Max and His ACL Injury

The last you heard, Max did damage to his knee early Monday morning before I tore out the door for work.  Up until yesterday, he’s been taking a half an anti-inflammatory/pain killer with dinner each night.  Just before supper last evening, Max and I headed for the CARE Center Animal Hospital to meet his  orthopedic surgeon for a consultation,  and to this point, things are looking up.

Max Left Knee BlownDr. Neil Connery knows our wonderful vet, Dr. Marty Lovo of the Horizon Veterinary Group, based at the McKenzie Towne Vet location and because of this connection, I felt an immediate sense of trust.  I can’t say that I’m as happy with ‘The Group’ (sometimes it feels like the Wal-Mart of vets), but my dogs and cats have been well cared for by Dr. Marty and his associates, including wonderful Dr. Jennifer Hewitt.  However, when I realized that Max had had an injury, he couldn’t be seen by any of the folks in McKenzie Towne Animal Clinic, so we’re very grateful that Due South Vet Clinic and Dr. Christina Youé (Bodle) were able to fit Max into their schedule.  Christina took x-rays, did an examination and provided us with a prescription for Max’s obvious distress.  We were delivered bad news and the likely recommendation for surgery to repair Max’s ACL.  Look at the criss crossy thing below and you will see what this means and also it is the Drawer Sign or the placement of the knee bones that provide the indicators for treatment and rest.

Cruciate Ligament InjuryAs Max nervously panted and clung to my leg, we saw a large array of dogs coming and going.  I felt heart broken and held onto the hope that since giving max four days of complete quiet, that perhaps things had settled.

Dr. Connery was very thorough as he gazed upon the x-ray and manipulated all of Max’s joints.  Max closed his mouth and stared straight ahead as things were bent and twisted throughout his hips and knees.

In the end, a far less radical decision…

Yes, Max is showing wear on those bands, but as yet, it seems that he has not had a complete rupture.  This may be the beginning of Max’s road of gradual loss of the ACL, but for now, we have been recommended a rest recovery of six weeks.  Dr. Connery said that he’s pretty certain that this would be the recommended treatment of Dr. Lovo as well.  I asked if Max could go off of his pain medications and I was given an affirmative, with the suggestion that I keep some anti-inflammatory medication in my cupboard at all times for Max.  He is allowed leash walks only, and a restricted level of fitness.

I told Dr. Connery that Max’s Frisbee days are over and he suggested that given the active minds of this breed, I would have to get rid of all of those and replace them with other ‘head’ work if I wanted to have a happy dog.  So…I thought I’d let you dog fans of mine know a little about these injuries in dogs.  It’s just one of those things that happens and Max, now seven years of age, may be seeing more of these sorts of injuries in his adult life.


A Cat Story

This week was a tough one, for a whole lot of reasons…but this is one that I can write about.  We adopted Peanut from the Calgary Humane Society when he had been there for weeks and was scheduled to be put down, along with his sister who was sleeping in a corner of their shared cage.  Ironically, I was drawn to an old tabby (looked much as Peanut looks now) who was curled up in his small kennel space, quite peaceful…a tabby that had found his way into this situation when his forever-mother had passed away.

My daughter had other ideas. That day we met Peanut, a seven week old tabby who was literally climbing the walls of his cage and crying out to my daughter, Cayley…”PICK ME! PICK ME!”  I walked Cayley over to the older boy and said, “Look!  We need to save this beautiful boy!”  Her head was cranked over her shoulder and obviously making eye contact with this crying baby, literally dangling from the cage by his claws.  He had chosen her.

There was no way that I was leaving the building, without him.  That’s what happens when you visit a place that harbours lost and forgotten pets; your heart strings require a decision of you.  And so, you leave with your arms filled with love, a forever-love.

We picked him.

Peanut Blog 1That was in July of 1999.  As I look at his adoption contract, I notice that we listed as his date of birth, May 8, 1999, my birthday.  He was scheduled to be euthanized, along with his sister, 7 days from his adoption date.  Our Peanut is now 15 years old and at times, experiencing survivor’s guilt, as are we.  Often we have been challenged about leaving his sister back at the Calgary Humane Society on that day, so long ago.

Peanut has been with us through so many of our personal struggles, heart aches and joys.  He is family.  Our dear border collie, Laurie-dog, took him under his wing and Peanut learned to groom his dog-friend regularly and rarely did they sleep alone.

Peanut Blog 2As a kitten and young cat, he spent much of his recreational time finding and then hiding in plastic bags and pop boxes.  Even when his body had outgrown his mind, he nested in the funniest places.  Peanut has given us much to laugh about when we take ourselves too seriously and he is the go-to guy to pick up and curl into hurting arms when sobbing begins over illness, loss or hopelessness.

Peanut ChristmasA part of every celebration, Peanut has never been any sort of problem or demanded anything from us.  He is flopped on his basket chair where he can watch the action at the bird feeder or curled on his red couch while family is hanging about.  When his dearest friend Laurie-dog passed, he lost his greatest companion, but at the arrival of Max Man, he quickly re-assigned his loyalty to this crazy boy, that, in no way, demonstrated the same calm as Laurie did.

I wrapped Peanut in a bath towel and deposited him in a Soby’s re-usable bag a couple of weeks ago and took him over to Doctor Marty on High Street in McKenzie Towne.  Dr. Marty has been taking care of our boys for years.  I had asked for a geriatric exam for Peanut because I felt, in my bones, that things just weren’t right.  For a short few days, I agonized that we were losing our Peanut Butter (immediately, right now, this moment) and could hardly breath for the remembrance of losing Piper, Edgar and Laurie-dog.

DSC_0440 DSC_0438 DSC_0436These pets become a part of us, our families and in some way, our identities.  Doctor Marty, in his compassionate and knowledgeable way, gave me confidence in his diagnosis process and in his treatment.  He also assured me that he would give me the knowledge to recognize whether or not Peanut is feeling unwell, discomfort or pain.  In the end, Peanut has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (on the day of his initial exam his heart beat was sitting at 210).  With follow up care, I will have to diligently monitor for the onset of kidney failure.  Presently, my sweet man is being treated with medication every twelve hours and I am hopeful that this will give us more quality time.  Thank you, Marty, Jennifer and Amanda.

So, why am I writing?  Morning coffee always tastes better with writing.  Also, I wanted to write my love and gratitude…for what it means to be a pet owner.  Owning an animal that requires our care and concern, takes us out of our selfish place, at a very personal level.  There are lessons to be learned in caring for a pet that we can apply to our larger lives.  We must be vigilant in our concern for how animals are treated because it is a reflection of how we treat one another.

I suggest, where it is in your means, that you support agencies that do good for abandoned and mistreated animals.

Peanut has given our family a life time of shared experience.  I am grateful that we chose him and I hope to enjoy the rest of his time with us.



Evening Contemplation

My beautiful niece placed the body of a wee sparrow into a pink tissue lined box for me today.  Winter has hit all things hard.  It causes me to feel self-absorbed.  The idea of writing poetry comes to mind as I listen to Joe Nolan music, again tonight.

On my bedroom floor, sorted little piles of bric-a-brac that I think I might ‘deal with’ in one way or another, but each object causes me reflection and instead of pitching or placing, the story becomes too precious for parting and so I move onto the next object.  I love my mother and I miss her.

I wondered today how I could save all of the animals.  I am in awe of the challenges that nature sets upon the little beasts and the big ones, also.  I feel like one of the big beasts today.  It will pass and tomorrow the alarm will ring and another day will spin.  God be with you in your lives.

DSC_0431Birds in Snow September 9 2014Max the Flea Bag September 9, 2014Max has fleas.  I’m tired of doing laundry. I sawed, with a hand saw, two branches off May, weighted down and broken from the snow.  I picked all my tomatoes in the dark. Peanut is sixteen years old and struggling.

Flip side…

Chili is cooking on the stove, making the house smell good. Max is bathed and soft as can be. Peanut is curled up and sleeping on the red couch.  The tomatoes are in a popcorn bowl in the kitchen.

Life is just like this.