I never thought I’d be the kind of person who had 2 kilos in their home. I admit, I like a little more usually, at least 20 kg, but somehow, it happened.
Paisley, a tiny little dog, wormed her way into our hearts and home. Before we got her, she had been hit by a car. Surgery was done to try to fix the breaks, but it didn’t heal right. On Friday, we had her right rear leg amputated.
We had a week between when we decided to amputate and the surgery was done. I have to say, I was a wreck over it. I know intellectually that it was best for her. I know she would have been in pain most days if we didn’t do it and would develop arthritis and more pain as time went on. When I’m working, I have no problem telling a client that amputation is in their pet’s best interest, and mean it. In fact, it drives me crazy that people are so irrational about saving the limb. Seriously, your dog or cat doesn’t care.
But putting myself in the role of the client, even having my friends, who happen to be board certified veterinary surgeons, review the X-rays and tell me to amputate, even seeing the X-rays myself and knowing that’s what I would recommend, even having my husband, another veterinarian, say without hesitation, we need to amputate, even though I agreed intellectually with them, even after all of that, it still made me physically nauseous to think about it. It still does.
I found myself grieving for this little dog’s soon to be lost leg. I cried over it. I held her and looked at her leg and wondered if we should just try to save it, one more time. I wondered if I should put her through re-breaking the leg so it could be aligned properly. If I should put her though whatever repairs would need to be done to fix her damaged knee joint, and an external fixator to stablize the other fracture in the in her lower leg. Through 6-8 weeks of crate confinement and physical therapy after that, all with three little girls who can’t leave her alone for a minute.
I realized that all that pain for a surgery might not work, wasn’t worth it, for her. Pain is what she understands, and removing the leg would remove her pain. Finally.
On Friday, our friend, a boarded surgeon, amputated her leg after another friend spayed her. I called Sean no less than four times during the surgery. I face timed so I could see some of the surgery. I face timed with Paisley after the surgery. And maybe a couple of other times. The girls did too.
I finally got a chance to visit her at 10:30 that night. Samantha was with me. I saw her little stump, and her little tail wagging furiously at me. I scooped her up and held her, silently telling her I was sorry and trying to breathe to settle my stomach. Then I showed her to Sammy. Her eyes welled with tears and my nausea doubled. But my mommy and vet mode kicked in and I told her it was okay, that Paisley was fine, that she would be so much better now.
Paisley seems to have adjusted just fine. She runs and plays. She has also found her safe place in a bed under our bed, for those times the girls are overwhelming her.
We have new puppy and a new amputee in our house and we’re all adjusting.