Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Three-legged Jack - Week 1

After our malamute mix dog was hit by a car and was about to lose a back leg, my husband and I received many words of encouragement. These acts of kindness got us through the first week and we can never thank those people enough for the comments, positive thoughts and prayers. Of course, in the scheme of things, this is not the worse thing that can happen in the world, but people love their fur babies and they hurt when their animals suffer. So, in writing about our experience, I hope to encourage at least one person who finds himself/herself in this same situation – amputation - whether by accident or cancer.

Jack was special from about four months old. His original owner took him to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise and Jack became a candidate for The Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI) program, a community partnership of the Idaho Humane Society and Idaho Department of Correction. IDAPI places shelter dogs in cell blocks of Idaho correctional facilities for two-month periods, during which inmates care for them and train them using positive reinforcement techniques. We came to the shelter looking for a dog just as Jack had finished the program and he became ours. As my husband often boasts, “Jack knows more commands than my wife.”

Thankfully, Jack had surgery the day of his accident and didn't have to wait longer as originally announced. During surgery the doctor removed his right back leg under the hip, leaving a good eight inches of his thigh (he is a large dog). Our last fear, before picking him up at the vet, was that we would break down emotionally when we first saw him. However, in a week’s time you get used to the idea of a three-legged dog. You realize you will not love your dog any less. When we picked him up at the vet, I noticed that his coat will grow back to hide the large scar.

Jack was most concerned about getting out to our car as fast as he could, and we had to slow him down to a trot. At this point, he needs some help getting into the back of the car, but I imagine it will be easier with time. Right now, he hops with his back leg but is becoming more sure-footed.

He was more than happy to be back with his family.  Nearing home, he whined as he recognized we were close to our house. Independently, he went out to the back yard to relieve himself and then back in the house. Never has he expressed that he missed us so much and only wanted to cuddle with my husband, myself and our other dog, Emmy.

Emmy seems to be unsure about why Jack is not up and playing with her and sniffs at him as if trying to figure this all out. She will adjust as she adjusted to his being gone and will adjust to his current limitations as well.

At one week in, Jack has his appetite back, but the drugs from the hospital leave him a little fuzzy-headed, and he wants to sleep much of the day. That’s okay, we are just happy to have him home and now the recovery begins.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Helpers

We had a tragedy yesterday. Our big dog, Jack, got out of the fence and was hit by a car and is at the Vet waiting to get a back leg removed. What I was reminded of was the quote from Fred Rogers (Mr. Roger's Neighborhood):

When I was a boy (he said) and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

It was a disaster to us and when Jack was hit a man followed him home in his truck and took my husband and Jack to two emergency vet locations.Then when we were in the process of taking our dog to our regular vet, the cashier/clerk said that someone else, a woman, paid for our emergency visit, which was $250 some dollars. It was said that she knew that the bill at our vet would be high enough without this.

The clinic didn't know if they could operate until Thursday, but a vet came in and did the surgery the same day as the accident. All went well, and she said that he is fortunate that he lost a back leg and not one in the front. He'll be fine.

So, look for the helpers.