Archive for February, 2011

Humane Alliance Amazingness

A little over a year ago I got to meet the wonderful people at Humane Alliance when our clinic staff got to train with their wonderful team in preparation for the opening of our own high volume, high quality, low cost spay/neuter clinic.

Humane Alliance’s new video just came out and shows what a wonderful resource this organization is.

In August when I visited Humane Alliance for their clinic directors meeting, they asked to interview me for the new video. Being video taped still gets my stomach in knots, but it was nice to see that I didn’t end up looking or sounding silly.

For anyone curious, my snippets are at 5:35 and 6:40

There goes that accomplishment

Recently I have focused on Romeo’s accomplishments (since he is doing so well and I’m so happy for him). But it’s time for a break from such cheerfulness. Today I’d like to chat about how Romeo’s amputation has negatively affected me. This realization hit me as I was driving home from work this evening.

When I started going to the gym regularly last year, one of my goals was to no longer weigh more than my Great Dane – which for my height is a healthy goal and quite reasonable. I am happy to say that I achieved this goal. Not that he outweighed me by much (or at all sometimes), but I could truthfully say I didn’t weigh more than Romeo.

Now that Romeo has lost a leg, I have lost this achievement and now outweigh my dog again. Maybe this whole process was put in motion to renew my enthusiasm for going to the gym, giving me a new goal to strive for.

Guess I’ll be getting up at 5am tomorrow.

On the ride to work this morning, contemplating his weight loss strategy

Back to work

This morning Romeo had his visit to the vet to remove his drain. Romeo managed to jump into the car by himself and got out of the car at the vet’s without too much fuss. Everyone has been very impressed with his progress and he got another thumbs up today.

The drain came out and now the holes get to heal up. He gets to keep his bandage on until he is less oozy. Next his staples come out at the end of the week. So we’re making progress.

Tomorrow we get to talk to OSU about starting chemo.

Today was the first day since Romeo’s surgery that Trent and I were both back to work. Romeo got to spend the day in my office. He has come to work before and has done ok; he can be a bit demanding when he decides he doesn’t want to be left alone but is very content to sleep when I’m at my desk.

Today was the best he has ever done at work. I spent several chunks of this afternoon helping in other areas of the shelter and Romeo was perfectly content to sleep. Of course he had his big fluffy dog bed and lots of space to stretch out.

I may try to take him with me the rest of the week, at least until his staples are out. We’ll see how he does.

Romeo showing off his skills as office buddy

Oh and in case you’re curious, yes the bandage is as pathetic as it looks. I just barely put on enough vet wrap to hold padding over his oozy spots so he wouldn’t drip all over the office. Maybe tomorrow’s bandage will be nicer.

Sunday Sleeping

That’s all Romeo has done today. When I got home from work, Romeo had Trent pinned on the couch, using Trent as his pillow. Romeo couldn’t even be disturbed when a cat sat on his face. The life of a lazy dog.

Tomorrow’s adventures will include getting his drain removed. Should be fun.

Even better Saturday surprise

I missed it and I have no video proof, but Romeo actually ran this afternoon. Trent was home caring for the 4 and 3 legged creatures and one of the dogs requested potty time in the back yard.

Trent opened the back door and Julio ran out to charge the fence and bark. Dante followed at a run and Romeo was right behind him. It wasn’t as fast as he used to run, but Trent said he was graceful and managed to come to a stop without falling.

I can’t wait to see this for myself!

This is all the activity I have seen from him this evening:

Saturday morning surprise

Before I get to this morning’s news, I’ll start with last night’s.

Yesterday evening Trent was upstairs working/playing on his computer while I was downstairs cleaning the house. Trent has been using his laptop downstairs for most of this week so he could be with Romeo. But when I’m home, it’s like there is a babysitter and Trent can go have Trent time.

Apparently Romeo had enough of my whirlwind of activity and decided to see what Trent was up to. I found him at the foot of the stairs contemplating how to go see his Trent. I couldn’t envision this going well, so I got Romeo settled on the couch. This was the first time since surgery that Romeo even ventured near the stairs.

I can see Romeo learning how to go up stairs but have a very hard time imagining how he would get down. For now he’s a downstairs dog.

So back to this morning… This morning’s routine was similar to all recent mornings. Feed dogs. Dogs outside to potty. Dogs back to bed. Fix Romeo’s meds. Serve meds to Romeo while he lounges on the couch or bed.

This morning was normal until it was time to prepare Romeo’s meds. All of the animals now know that the sound of pill bottles equals canned dog food. The crowd of animals surrounding me while scooping wet food has grown over the last week. The surprise of the morning was that today that crowd included Romeo. He got up off the couch to join all the other dogs and cats. He even sat and begged for his wet food with magical medicine in the middle.

When the feeding frenzy was done all the animals dispersed. Except for Romeo who laid down where he was for a few minutes before eventually making his way back to his couch.

If Romeo is getting back to his normal self, we may have to start putting the baby gate back across the kitchen. There have been some advantages of his limited mobility, but those days apparently aren’t going to last.

Romeo’s tricks

Romeo has gotten more graceful over the last week. Here are some highlights of his accomplishments.

(Warning: Romeo’s bandage is off in this video. There are no close ups of his incision and it doesn’t look gross, but just in case it matters to you, you have been notified.)

Oh, She-Ra’s accomplishment of the day has been to “help” me make the bed and then make herself comfortable. She did this without any help from me.

Friday morning mellow

A week after his return from the vet, Romeo is settling back into his routines.

He sprung off the bed this morning when he heard food being scooped. There was a moderate amount of flailing to get upright, but that happened even when he was four legged.

He got his ears cleaned by Julio.

And now he’s napping on the couch.

But he’s much more alert and into what’s going on in the rest of the house. He’s approaching the realm of a lazy dog instead of a pathetic dog.

One Week Checkup

Today was a great day in the land of Romeo.

I was worried about how much his incision was still oozing – we’re at one week post surgery and his drain is still in and he is soaking his bandaging each day. The bigger worry though was the possible problem with his back leg.

Yesterday it became even more noticeable that Romeo wasn’t using his back left leg the same way he was using the right leg. He was slower to put weight on the left when he got off the couch and his gait just seems weird.

So we scheduled a trip to the vet for a recheck. Trent got Romeo in the car himself and I met them at the clinic. (If I haven’t mentioned it, I love my husband more than I can explain for taking the week off work to help with Romeo’s recovery.)

Apparently Romeo walked with spring in his step to head to the car when it was time to leave home. Well, actually first he headed for where my car is usually parked and then looked confused since it was at work with me.

After not wanting to get out of the car at the vet and finally being convinced to join us, Romeo got to show off his moves for the clinic staff. Last time they saw him, he was relying on people to help him walk anywhere and he was uncomfortable and cranky.

Today he showed them that he can hop across the parking lot and explore the lawn and even pee without anyone’s help. It was very impressive.

We actually did his whole exam outside since Romeo had much better traction on the grass than he would have on the linoleum inside.

So we learned that his left leg isn’t painful and is most likely strange since that’s how a three legged Romeo is compensating for a missing front leg. There is still a chance something is up, but for now we’re good.

As for the ooze, we unbandaged Romeo and the vet checked out his incision. We got a thumbs up. Everything still looks good – no infection – but Monday the drain needs to come out. So our job is to help him drain more. We’ll try unbandaging him now and then and making him stand up; this usually makes all sort of fun stuff come out. This will be done outside. I’m fine with cleaning up messes in the house, but there is a limit.

While we were all looking and poking and prodding, Romeo seemed chilly. Even though the sun was out, it definitely wasn’t warm today. Poor Romeo has no hair on a large chunk of his side, so without his bandage I’m sure he was cold. Even with all of his hair, this dog is a wimp about the cold.

When we were done and Romeo was rebandaged, we headed back to the car. He got a good trot going, the fastest I have seen so far from Mr Hopalong. I was sad to have missed a video of it since it was pretty amazing.

On top of the good news from the vet, Trent reported that Romeo was even more himself today. Romeo spent some time sitting up on the couch, looking out the window, one of his normal pastimes.

I’m so relieved our big guy is headed the right direction!

Incontinence pads FTW

We have a winner! Incontinence pads are now my favorite bandaging material. They’re thick and cushy and have great absorption.

I picked up a pack of 42 at WalMart for about $10. The other pads I bought didn’t come close to the padding that these gave. I only used six on today’s bandage, so a week of bandaging material for $10 – I’m happy.

In yesterday’s bandage, most of his ooze went into just one of the pads, but the others gave him nice protection from his clumsiness and caught any “runoff”.

The other great thing about these is that Romeo doesn’t smell like a dog with an oozy bandage. Anyone who has smelled a ripe bandage knows the unpleasantness of being around one. Extra points for odor control.

Next time I have an oozy dog to bandage, I know what I’ll be stocking up on. Well, unless it’s Julio; one pad is about as big as his entire body. Julio can have a cotton ball.

The bandaging process is still getting easier each day. Romeo doesn’t mind it and Trent is great as my lovely assistant.

Romeo is still oozing a lot, which may or may not be normal. He’s a huge dog and he had a lot of stuff removed from his body, leaving lots of dead space that can fill up with fluid. Romeo’s drains are still doing their job and the fluid is making its way out, which is good. Since he has been home, I may not have been bandaging him tightly enough which could be why he’s still so drippy.

We’re on the way to the vet tomorrow to check this out and to see if we can figure out what’s going on with Romeo’s back leg. Starting yesterday it became more noticeable that Romeo is walking strangely on it.

Not being used to how a Great Dane with only three legs moves could make everything about Romeo’s walk seem strange. But it seems like something else is going on. He doesn’t put weight on his back left foot as readily and it just seems to be at an odd angle. Maybe it’s all from him compensating for the missing front leg. But it has me worried.

Hoping to learn more tomorrow.