Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boring old medical stuff.

Crystal here.

Well, I'm going to bore you all to tears with some medical updates.
Jaida had a recheck with Dr. Sparling on the weekend, and passed with flying colours. She's healed up, looking good, and can get back to the business of playing in mudpuddles and such. She's off all meds (has been for a few weeks), and is back to roaming about the house of her own accord.

You'll recall that the original plan was to retain part of her leg and have her fitted with a prosthesis...obviously that's not in the cards these days (no stump = no prosthesis). So now we're on a mission to do everything we can to prevent wear or premature degeneration of the joints of her remaining legs. This is going to be especially important for her ONE GOOD LEG, which now bears about 60% of her body weight.

We're exploring a few things:

1. a diet change, to a food that encourages lean body mass (high protein/low carbohydrate), provides antioxidants, and contains supplements that will support her joints (omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine). We're trying out a food by Purina called JM (Joint Mobility) for starters, but we continue to research other products. Lately we've become a little more careful about the types of ingredients in our pets' foods, and are leaning towards more holistic varieties.

2. supplements of fish oil and of glucosamine/chondroitin. These will help with inflammation and joint repair. The amount we give her is going to ultimately depend on the type of food she ends up eating...i.e. if the food provides her with the appropriate "dose" of these supplements on its own.

We'll update on these items as we get the kinks/details sorted out. Stay tuned!

I am a frisbee superstar!

Jaida here.

I'm great at frisbee, have moms ever told you that? Yep, this gorgeous gal is the best frisbee player around. I'm not sure why moms get the giggles when I play (I guess it's because they are so in awe they simply do not know how to express it properly, with "oooohs" and "aaaaaahs").

So, moms throw my frisbee, and I run with all the fastness of my THREE GOOD LEGS until I catch up with where it is sitting on the ground. Then I GRAB the frisbee with my crafty teeth, land on my head and do a perfect somersault, landing neatly on my side. TA-DAAAA!!!

My superstar video!

Gracie doesn't know how to play. She CATCHES the frisbee while it's still in the AIR...what fun is there in that?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Running fool.

Crystal here.

I thought I'd post a couple of links to videos I took of Jaida last night running around with Gracie. It's pretty neat to see her in action, propeller-butt and all!

Video # 1

Video # 2

And one more picture of Miss Thing looking all grown-up:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smiley happy girlie.

Jaida here.

I just wanted to share some of my cuteness with you. Mom Crystal already told you about all the stuff I did on the weekend (except she left out the parts where I played silly splashes in my water bucket and where I ate lettuce and carrots and beans from the garden.

So, just for you....me!

new portrait June25

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The gifts of dogs.

Crystal here.

I'm sure Jaida would like to share some of her stories with you today, but she seems to have developed amnesia.

What I mean to say, is that she is bursting to tell you about how she went for a walk in the woods with Gracie and her mums, and how she went to Daisy's house and that they were so happy to see each other and play again, and how she rolled in the grass, and chased some balls, and played keep-away from her mums and her sister, and chased her cats, and visited with her aunties Tara and Patty, and ate corn on the cob and....

I don't think she remembers all the craziness that happened over the past few months. She still has some scabs on her chest from her almost-all-healed incision, her fur is still patchy and fuzzy and growing in, and her stamina isn't what it used to be. She definitely looks different. She certainly must feel different. But I can't detect in her any acknowledgement of the change, or any remorse/pain/grief/anger/sense of loss...nothing. Like I said, it's as if she's forgotten.

Either that, or she is demonstrating one of the most amazing and enviable gifts that only animals (dogs especially) seem to be blessed with: the ability to forgive the past, take everything in life (good or bad) as just one more thing to experience, and then get back to the important business of loving the life you have at that very moment.

Jaida is a source of wonder and happiness for me, each and every day. I can't help but smile when she's in the room, and over the smallest things, like the distinct sound of her tripod hop-hop-shuffle on the hardwood floors or the way she gamely (and slowly) walks up the stairs at bedtime, or her new propeller-butt running style. It's all pretty run-of-the-mill doggie stuff that I'm in love with, even for a three-legged dog. But it just feels like every little thing about her, and the way she goes about her life, is special.

I think partly it's because, in all likelihood, she would be long-dead from pneumonia had she not found us in time and I can't help but think what a terrible loss it would have been had she died. I feel lucky that she chose us as her moms and that we were able to give her the help she needed. And partly it's because she lives her life so completely, and with such joy, and with no ugly parts of her past weighing her down. I don't know. It's very hard to put into words. She touches my heart in a way that no other creature ever has. Her presence in our lives, despite all the days and nights of tears and fear and heartache and sleeplessness, has been a gift right from the start. We wouldn't trade her for anything.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My first day of freedom!!!

Jaida here.

As you can see, my ouchie is much better now. Mom Crystal picked off a bunch of the crusty bits (she's just gotta pick sometimes!). It's not so itchy now and so moms left my t-shirt off all evening. I was a well-behaved gal and did not try to lick...I mean investigate...my ouchie.
It is still BALD.

BUT...moms thought I was doing things like UP and DOWN stairs and walking nicely, so they let me PLAY WITH GRACIE!!!!!
My sister and I ran and ran and ran and ran. I chased her, then she chased me and did snarly growlies so I rolled on the ground (her snarly growlies kind of scare me, but not really), then I got up and chased her again until she did growlies some more. This gorgeous-and-oh-so-fab-three-legged gal is definitely happy to be running again!!! I think Gracie missed me a little...

So then I was tired, so I found a nice smelly thing in the grass (I think it was a dead worm), and I chewed on it a bit. Then I rolled in it.
Funny...moms just smiled and laughed...usually they say "EWWWW, GROSS!!!" but I think they let me do it on account of my cuteness.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The queen reclaims her throne.

Jaida here.

So. Mom Crystal has been HOGGING this blog for too long. I am reclaiming my rightful place as PRINCESS, no, make that QUEEN of the blog and its entire surrounding universe. My fabulous self is back.

The last time I wrote, I was telling you all about my PEANUT-BUMP...all that was left of my fabulously bendy boo-boo foot. Well, things have changed again. That ol' PEANUT-BUMP was simply not doing a thing for my cuteness (it was just a little too oozy), so it's gone too...definitely a bye-bye foot. So now, I am streamlined and sleek...and although still BALD, I am gorgeous (of course).

I have, in my cleverness, finally convinced moms that I am much better now after all those SUR-GER-EES. So they are letting me out of that crate. I don't always want to do things like walk up stairs, but that's ok because I have moms to carry me. And I would like to run around the yard with Gracie, and I'm SURE I can, but my ONE GOOD LEG gets a little tireder than it used to. Moms say I just need to go SLOWLY and that all my strongness will come back to how it used to be. But I am a very busy gal and I have mudpuddles to visit and Daisy's to chew on, so this SLOWLY stuff better be quick.

The place where my boo-boo leg used to be doesn't hurt much anymore. I can go sleepies on that side, where I am BALD, and I don't feel like I need to scream about it. There are still little crunchy bits on the boo-boo, that I would very much like to investigate, but moms are still making me wear my t-shirts. I will have to THOROUGHLY investigate once my cleverness convinces them to take my t-shirts off.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Here she is...the day after getting her drains and stitches out!!!

Yep, Jaida went for a checkup yesterday, and all those bad ol' sticky-outy thingies were removed. She's still itchy and wants to lick (her t-shirt had to go right back on after I snapped this picture), but this feels like a really positive milestone. Happily, there seems to be no signs of fluid buildup either.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Back home, and rearing to go!!!

Crystal here.

So, Jaida's home and looking...GREAT!!! She's happy, comfortable, and full of beans...you can tell she's just DYING to have a full-tilt crazy puppy circles run around the yard with Gracie, chase her cats...all that good stuff. We're going to have to keep her crated for a while, for her own safety. Not a big deal, although her "I-hate-being-crated" temper tantrums are a tad more...um...persistent now than they used to be.

Her incision and surgical site look awesome. Healthy, flat, clean...really, really good. Only a bit of dampness came out of the lower drain last night...and really only clear fluids.

We are soooo looking forward to the time when we can let Jaida and Gracie rip around the yard again, and take them for their nice long walks in the woods. Get back to normal life, in other words. We're almost there.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A big thank-you!

Me again (don't worry, Jaida will be back soon!)

I just wanted to say a humongous THANK YOU to our friends at Kawakanum Kennels in Alberta, who have generously donated a two-hour dog-sledding tour for four participants in the upcoming season, to be auctioned off to raise money for the JAIDA Fund!

On top of breeding and driving their beautiful, happy, registered Siberian Huskies, Kawakanum Kennels also actively rescues and re-homes these wonderful dogs. You can read about their rescued pups and how to adopt them here.

We will soon be setting up an on-line auction for this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Stay tuned!

Huge Happy Dance!!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A very happy Crystal here!

Our girl is coming back home today, hopefully for the last time. She has continued to do really well, with no significant fluid buildup. I feel like a weight of worry has been lifted from my heart.

I can't wait to get her home, get some nice sloppy kisses and hear all her stories.

We still have a longish road to full recovery, and likely another week or two of her living in a crate...but who cares? She's going to be fine, and is going to live a long, healthy, happy, active life with us.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy dance!!!

Crystal here.

We have good news...FINALLY!

We spoke with the vet clinic this morning. Very little fluid came out of the drains overnight...however...there doesn't appear to be much to drain! The surgical site is looking flat and not puffy. These fluids might finally be under control!


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rolling along...

Crystal here.

We have a drain. Fingers crossed.

On a happy note, Jaida got to come upstairs to join her mums for coffee this morning (we carried her of course, and she only got to smell the coffee, she's too young for caffeine). She stretched out on the bed, looking relaxed for the first time in a while. Then, she rolled onto her back (first time since the surgery), got a nice belly rub, then rolled onto her BAD side and stood up...all on her own, and with no ouchie moments!!! I think she's feeling better.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fluid-ey girl.

Crystal here.

We're hanging in there.

After three calls to Dr. Sparling this morning (poor guy, no holidays for him with Jaida and her mums around) we ended up heading in to the clinic today. The fluid buildup around her neck just seemed like "too much". It's really hard to judge this, though; we don't have any experience with what's "normal" for a large seroma. It was a good thing too: when Kim took her out of her crate, her neck and shoulder were all wet...fluids had wicked up her bandage and leaked out.

So I went in with Jaida this afternoon, and Dr. Sparling cut off her bandage. The top (vertical) part of the incision is healing well, but the bottom part is still kind of mushy-looking because the fluids are draining out of a part of it, keeping the surrounding skin moist.

I have to say, it was a bit crazy how much stuff came out of that incision. It was like watching a water-balloon deflate, only redder. Pretty gross, but nothing surprises me anymore, and I did well holding her while the vet applied pressure to push the rest of the fluids out. There are still no signs of infection, so that's good news. The amazing thing was that she didn't flinch throughout the whole ordeal, even with direct pressure on the surgical site.

In fact, we haven't had a single "ouch" today, for the first time. If we brace her good shoulder while she's eating or going to the bathroom, we can apply some resistance if she starts to flinch away. This seems to stop the whatever it is that's making her scream.

Back to the clinic. So, after the surgical site drained FOREVER, we bandaged her back up. She'll go back to the clinic tomorrow and will likely stay for a few days. She'll probably get her drain after all (I know I said she got it on Friday, but Dr. Sparling decided to hold off on it for a while longer). I think we're throwing in the towel for natural drainage and are willing to take the risks associated with the drain. While in the clinic she's get routine bandage changes, draining as needed, monitoring...and her moms will get another mental health break.

Still hanging in there.

It occurred to me that I hadn't updated between Friday and Monday...I'll fill in what I can. She came home Saturday afternoon, bandaged from neck to belly, in an attempt to apply pressure on the whole area that was building fluids. She was put on a second, stronger antibiotic (zenequin) along with her cephalexin, to be on the safe side, and continued to get Metacam for pain every 24 hours.

She was living in a crate about 23 hours of the day, and took to it with grace...mostly...she was not thrilled about it, but was resigned and not crying constantly (although there were definitely a few temper tantrums at first).

The fluid initially mostly stayed where it should, although we applied more pressure wrap around her upper chest/lower neck on Sunday morning to be safe, since things were looking a little bulgy there.

She still had moments of acute pain, but they didn't last as long as they did the first day she was home with us after the surgery. It seemed to happen primarily when she went to the bathroom or was eating. Sometimes it was simply when she was standing, without reason. She was crying/screaming and flinching her "bad" shoulder backwards, trying to lean on something, sometimes almost falling over in what seemed like an attempt to escape what was hurting.

Things were reasonably good until Monday when the fluid buildup got out of hand again...(above)