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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dog Anniversary?

Honey moved in two years ago. I don't know what to call that? An anniversary? I know people who don't like when owners use human terms when they talk about their pets. (If you call yourself the "mom" of your dog, or call your dog your "baby" or "child," etc.) But, our language doesn't have any specialized terms for the bond that people and animals do have. Maybe that's just the English language. Maybe there are some cultures that evolved with animals so integral to their lifestyle, they have many specialized words for them --- the way Alaskans are supposed to have many words for different kinds of "snow."

Honey was at a rescue kennel and they had just taken away all her pups because they were getting sick. The pups were three and 1/2 weeks old and, somehow, had gone through their vet check-ups without ever getting de-wormed (look into de-worming any pups from a street dog at two weeks - something I very sadly learned after the fact.)

Poor Honey was pacing her area, upset and confused to have her puppies suddenly disappear. She had been a very good mom - always letting them nurse (even though her hairless belly was completely scratched up by their claws and teeth), keeping them clean and cleaning up their sleeping area, and, well, just looking after them.

I had never planned on keeping Honey - I'd already found a very reputable rescuer who said she would place her - a minor miracle for a pitbull. (The pups were to be placed by the rescue kennel and the rescuer - they said puppies were easier to place but they needed to make sure they would be going to a good family environment.) Me? I had recently moved and was starting to tentatively think about getting a small dog. I wanted one that would fit under an airplane seat if necessary - that way my traveling lifestyle wouldn't be cramped. No more than 20 pounds so I could easily carry it if it hurt itself. Another important point: I would have to move if I got a larger dog. So the quote that comes to mind is something about Man plans and God laughs....

I took Honey home with me and did everything I could to distract her. It was a sad time and we found out only one of the eight pups she had had lived. (His name is Mo, he's a brindle and he lives with a Beagle somewhere in LA.)

So, I did move and it wasn't bad because I had a great companion with me ready to make friends with anyone that came our way. Honey seems to have forgotten about her pups although she does tend to mother some puppies when she sees them - or maybe she just plain tries to boss young dogs around...

Tonight, she's lying next to my bed snoring away, oblivious to everything but some exciting dreams (the gophers we saw in the park today?) I gave her an extra walk today and let her spend as much time on those gophers as she wanted. She got some extra treats, too. I wanted to celebrate the dogversary.

4 Comments:

Anonymous jan said...

Happy dogversary. Although I think all happy days deserve to be called anniversaries when each year passes. This is a beautiful story, and God is probably still smiling at the match He made with you and Honey.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations.

I was Googling "TPLO vet recommendation California," and came across your blog, and perused through your, well, Angel's TPLO journey. I'm glad things went so well for you guys.

Me? I've had a very disappointing day, and, if you'll indulge me, I'm gonna vent.

I have an 11-year-old golden, named Pippin. He's my little boy. He means more to me than anything in this world, including myself.

On December 15, 2006, Pippin had a TPLO procedure done on his rear left knee. Dr. Olds (West L.A., on Olympic, just east of Bundy) performed the surgery. Like Dr. Schulman, Dr. Olds is a Board-certified surgeon, and has a good reputation. He removed a tumor from Pippin's front left elbow in December 2005. It was a hemangiopericytoma, while cancerous, a relatively innocuous form, little known for metastasis. The tumor was removed while still encapsulated. (Pippin is currently on about 50 different supplements - close to 70 capsules, tablets, etc. of various vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, etc. Not something any vet recommended; something I had to research. Don't know if I'm doing the right thing, but Pippin's current pH level seems to be alkaline. A good thing.) Anyhow, so I had faith in Dr. Olds. Plus, prior to the procedure, he had indicated to me that he had performed over a thousand TPLOs, and had had only 2 complications, both due to infections. Based on this, and on accounts of others' experiences, I figured Pippin would regain normalcy in due time.

We went in for the final x-ray today. Last Friday was the end of the 12th week (ordinarily, I guess a final x-ray is taken after 10 weeks, but, in Pippin's case, Dr. Olds suggested 12, on account of Pippin's age... Mind you, Pippin had always been an active dog, in physical shape... Anyway...). Pippin isn't where he should be at this stage. He cannot put anything close to full weight on his TPLO'ed knee. There is little lateral (side-to-side) stability, as if his collateral ligaments were left too lose following the tibial plateau realignment. The tibia is not in proper alignment with the femur, which Dr. Olds acknowledged today. I had already reluctantly reached these conclusions over the past few weeks as I've been keeping a close eye on Pippin's rehab. Any force to bear greater than what would be required in very slow walking routinely causes his knee to buckle. The atrophied musles on the leg isn't gaining mass or definition. His knee pivots from side to side as if there were essentially no collateral ligaments holding the joint in place.

And what does Dr. Olds say? He says there isn't anything that he can do at this point, and to give it another 3 months. Meanwhile, the knee is misaligned, inordinate amounts of stress are being distributed over a very narrow, inadequately dispersive area, and Pippin no longer wants to walk. This is very frustrating. All I wanted was for Pippin to be able to function normally again.

During the 12th week, after pretty much having concluded my findings based on the observation, I went online to Dr. Slocum's website - Dr. Slocum is the "inventor" of the TPLO procedure - where he had described this very exception - misalignment, knee bowing outward, etc. When I met Dr. Olds today, and described the current situation, I was expecting to be given options, explained in a careful, thoughtful, caring manner. I expected him to mention Dr. Slocum's explanation of the aforementioned exception. Instead, I get an impatient, harried dispensation. No mention of Dr. Slocum's misalignment exception cases, no mention of any potential remedial options - not that I want further surgery, but there are options. Instead impatient fidgeting, and rushing me out the door. I am so f***in disappointed. That is simply such irresponsible behavior.

I guess I better stop here. I thought the venting would help, but it seems to be making it worse.

I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to dampen your mood or blog. I figured you obviously love Angel very much, you've had experience with the TPLO, and, so, you might understand, and, again, I thought that I needed to vent.

I am actually familiar with Dr. Schulman. He was one of the surgeons that I was considering for Pippin's tumor issue. I think I may set up an appointment with him to consult about Pippin's current predicament.

He's such a good kid. Such a loving heart. He doesn't deserve this. All I wanted was for him to be normal again.

Thanks for letting me bend your ear.

Tyler and Pippin

12:43 AM  
Blogger jill bryant said...

Hey Tyler - I wish I had your email. First, I am soooo sorry. From start to finish, the TPLO is such a stressful operation on owner and pup. It's so hard to make that decision (you want to do what's the very best for them but you can't consult them and prepare them...very difficult!)
I don't know Dr. Olds but I now know I will never recommend him to anyone. On the other hand, I definitely recommend seeing Dr. Schulman. You should have a second opinion at this point and he is SO good and very patient with owners and SO loving with the pups.
Third, you might want to join the yahoo Orthodogs group. It helped me through my situation and others in the group might have been through similar outcomes - there definitely will be some dogs around Pippin's age - more labs than Goldens seem to have this done but they might have some insight. Also, there are a lot of people into supplements and there might even be someone who has dealt with Dr. Olds.
Finally, please send me a pic of Pippin. I love goldens. Honey has a very good golden friend and they have similar coloring but....as much as I love Honey...next to a Golden it is very much like a duck and a swan. Ducks are very cute but...well, you get the idea. My email is jillbryant2003@yahoo.com.

Oh, also (and I know how pricey this all is but...it's a possible consideration) ask Dr. Schulman about "Two hands Four paws" for Pippin. It's animal rehab and, at the least, he might be able to swim (does he like to swim) and build up some muscle mass...Leslie has dealt with a lot of dogs including a few in wheel chairs so she is pretty experienced. I'm not sure if it will be suitable at this time but Dr. Schulman will let you know. It is awful but there are things you can do. Honey did very well but I know others (even very young and lighter dogs) that had problems. Please let me know what Dr. Schulman says.

Honey sends Pippin her best.

1:32 AM  
Blogger carina said...

Dogversary, love it. You're right, there aren't good terms for the human-animal bond...I find the "dog mom" and "furkids" terms rather squirmy.
Lucky Honey, finding you and you finding her.
Tyler and Pippin - I'm sorry. :( Can it be fixed with further surgery? I hope so.

4:22 AM  

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