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My 3-legged journey


My Story

December 28th, 2014 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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I am Smoke. I am a 7 1/2 year old Yellow Lab who has always had a full life. I live on 11 acres with my pawrents, my daughter Blaze (she is 1 of 4 black pups I had back when my pawrents let me have a boyfriend!), and my two cats Cleo and Rocket. I LIVE for birds and swimming. I am a Master Hunter and a Canine Good Citizen.

During opening weekend of dove season for South Zone in Texas this year, my pawrents noticed a slight limp in my front left leg. It had rained REALLY hard during our hunt and the field turned really goopy so Mom and Dad thought I may have overdone it. They gave me some aspirin for a couple days and crated me. Boy, I sure needed that rest; unfortunately, my limp didn’t go away. A week or so later, Mom took me to my doc–he’s a Cajun hippy dude, really cool!–and he thought I had strained some shoulder muscles. He gave Mom some Meloxicam for me to take for about a week. He said I’d get better. Almost 2 weeks went by and nothing got better so Mom arranged for Dad to take me to a second vet. I really like Dr Brasher, always have. We always get to hunt with him opening day of dove season for North Zone!! Dr Brasher told Dad that he should take me to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. He did the referral and Mommy took me the next day, a Saturday. My new doc, Jason Balara, told Mom I should come back on Monday to have an ultrasound of my shoulder. He feared I had a “nerve sheath tumor”. I went back to the animal hospital (a REAL hospital they made just for us fur babies) on Monday for the ultrasound of my shoulder. Doc didn’t see a tumor but he did see tendonitis and some mineralization in a couple of my tendons. He recommended some ultrasonic shock therapy that had to be done with me really relaxed because it is a really LOUD thing… My pawrents had Doc do the shock stuff that day and again 3 weeks later (I had to have 3 treatments, 3 weeks between each treatment). When Dad took me for the third session about 2 months later, he left a message for Doc to evaluate me & call Dad before doing any therapy. Ya see: I wasn’t showing any signs of improvement from the first 2 sessions…so my pawrents didn’t think that was it… Doc agreed and told Dad that I should have an MRI. Mom hated the thought of me having to go completely under anesthesia since I am becoming such a mature lady…but she thought it was really needed to find out what was wrong with me. On a Tuesday I had an MRI.

On Thursday, Doc called my pawrents and told them that I had a nerve sheath tumor very close to my spine. Since I was pretty much not using my front left leg at all, he recommended that we remove that leg. He said that the tumor kills the nerve anyway so my limp limb would just be in the way. Doc assured Mom and Dad that I’d have just as great a life with 3 legs as I’ve always had with 4! Friday, Mom & Dad scheduled me for surgery on Monday.

Monday, December 22, 2014, Doc amputated my front left shoulder and leg. He told my pawrents that the procedure went well and he kept me in the hospital overnight. On Tuesday, Doc called Dad from the room I was crated in. He was talking to my dad and I was standing in my crate, wagging my tail, staring at him. Doc told Dad that he was “surprised, in a good way” at how well I was doing. He said I was standing square, as if my 4th leg had been airbrushed away. (I guess standing square is a good thing??) He told Dad I could go home that day. My pawrents were so thrilled that I would be home for Christmas!!

I was SO happy to see Mom and Dad!!!!! When we left the hospital, I got to show them how well I could get around on my 3 legs. Mom laughed at how my tail would make big circles in the air as I trotted along. I hopped along and was ready for a rest by the time we got out to the truck. (I immediately tried to break the rules, though, by trying to jump up into the truck. Mom scolded me and Dad stopped me to pick me up–whatever!)

I had a pretty good first day and night at home, but there were several times that I howled out in pain. I just couldn’t get comfortable. I’d pace around, sit, try lying down for a while, yelp if I laid wrong, and all kids of stuff. Mom was giving my anti-inflammatory and my pain med ON TIME so I think she was doing what she could. She kept asking me what was wrong, but I cannot talk (I’m SEVEN–doesn’t she KNOW that by now???). The only thing they can figure is that I may have some pain in the muscles and tissues that I still have because Doc said that he was able to track the nerve sheath and he cut out as much as he could get to. Mom’s “sister” Vanessa (I think they’re best friends or something like that because they’re not really sisters) came over and hung out with us that evening and stayed the night. She loved on me lots. She loves petting on my soft ears. She didn’t get to bring her boy Camo with her because he’s only 5 months old and she thought that I should not have him try to play with me.

Christmas Eve was GREAT!!!!! All of mom’s side of the family came over to see me after Vanessa left. They gave me treats and loving and let me hang out with them. I got to show them my new gait and they were really impressed at how well I was getting around!! Mom crated me some while they were here. I didn’t care for it much because I really needed to make sure that they didn’t drop any food morsels…but I went ahead and slept for a while.

That night I had a couple instances of pain that made me howl out again. Mom cried. I wonder if she has pain. Christmas day, I got to relax with Mom, Dad, and Blaze all morning. In the afternoon, they went to visit Dad’s side of the family so I rested a lot. That evening after dinner, some of my friends who I hunt dove with came over to see me. I listened to their stories about 3 of their dogs and 1 of their cats who had had cancer. Mom and Dad said that I’ll have something called radiation in about a month. They said that we have to shrink the tumor as much as we can. That night I had a couple instances of pain that made me howl out again.

Friday was a very restful day. I lounged with Mom and Dad for the most part and rested in my crate in between. Friday night we all slept right through the night! I didn’t howl out at all!!!! Mom and Dad were so happy that I didn’t have any pain at all!!!!! (I was, too!)

Saturday I spent a lot of time resting. I fidgeted quite a bit, couldn’t get comfortable. A couple times I yelped in pain. I’m eating and going to the bathroom well and Mom is still making sure that she gives me my medicine on time, but I’ve been pretty sad today. Mom and Dad try to keep me settled and comfy, but I’ve not been wagging my tail much. I hope tomorrow I am back to my happy self. Another one of Mom’s “sisters” is going to come over with her kids to visit. I really like them. They’ve known me since the very first day Mom brought me home when I was 5 1/2 weeks old!!!!

I’ll check in with you guys soon. Thanks for reading my story. I look forward to learning from you and your fur babies. Something tells me that Mom will be checking out this site a lot. I think I’m the favorite!!

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December 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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