we’re officially a house of 60 legs. on monday flanagan’s chest x-ray was negative and we proceeded with amputation. my intention is to show his recovery process in the hopes it may help someone who may be struggling with the same decision. we currently have
threefour 3-legged dogs (zig, juice and moose and now flanagan makes 4) and have had three others in the past (kody, sage and mabel) so the decision to amputate was not as scary as i can imagine it is for people facing it for the first time. that’s not to say we made the decision lightly - we had to consider flan’s age (12), size (70 lbs) and his sensory issues but ultimately we believed it was the best option. neither dave nor i questioned the decision but there have been some heart wrenching and painful moments.
you know from my last post we planned on taking flanagan home as soon as surgery was finished. we stayed while he was sedated, found out his chest x-ray was clear and surgery was a go, went home and picked him up about 1-1/2 hours later as soon as he was extubated. the rest of monday was fairly shitty and heartbreaking and i strongly discourage anyone who wants to bring their dog home before he/she has fully recovered from anesthesia. the aftereffects of anesthesia can be a harrowing thing to watch your dog go through and they are much better off recovering under vet supervision. i knew what to expect and it was still hard and nothing i would do if flanagan didn’t absolutely require it. because dogs are absolutely amazing and pinky is nothing short of this he was up and around, albeit clumsily by the end of the day.
because of his past “drug use” managing his pain was a bit of a hurdle but by tues afternoon it seemed we had a cocktail that worked. he was being very vocal, whining a lot and since he tends to be fairly stoic with pain i attributed at least some of it to emotional pain…honestly sitting here writing this on friday, it seems like monday and tuesday were months ago. by wed morning he was more comfortable and confident, his pain and emotions seem more controlled and we were well down the road of recovery – he even figured out how to get on his favorite chair:
wed afternoon our vet came to laser his incision, back and hips, which he was amazingly calm for. yesterday and today he’s been pretty much back to his normal schedule, which is really important to him and hopefully will push him even farther down the healing road. today he even joined us on the morning walk, although he tired out much sooner (obviously).
while he was in the final throes of anesthesia i had to stop him from rolling off the mattress we had him on and i ended up with a pretty good bite on my arm (it’s really typical for this to happen coming out of anesthesia and another good reason they’re caged or muzzled during this time). every time i have to give him pills he bites me so my hands and arms have taken a beating. i tell you this not to bellyache but to give more insight into pinky’s brain (or so i think). when i try to pill him and he growls and bites it’s not because he’s aggressive, it’s because i’m doing something that he’s not sensorily prepared for. for instance last sun he had a bunch of burrs on him and i tried to brush him...i got one stroke in and he bit the brush and threw it to the ground. dave & i then put him in the tub and ran water over him and i brushed him in peace while he had this serene look on his face. it was just a beautiful moment because when you do it pinky’s way he rewards you ten-fold.
pinky has always been inspiring to me - he just is who he is...he makes no apologies and doesn’t try to be anything else. that might seem silly or make no sense but i trust if you spent any time with him you’d see it too. these last few days have solidified my awe of him exponentially. he is such an absolute treasure and i’m so happy to hold on to him for a bit longer.
here's a little video montage of his first few days...it's less than riveting but this is what 2-3 days post amputation looks like: