Pet Stories: In Your Own Words
Hello. My name is Vicki and I am currently house and pet sitting in New Mexico.
I have been here since late August and have fallen in love with Dudley, a Lab/Mastiff mix (110 pounds) and the most gentle giant you would ever want to meet. I have attached a picture of this "free spirit." It was taken in the summer before his leg got very bad. He had a completely torn ACL and a tear in his miniscus. He was in pain most of the time. But a brave guy he is and he ran through the pain sometimes to chase a few "wascally wabbits" that freely roam this area. I've never seen him catch one, he just loves to chase them.
When I arrived in the Land of Enchantment, it seems that my blood pressure was getting a bit out of control, as was my weight. Dudley and I were quite a pair... neither one of us could walk without feeling some sort of pain. For him, it was his knee/leg and for me it was a tightness in my chest and a blood pressure reading of 168/118. Not good for either of us.
Dudley had his surgery on October 18 in Albuquerque where they cut the bone, inserted a metal plate and six pins. The technical term is TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy). I am his main caregiver. The veterinary orders were multiple short walks every day, with none being over 1/8th of a mile (225 yards).
The first day we started the walks, that must have been quite a picture. The two of us limping down the long driveway at a rather slow pace. I could hardly breath and Dudley's leg would cause him pain, so he limped. He sensed me laboring and stopped and looked up at me. Then he just stood there and I knew he was waiting for me to catch my breath before proceeding. He is so sensitive. He looked at me with those big golden eyes and I could sense that he was checking to see if I was all right to go on. I nodded and thanked him for waiting and understanding.
That was nine weeks ago. Dudley's bone is 95% healed and the muscles in his left leg are almost the same size as the right leg. He has kept his spirits up and done remarkably well coping with literally having his entire world turned upside down. He went from being a mostly outside doggie (except at night) to a doggie on a leash and house bound.
I, on the other hand, have lost weight and my blood pressure has improved considerably with just a diuretic, 128/88. I credit all the walking with Dudley and his loving support. We've doubled the length of our walks and he should be able to return to his normal activities in a couple of weeks.
I plan on having a little gathering of some of his human friends that helped pay for the surgery. We're going to take Dudley across the street to the arroyo and let him run loose off the leash. What a joyful sight that will be! He is the sweetest doggie in the world, at least to me he is. And now, he is pain free!