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2.1 mile hike? With bags? No problem!

After working towards longer and longer hikes (Jack can handle 3 miles no problem now), we decided to take a break and try a shorter hike with some additional weight.  Before his amputation, we bought Ruffwear’s Palisades Pack, which comes with a Ruffwear Harness and the saddle bags/water reservoirs  for backpacking.  Jack no longer carries real weight in the saddle bags, but I have noticed they’re handy for adding small things in, to set him off balance when we’re walking/hiking and make him strengthen different parts of his body.

Yesterday we took off on the 2.1 mile wooded trail near our house for a much-needed hike.  Jack carried a collapsible water bowl and the leashes with absolutely no problem.  He never lagged behind his four-pawed siblings and didn’t hesitate to dart off into the brush after rabbits like he loves to.

All in all, I think we’re getting back to a great level of fitness.  I don’t think we’ll ever tackle those day-long hikes that we used to do, but who knows what we can accomplish?

 

Water break with the little brother, Toby.

 

Swim break with sister Abbey!

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A long time without an update!

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Gosh!  I haven’t had a real chance to update in so long!  Life briefly took a not-so-great turn on the human side of things, but that’s been settled.  On the dog side, things are going beautifully.  Jack is more than fully recovered from his surgery.  In fact, Jack the Ripper has returned to our lives!  And he’s training an apprentice!  No stuffed animal is safe!

 

Those Might Dog toys just can’t handle it.  The little Hippo was done with in a matter of minutes…the large Chipmunk one took a few days at least. 🙂  That’s little brother Toby in the above picture, who has gleefully been learning the basics of stuffed-animal-destruction.  Little Brother Toby has also figured out that he can take Jack down by biting his front leg…which has led to some hilarious battles in the living room.

We’re hiking, swimming, and romping around like normal again.  I can hardly wait for the fall to come so we can really get out there.  We’re hoping to have a trip to the beach the first weekend of August – depends on hurricane season of course.  Jack loves to swim in the ocean.  Might need to get him a float coat of some kind – not sure if the waves will pose a problem.

 

We’re less than a week away from his two-month ampuversary!  I’m so thankful for his speedy recovery and to get back to a normal, happy life.  He steals the show now, whenever we go out, which really is the only change I notice. 😉

More pics to share:

Chewing a dental-bone is no problem, obviously.

 

Some play time below, after successful de-fluffing of the hippo.


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Staples out today!

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I wish I could post a picture…unfortunately Brian has my camera while he’s in Belgium.  But he gets back on Monday, so I promise pictures (and possible video) then!

Jack-boy got his staples out today!  We’re free and clear!  So to speak. 🙂  It was the first time I’ve been to the vet in seven months without worry.  The staff were all happy to see him and he was probably the most well behaved this trip than he’s ever been.  It was hard to say goodbye to them (we’ve seen them so much in the last year!) but we promised to visit.  Our next visit, I will be bringing them a few dozen cookies from Tiff’s Treats here and maybe something extra for Dr. Bevan, who took care of Jack.

We’re going to take it easy today and tomorrow (maybe some short little walks) and play around with the Ruff Wear harness we have.  And I think this weekend, if we can find time (and space!) we’re going swimming, the first time in a long time, for as long as Jack wants.  I’m hoping for Saturday.  We can swim and then maybe sit around at the park in the evening and catch some music.

However it plays out, though, I’m so happy that we’re done with mandatory vet-visits (except for vaccinations this month) for awhile. 🙂

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Day 5

Well. So far, Jack has been doing beautifully. He’s made it look so easy, like he never had a major surgery in the first place. In fact, I’ve been having trouble keeping him quiet and resting – I’ve had to resort to just locking him up in the bedroom (dog-gate provided to keep him from being lonely) because I could not keep him from trying to play with the other dogs. Even when we had the play-pen surrounding him and his bed, he’d get up and move from side to side to try and watch his siblings, Abbey and Toby, play.

I think he’s paying for it today. He’s pretty sore and not too happy to lay down. His paw is a little swollen too. I called the vets and they said that if it got any worse to bring him in, but that it was expected. They also had me give him an extra half pill of tramadol 8 hours after his pill this morning because it appears that he’s feeling pain somehow when he gets up from laying down, not every time, just a couple times this day. I don’t know if it’s helping, but he’s at least resting quietly right now, sitting. He doesn’t seem to want to lay down…hopefully that does’t continue through the night.

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Home today!

The vets called early this morning to let me know that Jack was doing great and he was ready to come home.  I got there as soon as I could.  I thought I was prepared for the site of my boy hoping out, but I was not ready at all to see him pulling the tech that was handling him out the door.

Jack is doing amazingly well; he hasn’t missed a beat, it seems.  The staff at Central Texas Veterinary Specialty Hospital were all amazed at how this hasn’t phased him.  (I’m sure the painkillers are helping a lot though).  I was so touched when so many of the staff, techs especially, came out to say goodbye to Jack.  They’ve all gotten to know him so well over the course of the last year and this just showed me how much they cared…I can’t have asked for a better group of people to take Jack to where he is now.

I’m so happy he’s home and so happy that he seems to be doing so well.  Now I just have to make sure he doesn’t get it into his head he can romp with the other dogs yet.  Thank you again to everyone who has offered us advice, thoughts, and prayers through this!  I’ll take some pictures of the incision to add to the main tripawds site.  His scapula was removed with the rest of his leg and the vet used staples instead of stitches (for which I’m grateful…less time under anesthesia is always great).  But here are a quick couple to share.

 

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Pics to share!

Tomorrow’s the big day.  I’m excited, nervous, and eager for it to be over.  I’ve already decided that I won’t go to visit Jack in the afternoon, even if his surgery is done and he’s recovered from anesthesia in time…I don’t want him to get excited to see me and then have to go back to the recovery pen to stay the night.  It was hard enough for both of us the first time.  But he’ll be back with me on Friday, hopefully, and if not that soon, then Saturday.  Friday can’t come soon enough.

Here’s a few pictures of my boy.  Thank you all for being so supportive…I definitely would not have been able to make this decision this easily without this community.

This was his picture on Petfinder.  How could anyone resist that?

 

 

That’s his best friend, Abbey (my boyfriend’s Dal).  You can really see how crooked his leg used to be.

 

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This is where we start

Jack is 6 years old.  He’s an anybody’s-guess Mutt, with the most commonly thought breeds including Anatolian Shepherd, Boxer, Saint Bernard, and Black Mouth Cur.  I’m pretty sure he’s got some pitbull/bullie-breed in him, but don’t tell any of landlords this ever. 😉  I got him at 3-4 months old from a rescue in El Paso called ‘From the Heart Rescue’.  He was on petfinder.com, his wonderful little fat-face staring up at the camera, big cast on his front leg, and the horrible name of ‘Ben Wiggles’.  I was looking for an older dog but that was love at first sight.

The cast was to come off in our second week together.  My vet and I were appalled to see that the leg had healed crookedly; the break had been right above his ‘wrist’ joint, causing the growth plate there to not have sealed properly, allowing the bone to continue growing in one direction.  The effect pushed Jack’s paw out.  That was the beginning of our problems.  My vet re-broke the leg, set it right, and re-cast it.  It was another couple of months in a cast and Jack growing rapidly.  When we pulled the cast off again, the leg was still crooked.  The vet decided to try a brace, but that only lasted for about a week; Jack’s leg by this point had too many sores from the casts/brace.  So, we left his leg as it was, and left the sores to heal with the idea we would tackle the leg when the rest of it was better.  However, tackling it never happened.  Our vet, after seeing Jack doing well on his crooked leg, said that we should just leave it since he seemed to have no problem with it.  The alternative was to go into major surgery, involving pins and a metal brace in which the wrist-joint would be fused for Jack’s life and while that might look nicer, it would probably cause him just as many, if not more, problems than the crooked leg itself.

I’ve somewhat regretted letting myself go along with the vet’s plans, though I don’t know what would have been better.

Jack has been pretty good with the crooked leg.  We used to be out for hours and hours, working sheep, or hiking, and he would have no problems.  In fact, he’s been just fine with the leg until a past summer.  July 4th, 2010, actually.  We walked downtown to watch fireworks, maybe an hour’s walk from our house, something he would have normally handled no problem.  He started limping on the way home and I found out he wasn’t placing his foot down right for some reason, rubbing the skin around his pads raw.  From there, it’s just gone downhill.

This past September, 2011, we were referred to the CTVSH facility and met Dr. Bevan, a wonderful individual who I’ve come to realize truly does care about Jack.  We went into a costly surgery that I regret so much now, involving a metal ring fixator to ‘grow’ the crooked bone the required 5cm to make it right.  Jack’s leg looked alright in it, straight, and eventually as long as the other leg.  But we ran into so much bad luck that’s resulted in his tendons being so tight, there is no alternative but to cut them to make the paw flex right.  On top of that…Jack’s bones quit closing the gap 2mm from the end.  A mere 2mm…and things just finished.  So.  We’ve removed the fixator ring and have let Jack’s leg along for a bit, to see if the bone would do anything.  I regret this too.  He doesn’t let on that he has any pain as far as we can tell – he runs with the other dogs and rough-houses like normal. It’s just lost time now.

 

Thursday this will be done with.  He’s going into surgery on Thursday and the leg will be gone for good.  And Jack will no longer live in pain.  I know, once we’re past the first week, I’ll be much happier, and I know Jack’s life will improve so much.  But I’m so scared and worried.  Just have to keep telling myself things will be ok.

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