Lily’s First Days as a Tripawd

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Lily is doing so great!!  I just wanted to lead with that since really, she is just moving forward so well.  It was a rough first night but truly feel that things are getting better as each day goes by.

We picked her up from surgery on Monday, late afternoon, and there were certainly lots of nerves about what was going to be coming down the pipeline afterwards.  She did, however, walk out of the vet’s office on her three legs right away!  That felt really good to see.  Before discovering the Tripawds community, we had heard different stories from folks about life on three legs and I think we were worried it would be weeks…months…before Lily was walking about.  Not so!  Little glimmers of hope are helpful.

After bringing her home, we mostly just laid with her for the evening and adjusted.  Right away, one of the challenges we noticed is that it seems that Lily’s favored side to lay on is the side that was amputated on and so her circles to lay down were not working out for her and she was having a really hard time laying down and settling down even though she was still very sedated from anesthesia.  Luckily, Lily is very food motivated which makes it easy to giver the load of pills that got sent home with us.  We did invest in those pill pockets just to keep it simple.

That first night was the hardest night…Matt laid on the floor on a camping pad trying to get Lily to just lay down but they were both up for, literally, the whole night with Lily just standing and panting.  I imagine she was in quite some pain and just reeling with trying to catch up with the new reality.  Also, as much as I hate to admit it…apparently, I was just passed out in bed snoring and probably the real reason no one could sleep…..!

The next morning  we got our first tail wag from Lily post-surgery! Surprising no one, it was in response to the appearance of breakfast!  She went potty just fine and was doing great navigating on her new posts.  We do have a sling to go under her belly for support but it seems like, at this point, she isn’t needing it.  She is just doing better and better each day since Monday and is learning to lay on her other side.  I imagine it is a bit like right or left-handedness.  Her incision is looking great and though we did check in with the vet about some redness, it seems that it is all normal thus far.

We do have a collapsible cone for Lily that is probably better for navigation than the white plastic ones but still brings about a bit of dread…we have been trying to keep her incision covered with a t-shirt, mostly to keep our other dog Eva away from it, although it hasn’t really been an issues thus far.  What is an issue is that we can’t seem to figure out the best way to put the darn thing on without it draping all over!  There must be a market for rump covers somewhere…..

We haven’t tried stairs yet and we haven’t done any walks besides bathroom breaks.  However, without even trying, this week ended up ALSO involving a jackhammer in the backyard for a concrete project that was scheduled (cause you know, when it rains….) and though we were worried about that added noise and stress in her yard while we were at work, Lily seemed to be just fine.  Mostly at this point we are just trying to keep her safe and let her rest and heal.


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Pre-Op Weekend

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This has been the weekend of preparing, mostly ourselves, for Lily’s surgery tomorrow.  We have been filled with questions about what to expect for the first night after she arrives home and, of course, all the days after.  Our surgery is scheduled for tomorrow and, unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to take much time off work so we are a little concerned about what is going to happen during the day.  Will she just lay there?  Is she going to try to get up and move around?  What will the dynamic be with our other dog?  She isn’t crate trained and it doesn’t seem like she’s interested in being in the one we have…currently the plan is to barricade her in the kitchen so she has a safe, confined place to be.  So, we spent the weekend tackling some tidying projects and trying to figure out how to best make a safe space for Lily when she comes home.  We have tile floors in the living room and are worried about her ability to navigate with a new three-legged situation on those seemingly slippery surfaces.  We purchased some extra rugs to create some runways of traction but just don’t know how it is all going to turn out.

The weekend has brought some amount of clarity towards our decision to move forward with the amputation.  Lily has always been a dog that benefits greatly from physical activity-fetch, walks, runs, hikes, play.  Without this, her anxiety can run pretty high and these have been great tools for her to get energy out (plus we love to be out with her!).  Lately, we’ve only been walking her around the neighborhood and a bit at a local state park for short little walks and even those seem to be aggravating the leg with the tumor.  This has been a challenge to balance with our other dog, Eva, who is 5 and is also used to long daily hikes.  It seems that Lily’s leg is bothering her a lot this weekend and the tumor may have even increased in size.  We think she may be in quite a bit of pain.  Here are two pictures of the tumor above her hock:

 

 

 

 

We did purchase some One Farm CBD for Pets in hopes of helping mitigate some of the pain and other challenges, though it is hard to say exactly at this point, it seems to be helping take some of the anxiety off?

Today, Lily got a short walk at one of her favorite places to hike near town and a chance to get some good air sniffing in.  Springtime in Montana means wildflowers, changing weather every 5 minutes and lots of new smells for Lily.  She also got part of a cheeseburger because…well, she’s a good dog!

Our whole family-Eva, Lily, and Owl (the cat), and us are all standing here at the precipice of what comes next, and we’re a little nervous and scared for her, and it seems we can only let Lily guide the way.

Lily’s Story

 

Lily is an almost 12 year old pupper who just wants to be in the kitchen, snuffle and snort up next to you on the couch and most of all, catch the ball!  She’s a pound pup who could pass for a 3/4 size black lab at 45 lbs. but is also part bull dog of some sort and has stubborn written all over her.  She’s the most sweet, loyal, dog who knows EXACTLY when it is time for kibble.  Lily has no problem letting you know when it is time to go and if you can’t find her, chances are she’s right underfoot!  Or if all else fails, a crinkling wrapper will do the trick!

This is a documentation of this part of her story…it isn’t all of her story, she’s had so many years of playing fetch, trotting up and down the trails, rolling in everything, backpacking in the Montana wilderness, and loving her people (and her adopted sister pup-Eva!) but this is the part of the story where we are at now.

On March 4, 2021 we headed down to the park to play a usual game of fetch with Lily and a sniff around with Eva.  Lily is a rockstar with the ball (I think she was a shortstop in another life!) and loves to show off with a little victory lap after she makes the catch!  After a usual throw, she jumped up and landed with a heartbreaking yelp and began crying and crying as she ran back to us.  With no idea of what had just happened we quickly got to her, leashed her up and brought her right home.

After a vet visit the next day, we were all under the assumption that she had a bad sprain and hopefully a few weeks of TLC would heal it up.  The next 6 weeks were full of questions about what had happened to Lily!  Some days it seemed that she was getting better, and we took her on some short hikes, and other days it seems that the limping was progressing and we feared a torn ligament.  Most of all, was a concerning round, hard lump on Lily’s right rear hock that seemed to be the site of the injury that was growing in size.

Finally, after wondering about a hidden fracture or other injury that we might be missing, we went for another vet visit to get radiographs.   We learned on April 22 that Lily has osteosarcoma.  Her radiograph exhibited a classic corona shaped tumor but her lungs are, as of now, clear.  Navigating the options have been anything but.

These past few days have been an ocean of feelings as we sort through Lily’s diagnosis.  We discovered the tripawds community and have, as of today, scheduled the surgery for Lily to have her affected leg removed on Monday May 3, 2021.  We know we don’t have a guarantee of what the future brings and we are so worried about whether we are doing the right thing.  We just want Lily to be happy and as pain free as possible and to hopefully have some quality of life after recovery.  There are so many questions and concerns and fears and hopes as we move forward with this decision.