Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jaida gets the "all-clear" (and the story of Jaida's first month)

So, Jaida had her one-month checkup this past Saturday. They were x-raying her lungs to see how she was recovering from the pneumonia. Good news: her lungs look much healthier.

So healthy, in fact, that she will be able to undergo the surgery sometime in the next four weeks. It's now simply a matter of getting the estimate from the vet and booking the day. This, quite frankly, is mind-blowing, despite all the time we've had to process this whole amputation thing.

Let me go back a bit...

Jaida came to us as a 12 week old puppy. She's a lovely little german shepherd. We found her rather by accident, after answering an ad for puppies in a nearby village. We went to check out the pups, and were beyond horrified by what we saw. The pups and their "owner" were living in a shack with no heat or running water (this was in February in Canada - in other words, very cold). The 12 littermates had never been outside in their whole lives. Guess where they did their "business". You got it - in the house. The floors were covered in what can only be described as s*&t soup. The little ones and all of their bedding were matted with filth. In the middle of all this, we found our little girl: Jaida. We knew she was special. Her eyes told us she needed to come home with us. We loved her immediately and unconditionally.

Then there was her leg. She was born with a deformed and underdeveloped right front leg. It is shorter than the other front leg, and does not bend at the wrist or elbow. Her paw curls up almost parallel to the lower leg. She has toes, but no nails. We knew immediately that the leg was not long for this world.

We got her to the vet right away. They cleaned her up and did an exam, which revealed malnourishment, fleas, burnt paw pads from walking on urine, and to top it all off, pneumonia. The vet also confirmed our feelings about her little leg: it would be prone to damage and injury and would add unnecessary weight (and therefore strain) to her alreay maxed out three good legs: it would need to be amputated when she was stronger and able to handle the surgical anesthetic.

She came home to us after three days of recovery in the hospital.

Since then, with only a brief scare about the health of her kidneys (which, thankfully, turned out to be just fine) plus lots of love, good food, and daily antibiotic injections, she has put on weight, has a lovely shiny coat, and the pneumonia has almost been licked. She is playful, funny, active, and fearless. In fact, right now, she is downright wicked (that wonderful terrible twos phase pups go through). She knows no limitations and does it all on three legs.

Her little leg has proved to be an issue already...it doesn't touch the ground when she walks normally, but bonks on everything and gets in the way when she tries to do something as simple as lying down or go up stairs. Her wrist, which is the part that "bonks" the most, has already become bruised and raw. She now is being subjected to wearing a bootie on her paw for protection (oh, the indignity!!)

Which brings us to where we are now ... she has recovered enough to start planning seriously for her surgery.

In the past month, we have discovered some amazing resources for people whose lives are touched (or ruled) by dogs who have undergone limb amputations (see Jaida's Fave Links on the right). Most pups have lost their legs due to injury or illness, and their stories, sometimes posted on blogs, have given us hope and great encouragement. We know now that she will be ok, and will live a normal life. Jaida decided that she wanted her story told too, so her own unique spin on things could be shared with others.

This will also be a sanity-saving exercise for one of her moms (Crystal). She tends to be a tad too much on the left-brain side for her own good. Documenting everything will placate her humongous inner science geek who needs to collect and analyse stuff all the time.

So, anyways, that's all we have for now, until the surgery date is set. Jaida's journey begins....


"Editor's note": we have received many enquiries about the fate of the other littermates and related issues. To clarify, no money was exchanged with the individual from whom Jaida was removed. Also, the appropriate authorities were alerted about the situation. To our knowledge, most of the pups went to other homes.

1 comment:

marty said...

Very nice blog and a wonderful story. Jaida and Gracie are very luck dogs to have found great owners like you. Thanks for the comment on the behaviour modification with Gracie. I gave you the tools and knowledge to correct her aggression. However, you both deserve the credit for practising and being consistent with her. Hope all goes well with Jaida, looking forward to meet her.

Marty Walhin