Thursday, February 21, 2013

And then there were three

Legs, that is.

It's Thursday evening, and our little fuzzy angel is home where she belongs. I picked her up last night at the surgical center not long after work. I had a very nice discussion with the surgeon before they brought her out. He mentioned what a difficult surgery this was to do (ie: he had a hard time with it, even knowing that he was removing a cancerous leg). But he understands what's at stake here, and he said his assistant (who'm I also met) was also having a difficult time during the surgery. But he reminded her that this is someone's "daughter" and they were giving her the gift of life, and it was necessary. That's how he got thru with it...I could tell he was moved and very empathic to his 'patients'.

I then told him the story of when we first brought Sydney (our third baby) into our home...(PG was our first, then Sweet Pea), and within a month there was a dominance scuffle. And how our seemingly small and somewhat scrawny (as compared to her sisters) PG held her own against a pit bull mix, maintaining her Alpha status. And that when we got home a few days later we found that PG was missing part of an ear, but Sydney had a hunk out of the top of her head AND a hunk out of the back of a front leg. And it was settled, and still is, and PG is in charge. I told him that we jokingly (but true) believe that for any other dog to take over as Alpha they'd have to kill her...that she would NEVER give up. I told him that she is a fighter, very feisty, and even though we agonized over doing this, that she deserved a chance at life. The cancer was coming back, and it was either this or have her put-down, and we chose life. That made him feel really good I believe...he was really smiling. I also told him (almost tearing up at this point) that within a month she will be "Hell on wheels". He smiled and said "you should see her now". He was amazed at how well she was doing not even 24 hours after her surgery. Then he gave me his card with his personal cell phone number, in case we need to contact him "any time" during her recovery.

Then his assistant (who was helping during the surgery) came in to go over all the instructions and medications with me, and Dr. Sikes asked me to tell her the story about PG and Sydney. I think she was pleased to hear that also, and when she finally brought PG out she was really smiling! PG came hopping out of the back rooms right into my arms, pulling her along like a little hoppy-sled-dog! They had a funky stretchy-material bandage over the entire thigh area so you couldn't see anything, other than the leg was no longer there. Then it was time to load up all our stuff into the car and go home. She was in SUCH a hurry to leave this evil place that she nearly pulled me out the door! I lifted her into the bed I had fashioned in the passenger seat, and boy was she happy!

Of course, I had to keep my hand on her nearly all the way home (about 15 miles)...though she wasn't whining or crying whatsoever (which she has done after all her prior surgeries...this was her FIFTH major surgery in her 11 years btw....three were on her knees, then the cancer removal back on Halloween day, and finally this). At home I got her out of the car and her sisters were all over her, checking her out (making sure she hadn't been away on 'holiday' at my brothers house, schmoozing around with OTHER dogs!) There was a lot of sniffing around the bandage, and then it was over and they were more interested in seeing which dogs had piddled on our front lawn as usual. PG hopped around the lawn herself, and probably the biggest adjustment she will be making over the coming days is how to piddle and poo with only 1 back leg. Certainly her balance is all thrown off, but already today Jeannie said she has it pretty much figured out.

She did ask the Paparazzi (that would be ME) to respect her privacy during her recovery because she is rather self-conscious right now. But she did allow me to take this ONE picture. This is her typical 'lounging' around spot...she pretty much owns this couch. I had her out in the yard, and when she came in she jumped right back up like normal (she's NOT supposed to be jumping up on anything just yet...I've been trying to lift her if I'm going to be sitting with her on the couch). Also we had a little accident last night that she asked me not to get TOO detailed on, suffice to say that the first full round of her med's knocked her for a loop, to the point that I was afraid she was dead briefly! (seriously...I picked her up and she was like a cat...rubber bones, not moving...eyes was scary!) Turns out that she had a fair amount of 'piddle' to get rid of, and she was so loopy that it came out unrestricted....on me mostly. We think it was the sedative that did it...and it was listed "as needed" on her med's we will probably stop that. She has a Fentanyl pain patch on her foot, then gets Rimadyl AND Tramadol (both pain pills). Also a liquid stuff that is good for the nerve pain (he called it "Phantom" case she has any issues with the cut nerves).

All in all, she is doing REMARKABLE...and I am betting that before we go back to have her sutures removed she will be pretty much back to normal. It will be quite some time for the hair to grow back though....she was JUST starting to get good coverage over the large shaved area from her surgery back on Halloween day. And Dr. Sikes said he had to take more of the thigh muscle than normal due to the cancer...he wanted to make sure he got enough that it doesn't come back.

So...I leave you with tonight's picture that she graciously allowed me to take....but only the one. After this we are on a photo-blackout until she's feeling much better.

Have a great weekend everybody!


  1. Well...that's behind you now. I'm sure that PG will be fine. Good luck with everything, Matt.


  2. AAAWWWW what a sweet baby. Great story about the vet too. It's nice to read stuff like this- to see that there are vets etc. that really do care and it's not about the bottom line - money. I pray this works and that she gets better soon. Love you guys...

  3. Thanks for all the well wishes TJ, Barb and Cathy! She is doing pretty good actually...starting to see her 'smile' again...(she gets that frisky 'trouble' look in her eyes). There is a pretty good amount of fluid buildup though...Jeannie took her to the Surgeon on Friday and he drained it's Sunday evening and the blob of fluid is approaching baseball size...I hope to take her back tomorrow..get it drained and figure out what to do about this. She's adapted her 'tinkle' and 'poo' stance already...the first day she tried the usual and fell right over...having no idea what just was sad but kind'a funny (you could see it in her face.."what the...?") Now it's quickly becoming like she's always had 3. She already jumps up on the bed and furniture when we aren't looking (we're supposed to be keeping her calm and she's spent most of today in 'jail' to keep the fluid buildup down). As long as there are no new developments I think she will be just fine!

    However, she is a LOUSY patient when it comes to taking meds. We gave up trying to sneak them in w/ her chicken and veggies (I've now added brown rice to that mix)...she can smell that a mile away and walks away from the bowl. So now we are crushing all her pills and dissolving them in a small amount of water in a shot glass, suck it into a plastic hypodermic, then a half hour or so after dinner I grab her and lift the head up, get the shot in her cheek, and start squeezing until she starts swallowing..and I quickly squeeze the whole load down her throat. She HATES that...almost as much as Jeannie and I trying to force pills down her throat. She won't touch the pill pockets, nor putting them inside cheese. So it's liquid horrid-taste down the throat I guess.

  4. SOOOO happy to hear that she is doing so well! She'll be back to running the house in no time! Wonderful to have your family back together :)

  5. Matt, can't you just open her mouth and put the pill way back in, close her mouth and tilt her head back so she has to swallow? I gave up on gadgets for pill taking years ago and resorted to just opening up the dog's mouth and getting that pill way down the throat so they have not choice but to swallow it. I'm pretty good at it now....not so with the cat. Shit, giving a cat a pill is like taking your life in your hands!!

  6. Cathy...she can REALLY clench her jaw closed...and her eyes have that crazy "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME" look while I TRY to get the jaw open...then (using both hands) Jeannie try's to get the pill to the back of the throat while PG is using her tongue pushing it away from the back of her throat. Turns out the little hypodermic of dissolved pills works GREAT! I slip the tip into a cheek, and while holding her head up some (so the liquid doesn't pour right back out) just squirt a tiny bit, and she will start gagging and open her mouth to swallow...and then I quickly move the hypo dead-center and squirt the entire blob at velocity down the back of her throat...and it's gone...just like that. jeannie and I have had cuts and near bites trying to do the jam method. HUGE hassle. Plus I'm afraid we're going to hurt her trying to get the jaws open. She IS the alpha, and is quite used to getting her way...and doesn't like it much when the peasants revolt.

  7. Matt, I'm hoping that the fluid issues have resolved and she is adapting well. I can imagine that she is not enjoying the the meds, but it sounds like you've got a method that will work.
    After 14 years I still have to sneak up on the cat to put one drop of flea stop on her -- she is sure that I am trying to kill her with it!

    Just watched Strada Bianchi-- what a beautiful race! Took me away from all this snow and cold, and a great win by Moser. Interesting play between Sagan and Fabu-- and Sagan finished ahead!

    Plus, there is racing on NBCSPorts tomorrow, woo-hoo! Yay for the road season!