Another Update On Zoey

February 28th, 2018 Day 24 I’m totally exhausted. Dr. Bailey said that we would have to devote ourselves to Zoey’s recovery if we wanted this to be successful and she wasn’t kidding. For the past 24 days my life has been dictated by the clock. Potty time. Feeding time. Medication time. Therapy time. Play time. Massage time. Vet appointments. Cuddle time.

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March 1st, 2018 Day 25 I never thought that we would have to face something like this with Zoey. Unfortunately, torn ACL’s are very common in dogs. The ACL ligament helps to stabilize the knee. Active dogs, sedentary or overweight dogs, and dogs who were spayed or neutered before puberty are all at increased risk for ACL injury. If you think that sounds like a large population of dogs, you would be correct. It’s also a known fact a high percentage of dogs (somewhere between 30-60%, depending on the study) that tear one ACL will tear the ACL in their other leg within two years of the initial injury. Ouch! Zoey ended up with both of her legs being affected. Double ouch! I wanted to give our girl the best care so I did a lot of research before the surgery and I still do some reading on it every day. I keep learning how other families have dealt with this and I find it so interesting. One of the best resources I found online was actually a free one. It was TopDogHealth.com, run by a licensed veterinarian, Dr. James St. Clair, who has dedicated his professional career to helping dogs recover from the type of condition that Zoey has. I signed up for his newsletter and printed out a long, detailed guide to TPLO recovery. I gotta say that I was pretty impressed with it. Week by week it outlines exactly what Zoey should be able to do. It talks about what physiotherapy we should be doing with her and includes diagrams to show us how to do each thing. I’m really grateful that there are resources like this online.

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March 2nd, 2018 Day 26 Well we are almost half way through the first 8 week period of Zoey’s recovery. Keeping her calm and quiet for the first eight weeks is critical in this recovery process, because she is basically healing from 2 broken legs. But weeks 9 through 16 are also just as important. If a human being had a leg injury of this kind, you know what would happen. Surgery, yes. Then what? Physical therapy. And finally, a lot more hard work that eventually leads back to full activity. Limited walking, slow walking, normal walking, short jog, longer jog, and then, and only then, back to a full run or quick sprint anytime you feel like it. Zoey started walking on her legs within a week. It has been getting progressively better, and now at almost 4 weeks post-op,  Zoey is stronger on her legs than she he had been prior to surgery. But she is still far, far from truly recovered.

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March 3rd, 2018 Day 27 It’s been a rough day. Zoey has been inconsolable. She has paced the floor. She’s tried to lie down on each dog bed. She’s tried to sit but she couldn’t even seem to lower herself far enough to do that. She’s had Tramadol this morning, which is an opiate pain medication. She had a dose of Gabapentin, which is a nerve pain medication. And this evening we had to give her Trazadone, which is a sedative. She cried and we have felt so helpless. David eventually picked her up using the harness and laid her on our bed and I laid down next to her and just held her. I wrapped a blanket around her for more comfort and I sang to her. Eventually she fell asleep and slept for a solid hour and a half. I really hope that tomorrow is a better day.

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March 4th, 2018 Day 28 Zoey has had a lot of energy today and has tried every way possible to make sure she’s heard. She’s pouting and whining and reminds me of a toddler seeking attention. And she made every pee break last as long as possible. Walking slow, sniffing EVERYTHING, digging her head in whatever pile of snow she could find. So yeah. Easy to say that she is feeling good today.

March 5th, 2018 Day 29 So Zoey is now able to have 3 walks a day. She’s graduated from using the short lead to a slightly longer leash that allows her to walk a few feet ahead of me and I don’t have to hold her harness when she’s walking anymore. She’s loving the freedom!

March 6th, 2018 Day 30 One month down, two to go!  She is walking well and using her legs more and more, but he is definitely stiff for a bit after a long period of rest. The first 8-12 weeks of recovery is so important to her overall success of the procedure. Over- activity can be disastrous, so limiting her activity while the bones heal and fuse with the plates, and keeping them stable (so as to not injure their other bones due to weight compensation) is crucial. However, insufficient activity can also leave her weak and set her up for additional injury down the road.  It is all about balance and we hope that we make it to the end of Zoeys Journey Through TPLO Surgery and have her come through with flying colors!

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March 9th, 2018 Day 33 Today was Zoey’s 4 week post op appointment with Dr. Goucie. It has been a long, painful day for her. She was sedated at 8:30am and at 2pm we picked her up. She was still very lethargic and her eyes were extremely bloodshot. My heart broke the minute I saw her. I climbed into the backseat of the car with her and she slept with her head in my hand during the full 45 minute ride home, only lifting her head several times, long enough to look at me for a minute and cry. Over all she got a good report but we have to be more strict with her. She’s having too much activity and she has some inflammation around the plates but nothing too serious. Seven days of an anti-inflammatory medication called Onsior again. She showed us the x-ray’s on the computer and what her legs look like today. It’s hard to look at. Reminds me of something from a horror movie. The plate is below her knee and almost to her ankle and there are seven screws in each leg. So much metal attached to her little bones. The bone has only just started to fused together so technically she still has two broken legs. It’s healing well but she still has a long road ahead of her yet and we were told that we have at least another four to six weeks of having her on leash. On the x-rays you can clearly see where the bone is broken in half. It’s starting to join now but Until we get x-rays that show absolutely no break in the bone then she has to be resting all the time. It’s frustrating for all of us. She wants to play and run and go outside by herself so she can go explore the way that all dogs like to do. But instead she is attached to a leash and is not allowed to go running around playing with her toys. It’s so hard to say no when she finds a toy and brings it to you so you can either throw it or play tug of war with her. But this is how it has to be for another 4-6 weeks. It HAS to. If not she will end up back in surgery to repair a slipped plate, a loose screw, or a freshly broken bone. It will be worth it in the end because when we DO get to open the door and let her run outside on her own, she will be able to run normally, without a limp, and without any pain. We are giving Zoey her life back by doing this. I wish I could could explain that to her though.

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March 10, 2018 Day 34 It feels like we are right back to square one after yesterday’s procedures. She’s been crying all day. She’s exhausted and really drowsy from medication but she’s fighting against it. You would think that feeling as groggy as she does, she would just be sleeping. But she won’t lie down. I feel like she’s scared to let herself give in. Afraid that something may happen to her again if she falls asleep. Right now she’s sitting up on her bed, leaning against the wall, and she’s swaying. Her head slowly goes down and once it hits her chest she instantly sits up again. It’s painful to watch this and it reminds me of the intervention shows that portray individuals addicted to opiates, so high on the drugs that they can’t keep their eyes open or hold their head up. Thankfully the effects of the sedation from the vet appointment should be wearing off by the end of the day.

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March 11th, 2018 Day 35 It’s been 35 days now since we began Zoey’s journey. 34 days ago she was diagnosed with Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. Zoey was admitted to VSC Hospital in St. John’s and underwent what’s called a Bilateral Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (BTPLO). The complete ligament was removed and then they cut right through the tibia bone and rotated it 90 degrees. A metal plate was then screwed into her bone to secure it together and to make her knee strong and sturdy. This was done on both of legs. Leading up to this, Zoey was basically walking on 3 legs because she couldn’t bear weight on the 4th. Now she is walking on all 4, the way that she was meant to do. And as her healing continues I long to be able to watch her walk on her own without our assistance and then run. I hope this summer is great weather wise because I plan on celebrating Zoey’s recovery every day with lots of fun and activity!

March 15, 2018 Day 39 So I hand feed my dogs. I always have and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Some people do not agree with hand feeding but that’s ok. In my house we hand feed. For several months now Zoey has not been able to stay seated in one position throughout her meals because sitting upright on her bum is too painful for her because she can’t stretch out her legs or bend them up very well. Today, when it was their dinner time, they both sat and Zoey was able to stay seated long enough to eat all of her dinner. That is an amazing sign of improvement and I was so freakin excited when she took her last bite. Today she had her first comfortable mealtime in

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Zoey Is Shufflin’ Along

February 15th, 2018 Day 11 – Morning Its so nice to see the sun shining today. It’s an instant mood booster. It was also really nice to be able to take Zoey outside to do her pee and not be standing next to her, shivering in my boots. The cold temperatures these past few days have actually been painful. I think Zoey is finding this nice switch in weather encouraging as well because she ate a decent sized breakfast and drank a half a cup of water without me having to push her. I couldn’t help but sigh with relief. It’s not easy trying to force a dog to eat! We walked all around the garden and I’m pretty sure she had to stop and sniff after every couple of steps. When we got back inside she just collapsed on the porch mat. Her strength comes in bursts and doesn’t last long so sometimes she isn’t able to got any further than the porch so I let her rest for a while before walking her back to her bed in the living room where she’s now sound asleep. And since Buddy is also curled up napping I think I just might take advantage of this and take a nap myself.

February 15th, 2018 Day 11 – Afternoon Zoey had 30 minutes of ‘freedom’ today. I clipped her leash on and let her sit outside since it was so beautiful out. But I’m really regretting it because she got chilled. I guess with her fur being shaved and the fact she was lying on the bridge without a blanket, she got cold. I really didn’t think it was cold enough to be concerned but I was obviously very wrong. After she came in and was back on her bed her entire body began to shiver. I wrapped her up in a big fleece blanket and she immediately started to pant. I got down on the floor with her and held her as her entire body was having spasms. Of course I panicked and started crying because I felt so guilty. I had caused this to happen. I should never have let her spend that half hour lying on the patio. She’s not up to that yet. I should have known the difference!! I let a bit of sunshine go to my head. The shivering caused full body muscle spasms and it was painful, which caused the panting. Dogs pant for many different reasons and anxiety and pain are among the top ones. Which is why Zoey was shivering and panting at the same time. It was actually painful for me to watch it and knowing that it could have easily been avoided has made me feel like the worst dog mom out there. After being wrapped in the blanket and me rocking her in my arms for a while she relaxed and fell asleep. *sigh*

February 16th, 2018 Day 12 Not the best of days by any means. Zoey decided to go into full blown starvation mode and refused any and every ounce of both solid food and liquids. I had calls with an on call emergency vet from the VSCNL hospital as well as with the Gander veterinarian. If her intake doesn’t improve over the weekend she may be admitted to be hooked up to an IV. She has had 2 episodes in the last 2 days that has scared me so much that I’ve got myself convinced that she’s dying. She starts shivering so I cover her up and then she starts panting, as her entire body continues to spasm. I’m so scared at this point that I’m afraid to fall asleep because I don’t want her to die alone. I hope im overreacting …. ? Her sugars may be dropping from the lack of steady nutrition. Panting is also a sign of pain so the shivering may be painful for her which is why she pants at the same time. We also discovered a couple of reddened areas which are of concern so that’s something else we have to keep a close eye on now. Thankfully I did manage to get some food into her by supper time. Chicken broth and water (half and half) poured over some shredded chicken. All together she’s had 2 cups of fluid. Not as much as I want her to have but it’s better than nothing. I’m concerned that she’s getting depressed now too. She reminds me of eyeore. Even the way she walks is similar. She’s bored. You would be too if you were lying down all day long for 12 days straight! I’ve tried to get her to chew on bones but she turns her head. Buddy brought her a toy this evening and laid down in front of her and it broke my heart. He looked back at me as if to say “Mommy why won’t sissy play with me?” Seriously. I don’t know how much more my heart can take.

February 17th, 2018 Day 13 Today was a good day. Zoey still needed a lot of encouragement but finally managed to eat a bowl of chicken broth, water and pedialyte with shredded chicken and a spoonful of rice added to it. And we discovered that in the midst of the excitement of playing in the snow she was willing to eat a pocket full of dry kibble with no hesitation. If I have to take her outside to feed her then so be it! She was also the most relaxed I’ve seen her yet. While lying on her bed this afternoon she turned on her side and actually stretched her legs out. Big step towards her recovery!

February 18th 2018 Day 14 David was off today so it was really nice to have him home all day. Zoey loved having her daddy home. They even had a nice nap together on the living room floor. One of my favorite sounds ever is of Zoey snoring. It warms my heart because I know she’s resting and she’s content. She ate dog food for her dinner. Her regular kibble that she hasn’t eaten in a long time. And she actually seemed to enjoy it! Except she threw up afterwards. I’m guessing that it’s because she hasn’t been eating much solid food and it may have been too heavy on her stomach. She took her Tramadol (pain medication) wrapped in a piece of cheese without any hesitation. She has always loved cheese and thankfully she still does because it’s great for wrapping her pills in. Zoey has been doing really well on her legs. She can stand up from a lying position without having to be lifted by the harness. At first she had to be lifted up and then held in order to walk but now she can walk alongside of me with having to be supported. I take her for walks out around the yard and she’s doing fantastic. She walks very carefully because she’s still really unsteady but her tail wags like crazy with every step she makes. She often looks up at me looking for that bit of reassurance and when I smile at her and say “good girl” she looks so proud of herself. And so she should! She has so much to be proud of! She has suffered and survived so much pain in the past 2 weeks. She is doing amazing despite how awful she feels. And I am beyond proud of her. She’s mom’s girl!

February 19th, 2018 Day 15 Zoey continues to amaze me every single day. She continues to get stronger with each passing day. There is no doubt in my mind that this surgery was a success because she is already walking better than what she did before having this done. Her limp is completely gone. She is still very weak and her legs shake when squatting down to do her pee but thanks to her harness we are able to hold on to her so that she has that security in knowing we won’t let her fall. I’m glad Zoey feels safe with me. I’m glad that she feels secure and trusts that I won’t let her fall. I want my dogs to know that I will always protect them and that they can always lean on me whenever they are scared. Buddy has been very confused about everything that’s going on. He doesn’t understand why we are doting on Zoey so much. Why we often have to push him away when he tries to get Zoey to get up and play with him. How do you explain something like this to a dog?? God knows I’ve tried. If you only knew how much I have talked to both of my dogs during these past few weeks. I’ve sat with Buddy on my lap and as I scratch his ears and he stares at me I tell him things. I tell him how incredibly proud of how well he has behaved lately. I tell him that sissy is sick but she’s going to get better really soon and they are going to have so much fun this summer. And I swear, as Buddy listens, he is understanding. Intelligent would be an understatement in describing Buddy. Same with Zoey. She wants so bad to get up and go. She wants to jump up on the couch. And having to say no to her is so hard because she wears her emotions on her face. She is the saddest looking dog I’ve ever seen. Her eyes tell it all. But I talk to her. I tell her everything that happened in the hospital and what Dr. Bailey did to her legs. I tell her that all the pain she is in now is going to go away. And when it does she’s going to feel better than she has in a very long time. And that I am going to fill the backyard with more balls than she has ever seen before for her and Buddy to run around and play with. Then I smother her with kisses. Yes. This has been one hard road. But to be able to get to a place where my girl can walk and run and play again … that is our ultimate goal for Zoey’s Journey.

February 20th, 2018 Day 16 It was 2 weeks ago today that Zoey had Bilateral TPLO surgery and we had her in to the vet for a check up today. Dr. Goucie was very impressed with her current state. She said that many patients that come in for their two week check up and end up going home with her antibiotics and have to get some extra tests done because they aren’t healing properly. She said that many dogs that have this surgery, especially when it’s done on both legs at the same time, usually have some sort of complication along the way. She said that she has seen very few incidents where a dog gets this surgery and are able to make it through eight weeks of recovery without having some sort of bumps along the way. She was very pleased with how Zoey was able to stand in one spot for a minute without her legs giving out on her. Zoey’s ability to go from a sitting position to standing position without having to be lifted is an amazing accomplishment for the two week mark. Her fur is growing at a healthy right and all of the itching that she is currently experiencing is quite normal because as the hair grows it’s irritating her. Her ears look great. Her eyes are slightly bloodshot, which is due to her crying. Her teeth look fine and the colour of her gums is nice and pink, showing that she is not overly dehydrated. Her nose is also a healthy color.Dr. Goucie was sitting on the floor with Zoey while we were chatting and Zoey sat in an upright position almost the entire time. That is huge because it’s a position that puts more strain on her legs but yet that’s the position she chose. After about 5 minutes she laid down and the dr. looked at us and smiled because she lasted five minutes sitting up on her own. Then as we kept talking the doctor was massaging Zoey’s legs and she was pushing and pulling and examining her incisions and Zoey just laid there, letting her do it all, without showing any signs of frustration. Before getting the surgery, Zoey had to be sedated in order to be examined because she would not let anyone go near her legs. But now here she is two weeks after a major surgery, with big incisions running down each leg, yet she just lay there and let the doctor poke at her. Nothing in the world could ever made me feel any prouder than I did this morning sitting in that veterinarians office. She asked us how we were coping with it all and she shook her head and said that it looks like we are taking it harder than Zoe is. And she said that many times this is what happens. The owners suffer more than the pets do. She told us that we had to take care of ourselves and she told us that we are doing a fantastic job. She said that the proof that you are doing a great job is lying right there at your feet. She said that despite the struggles that we still have with her eating and drinking, being up all night crying, the episodes of panting and anxiety during the day, etc. We are at a place that is perfect for two weeks post op. So we left with an increase in pain medication, and 20 day supply of a probiotic to help her with some stomach issues, and another appointment to go back to get X-rays (which requires sedation). So needless to say we are really pleased here tonight.

Week 2 Of Our Journey

February 13th, 2018 Day 9

It was one week ago today that Zoey had Bilateral Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy surgery. She has successfully completed week one of her recovery, 7 more to go. This has been one heck of a journey so far. An experience I will never forget as long as I live. It has been incredibly draining in every way possible. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. You may not think that your pet having surgery would be such a big deal as this but when that pet is your entire world and every aspect of her recovery depends solely on you then yes, it is a big deal. Today has allowed us to feel a small glimmer of hope. She ate some canned dog food. She drank a little water from a small glass. And we were able to push her Tramadol (pain medication) forward by 3 hours. She also graduated from ice therapy to heat therapy today. 15 minutes of a heat wrap that was followed by 13 almost perfect repetitions of range of motion exercises. After that my mom and stepdad dropped by to visit and in the moment of excitement over seeing them come in she banged her neck collar/cone off the wall and split it right down the side. It’s so big and bulky and awkward and it’s always in the way but without it she immediately resorts to licking her incisions. The LAST thing I want right now is for her to develop an infection. Sorry baby girl but you have to keep wearing that ugly plastic bling for another little while yet.

February 14th, 2018 Day 10 Valentine’s Day. We’ve been so caught up in everything that’s been going on with Zoey that David and I both completely forgot about Valentine’s Day. I happened to see someone’s post on facebook and I called out to David and asked if he knew what today was. He said Wednesday lol I was like no! It’s Valentine’s Day! We both felt awful because we didn’t have anything for each other so while I had a nap my amazing hubby made me the most beautiful valentines cake ever! And I must say that overall it’s been a really good day. Zoey has been calm and relaxed. She starting to get a little more courage in herself now and is sitting up on her own. She very rarely stands up without assistance because she’s very weak and wobbly. But once she’s up and she shakes herself off a bit she’s ready to go. She’s had several walks around the garden with David. It’s been such a huge blessing to have David off the past 2 days. He’s been taking her outside because our yard is nothing but ice and I’m dreading the upcoming days with a passion because it’s really hard to try and keep my own balance and handle Zoey with one hand as well. Good grief. If I fell down … no. Not gonna go there! Today Zoey also had her last dose of antibiotics. Her chances of fighting off infection are much better now going into week 2. Fingers crossed we can continue forward with the strength and determination she’s been showing today.

Zoey’s Journey Continues

February 10th, 2018 Day 6

She pooped!! After 6 days she finally pooped!! I’ve never been so happy to see dog poop before!!

February 11th, 2018 Day 7 – Morning

I’m worried. Zoey has developed a bit of a cough now. I know that sometimes there is some throat irritation from the tubes and the anesthetic and it’s not uncommon for them to have a sore throat and a slight cough for the first couple of days after surgery. But it doesn’t seem to be going away and this morning when she coughed it sounded like it was coming straight from her lungs. You know how a person sounds when they have pneumonia and the cough is kind of loose and sort of raspy? That’s what it sounded like. So today that will be the main thing to be monitored because the last thing we want is for her to have some sort of chest infection now. Last Night was the first night that she has slept straight through without waking up crying. She slept right up until it was time for 7 AM medications. It’s ironic because the more she slept the less comfortable David and I were. I don’t know how many times last night that David whispered to me ‘is she ok?’ or how many times I leaned over the bed to check on her, to see if she was comfortable, even to just make sure she was breathing. I honestly think I am more tired today than ever. This whole experience is extremely emotional for us and it’s amazing how emotions can drain you so much physically. I am also missing buddy to the point where I cried to my mom for an hour on the phone. The house is so quiet without him and I know Zoey misses her brother too. I think it would feel a bit more normal around here if he was here. But we are so hesitant to bring him home just yet because he is very hyper and he loves her so much and they are always so close, like licking each other and sleeping in the same bed with each other and so on. Trying to protect her has meant that buddy has had to stay on vacation for a few extra days. It’s causing me a lot of guilt because I feel that I’m home now and I should be able to take care of them both. We are going to give it a try this afternoon and bring buddy home for a few hours. If they get along really good and he doesn’t pick at her or give us any reason to be worried that he’ll accidentally hurt her then he is home to stay! But if we are worried then we are going to have him spend another night at mom’s. My biggest update though is that Zoey had a perfect round of exercises with her Daddy this morning!! Lots of icing before and after and she did exactly 15 perfect reps of her range of motion stretches!! On #15 she growled. Enough of that she said! It was such an amazing achievement. Proud parents here now!

February 11th, 2018 Day 7 – Night

We are so tired and worn out. My reminder alarm is going off all day long. Food time. Medication time. Icing time. Exercise time. Time to walk her. Take her to Pee. Cooking chicken. Forcing her to eat the chicken. And she doesn’t want me to leave her side. I go to the bathroom and she’s out in her bed crying because she can’t see me. David is home from work now and while he does her exercises I’m going to hide out in the shower until the water runs cold. And then I’m going to bed so I can get off and do it all over again tomorrow.

February 12, 2018 Day 8 – Morning

Zoey had a terrible night. Upset tummy. Coughing. Gagging. And hours of crying. Her pills are hurting her stomach because we can’t get enough food into her to prevent it. She’s tolerating small random bites of whatever we can get her to eat. Can food. Kibble. Peanut butter. Cheese. Chicken. A couple bites at a time is all she will take. I think the stretch of time from her 10pm pain medication until her 7am dose is too long because it seems that she’s waking at the same time every night. 4 AM. And from 4 AM till she gets her morning dose she is in constant agony and then after her 7 AM pills she just collapses and falls asleep. It’s draining the life out of us all. David is having sleepless nights, getting up and driving to work, gone 10 hours a day. Then he’s getting home and dives right in to do rehab exercises with Zoey which takes about an hour with the icing and all. Then it’s force feeding so we can get meds in her for 10pm. I’m worried that he’s going to crash and burn. I’m trying to keep him strong, keep Zoey on track, give attention to Buddy, keep the house clean and just prevent everything from crashing down around me but I’m scared that I might end up failing. I actually forgot to eat supper yesterday and I woke at 2am with hunger pains so I made myself a sandwich and ate it in the dark. I need to take better care of myself today. Maybe we can all get a nice nap in this afternoon.

February 12, 2018 Day 8 – Night

Zoey had a very relaxing afternoon. She slept for 3 hours straight and she was the most relaxed that I have seen her its entire week. For a while I sat on the couch and just watched her breathing.

February 12th, 2018 Day 8 – Night

Thank you Ashley!! She’s got a full belly and after lots of snuggles she’s out cold, happy and content. Ashley came to visit and brought yummy dog food that she ate out of her hand and some pedialyte which she’s taking by syringe. Zoey adores Ashley and we are all so excited she came by!!

Zoey’s Journey

February 5th, 2018

Day 1 of this new journey.

Heading to St. John’s to meet with her surgeon, Dr. Bailey, at the VSC hospital. She’s hungry and in pain as she fasting and her morning pain medication was withheld. Struggling to get comfortable in the car. I’ve been sitting in the back seat with her and she’s been resting on my lap but now, an hour into our trip, she’s restless, uncomfortable, and panting, which is one of the signs of excessive pain in dogs. I really wish we could have given her medication to help with this trip. But we have to follow the dr’s orders strictly because the last thing we want is something to go wrong.

February 5th, 2018

Day 1 – Afternoon

So it looks like Zoey’s leg was in even worse shape than we thought. Her CCL ligament is completely ruptured, she has a torn meniscus and her knee is completely non-functional. And to make matters worse, her right knee is also full of inflammation and fluid and has a partial CCL tear as well. So what does that mean? She has been diagnosed with Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. The rupture is something that has resulted in a slow degeneration over time, not an actual injury. The only way to fix it and prevent her losing all function of both hind legs is surgery. A very big surgery.

At 7:30 tomorrow morning Zoey will be admitted to VSC Hospital in St. John’s to undergo what’s called a Bilateral Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (BTPLO). The complete ligament will be removed and then they will cut right through the tibia bone and rotate it 90 degrees. A metal plate will then be screwed into her bone to secure it together and make her knee strong and sturdy. This will be done on both legs.

They tell me that things have to get worse before they get better. But how do you explain this to your baby girl when she’s looking deep into your eyes, questioning why her mommy and daddy are crying so much?

February 6th, 2018

Day 2 – Morning

At 7:30am we left our baby in the care of the professionals. Lots of hugs and kisses and many tears were shed as we told her we loved her and that everything was going to be ok. She licked our tears away with such strong confidence, as if to say ‘yes, I know Mom. Everything is going to be fine.”

Her level of communication and her ability to show compassion exceeds any level that I’ve ever seen in an animal.

Now, we wait. For calls, texts, pictures etc from Dr. Bailey throughout the day. First she will be given a bath with a micro-antibacterial shampoo to cleanse her skin to reduce chance of infection. We certainly don’t want infection to get into the implant. Good luck, baby girl. We’re right here waiting.

February 6th, 2018

Day 2 – Evening

Zoey’s Bilateral TPLO surgery was a success. It’s been a very long day on all of us. We spent 4 hours just wandering through the Avalon Mall because we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We went back and forth to the hospital 4 times to check with the staff and get updates despite the fact that they promised to call. I just needed to hear it in person. And she’s ok! She’s awake and doing well tonight. She’s in pain and uncomfortable so they’re giving her some more sedation and gravol and keeping her in the icu tonight. They said that despite her being so miserable she is still very friendly and gentle with the staff and all the technicians have fallen in love with her. Both legs are bandaged now and will be changed in the morning. She’s being watched all night by her very own personal aid.

Personally? I’m completely exhausted. I’m worn out both emotionally and physically. My feet are aching from so much walking today and I’m having a lot of phantom pain in my shoulder. But it’s nothing I haven’t dealt with before! I am definitely looking forward to a nice hot shower and a chance to lie down with David beside me. He has been having a hard time as well. To hold my husband in my arms as he sobs is a very humbling thing. We are in bay Roberts at my mother in laws for the night. We will be going to St. John’s tomorrow afternoon to visit my baby girl and we are allowed to go and sit with her and feed her supper if she is awake and able to handle the excitement of seeing us! One of the technicians just text us this picture, of the aid sitting on the floor giving Zoey some cuddles. And anyone who knows Zoey knows that no matter how miserable she is feeling she always wants to be cuddled.

February 6th, 2018

Day 2 – night

Her bandage on her knee is starting to slide down and they were just getting ready to take it off and re-bandage it. She’s quiet. Haven’t barked or whined much at all. She’s on a morphine drip, Onsior, Tramadol and Gabapentin tonight. Sweet dreams, my precious angel. We love you to infinity and beyond!

February 7th, 2018

Day 3 – Morning

Zoey had a good night. She ate a little chicken and a few sips of water. She was on IV fluids until 3am. Unfortunately she hasn’t done her pee since yesterday so they are a little concerned about that. They are thinking it’s because she still recovering from the epidural so they are giving her a little more time And if she doesn’t Pee soon they are going to express her bladder. When Dr. Bailey took her bandages off this morning one of her legs is oozing fluid a little so that is another cause for concern. They are going to put her on some antibiotics to make sure that she doesn’t get a full blown infection in the incision. She has also been trying to pick at the bandage on that particular leg so she ended up having to start wearing the cone. I hate those big plastic cones because they look so uncomfortable on her so we went and purchased a Kong E collar which is like a doughnut and it is inflatable. It will be a lot more comfortable for her and it’s much less awkward for her to turn her head and to see things around her. So we are bringing that in when we go visit this afternoon. During the night the staff had her standing on her legs and she is bearing her weight which they are very pleased with. Of course they have a support harness on her so someone is holding her at all times. So even though she can stand she isn’t bearing 100% of her weight on her own. They also had her outside to get some fresh air three times now. And she loved that. I am very impressed with the care and attention that’s always getting at this hospital. And they have been very patient with David and I as well. David jokingly said that Zoey is getting better care than most people do in our regular hospitals! They have been very patient with me and my anxiety over all of this. They have been texting us with pictures and updates and throughout the night we text them several times because we couldn’t sleep, wondering how our baby was doing. And within five minutes of sending a text to them they always responded with an update and a picture of her at that particular time. I am so incredibly grateful for the people that work at the VSC hospital. I really could not ask for anything any better for our girl.

February 7th, 2018 Day 3 – Evening

We just left from visiting with our baby girl. She’s hurting. A lot. We had the family room to ourselves, which was really nice. Both David and I got on the floor and lay down with her. I was wearing a black shirt and I didn’t care how much dirt and dust and fur covered me, I just wanted to be on the ground on her level. We laid with her on the floor and as she cried we cried. A lot of tears were shed in that family room today as we wrapped her arms around our baby girl and listen to her crying. My heart is so heavy that it feels like my chest can’t hold it in place. My shoulders are aching and my head is throbbing. But this is completely insignificant compared to the pain that Zoey is in at this moment. Her eyes are getting matted from tears. After 15 minutes with us she began hyperventilating and Dr. Bailey came in and gave her a morphine injection. She’s back in her kennel in the ICU now and they said she should be asleep very soon. She did her pee so they didn’t have to express her bladder after all. She hasn’t eaten all day though. Had a mouthful of chicken overnight. We brought her food but couldn’t get her to even taste it. She is trying very hard to lick her legs and ended up scratching herself with the edge of the cone so they are going to put an even bigger one on her. She’s very confused and I think seeing us just made her worse because she wants to come with us. So we had to leave. She was too upset. It broke my heart. I wanted to scoop her up and take her home. But she’s not ready for that yet. Dr. Bailey is very proud of her though because she’s able to stand and bear some of her weight. Some dogs are fearful and take much longer to make their first step. Zoey is a true fighter. She is extremely well behaved and obeys every command she is given. Keep fighting my angel. You can do this!

February 8th, 2018 Day 4 – Afternoon

Zoey isn’t doing as well as Dr. Bailey was hoping today. So they want to keep her in another night. Not the positive update I had been hoping for. Her incision on one leg is oozing and they don’t want to release her until they make sure that it’s not going to turn into a full-blown infection. And she’s also not eating much of anything other than a few bites of chicken. They have her on antibiotics so hopefully that will catch any infection there may be. She’s much more alert today and was very excited to see Dr. Bailey when she went in this morning, tail wagging and lots of kisses. She’s a little restless which is actually a good sign because she wants to move around now. So we are here now for another night, staying at David’s mom’s place in Bay Roberts. David had to call work as he was scheduled to go in tonight and he had to cancel his shift for both tonight and tomorrow. So that’s a full week now off work. But what else can you do? We are not taking Zoey home until she is well enough to do so.

February 8th, 2018 Day 4 – Night

Zoey is doing really good tonight. Ate a little bit more, dog food this time. Still no poop but the pain meds are probably constipating her. Hasn’t been eating much or moving around so Dr. Bailey isn’t too concerned. They are giving her another day and if she still hasn’t had a bowel movement then she will be prescribed something to help move things along. When we go home, I will start giving her a 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin 2x a day. It acts as a stool softener. As long as she’s not active we will keep pumpkin as part of her daily menu. They started her off with no cone around her neck to see if she would be OK with not licking her legs but that didn’t last. They put a cone on her that was a size large but discovered that she was still able to get access to the bandages on her leg so they removed that one and put an extra large cone on her. Then earlier this evening when I got a call from the doctor with an update she started to laugh. Apparently Zoey is incredibly smart and very flexible because despite wearing an extra large cone she still managed to twist her body in a way that allowed her to still be able to reach her incisions. So now she has graduated to what they call the satellite dish! It is the largest cone that exists and it is usually only use on the large Newfoundland breed dogs, which are at least twice her size. She’s going to have to wear this for at least the next three weeks because it is very important that nothing happens to those incisions. If she pulls out her stitches then it could possibly result in them having to do another surgery. I can’t imagine what is going to be like to have her going around our house with that satellite dish on her head. It’s going to be quite a challenge, that’s for sure! I was told tonight that Zoey has made quite an impact on the staff that have them working in the ICU section these past few days. So he has such a unique personality. The doctor said that a lot of animals come and go through that place and OK usually you’ll get one that really makes an impact on them because their personality is so unique. And Zoey has done exactly that. Whenever someone walks by her kennel she wags her tail and gives them her famous grin. She is getting her legs iced several times a day and when they do it the staff sit on the floor with her. They wrapped her legs with the ice packs and they spent some time talking to her, giving her lots of hugs, scratching her ears, and just spending one on one time with her. She pays no attention to the fact that there is ice on her legs because she is too busy giving those sloppy kisses. When you talk to her so he listens to your every word. She makes direct eye contact and it’s as if she understands every single word you say. You could sit and tell her your life story and she will sit and look at you and listen to your every word. I am positive she knows exactly what you are saying. The staff have grown to really enjoy these direct one on one sessions with her. Can you imagine having a job like that? Getting to sit on the floor and cuddle with all of these amazing animals? I would love to be able to do something like that all day and get paid for it! But anyways, Zoey is there for one more night with the staff at VSC hospital and at 9 AM tomorrow morning we are going to be getting our baby girl! We are having an information session with Dr. Bailey where she will teach us exactly how to work with Zoey and use the harness that she will be wearing for the next several weeks. I have been very upset and anxious about how I, personally, I’m going to be able to handle all of this with just one arm but Dr. Bailey promised that when we leave with her tomorrow morning I will be able to handle her on my own. She is going to show us, not just tell us, but actually show us how to walk with her and use a harness to assist her. There’s going to be lots of physical therapy to be done with her every day which we will be learning about tomorrow. The surgery part maybe don’t but it’s real journey is just beginning

February 9th, 2018 Day 5 – Morning In less than 2 hours we will have our princess in the car with us, heading home!! There are Many mixed feelings floating around in the air between David and I here in the car. We are both sitting in silence, lost in our own thoughts and fears about this next part. What if we hurt her? What if we do something wrong or forget to give her all of her pills? Or what if our other dog, Buddy, accidentally hurts her? That poor little guy …. Right now he thinks he’s on vacation lol He has been staying with my aunt and uncle in Comfort Cove and by the sounds of things he’s having a wonderful time! Yesterday they even took him in the woods with them! He has been doing good while away from us so for that I am beyond thankful. But inside, my heart is aching to have him with me. I miss him. His cuddles, his sneaky ways, his bark, his body against my chest. My biggest fear is that he thinks I abandoned him

February 9th, 2018 Day 5 – Night Reality has hit me like a slap in the face. Yes, we are overjoyed to have her out of hospital and home with us. But that means it’s OUR responsibility to care for her now. There are no doctors or technicians. There’s no one. Here we are now with a bruised and battered creature that we are afraid to touch for fear of hurting her or doing something wrong that could cause more damage. Me and David sat on the floor in our living room with her and iced her legs, one at a time. We cried our way through the range of motion exercises with her because we had no idea if we were doing it right and we knew we were causing her discomfort. But it’s done now. Meds have been given. And she’s relaxing again. Tomorrow is a new day, and David is back to work. Am I capable of doing this??

February 10th, 2018 Day 6 – Morning First night home was … interesting. Zoey slept comfortably on her bed next to us up until 3am, when we woke to her crying. She was restless and uncomfortable and we didn’t really know what to do for her because she wasn’t do any medication until five hours later. David ended up sleeping on the floor for a few hours with his head on her bed next to her and after that I took over and laid on the couch with my hand resting on her as she lay on our bed right next to me. That got us through until 8 o’clock this morning when she woke again. Getting her to eat is difficult because she doesn’t seem to have much appetite. I wouldn’t be trying to force food so much if she didn’t have to eat with the medications. Her breakfast consisted of two spoonfuls of wet dog food one spoonful of a peanut butter and banana mixture and one small piece of cheese, all with pills hidden inside. It was a long morning, but I got through it.

I’m Needed

But zoey needs me. I am needed. My beloved furry lifeline, my spirit twin, the one who has saved me repeatedly and who I am now ready to save in return. She needs me. I Have a job now. I am going to nurse my girl back to health. I am going to spend every waking minute of my days taking care of her. I have memorized care plans for when we bring her home from surgery. I am constantly going over and over and over in my head what I have to do and what I’m not supposed to do to make sure that her recovery goes exactly the way that it should. One wrong move and the surgery could be all in vain and her future will be cut short because without full recovery from this, we have been told that Zoey does not have a future. Without this surgery we would be saying goodbye to her. And I am not prepared to do that. Not now not ever.

Surgery in 3 Days

I can’t stop the thoughts. My mind keeps reeling through different scenarios, picturing that cold metal table she will be lying on as they shave the fur from the base of her spine down to her ankle and then make the incision in her skin. While she lies there, her breathing labored, her tongue hanging out of the side of her mouth. I keep imagining things that could happen. The surgeon slipping on the floor and accidentally cutting my girl in some random place on her body, blood pouring out of her. I keep thinking that the anesthetic is going to be too strong in her heart is going to stop. And never start again, ever. I just keep visualizing her lifeless body there on that metal table in that strange room, Without me there to comfort her. The thoughts. I just can’t stop these thoughts.

The feeling in the pit of my stomach is sour. Awful. If they call me with bad news and I answer my phone to hear your voice on the other end telling me that my baby girl did not pull through this surgery, I’m pretty convinced that it will be the end of me.