Those of you who have followed my blog know of my newest Angel friend Willie and his long battle with cancer of the leg. There is only two choices when you get this cancer. One is to, through a combination of will, prayers, being stubborn, miracles, and loyalty to survive as long as you can. The other choice, which was not possible for Willie, is to sacrifice the leg to save the body.
But it was a choice for this week’s pup of the week, Annie. She had a large mass on her leg, had it tested, and it came back as a tumor. It had wrapped itself around muscle, bone, nerves, and was growing. There was only one thing that could save her life: amputation.
So her Mom made the only decision she could make (but still a very difficult decision) to have the leg removed. The first step was for Annie to go to the vet and get a pain patch put on. Her Mom did a lot of reading on dogs who have had their leg amputated, some of it provided by Willie’s Mom Sandy. Annie’s Mom vowed not to seem nervous around Annie, sure she would pick up on her vibes, and not to cry in front of her children. Annie’s Mom had a lot of weight to carry but she can handle it because, for those of you who don’t know her, she is the Mom who adopted one of the surviving Malatesta dogs, Wishbone, so that should tell you what a great dog Mom she is.
Annie’s Mom had planned on keeping Annie home the night before the surgery but decided it would be better for her precious angel to stay at the vet where they could watch her and keep her comfortable. That night the doctors ran a battery of tests on her and found that everything, except for the tumor, was normal.
Early the next morning she had her surgery and she came through like a real trooper. The doctor said it was a very invasive tumor that could not have been removed so taking the leg was the right decision.
Annie’s Mom had planned to pick her up in the following morning but the physical therapists wanted to do more work with her. She was happy because Annie’s Dad could go with her to help get Annie into their car. Her neighbor was taking care of Annie’s human sibling so her Mom could make her house ready for her.
Annie’s Mom got another call from the vet saying that she was up and walking on her three legs. Annie was having a little trouble figuring out how to do her bathroom business without a back leg but the physical therapist said that Annie would adjust. Since the leg was gone, even if the tumor was malignant Annie was in no danger.
Of course the thing about humans is that they think they prepare themselves for what they are going to encounter but they really can’t and seeing Annie with the missing leg as quite a shock to her parents. Annie is an older pup, her remaining back leg is weak, and she was struggling walking. As all dogs do, she put up a brave front for her Mom, going to her bowl, trying to go upstairs. Annie was adjusting to the new normal but for her parents adjusting to it was going to take a long time. They let it be know that the family, and Annie, needed lots of prayers for her pet and pet parent friends, which, of course, everyone was ready to provided.
By Friday morning her parents realized that Annie’s every move did not need to be watched. When they removed Annie’s pain patch she handled it like a trooper. Annie scared her parents when she wouldn’t drink water, but she started to drink that morning. She was not eating but her pain patch had an appetite suppressant so that was normal. There was swelling at the amputation point and her parents kept it iced when Annie would let them. Annie had some PT scheduled and some exercises at home to strengthen her leg. Annie’s Mom had thought the sight of the wound would scare her children, and had bought some boxer shorts, but they family accepted Annie’s surgery and the boxer shorts were never used.
By Friday afternoon Annie was ready to eat, accepting the crust of bread from her Mom’s sandwich. She tried offering Annie some scrambled egg and Annie turned her nose up until her Mom tossed it to Wishbone. Annie made her coonhound sound letting her Mom know she was upset. Her Mom, excited to see her baby wanting to eat, jumped up, got some wet food with her medication, and Annie scoffed it down. She then went out on the deck to get some sun. Annie’s Mom had done a lot of research before the surgery and knew the first two days were the hardest but Annie was doing great
By Sunday our first tripod member was amazing her family. Her spunk and coonhound power was back in full She had solved the going to the bathroom mystery, although her parents still preferred to carry her up and down the stairs. When Annie’s Mom woke up Saturday night Annie was standing on her three legs looking at her lovingly. The next morning Annie made it up to the bedroom and she was helped on the bed and managed to walk on it, which is quite an achievement for a dog who lost a leg. Then her Mom laid down on the bed together. They had made an amazing journey together, and now they lay together, Annie’s Mom’s hand on her harness, and they slept together, two survivors, ready to face many more dawns.