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Chasing Charley

Still Going Strong!
January 20, 2011, 7:13 pm
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It’s been too long since I’ve posted something about sweet Charley! We’re more than 3 months post amp and Charley is doing awesome! He’s stronger and faster than I could imagine!

His fur is nearly all grown in and I think he’s due for a trip to the groomer. Hopefully they can handle him as a tripawd — I’m pretty sure they will.

The vet checked him out in later November for some shot updates, etc. Just a regular visit. But they were SO impressed at how strong and healthy he is! What a great recovery!

Charley does seem to have some phantom issues with the missing leg. He licks and scratches at it often. No crying or whimpering — just trying to tend to something that is no longer there.

Vet was concerned about being TOO active through the winter months up here in Michigan. Consequently we’re avoiding the dog park and just sticking to walks close to the house. I’m trying to be very careful about the ice and Charley slipping/injuring the good leg. Then we’ll reconsider the issue in the spring when the ground is less snow and ice covered.

In other news, I’ve sold my house and I’m looking to move. I wonder about that transition and its effect on my kids, of course, but on Charley, too. I’m really crossing my fingers to find a home w/ a fenced in yard. 🙂

Hope everyone & their pups are doing well in the new year! I follow along with updates on Facebook, but don’t always get over here to read all the blogs as religiously as I should. I’ll try to catch up soon!!

Cone free!
November 7, 2010, 8:37 pm
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We’re getting there – slowly but surely!  I freed Charley from the Cone of Shame on Friday.  He was amazingly tolerant of the cone and never really fought it!  Bless his little heart!  We had more laughs at his expense, but honestly I don’t think he really cared too much.  I think it helped that it was the flexible, padded kind of cone.

His incision looks awesome.  Of all things, the amputation site has healed the best and most completely.  Charley still has some red spots (from where the scabs came off & he still licks at it) on his front ankle area — these were from cuts sustained in the accident (nearly 5 weeks ago).

Charley also has his wound in his front armpit area from the bandaging.   The cone was necessary so he would leave that area alone to let it heal.  I’m still keeping a cotton t-shirt on him, but I was concerned about his long English Setter hair & how that had become tangled in the scab in there.  (Sorry – too gross?!)  So tonight I cleaned the area with hydrogen peroxide & water at the suggestion of a dog breeder/trainer colleague of mine.  Then I applied Neosporin to keep it softened and put the t-shirt back on.  This has freed some of the hair tangles, but now some of the scab is coming away….  Yeah, I’ll probably call the vet again tomorrow.  It’s not bleeding or oozing pus or anything, doesn’t look infected.  But what the heck do I know about armpit wound healing on tripawd English Setters?!?

Beyond all of that, Charley is doing amazingly well!  We’re taking frequent walks around the cul de sac in front of our house.  He’s getting so fast that he pulls me down the street — almost just as much as old times.  Charley is back to counter surfing almost full time.  And (HOORAY!) he’s eating regular dry dog food again.  Granted, it’s being served up in his new raised food & water bowls and it’s being topped with a can of dog food chunks & gravy, but he’s eating really well!!  We’re back to the same amount of food every day & poops are pretty normal, too.

Oh and we’re off the Tramadol, too!  All in all, good progress.  The armpit is the only thing that even has me slightly worried.  But we’re getting there!

Happy Halloween!
October 31, 2010, 11:57 am
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Actually, around here we celebrated with Trick or Treating last night.  Charley dressed as a pumpkin and posed for a few pictures before his brother & sister (my kids) put on their costumes and went out for their candy haul.  Charley stayed home (with the cone on, along with the pumpkin costume — it added to his festiveness) with my parents & helped hand out candy.  My parents were surprised by the number of people that came to the door asking to see the dog or wondering how Charley was coping.

It appears that Charley has quite a fan club.  🙂

Today we’re just cleaning up and hanging out at home.  Charley is tolerating the cone AMAZINGLY well!  I’m so happy that he’s been able to sleep easily and comfortably, and hence, so have I!  He’s peeing more due to the cortisone again, but we only have that for 2 more days.  Charley also had some diarrhea this morning, but that could be due to the meds, too.  He won’t eat the pumpkin I put in his bowl, so I think I’ll cook him some rice soon.   I think his incision looks fabulous, his cut on his leg from the accident is healing very well and I’m seeing improvement on the armpit sore (from the bandaging).

Looking forward to a happy & healthy November!

October 29, 2010, 12:59 pm
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Three t-shirts chewed up in the span of 14 hours (and 8 of those hours were sleeping). Plenty of re-wrapping. At this point the wrap and pad are because of a tiny bit of oozing and just to protect the area from his scratching and obsessive licking.

However, I’m thinking that the wrap may be doing more harm than good at this point. His right front armpit (the only front leg, of course) is rubbed raw and super irritated. So as of right now, Charley has another pad on that area just for cushioning and wrap around the whole business.

And a cone. It may really suck for a week or so, but those areas NEED to heal before I can trust him to not break open and bleed everywhere.

Except for the fact that with the cone on he can’t turn around in his crate. So my dad is bringing a bigger crate from the cabin and hopefully that will help a bit, too.

I called Dr. Jim (he’s on speed dial now) just to see whether I should do anything else about the armpit rawness. He thought he should come in this afternoon for a cortisone shot. So after I go to the Halloween Parade at my kids’ school, we’ll high tail it home & then to the vet’s office across town.

I just need one more week. I think we’ll be better in a week.

Naughty Dog!!!
October 28, 2010, 6:00 pm
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Cutting back on the Tramadol has created a furiously licking dog!!  In about 5 minutes, Charley chewed through his t-shirt and TWO vet wrap bandages.  Normally we just use 1 vet wrap, but this one had shifted so far forward (blue) when he scratches the incision site w/ his back leg, that I just added another pad and wrap on top of it (red).

I had just changed the bandage on his front leg (also red) and he’s already going to town on that site because it was a little raw from the first IV shaving (I think).  So now we’re back on track with a long sleeved t-shirt (I hope).

Oh — and another thing!  I drove home from work at lunch to let Charley out to pee.  Pre-accident, I didn’t have to do this.  But since he got hurt, I’ve been coming home to check on him.  Anyway, so I came home today and Charley didn’t want to come out of his crate!  I even bribed him with American cheese!  He edged forward and grabbed it and then went right back in!  I went to coax him out by holding his collar and he GROWLED at me!  What?!  So I decided to just forget about it, closed the crate door & he barked at me like a crazy dog!!

Charley got scolded pretty good then – so hopefully this isn’t a new habit.  Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt — his pain meds have been lowered, he’s crabby.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes to know whether I’ve possibly cut back too much already….

P.S.  He just chewed through ANOTHER t-shirt.  We need to get this under control or he’s going to get the Cone of Shame.

Stitches out!
October 27, 2010, 3:35 pm
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Today is 2 weeks post amp and we went to Dr. Jim (the vet) at lunchtime.  First I stopped by my office to show Charley off a bit.  He has so many “friends” here who gave him lots of hugs and kisses.  Charley was pretty fired up to be in the car, out & about on the town!!

Dr. Jim was “tickled” with how Charley’s incision is healing!  Hooray!  They removed the stitches & Charley was a very good boy.  He’s still bandaged up because there’s some seeping from the incision, but we’ll see how that’s going in a few days.  I’m looking forward to the days when there is NO bandage there and NO t-shirt.  Another couple of weeks, I’m guessing.

Charley is licking and scratching at his bandage quite a bit – which is just part of the healing process.  I don’t want him to break open that incision site on accident (we’ve had enough of our dramatic races to the vet’s office…..), so I’m going to be extra cautious.

Dr. Jim suggested I wean Charley off the Tramadol “tomorrow or so.”  I think I’ll be a little gentler than that.  We’re on 4 pills/day now.  Maybe we’ll do 2 days at 3 pills, then 2 days at 2 pills, etc.  I don’t want to shock his system too much!

I guess I have to get ready for my wild dog again, huh?  Though I don’t love the circumstances, I have come to love the lazy dog that Charley has been during his recovery.  I could cook in the kitchen & feed dinner to the kids without constantly bumping Charley off the counters w/ my hip or hollering, “Charley!!  Get!  Down!”

But that is not life w/ an English Setter.  Not even one with 3 legs, I guess.

11 days post amp
October 24, 2010, 4:24 pm
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The past few days have been blissfully uneventful!  Charley is happily lounging on the dining room floor as I type this — taking a break from his preferred spot on the couch, as of late.

I change his bandage daily – it’s a little seepy, but nothing alarming.  I noticed today that there’s a little gaping in the top layers of his skin, but the layers beneath seem to have come together well.  It looks like Wednesday or Thursday this week we’ll be getting our stitches out!  I hope that’s a pain-free process….  but I’m a little nervous to ask.

Charley had been taking 100 mg Tramadol, every 8 hours, round the clock.  I’m backing off slightly on that — trying to just let him tell me when he needs more.  Now we’re at about 100 mg every 12 hours.  This is easier to do on the weekends, when I’m around him more.  During the week I leave him for 4-5 hours at a time when I go to work — and I worry about him being in pain or something while I’m gone.  So maybe I’ll switch him to 50 mg every 6 hours or so for a bit just to keep him comfortable.

The other small challenge at our house is food!  Charley will NOT touch regular dry dog food anymore!  He was at about 3-4 cups of dried food every day before the accident.  Now I’m lucky if I can get him to eat 1 can of dog food (NOT the chopped kind — has to be big chunks of meat, preferably chicken) every day.  Then I’m supplementing with some table food — often rice and chicken.  Today he ate 10 ounces of canned chicken and a big bowl of brown rice — so hopefully his appetite is returning somewhat.  I’m just hoping we get back to more of the regular dog food someday….

Any suggestions are welcome!  I have tried hiding the wet food under the dry food — he manages to nuzzle all around it.  And I’ve mixed it all up w/ a spoon — then he seems to just avoid the whole bowl until I serve him something else.

Oooh – I was going to share another tip!  We change bandages daily, at the recommendation of our vet.  Did you know that you can get Vet Wrap at Tractor Supply Co. for HALF the cost that you can get it from a PetCo or Pet Supplies Plus type place??  And our vet has us using a super large maxi pad instead of gauze/non-stick pads.  He says they’re sterile & they have worked great.  Plus they’re CHEAP, too!  Just have to pass along some bargains when I find them….  😉

Guess who jumped on the counters??!
October 20, 2010, 6:50 pm
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So I probably shouldn’t be quite *this* overjoyed at a “naughty” act…. I actually gave him a treat. 😉

It’s pretty wonderful to see Charley do some of the “old” things. He’s barking at people walking by out the window, sitting on the couch & chairs like he owns the place and now putting his front paw up on the counter to see what food we may have left behind.

I changed his bandage tonight with the help of a neighbor – things are looking better and better. Still some drainage and it’s not perfectly dry, but it’s a little better than yesterday and a little better than the day before.

One week post amp — I’m feeling like we’re going to make it!!!

HOPE is good.
October 19, 2010, 1:04 pm
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It’s good to be hopeful.  It’s good to be full of hope.  Hope is a wonderful thing.

Hope also happens to be the name of my alma mater.  😉

We had a great visit with Dr. Jim yesterday afternoon – who told me that though Charley’s incision isn’t healing perfectly, it’s healing well.  The redness subsided somewhat and the puffiness/swelling/oozing was pretty normal.  Ideally, everything would have been dry & not as pink/red, but we’re doing well.

Though Charley doesn’t seem quite as lively today so far, I’m feeling more hopeful.  Hopeful for his future, for his happiness, for his comfort level and for his rightful place in our home as the family dog, who just happens to be a tripawd.

Sometimes I get scared of having my hopes up too high.  The past few years have had their share of disappointments.  But if we don’t hope, we don’t try.  If we don’t aim for something better, we’ll never achieve it.  Hope is part of what makes us human!  And I will continue to hope on Charley’s behalf.

Day by day, little by little – we’re making it.

Mom – the kitchen is SOOOO last week! I’m going for the couch!
October 18, 2010, 12:38 pm
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I’ve known that Charley was getting awfully bored with the kitchen “area”.  After going outside, I’m having to drag him a little more each day into his fenced off blankets on the floor of the kitchen.  Today after our lunch time visit to the bushes out front, I left him sitting in the living room for just a minute.  I wanted to straighten up his blankets, etc.

Not even 2 minutes later — look where I found the little stinker!  He hopped up on to the couch all by himself!

I’m a very permissive mama — he’s always been on the furniture.  But I wasn’t going to let him go up there so quickly after surgery!  He’s got a 12″ line of stitches….  Sheesh!

We’re off to see Dr. Jim later this afternoon.  There was some redness around the incision and some oozing.  Nothing that smells funky, but I would feel better if Dr. Jim can take a look.  Charley is on an antibiotic, of course, but I wonder if it’s working super well?  I would feel better if we were putting something topical on the incision as well.

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