Aug 302009

If you (if you’re a dog) or your dog you know has his leg in a splint or a cast, this is an important blog post.  If you are a veterinarian, this is a blog post that you are going to be proud of!

dog's open-toed splint after surgery allows air to circulate

open-toed splint

I’d like to write a little about my splint. The splint has been off for a few months, but I’d like to write a little about it, and to show a picture of it up close.

First, this is a soft cast splint. It has a little more flexibility and is more comfortable to wear than a hard cast.

The splint was a very important part of my recovery, and so were the instructions about how to care for my splint.

The doctors left the toe open for several very important reasons. First, it allowed air to circulate. Second, it allowed my parents to look for signs of infection.  The doctors tell my parents that if they see my toes are inflamed, they know to get me to the doctor right away.

Another important part of the instructions is to notice if there is a bad odor. That is another sign of infection.  If my parents notice a bad odor, they know to get me to the doctor right away.

Finally, my parents are always looking at me to see if my bandages are wet. If they are wet, they have to bring me to the veterinarian right away.  Wet bandages is not a good thing. And this is another reason why I must wear the bootie or the plastic bag every time I go out, even if just for a moment.

Doctors are very concerned about my developing an infection.  I’ll just be a dog and do what I do, but my parents will be responsible for noticing all the signs of infection.

My doctor wants to change my bandages every 2 – 5 days. He instructed my parents to bring me in for a bandage change every two weeks after that.

Jul 122009

Life is moving quickly.

You probably don’t think it’s a big thing but I had my first bath in almost four months!

First I go into the shower and stay.

First I go into the shower and I stay.

My parents followed the doctor’s instructions exactly: Dr. T had told my parents not to get me wet for one week after my bandages were removed so that my wounds could dry out.

One week to the day my mom looked at the wound, saw it was dry, and said, “Joey, come” and I followed her upstairs.  I didn’t know what her plans were. We got into the bedroom and she headed to the bathroom and said “Joey, come” and I followed her. Then she pointed to the shower and said “Go” and I just walked right in.  It was this unusual room for me, sunny at the top because there are glass windows at the top, but narrow.  I had to get accustomed to this little room.  Then my mom said “Sit” and I sat down. Then she took my collar off.

She sprayed the water gently on my back and sides with something she was holding in her hand, and the water felt warm. It was okay. Then she started with the shampoo.  Next, she started rubbing me and saying “Good boy” and using a little rubber brush occasionally. Then she said “Up Up Up” and that’s the signal for me to stand. So I stand.

The hardest part was the “Turn around” part. I don’t know what she means by “Turn around”. Usually when she says “Turn around” I stand there and look at her and then she grabs my whole body and swings it around.  Then she sprays more water on me and more shampoo on me and rubs me gently and then with the brush. She does my head last. Then she says again “Joey, turn around”. I really don’t know what she’s asking me to do but when she grabs me and moves me I think I get the idea. Maybe.

My rubber duckie takes a shower with me

My rubber duckie takes a shower with me

After a while, she just pours me with a lot of warm water.  This time she said “Stay” and used her hand signal too and looked me in the eye to make sure I got it.  Then she left me there while she got towels.  I like that part because I like the part where I get dry.  At this point I get a lot of “good dogs”. I know she likes to dry me with the towel but I like to rub my head against the floor and carpets and anything soft I can find. Then I like to rub my body along the floor and the carpets and anything soft I can find.

drying myself off naturally after a shower

drying myself off naturally after a shower

After that, she brought me downstairs for Dad to see. He was very proud of me and I was proud of myself and happy too.

Then Jane took the hairdryer and dried me off.

Then the best part: She put the lead on me and we went outside and sat in the nice warm hot sun for a long long time. Then it got even better: She took the lead off of me and I got to walk around in the garden and just find a nice hot spot in the sun.

I’m not so crazy about taking showers but the reward is great!

Now please go to Part 2 of 2.

May 072009

What can we expect after our dog has surgery? How should we treat him after we bring him home following surgery?

Is there anything we need to do to our home to protect our dog?


One of my new friends was Evan. Even has a mixed Labrador Retriever puppy. He said that he hopes his Lab will grow up to be as strong and healthy as me. Wow, that’s quite a compliment!

When I was leaving, I saw a lot of people who made me happy, and I let them know that by wagging my tail. I think that people really like it when dogs are friendly to them.  When I go to this hospital, people who pass by me, or who I pass by, say “Good boy” and “He’s a beautiful dog” and “He’s so friendly.”  I don’t understand “boy” or “beautiful” or “friendly” but I do know that people are saying the nicest things!

Outside of the hospital, I jumped into the back seat of my parents’ car, they jumped into the front seats, and we drove off.  Suddenly I started to feel really tired.  My dad opened the back window so I could get some fresh air. That was nice. But still, I felt very slow, very low on energy.   At some point the car stopped and Jane got out of her seat and ran around the car to the back and got into the back seat with me, and petted my head, and kept saying, very softly, “Good boy. Good boy, Joey.”  She said, “We’re going home!” I felt so knocked out and barely heard the word “home” but I do know that I was with my parents, and that was just fine with me. Mom scratched me under my ears, and in between my eyes,  some of my favorite places. It was so pleasant that I kept dozing off.

Maybe my being so groggy was a good thing. When we got home, Mom walked me into the house with the lead on, and then she took the lead off of me. Freedom rang and I was able to walk around the dining room and the living room and the kitchen on my own.  I was able to drink my water right in the kitchen, in its old place.  Life had the ring of familiarity to it.

But many things about our home, and about my life, had changed.

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