by Kevin Panting
(Springfield IL, USA)
My 7 year-old salt and pepper, Buddy, did not have his ears cropped when he was a pup. I have seen many non-cropped Schnauzers, and Buddy's ears take the cake. His ears are like radar dishes. They are so big that on one certain Spring holiday, he was nicknamed the "Easter Buddy".
He has been a head shaker since he has been with the family (six years). I think he likes the "helicopter noise" his ears make when he shakes his head. Never any sign of ear infections, he just shakes his head a lot.
One of his great passions is rubbing his rump and head on the linkage under the recliners and flipping over on his back and flopping around while making all manners of weird noises.
A month or so ago, he started acting a bit stranger than normal. His spazz moments became much more frequent. During one of his "moments", he let out a painful yelp. I then noticed that his right ear was flopped forward. His ears never flop forward. I took a look and noticed that he had a big haematoma on his ear flap. It was quite swollen and looked extremely painful. I immediately thought he had another infection of some sort. I knew another trip to the vet was in order.
The vet checked him out and found no signs of an ear infection and then told me what would be involved to repair the haematoma. She told us that during one of his flopping events he probably broke the cartilege in his ear and then with the head shaking, created the haematoma. The surgery, she stated, would be purely cosmetic, and of no real value because the haematoma wouldn't cause any lasting pain, and we don't show him.
Not that I don't love my Buddy, but I thought a thousand dollars for an erect ear was a bit too steep for my budget. The vet did go on to tell us that she wasn't comfortable doing the surgery on his ear because his ear is so big, and that she couldn't guarantee that his ear would go back to it's full radar dish glory. She also told us about four weeks in the "cone of shame". I just couldn't see Buddy wearing that thing and being at all happy about it. She also told us that his body would eventually absorb the haematoma.
So now we have a pain-free, one floppy-eared Buddy. He looks very cute with his one stand up ear. We all think it gives him character. We truly do have a one-of-a-kind Schnauzer.