According to the calendar, Lily is 6.5 weeks into her post-TPLO confinement. According to my brain it feels more like six and a half years. This has been so hard, especially on her, but not gonna lie, no picnic for us either.
I started this TPLO chronicle because I was unable to find much information about what it would actually be like to properly care for our dog and our sanity during what seemed like an impossible task: keep a spirited golden retriever (VERY spirited – how do you think she tore that ligament in the first place!) under actual CONFINEMENT for eight weeks.
A few friends had gone through it with their dogs. The description that popped up over and over was “nightmare” and to that I can attest. Because she has to be penned up or leashed up at all times, the CE and I basically hand her off to one another the same way parents do with newborns: “Here. You take her.” (Oh, please, don’t pretend you never said that or at least felt it…)
If I could go back and change one thing from Lily’s puppyhood, it wouldn’t be to eliminate the joyous spirit that makes her leap and twist and race and spiral – that is all so much a part of who our girl is that I couldn’t wish it away. But you know what I would change?
I would have gotten pet insurance!
I was picking up medications at the vet for her yesterday and, shocked at the $60 bill for two small vials of trazodone and gabapentin, said “I have a feeling that’s more than what it would cost for humans! “Yeah,” nodded the receptionist, “it really makes a difference though if you have pet insurance. Sometimes they pay up to 90% of the costs.”
That’s anecdotal and I haven’t done any research because it’s too late for us, but if a dog is in your future, especially a breed susceptible to health issues (which seems to be all of them…) I suggest you check it out.
And while I’m catastrophizing, I’m going to confess that at this stage in Lily’s recovery, we are still not sure this surgery will end up being a success. While she isn’t exactly limping, she remains reluctant to put weight on the leg when she rises from a laying-down position. Once she gets going, she seems okay, although I wonder about that gait (surgery was on the right leg):
At our two-week check-up the vet did recommend, due to the inevitable muscle atrophy, that we should consider physical therapy after the confinement period is up. After initially eschewing the idea because of all the neon-flashing dollar signs, the CE has ultimately accepted it. What better way to spend money you don’t have than on your dog, right? So that will be the next step.
On the upside, I will say that an unexpected benefit of this saga is that Lily has become a surprisingly well behaved pup. She responds to cues and voice commands much more obediently than in the past.
On the downside, no matter how much encouragement we give her she seems a bit needy and downcast and worried, as if she is wondering what she did wrong to deserve this ongoing punishment. I hope I’m just over-anthropomorphising here. But just look at this poor girl:
At least she had a very special visitor this past weekend:
And since she is allowed to get in and out of the car (a sedan – not an SUV) she goes along on lots of errands with the CE. Sharing the back seat with the climbing rosebushes made her smile.
She gets to watch the chicken channel every day – albeit on a leash.
We’re all doing our best. Especially Lily. Keep your fingers and paws crossed that this turns out to be worth it…