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Onyx is a black labrador that we got from the Humane Society just before Christmas of 1999. She was a beautiful dog that had obviously been mistreated. There was a line of fur missing from her forhead where she had been cut or scratched, her right-rear ankle was swollen and made her limp, she was slightly underweight and had kennel cough. We took her home and made an appointment with our vet for the next day.

Her kennel cough was the thing that concerned us the most since it's a highly contagious chest infection that is spread through airborne particles. With as many pets as we have, we were worried that she would spread the disease to one of them and then we'd have a little mini-epidemic on our hands! We did our best to keep her quarentined in our bedroom or outside while she was sick. We got her on anti-biotics and cough supressants that did the job quite well and we managed to keep the illness isolated to Onyx.

The next biggest problem that we had with her health was her swollen ankle. As soon as we got her home and got her comfortable, we could see that the swelling was beginning to go down. Oddly enough, her ankle reacts adversely to cold weather, not hot weather. The vet x-rayed her ankle and did a thourough inspection and found nothing horribly wrong with it. He said that her ankle had been injured at some point in the recent past, but nothing was broken and there was really nothing that could be done about it. He said that the ankle would surely become arthritic as Onyx got older, but there was medication that we could put her on called Cosequin that will help protect the lining and cartiledge that is in her ankle. The medicine is pretty expensive, but it seems to be worth it. I have bad knees and I know that I would want someone to take care of my bad joints regardless of the cost.

Her weight problem was taken care of with a good diet and she's gone from a 50 pound dog to a 60+ pound dog that is much healthier and happier. The scratch on her face healed up nicely and her shyness around men has lessened as well. We have a black friend (who now lives with us) that caused Onux to growl and snarl at him. He didn't do anything to cause the reaction, so we think that maybe her former owner was a black man that didn't treat her too nicely. Fortunately, our love and care was able to overcome Onyx's prejudice towards black people. Now, she treats Eric just like she does anyone else.

Onyx is a good dog and my wife just succeeded in teaching her where to dig and where not to dig in the yard. We couldn't stop her entirely, so we just gave in and gave her a small portion of our backyard where she is allowed to dig and have fun. I'll be posting some pictures just as soon as I can get them developed and scanned.