I shared a few photos and videos of Bucky lately, but not a lot of information. Friday will be his six-week recheck after his surgery and we are on pins and needles to see what the surgeon has to say about his progress and whether we can move ahead. Poor Bucky has been in his crate for 5 1/2 + weeks, and that’s hard for any dog, but even worse for a one year old puppy. It has been hard on him, and hard on us living with him as well. His ability to howl for lengthy periods of time has been a test of our nervous systems. We don’t blame him…he is living through misery right now. But it has still been hard on all sides.
There does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, however. The folks at physical therapy are very impressed with his progress, and I hope the surgeon will be as well. He is putting weight on the leg that had surgery, and even running and jumping up on me at times, though I try to prevent both of those things! I’m told, both by the surgeon and the vet tech who specializes in rehab, that the ability to put the leg/foot down while he is stationary will be the last thing to happen, that it can even be a year before he uses the leg completely. But when he is moving that leg is down, weight-bearing, and he is ready to rock and roll (which makes crate time even harder.) So I am really hoping that the surgeon feels he has made enough progress to start doing the underwater treadmill and such in PT so he can redevelop his muscle mass and be ready for adoption.
In the meantime, thanks to the help of my favorite behaviorist/trainer, we have lots of exercises and activities and enrichments, all appropriate to his physical limitations, that are helping Bucky pass the time. Some training that works on impulse control, which he definitely needs (as do all puppies). Some fun enrichment…he now gets his kibble in 14 ice cubes, with a covering of dog food and green beans that takes him about 8-10 minutes to eat and is fun. Some extra huge ice cubes with kibble frozen in them that I give him when I take Gracie for a walk, so Gracie’s walks now mean he gets something he likes, instead of just being envious that she’s out walking and he isn’t. Some relaxation training that makes him think pretty hard and tires him out. And this week, since temps are closer to 80 than 100, we take him outside to sit in the grass in the front yard where he can smell whatever he smells, watch people and cars go by, and just be out of the crate for a good while…he likes being outside. All of which has reduced the howling level, along with the Trazadone (sedative). He has gotten pretty used to the Trazadone, however. It still works, but it doesn’t knock him out like it once did, so these other activities are helping to keep him from being so frustrated that he loses his mind, and starts howling.
So keep your paws crossed for him on Friday. I’m really hoping we can start moving forward with him and get out of the current holding pattern. I’m also anxious to hear what the surgeon says about a company I discovered that custom makes braces, including elbow braces for front legs. The PT folks speak highly of the company, and I suspect the surgeon knows it too (less than an hour from us), and I’m thinking that suggesting a custom elbow brace for him for times when he wants to go for longer walks or more activity might protect that front leg for longer than it might last otherwise.
Stay tuned…I’ll report back after Friday’s visit!