Four weeks ago today, the pup had his first surgery to correct the angular limb deformities in his front legs. The surgery went well, they kept him overnight, and sent him home the following morning, looking like this:
I worked from home that day (I’m launching a big product soon and time off is not a thing for me right now) so I could be on-hand for his needs. He’s pretty restricted. I’m supposed to keep the cone on him and keep him from running, jumping, going up multiple stairs, or doing too much. I’m supposed to walk him on the leash for toileting purposes only, to keep him from doing anything he shouldn’t. I’m supposed to keep the cone on him when I can’t watch him for periods in excess of 5 minutes, to prevent him from licking or chewing on his bandage/splint, and confine him to a kennel. I’m supposed to make him wear this galosh when he goes outside, to keep his bandage dry.
Whether I should or not, I’m not doing much of what I’ve been told I’m supposed do. I am keeping him from running or jumping, and I’ve covered the bandage with a long sock to keep it clean and dry and also to discourage him from fussing with it. I’m good about the galosh (after a couple of days of him finding the one damp area in the lawn I stopped watering months ago). But I don’t make him wear the cone at all after the first night, when he started ramming it into furniture. I have an inflatable inner-tube thing that attaches to his collar that we have to make him wear when he’s unsupervised the day or two after a bandage change, to prevent fussing, but he’s otherwise been dissuaded by the sock. And I don’t confine him to a kennel, but I have blockaded the stairs (he scrambled up there when mom wasn’t watching on the first day she was home alone with the patient. I have to carry all 80 pounds down the stairs, which I find unpleasant and nerve-wracking.) We reinforce not running, and unfortunately, we have enough hardwood that he’s learned to take things very slowly (we’ve covered a lot with throw rugs, but the slippery, sock-covered splint plus the instability of a dog on hardwood slow him down considerably. We’ve had several Bambi on the ice moments.) I was 100 percent good about the antibiotic, and careful to follow recommendations about meds. The doctor is very pleased with how he’s healing.
The biggest thing is that I (and the cats) sleep downstairs on the couch, so I can keep an ear on him during the night. Yes, tomorrow will be four weeks of couch surfing my own house because of my dog. Yes, that is why I’m starting to walk like I have chronic back trouble. Thanks for asking! When the vet said he was going to keep him in a long splint at the bandage change last week, I nearly threw a fit right then and there. And yes, for those of you closely following the dog saga, I did do this last year at this time when he first came to live with us. Only on a much more comfortable couch. For only three weeks.
I’m feeding him from stationary puzzle toys to keep him from being too bored. We’ve got a higher ratio of interesting, attention-diverting treats like peanut-butter stuffed hooves (he just loves these, despite being not that interested in peanut butter). The sedentary nature of his recovery means that his back legs are weaker, which makes it harder for him to get around, so I’m training harder on tricks where he has to bear his weight primarily on his back legs (shake and sit up and anything that shifts his weight back like that.)
He has another bandage change this week, and I’m hoping some of the restrictions will be lifted. Because he spends an unsettling amount of time looking like this, now, and I’m ready to get my puppy back.
I was planning to go right into the next surgery as soon as he’d recovered from this one. There’s a modest cost savings if I do that, and there’s something to be said for getting this whole thing over with. I’ve decided that barring a very persuasive argument from the vet, I’ll be postponing the second surgery (he needs the same procedure on the other leg) until the new year. We’ve all had enough, for 2015, thanks.