Tolly the tripawd!

Hey guys we’re absolutely exhausted here so I’m gonna keep it as quick as possible.

Long time no post!

So I don’t remember where we were with Tolly when I last posted, but here’s a recap.

She hurt her paw about 10 weeks ago, when an off lead Labrador sprinted all the way across a field and ran into her, bowling her over (she was a tiny 3.2kg at the time – 3.5kg now, little fatty πŸ˜‰ ).

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We got her to the vet who said she suspected a broken toe at worst and wasn’t even going to x-ray, but we said we might as well to be on the safe side. After the x-ray it turned out Tolly had broken FOUR bones in her front left paw, all the bones connecting her toes to her foot.

We were immediately pushed towards an option of an invasive surgery to rewire her bones. When I researched this (reading articles, others’ experience, and posting on a forum for amputated pets as I immediately wanted to amputate) I found there were HUGE flaws with this option, including an extremely high likelihood of further procedures (I’m talking 98%+!), complications to do with recovery, and the fact it was a very invasive procedure.

A few days after her accident we saw a second vet, who was much more positive. Amputation, which we still wanted to consider, was poo-poo’ed as a full recovery was so certain, even though a full recovery from amputation is only 4 weeks. This vet advised us not to put Toller through the surgery, and said her foot would recover perfectly fine on it’s own, and we most likely wouldn’t even be able to tell she had been injured. So we signed ourselves up for 6-8 weeks crate rest.

Toller had two splints put on in the first week or so; one fell off after four hours, one fell off after a few days, and after that the vets advised we leave her as is.

For eight weeks Toller was confined to her crate or held in our arms, the only activity she got was from there or trips to the garden strictly to go to the toilet. With each vet visit the vet complimented her recovery, saying she was doing so much better than they expected.

Toller was ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, and nothing held her attention (not even knuckle bones), and whilst we were very concerned about the after-effects of such extended crate rest on a very young puppy, we pushed ahead because it wasn’t long to the finish line.

Around the 6 week mark we began to notice that that front left foot was very bent out of place and odd looking, but pushed it aside as the vet was so certain she was making a miraculous recovery. At 7 weeks we were advised it was ligament damage and posed no concern.

At around 8 weeks we were told Toller was fully recovered, and we were horrified.

The story had now changed to she would have hugely restricted exercise for the rest of her life, she couldn’t run, go on walks, and her foot was scarily deformed. It stuck out at a literal right angle.

KIND OF GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF DEFORMED FOOT Β below

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Over the next week we followed the vet’s instructions, letting her walk in the house for 30 seconds at a time, just a time or two a day. We were horrified to see that foot getting worse.

At this point we thought we were going to get a wheelchair; that way Toller could go on walks in the chair, with the injured leg strapped out the way, and walk chair-free in the house as per the vet’s instructions. We bought a cheap Β£70 front wheeled cart whilst we saved the Β£580 for a custom one.

It soon became clear that wasn’t an option; Toller’s foot was so badly injured (and not at all recovered!!) that even small amounts of exercise were making it much worse.

We began looking for a second opinion and madly scrabbling for money for an amputation, which we had wanted to do right at the bloody start.

Unfortunately a lot of vets were less than helpful, with one surgery refusing to see her and telling us to use the first surgery (that had been totally wrong about her prognosis!), and another saying they would have to “ask permission” from the previous vet.

We finally found a branch that would happily give us a second opinion; they sent off for her info and we took Tolly to an appt with them. They agreed in an instant that an amputation was the way to go.

Today was her operation day. Photos from this morning just before she headed out.

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Eeesh, that poor foot!!

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We dropped her off, and phoned at lunch time for an update – oh, before I carry on, the vets wrote down THE WRONG LEG TO AMPUTATE!! Can you believe it?!?! Luckily the nurse checked with my partner first, although she did say they’d have questioned it anyway given how deformed her left leg was hahaha!

Lunchtime update ~ we were told she’d been a star up until time for her op, and enjoyed lots of cuddles! She’d been in theatre for 60 minutes and was just coming around now and doing really well. They wanted to keep her overnight, and would call before they closed that evening to update us again.

We were SO relieved πŸ™‚

We didn’t hear from them when they closed, so we called them on the dot, and unfortunately the first person who spoke with us was useless – she said “Yes, Toller’s fine, she’s just staying overnight with us” and then hung up the phone!!!!

But we called straight back and managed to speak with somebody else and they were brilliant πŸ™‚ They said Toller has had cuddles off every nurse that works at the surgery, and when they go into her room she gets excited and wags at them!

She’s eaten a meal and even had some test walks to start getting her used to life on three legs – she’s doing great, the only thing she struggles with is doorways and they have to carry her through those haha!

They’ve carried out a pain score on her (where they tally up how much pain a dog is in based on behaviour, body language etc to judge if they need more pain meds) and they basically couldn’t tell she was in any pain at all as she was just trying to love on them so hard!! This so typically Toller hahaha, completely loving and adorable, and such a tough little cookie πŸ™‚ ❀

So she’s staying overnight, will be checked on every 3 hours, have further test walks and pain scores, and we go pick her up in the morning. We can phone as soon as they open and see what time they’d like for her to go home at.

To say I was relieved with how the day has gone is obviously a huge understatement, and the last nurse we spoke with described my little spitfire so perfectly I was crying listening to what my Spud had been up to!!

Obviously I’m really nervous about bringing her home (Will I be okay at the sight of her stump, because it won’t be bandaged at all? Will I feel suddenly sad about it? Will she be in pain? Will she try do too much now that broken leg has gone? Will she be especially vocal or miserable? What if it gets infected? etc etc etc) but mostly I just really can’t wait to see her and want to cuddle her forever.

It’s been absolute hell since she got injured…from being terrified she was badly injured, to struggling to keep a 5-8 month old puppy in anyway happy with strict crate rest, to freaking about amputation (risk, lack of knowledge, price, finding a willing vet etc), to getting it done and now the road to actual recovery…

I’m hugely excited for her, because she’s FINALLY gonna have her life back, but I’m understandably scared too. For the physical side and the mental side – she’s missed so much socialisation and was miserable for so long there’s no saying what kind of adult dog she will be, and this is a major concern and NOT something to be brushed off lightly.

I’m concerned about fears (from other dogs and animals to cars going past, loud noises etc) and anxious behaviours, and of course the physical side too – being a tripawd obvious puts more strain on the other limbs, although thankfully her small size should mean this isn’t as big an issue.

But the main thing is her life will be so much better. We just have to take the journey one literal step at a time!

And that’s my update. Now, bed awaits…

Part dog, part train

Oh Charley, if you’re going to shut down every time I talk to you on lead, how can I train you not to pull?!

Charley got some new gear today. A shock absorbing lead and a pretty harness πŸ™‚

Unfortunately he pulls EVEN WORSE in this harness, so back to the Ruffwear for us, and Sashie can have this one added to her collection πŸ˜›

He is such a pain in the arse with pulling. If I try interact with him on lead (even just to give him treats) he will shut down. He gets really freaked. So training him to walk nicely on lead is going to be a real ball ache. We also had to return the easy walk deluxe harness because it wasΒ hurting him as he walked!!

I’ve had the halti suggested a lot, but that will involve a lot of desensitisation :/

The second problem with his pulling is his obsession with cars. This boy was definitely a car chaser! So when I stop walking, either for the ‘tree’ method or to calm him, instead of reorienting him it just winds him up even more! He gets frantic about the cars going past and then as soon as you set off he’s bolted to the end and claws are scrabbling madly!!!

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Anyway.

We had a nice hike today πŸ™‚

We’ve had NO ACCIDENTS in the house today!! We’re making good progress with that.Β Charley is finally settling in the house OUTSIDE OF HIS CRATE and even when MY PARTNER IS IN THE OTHER ROOM!! Yay-yay-yay!

That’s pretty amazing πŸ™‚

He also met Kasper today (veeery briefly!), did more stuffs with Tolly. This evening we had two rooms of two – Kasper and Tolly with me in the kitchen, and Sasha and Charley in the living room on the other side of a baby gate haha!

She’s so pretty though πŸ™‚

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Sasha still looks huge even next to Charley πŸ˜„

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“My little sister is stoopid”

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Double recalls are fast becoming my favourite thing. Two happy bounding puppers running towards you is just bliss πŸ™‚ ❀

Fighting to be happy(er)

Yesterday was an incredibly awful day.

We had to say goodbye to one of our dogs. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer for a number of weeks, and had been poorly since before Christmas. His time had come and he was starting to suffer, with happy moments few and far between.

This is the last photo I took where you can’t really tell he was poorly…

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I don’t want to talk about it. We knew it was coming for several weeks and were constantly preparing ourselves, but nothing can really help you be ready and I didn’t even get to say a proper goodbye because on the way to the vets I started having seizures and couldn’t go!

He will be hugely missed. That little dog left a huge hole. We entirely spoilt him for the last month of his life and he lived off Lily’s Kitchen food, Fish4Dogs treats, Zooplus chews and all sorts…he’d lost not far off half his body weight by the end but even being so poorly he was excited to greet vet staff.

RIP baby boy, we love you so much ❀

Also yesterday, on a walk with Sasha and Tolly, Sasha ran full speed through a gap/style in a stone wall, and just started screaming. Oh, we thought we’d broken her leg and my heart sank!

I rushed over to her and just held her. I held her up, then kissed her head and just repeated “It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re okay, it’s okay”…she’d stopped after about a minute, and when I assessed her leg she was fine with me moving it and touching it.

We were 30 minutes from home which was a nightmare but thanks to a lucky bus timing we managed to get back. We tied her to the armchair and could already tell she was doing well, but still spoke with our vet. They said she would only need to go in if she was limping or showing lameness.

It was a truly terrifying experience and stressed me out about Raiden too, because it was all happening on the same day.

Sasha has healed really well, and although we’ve had a day of zero exercise and restricting movement indoors, there’s been zero signs of limping.

So.

I’m trying so hard to fight off mood episodes. Stress, loss and emergencies are all HUGE triggers for depressive episodes, so it’s very much inevitable, but I’m trying to minimize it by finding stuff that I enjoy.

I’m going to start scrapbooking, I’m writing a little again, I’m getting back into card making and soap carving. I’m fighting hard. I’m trying to do activities I enjoy and not do enough to make me anxious or feel overwhelmed…my awesome partner is happy to pick up the slack if I need a day or two off feeding and cleaning the pets.

Something else exciting, we had our first quail egg today!

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It’s such a tiny egg πŸ™‚

I’ve also bought an incubator in, so we can try hatch them!

I’ve only hatched poultry once, and that was about 9 years ago. We had 14 eggs and hatched 5 chickens; 4 boys and 1 girl!! I’ve never hatched quail, so I’m cracking down and doing my research. Incubator arrives on the 6th Feb, by which time we’ll hopefully have 6 eggs to pop in!

Of course it depends on if they are fertile or not, and I’d expect a 50-60% hatch rate even if all the eggs are fertile (heard the phrase don’t count your chickens…?!) but it would be cute and a fun experience πŸ™‚

Update done.

New walk: photography time!

We found another new walk, only this one was even better because it’s literally five minutes from our house πŸ˜€

It was actually Toller and my partner that discovered this new walk. Normally we follow a dirt track, and the walk’s about 20 minutes long. My partner climbed a trailΒ that takes you up the side of a hill and looks like it reaches a dead end by the train tracks.

In actual fact the path branches off to the left, and leads you to this beautiful open space…there are several different routes you can take and all sorts of things to see. It’s quickly become one of my favourite walks πŸ™‚

Pics to follow!

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I really, REALLY enjoyed taking and editing these photos, it made me so happy πŸ™‚

I will post the more Sasha-centred photos soon, and hopefully do an update on everything then too!

 

Kasper’s training / intro update!

Firstly let me say my seizures have been awful today and as a result I have all the symptoms of dissociating and feel physically unwell too, so forgive me if this post doesn’t read well or is jumbled!

In fact we were on a walk before, my partner had had Sasha on lead as I didn’t feel well enough, and after our off lead time I was walking back with Sasha. It’s been really foggy here, and a bloody car flashed me with full beams.

I had a seizure on / by the side of the road, and my partner had to manage both the puppies (as Toller was with us) and alert cars driving through the fog towards us to slow down.

I literally have no memory of today, I don’t remember anything. Not beginning to write this blog, not the walk, not the things we’ve done. Nothing.

Really weird feeling. Still feel completely odd now. But no seizure rage or despair, so yay πŸ˜‰

Anyway, Sasha has been with us for 10 weeks now, and Tolly for 6 weeks.

Kasper is 6.5 years old, and because he had a really horrible start in life and missed out on a lot of things, he still has lots of issues.

He doesn’t intro well to dogs. He is fine meeting dogs on walks and is actually very polite. He will tell bouncy young dogs or rude dogs to bugger off, but he does so in ways that are very socially acceptable, and if a pushy dog greets him (sniffing his face, towering over him etc) he will do his best to show the other dog he means no harm.

But intro’ing dogs into the house is a whole other ball park, and he’s a real arse!

When we introduced Zoey it wasn’t so bad, because Kasper was only 2.5 years old and still very puppyish himself. After several days growling, and with a hearty dose of counter conditioning, Kasper totally fell in love with Zoey.

The Raiden and Kasper intro was doomed from the start due to Zoey, and once Rey was past the puppy stage there was no way Kasper was befriending him. Rey is an extremely over-zealous dog, add to that the fact he’s not neutered and I don’t think Kasper would ever appreciate his company.

Kasper also immensely disliked Sasha from the start, I think because of her size. At 12 weeks old she was already BIG, and by about 15 weeks old she was the same size as Kasper. She was massive, but also a bouncy puppy, and Kasper couldn’t understand that.

Because his confusion lead to him being rude and OTT with play, we didn’t introduce them a lot in the house at all, and barely walked them together,Β until Sasha had socialised with lots of other dogs.

Once Sasha had met and interacted with lots of other dogs, we began intro’ing her and Kasper more. She was now extremely polite, less giddy / bouncy, and respectful. Now was the time her and Kasper could begin to develop a relationship, very slowly, and mainly by ignoring each other, other than the odd sniff and a play bow or two from Sasha πŸ™‚

With Tolly it was different yet again, as she was tiny.

Kasper welcomed Toller much more readily, but because he’s a rough greeter and player, he was too much for her tiny size. I had their greetings indoors in a small area, with Tolly on my lap. Everytime Kasper got too much I calmed him, and he learnt that self-handicapping meant the interactions continued.

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Fast forward to now, and where are we at??

Kasper can now be free reign in the living room with Tolly and Sasha. Tolly needs intense monitoring, as she will pester Kasper relentlessly. As he’s a resource guarder he needs his space around smells (obviously we don’t leave toys or food out) and obviously he also doesn’t appreciate a small puppy jumping up and hanging off his face repeatedly πŸ˜„

However when he’s in the right mood he plays beautifully with Toller. He lies down and self handicaps really well.

But the most improvement is with Sasha, and they can be together with no intervention necessary now. She is entirely respectful of him and never puts a foot wrong – she will ask a few times if he wants to play, understand when he says no, and let him rudely sniff her with no worries πŸ˜›

Kasper on his part seems to appreciate how polite Sasha is, and mainly leaves her alone, and even if she is walking about or playing with Tolly, he will ignore her. For a grumpy old man this is wonderful!

Pics!

(ignore my face, the flash triggers seizures)

I’m really proud of how well Kasper has done.

He does have issues that mean he has to be treated very differently from other dogs, so I really am proud of his progress and how he still tries so hard to accept things and live like a ‘normal’ dog πŸ™‚

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‘Arroooing’, which he is famous for πŸ™‚

Beautiful photos, beautiful walk

We had another adventure today, albeit a smaller one!

Our friend was coming over today, so as Sasha had a UTI a few days ago, instead of taking her somewhere indoorsy I suggested we go check out this beautiful walk I discovered a while back.

It’s a ten minute drive from our house. The drive there was beautiful, all fields and bogland, beautiful skies and mountains in the distance covered in snow. Truly amazing.

We parked up and started walking down this country lane to our destination. Sasha said hi to another puppy (18 weeks, smaller than her, looked maybe Rottie x Collie??) which was really cute πŸ™‚

We saw a gate leading to somewhere that wasn’t where we were aiming for, but ducked through anywhere just to explore. Oh my god guys, the views!!

It was so beautiful I almost cried. I was alsoΒ extremely grateful that I had brought my good camera. Used to be I’d take it on almost every walk, but I hardly use it at all these days as editing the photos is a trigger…risked it today, and I’ll forever have these beautiful photos as a reminder of a lovely day out πŸ˜€

I’m usually not that impressed with the photographs I take, but I actually really like a few of these. This next one makes me happy because it turned out exactly as I hoped it would!

Our friend and miss Sashie-poo on the cliffs

After exploring this area we clipped Sasha’s lead back on and retraced our steps back to the lane. Further down this lane I knew we could get onto the actual beach, and on the way there Sasha got to greet a little Westie too πŸ™‚

After another 10 minutes’ walk, we ducked around the side of a cattle grid and behold – the beach!

This place was extremely quiet to say how absolutely idyllic it is. I guess it is in the middle of nowhere, but it was so cool to have this beautiful beach to ourselves!!

Sasha was THE HAPPIEST dog ever, because she so loves off lead walks and she absolutely adores beaches, so it was cute. Really nice as it tied in with her turning 16 weeks old today too!

This photo makes me laugh SO MUCH!! How are *both* her ears standing directly upwards?! πŸ˜„

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Weird little plane in the sky

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Really nice little walk πŸ™‚

Video footage of the big clumsy cloud girl – a few of the latter clips are from a different walk yesterday, too ^__^

A chilled out kinda day

My sleep has been really sucky lately, I just can’t fall asleep or stay asleep – yay residual manic symptoms!!

This means I need to nap whenever I can, and feel so exhausted I can’t move for long stretches of time.

That, combined with the fact it’s a Saturday, meant we avoided leaving the village today and just worked on some in-house training, some fun nearby off lead walks, and some training on the walks. It was a really fun day πŸ™‚

I’m also having the best Saturday night ever. My partner is playing Rollercoaster Tycoon (ah the glory days of gaming bwahaha!) and I’m just chilling and watching, writing a blog, and snuggling a cloud girl ^__^

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I’m still not 100% sure on if Sasha is right for a SD prospect.

She is really flighty around people. It’s easy for people to say ‘give her time’ or ‘she could get over it’, but the truth is she is going to be an assistance dog, and the one thing you really don’t want her to have ANY discomfort around is people.

She will need to be utterly bombproof with people – people calling to her, talking at her, reaching for her, petting her, tugging her tail etc. It’s really important I get this across, at her age she shouldn’t be showing any fear of people, and the fact that she is is a huge red flag. I am waiting to talk to my trainer, and a trainer who has experience training SD, and I’ve joined several owner-trained SD communities too.

At the end of the day she is going to play a very important role in my life – she could even save my life. I need a dog that is confident and focused no matter what, and ultimately she will be going places that are going to be busy…with training she could learn to tolerate people, but this anxiety is NOT what you want in a SD prospect, and I have to put that first.

On today’s walk she ducked away and was anxious of a woman about 8ft away, because the woman spoke to her. Didn’t even move towards us or reach for her, just spoke to her. And she was uncomfortable with another boy playing football because he also spoke to her.

Her fear is not extreme, but it’s very much there. I don’t like calling it fear, because she’s not trembling or cowering…but she is flighty. She will move away, back away, her body language will be unsure etc.

If the people ignore her, 99% of the time she is fine, she will just focus on me or maybe have a quick watch and then heel when I ask. She can sit next to me as we talk to a stranger, but if someone tries to interact she gets spooked.

Never mind, she’s a lovely girl no matter what happens, assistance dog or not. And of course there’s still a very large chance it could all work out, but this is something to be aware of!

We’re exposing her to a lot of different things and a lot of different people – not interacting with them, but every time she calmly watches someone or chooses to focus on me, she is rewarded. It’s also confusing because she has greeted some people wonderfully, but most times that is when she chooses to say hi.

I want to ask other SD handlers and my trainer if they think I should be working with her around people but refusing to let them interact with her at all (so she can get used to being around them), OR if I should be trying to push her through her fear a little more.

Again, it is annoying because she was sold as being a very confident puppy perfect for this line of work, yet from the get go she was much more nervous than expected. I’m not sure if her breeder hid the truth or if Sasha was flooded / not socialised in the 4 weeks she spent in the previous home.

She’s perfect other than this flightiness though. She’s calm, she has great focus, she’s fun to train and I love to play and snuggle with her…we’re just going to have to see where this journey takes us, and see what other trainers and handlers advise.

In other news Sasha learnt ‘down’ finally today – OMB FINALLY!!

I hadn’t worked on it since Tuesday at puppy class, so today I just decided to give it a bash and used the same method I’d been using since we first brought her home…well, it finally clicked and she was doing downs reliably within a minute πŸ˜„

Six hours later she had forgotten, and was back to sitting and staring at me confused as I tried to lure her down, but she picked it up again. So relieved we finally cracked it, now to practise it a lot!!

And we popped both her ‘big girl’ harnesses on her today, just to make sure she continues to be comfortable having them put on and wearing them – she still has a lot of growing to do, but she’s going to look adorable in these πŸ™‚

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She got her first bed today too, she got so excited – as soon as we put it on the floor she started doing zoomies and play growling πŸ˜„

Since then she has lay on it a lot – we couldn’t actually move it to where we wanted it to go because she was always on it!

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“Hi hoomum, I love my new bed!”

Her first walk was hilarious today as she found a mud pool and was looning about playing in it. I expected her to be filthy but she actually wasn’t too bad.

I took more video footage on the walk – really need to edit and upload all this footage but it’s such a farce!

When we got back she was so tired she collapsed right away, and the fact she was sleeping upside down meant trimming her legΒ floof and wiping her paws down was very easy πŸ˜€

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Her second walk was really late due to messed up sleep. She got to practice heeling, recall, and generally staying close as we let her off lead down a lane of houses because it was late, then we went onto the football field again and had some crazy play and training. Lots of fun πŸ˜‰

I think we’re going to have another easy day tomorrow as it’s Sunday and town will be busier. I wish the roadworks didn’t mess up so many of our walks…they’re supposed to be finished in about a week and I CANNOT WAIT!