Oct 232009
 

When your dog is injured, do you know what to expect in terms of your dog’s recovery and rehabilitation? When should you expect your dog to start walking – and how far and how fast? What’s the best way to get your dog’s muscles back in shape, and his stamina back?  Good communication with your dog’s veterinarian can give you some guidelines. The doctors should give you the instructions in writing.  But as always, observe your dog carefully and notice and pay attention to everything, and use that as a guide.

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Here is my time line for my rehab and recovery.  In general, my parents and my doctors made these decisions, not I.   I wouldn’t have agreed to any of them.

eyes_3_crDay 1: I was hit by the car and brought to the emergency room of the animal medical center.  When I went home six days later, I had a full-splint on my leg.

During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop and then must go back home. I must be on the lead at all times when outside. I must have the plastic bag on my injured leg every time I go outside.  In our home, I may only stay in one room and my parents have me confined to the living room. There is a dog gate so I cannot get out of that room, except for when they open the little door on the dog gate to allow me to go outside so that I can take my walks.

Week 5, Day 3: I have surgery on my broken ankle, though I’m asleep and don’t know what’s going on.   When I go home, I have a half-splint on my leg.

During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop. I must be on the lead at all times when outside. I must have the plastic bag on my injured leg every time I go outside.  I may only stay in one room and my parents have me confined to the living room. There is a dog gate so I cannot get out, except for when they open the little door to allow me to go outside so that I can take my walk.

Week 12, Day 3: I go back to the animal medical center for a bandage change. It has been 7 weeks since my surgery. Although he was going to only take x-rays at this time, my doctor removes my splint!

During this time, I may now leave the living room, and I may go upstairs. When I go upstairs and downstairs, I must be on my lead.  When I go outside I must be on the lead, even when I’m just hanging out with Jane in the backyard. I still must have the plastic bag on my injured leg every time I go outside, except that now it’s a bootie. There is a dog gate blocking the stairs so that when I am downstairs, I cannot go upstairs except for when I’m with Jane or Phil and on my lead. And when I am upstairs, I cannot go downstairs except for when I’m with Jane or Phil and on my lead. When I am home alone, my parents keep me in the living room and close the little door gate. They don’t want me jumping up on anything.  My parents have made me a new bed in their room; at night, I sleep upstairs with them in my bed.

Going up and down the stairs, my muscles are starting to strengthen again, especially my leg that broke when I was hit by the car.

Week 13:  Day 3: I go back to the animal medical center for x-rays on my broken ankle. It has been 8 weeks since my surgery. My doctor removes my bandages!

During this time, I am learning to walk again. The dog gate to the living room is pushed away.  The dog gates to the stairs are gone.  I do not have to be on the lead in my back yard.  I do not have to have the plastic bag or the bootie on when I go outside!  I can feel freedom!  When I go outside for a walk, I must be on the lead (but that’s the way it’s always been.).

My muscles are starting to strengthen again, especially my leg that broke when I was hit by the car.  I’m still walking with a limp.  When I start to hop on three legs, my parents slow me down so that I use all four legs.

My walks start out short. Then they get longer. Then they get longer and longer. Then they get longer and longer and faster and faster.  My mom is walking longer and longer and faster and faster, too. This is good for me.

Soon I’ll tell you about my swimming and my running!

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Sep 062009
 

There are many times when we dogs want our parents and owners to take this dreaded collar off of us. It’s hard for us to understand that our parents are keeping this thing on us out of love.  Luca will agree that it’s difficult to understand when we’re hot and panting to stay cool, and we’re on a lead, even in our own home.

Luca_collar

But even though we don’t understand why you make us wear this collar, we are going to stay right by you.

(Especially if you have us on a lead all the time so we can’t roam free.)

We’ll even sleep in your bed…if you let us. If you were to let us. As you can tell, I’m not allowed on my parents’ bed.  Not even before I was injured did they let me up.  Not that I’m upset about this.  Not at all.  I’m not at all upset about the fact that just because I am a large dog my parents won’t let me up onto their bed.  Or even onto any of the sofas.  But last week, when my dad was away, somewhere called “out of town”, and my mom was on the sofa watching TV, I slowly and quietly got my front legs onto the sofa, then my rear legs onto the sofa, and lay down on a blanket right next to her. Her eyes met mine and I could hear her starting to form those words, “Joey, you’re not allowed on the sofa”  but no words came out.

I pretended not to hear the words she didn’t say. I pretended not to see the eyes that looked at mine.

Then she just let me stay right there. Exhale.  Timing is everything.

Now let’s get back to Luca and his health and happiness.  Luca wasn’t very happy going to the animal hospital on this day last week.  But he was very happy when his doctor took off the cast that covered his forearm, ankle and paw.

He wasn’t happy when he had to wear the cone. But he was very happy when he went back home. And he was very very happy when his mom made him a special meal of his favorite food.

So it’s just like that, when you’re a dog and you are injured and you are confused and your parents love you so much and want you to recover from your injury more than anything and they do a lot of things to rearrange their lives and home just for you.

With the cast now off, Luca’s parents have to apply antibiotic cream to Luca’s injured arm so it will continue to heal.  The dreaded cone is supposed to prevent Luca from licking the cream off, and also from licking his paw, so his paw can heal too.  When I had cream applied to my belly, I tried to lick it off.  And I often was successful!  I think that Luca is going to try to be successful at it, too.  So Luca’s parents are going to be looking at Luca a lot, watching him.  Watching and listening for that sound, the sound of licklicklick.

Luca_shaved

The air will help Luca’s skin to heal quickly. And the air will help his paw pads to regenerate from the infection he developed.  The air and the cream. And the collar.

Luca, I know that just as I don’t remember getting hit by the car, one day, when you’re swimming in your pool or running in the park, or joyfully kissing your mom’s face, you’ll forget that you ever had to wear that thing.

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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?

evan-and-joey

One of my new friends was Evan. Here you can see Evan and me, as I was about to leave the hospital. 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!

The air at Angell energizes and excites me. 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.

Apr 262009
 

Do you supplement your dog’s food with Omega 3 oils and glucosamine and chondroiten? Also, have you checked with your veterinarian that the supplements are of veterinary quality?

healthy-diet

My breakfast consists of Science Diet dry food. Though I don’t always act my age, according to Science Diet I’m a “mature adult” since I’m over six years old, so I eat the mature adult variety. But now there is a different smell in my breakfast: It is something called “Condroitin with Glucosamine”.

My parents also keep my water bowls filled with fresh water at all times.  Since I came home, I’ve been very thirsty.

For my dinner, I have Science Diet. But there is a unique smell in my food here too: It is something called “Omega 3 Salmon Oil.”

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