days. Despite not being a fan of nose work at the training center, when outside he would find a smell and would literally press his nose into it so hard you could not get him off of it. If he would find a dead mouse under the snow he would sniff and dig until he got it out, this is a very unique quality as far as sight hounds go.
Maclean had NO recall whatsoever. If you were outside and he would get more than 10 feet away from you it was like, GAME OVER. Just a long trot and he could be over 100 yards away in like two seconds. You were not going to catch him. The way our place is set up it has 25 acres with fencing. When I come home I close the gate at the end of the driveway and then we would know he’d be safe inside and we would go on a 45 minute loop walk. Where we live he was finding rabbits and deer to chase. It was amazing how you can lose a dog in 25 acres of woods. He would just be in his absolute glory.
Tragically, Maclean’s life was cut short by and unexplained illness.
The illness will puzzle me my whole life. On Friday, he had a little bit of inflammation in his ear, so I brought him to the clinic and did an ear swab on him and got him some ear drops. And thought oh while he’s here we’ll do his rabies and his kennel cough, because we were supposed to go do a show in next 10 days. So I’ll get that done now and it will be done. I went from work to the Fitness center in Cresco and that wasn’t unusual that he would stay in the car while I was lifting weights. 45 minutes later and I came out. On the way home he was clearing his throat and coughing. I thought he chewed up a napkin or cup or something that he may have found in the car. He got home and he seemed perfectly fine, he ate his supper and the next morning he was he was a little slow to get up and wasn’t himself and didn’t eat which wasn’t a huge red flag for him because he was a really poor eater. But this consistent cough thing… I think I went to work and I didn’t think too much more about it, but when I got home my wife Maureen said, ‘ I don’t think your dog feels very good” So I took his temperature and it was 103. And I thought that’s weird, maybe the rabies vaccine give him a fever ,so I started him on some antibiotics and some Corprofin to break the fever and he just continued to cough and continued to run this super high fever. On Sunday night it was 106. So I took so I took him to the clinic and it was just not going well. And Amy (colleague) was there and took a look at him and he had more of the trouble breathing so we took a radiograph of his chest and it was just full of blood. Completely full of blood. And we did some other blood work and found liver failure, kidney failure , and high blood count which when they are bleeding internally like that should be low but his was like 60% of his blood -so his blood was like sluging and clotting everywhere. So essentially between Friday night and Sunday night over a 48 period of time he just had this crash and every, every system just quit.
So I called the kids, called Maureen and let them know he was gone. There are a lot of inherited problems in the breed , cancers and weird things, so I said well for the sake of the breed and his litter mates I wanted to get as much checked out as I can so we took him to Ames, we drove him down there it was miserable and I said this is what the deal is
We’ll just start checking things. They did a complete autopsy with the histopathology and nothing conclusive from that and we continued testing.
We checked for toxins and rat poisons and things like that. We were just so baffled and finally she called and let me know that there was nothing left to test for. We don’t know, perhpas some weird thing was triggered. It could have been something as innocent as the vaccine, or the ear drops could have caused a reaction.
The good thing was that it was nothing within the breed or his litter mates.
The odd thing was that for the next 72 hours but the dachshunds would intermittently cough. They had never coughed. And of course every time they would cough we would wonder. Maybe he had some virus come through him and perhaps Maclean’s system couldn’t handle it.
It was a good dog journey, it really was. We had a great ,great three years which was such an abbreviated time. Maclean was so unique the way he related to people, and other dogs ,and livestock and to see him run has literally the most breathtaking thing ever. He was pretty special.