Guinness and the TPLO – Part II

Bringing Guinness to the Veterinary Hospital wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but it was still an emotional day. Guinness was excited to go for a ride in the car, and limped outside. He climbed up into the back seat of my car, eager for some window snorting. I won’t let him stick his head out the window, but I cracked it so he could enjoy the onslaught of smells from the road. Seeing as how all this transpired at 6:30am, I could not have cared less about the drool on my normally spotless windows. I am not a morning person, which also explains why I forgot my sunglasses. I did get to enjoy the sound of my retinas sizzling as I watched the sun rise directly over the highway for an hour.

He enjoyed the ride down more than I did, and even got excited when we walked into the hospital. Everything was fine until I took his collar off and they put the hospital leash on him. That’s when he realized what was happening. Guinness then turned his head and mashed it between the wall and me. I swear he was trying to crawl into my pocket. I grabbed his big head, gave him some kisses and told him that he was a good boy. I told him that we loved him, and I rubbed his ears the way he likes. He wouldn’t budge when it was time for him to go, so I had to pretend that I was going with him to get him up and moving. I felt like a jerk, but it had to be done. Sometimes being the daddy is no fun at all. I didn’t like leaving with his collar in my hand. It reminded me of putting Cozy to sleep.

The vet called us at about 11:00am to tell us that Guinness was out of surgery and that everything went fine. We called again that night and the tech told us that he was being stubborn, but who could blame him? He was alone, scared, in pain and on a fair number of drugs. He spent the night there, and we arranged to pick him up at 3:00pm the next day.

I rented a minivan for the trip, and bought the biggest, most comfortable looking bed I could find. Meghan and I went into the exam room where they delivered a dizzying amount of information, gave us three bottles of pills, and then brought Guinness in to see us. When I got on the floor and said, “Hi Guinness”, his tail wagged just a little bit. He was clearly not himself, but he knew it was me. Finally someone had come to save him from his ordeal.

One of the vet techs had his belly in a nice sheepskin sling with a handle. She held his rear end up and Guinness walked what had to be 30-40 yards to the car. The whole time he had his head down with his determined “I want to go home” look as he walked the entire distance without stopping. When we got to the van I put his front legs up and the tech lifted his back legs up using the sling. He got into the bed and collapsed, exhausted.

He was a good boy the entire hour-plus ride home. He didn’t cry once, and spent the entire ride in his comfy bed. Getting him out of the van would prove to be quite a challenge though.

Guinness could sit up, but he refused to put any weight on either of his rear legs. For over an hour we tried to get him out. I moved the van next to the hill in our yard, I put the ramp up, I slung a towel under his belly, and we tried all three doors in the back of the van. No dice. The temperature was just over 20° Fahrenheit, and it was no fun being outside. Through the entire ordeal I left the van running with the heat on to keep his naked butt warm. Finally I parked the van so that the side door was up against our garage door, which seemed to entice him a bit. I dragged the edge of the bed such that his front paws spilled out onto the ground, and that got him motivated. With the towel under his belly I picked up his rear legs and he walked the short distance through the garage into the family room where he sat down, exhausted once more. We told him he was a good boy and that he could sit anywhere he wanted.

His butt looked like a plucked turkey. Of course we picked the coldest week since the ice age to have him be half naked, so if we ever do get him outside, we can worry about his bare skin in the terrible cold. In the meantime, we settled for taking pictures.

After we got him settled I needed to return the rental van, so I picked up a couple of pizzas for us. I figured that since pizza crust was his favorite food, we could use the crust to hide his pills. When he refused even pizza crust, we knew we had a serious problem. While he did have a patch on his side delivering narcotics, he has six other pills that he needed to take a couple of times a day. Clearly this was going to be an uphill battle.

The beach-towel sling that I’d used so well on vacation was not working at all this time. Since we couldn’t get him outside, he had peed himself a couple of times, and he was pretty upset about that. All he wanted was to pee outside in order to be a good boy. Guinness broke our hearts as he dragged his butt across the floor and pulled himself into the comfy bed. We tried to help, but he was too stubborn for charity.

Lauren impressed me by jamming the pills into the back of his throat. I didn’t trust him enough to stick my hands in there, but he didn’t hurt the Mommy. Thanks to her persistence, he finally had his medication. At 11:00pm he had eaten a few licks of chicken soup, and had plenty of water. With the drugs in his system he finally relaxed.

Lauren slept with him the first night. Every time he moved she woke up, but he never whimpered or appeared to be in pain. He did drag himself to other spots in the room, and Lauren woke up on the floor with him, but didn’t remember getting down there with him.

In the morning, Lauren tried to get him eat and take his pills. Guinness clenched his teeth together so that she couldn’t get her fingers in his mouth, and he still refused to eat. With the continued stress, poor Lauren started to cry. As she sat there with the tears rolling down her cheeks, Guinness—grumpy, embarrassed, frustrated and still in pain—leaned out and kissed her face. He’s still a Newfy after all.

One thought on “Guinness and the TPLO – Part II

  1. Gad,
    Paula and I can so relate to what you and Lauren and Guiness are going through. But it does get a little better every day. It broke my heart the day we brought Murphy home after his surgery. He’d lay there and cry and look at me those big brown eyes wanting me to make it better. It took several days for the residual effects of the anesthetic to completely wear off. We learned that their pain threshold is much higher than ours. Hang in there, in the end you will rejoice to see him able to walk again.

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