Guts……

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It is getting closer to Bonz being an amputee for two months.. Man all I can say is this guy has guts.. He is tough. I cannot imagine being blind and losing a leg but he just keeps pushing. He will not be stopped. He wants to walk.. he drags me around. Yes he gets tired and yes he misses a step and face plants but he gets right back up and starts barking or walking or whatever. I really admire this guy. I almost feel bad saying that as I am the reason he is blind and on 3 legs. It is like I am admiring him for persevering through what I put him through =/ . But yeah this guy.. just GUTS.

We went to the DR today for his post post surgical one moth follow up to his 2 week follow up lol …Got that? Dr Henderson is just a great guy. I feel like he really cares and talks to you. He is not just there to check the dog out and let you go. He sat there for 30 minutes asking me how Bonz was doing and listening to me gush all about how he is. Bonz lost some weight he said that was good. Bonz was being his frisky “you better get me the hell out of this place” attitude he always has at the Dr as he hates going more than anything. Which I have said before I cannot blame him. He has had his eyesight removed at the Dr.. a leg….emergency surgeries…he just wants to be in his yard.  Dr. Henderson asked if now we felt we made the right choice. I said OH YES!. He then said he had serious doubts before the surgery but now he sees Bonz and knows he is good.

I talked over Chemo with the Dr… We never did go back to the Oncologist. I kept telling myself that we needed to wait for the wound from surgery to fully heal and we did need to the Dr said so. So we did wait. But secretly I think I was glad it healed slow so I could think some more. The Oncologist said we can’t be 100% sure if it is the aggressive cancer or the slow because of no true biopsy. He said if it was the aggressive even with chemo it was a 50/50 chance it would come back somewhere else in Bonz in 6 to 9 months. Dr Henderson, though not an Oncologist, said that the median survival rates for the aggressive form was about 1 1/2 years.. compared to about a  year with non chemo. Basically he was saying in his professional opinion chemo was not gonna add much time compared to no Chemo. Chemo was not a cure. It was to prolong life. (Fighting tears) I do not want to give up but at the same time Bonz hates Dr’s.. he shivers to death when he goes and I feel like he just wants to live.. I think he is like me in that sense. He is OK in leaving as long as he can just live how he wants while he is here.

As I said I truly hate I feel like I will stick with this decision. That I am giving up and saying “OK CANCER HE IS YOURS” When I do not even know if he has cancer.. In reality though with his age and blindness and bad arthritis I do agree with the DR that in all reality We might have to take action before the cancer even gets to him. I just want to pull out all the stops.. I want him to live forever. I know that is dumb that in our minds we even think they will be here forever . But at times I feel that way about all my pups.

We are moving to a new house next week. a MUCH larger one.. twice size of ours now. With a new back yard and lots of space for him to roam and smell and bark.. I just don’t think I can handle taking him in every 3 weeks and watch him shiver and claw at the door at the Dr wondering “Good god what are they going to do to me now. what are they going to take from me”

I know the amputation was the right choice for us and for Bonz. He was not ready to go. He has so much life in him and he fought and he got through the surgery. Now I think if he could talk he would tell me “Dad I am ready to live.. and I am ready to stop just trying to not die.. let me live and enjoy the time I have with you be it 3 months or 3 years”

I just hope I am hearing him right.

 

 


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Days gone bye…..

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Well it has been almost a month since Bonzai had his amputation. A month this Friday to be exact. WOW…. It seems like it has been years lol.. Those first few weeks were very tough. Nowadays things are a lot more back to normal. I do not worry about harnesses around the house anymore or in the yard for that matter. He goes to the door and I open it and he goes out and does what he always does. He walks around and finds a spot and lays down. He does not wear T-shirts for drainage anymore. Though he looked darn cute in them. For the MOST part he is back to him.

I have found that he is more hesitant of walks. He wants to go out. I take all the other dogs first. He pretends he doesn’t hear me but by the time I get the other three walked Bonz decides he can’t resist the opportunity. He is eager to get to the front door but once out he starts to panic a little. He gets on the street and hops along. He is labored and he thuds so much I can’t begin to imagine at his age it does hurt him some. We do not go far. Maybe 200 or 300 feet. He would go farther but he tires out so fast that I have to carry him back home. So the short walks I think are more the limitation of me carrying him back to the house and right now 200 to 300 feet is my limit. I do take him for a short car ride when he gets back. I really need to get him a wagon or a stroller. Amazon had sold out of the BOOYAH stroller that I finally decided would work best for him. I think he would jump out of a wagon. I dunno. UGH! should of bought one before it sold out. It was just expensive. A wagon is cheaper but might not work. I know there are no wrong answers but the right one is sure hard to find sometimes.

Other than that I think he is better. He has pooped on the carpet twice if I do not get home at lunch. He did the same thing after he went blind as well. I think he will adjust.

I hope he is happy. I know the alternative was to put him to rest and give him his wings. To me that makes this time with him extra special time. He gets fresh fried hamburger patties to take his pills with.. He gets extra loves and kisses. I try my best to get him out on his short walks everyday. I bring him water so he doesn’t have to trump around as much. These are precious days that I can’t waste with him. I do not know what the future holds. I will admit that yes even though I know he is a puppy and puppys don’t live forever. It was not until the vet and the diagnosis that I truly felt it sink in that our time with our loved ones is not infinite. So make the best of it folks. Not that I have to tell anyone reading this that though 😉

All in the Family

Though this is about Bonz and his life as a newly knighted Tripod. I thought I would take a few moments to introduce you to his brothers and sisters. My wife and I have always been the best advocates we can for rescue groups and picking up lost kiddos on the streets and getting them back to their families when we can.   We have helped many along the way… and these are the stories of the ones that I guess you could say helped us.

 

This little guy is BUSTER. I say little. This is when we first got him he is a chunky monkey now. He was our neighbors dog. They went out of the Country for Christmas and left this little guy in the back yard by himself. They were supposed to be gone a week apparently but had problems getting back into the Country and ended up staying gone 6 months. We heard him barking the first few weeks but afterwards he gave up hope and retreated to his dog house do be depressed and alone. The lawn care people kept throwing him out food and water once every few weeks when they came by. Eventually he escaped the yard and we chased him around and finally caught him. He was with us about 3 months before they even came back.When the family came back the street kinda ganged up on them and said how horrible it was to leave a tiny 10 lb chihuahua mix outside in the rainy cold  of December and January and February. They said we could keep him. We were not really asking for permission lol. He was already chipped and tagged and licensed to us by then. We were surprised. We were always scared that Bonzai could not be around another dog. He usually attacks them. But he loved his little brother. They played and ran around all the time. We never realized how lonely Bonzai had been till we got busto.

saturday march 21 2009 006

 

Next we have MAGGIE. Ohh Maggie. a True turd in every sense of the word. I ran into Maggie in the parking lot of my office. She had a collar and and was running in and out of the street. I tried for forever to coax her to me. I finally had to call my wife from home. She came up and after about 2 hours we lasso’d her. She had a collar no tag. We walked around the neighborhoods with her. We put up signs everywhere. We posted online. Nothing . =/ . I swear it took her forever to warm up to us and let her personality show. Now that it shows we wish she would bottle it up. Man she is a handful. She eats EVERYTHING she is a total hoarder. Missing something? She either ate it or it is in her kennel. Socks, toilet paper, shirts, markers.. Eating a sandwich? Better keep it at chest level and keep your eye on it cause one false move and its out of your hand and in her mouth lol.

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Then we have PRINCESS. Princess was actually from a friend (ex friend now) of my wife’s at work. They left her outside on 4th of  July. (she hates fireworks) She jumped the fence and ran away. My wife (not the family) searched for Princess for days with signs and posts online with no luck. Finally the ASPCA called the family to say they had the dog. The husband would not even allow the wife to go drive and get it. He had a new PURE BRED PIT he was prouder of. So we drove the wife all the way across town to get princess. When we got there we were told she had been hit by a car and her leg shattered in 10 places. The family wanted her put down. We told them we would raise the money and pay for treatment. They let that poor girl suffer for a week with that leg before even taking her to a vet.  They were not going to pay for the amputation but we offered. My wife even found a foster family for recovery. So they turned Princess over. Well my wife never to be out done felt just amputation would not suffice. She raised the money on Facebook for $3000 to get the leg fixed within 48 hours =) . Upon hearing the dog would be fixed the family that gave her up threw a fit and wanted their dog back. Now that it was not going be be crippled nor would they have to pay for it they wanted her. NOPE TOO BAD SOO SAD.  We tried Princess with a foster home but she unfortunately does not do well with aggressive alpha dogs =/ . So with us she stayed.  It has been tough as Bonzai being very ALPHA and nervous as it is her and Bonzai have gotten into it twice resulting in emergency Surgery for Bonzai. He is tough but being blind he just could not get the better of her. So they can never be together in the same room which has it’s challenges and I hate that it is unfair to both of them but I try to keep telling myself that in reality these two pit mixes with aggression issues would of been put down and never had a chance at life.

 

I mean seriously who could ever give up on this face?

Below is also her bionic leg with the external fixators on it . They were unable to put internal plates in as her skin was too thin. So 6 months of her running around with pins sticking out. Still cannot get over the irony of having to spend thousands to save her leg only to spend thousands the next year to remove Bonzai’s. The universe is a strange place.

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One week out.. Top 10 things we have learned

Well one glorious week from surgery and I wanted to publish things we have learned that might help others along the way.

1. Tshirts.. you can never have too many. The drainage from his wound has us changing his tshirt every HOUR.

2. Towels.. Cause the drainage soaks through the shirt and all over the sofa and bed and carpet lol.

3. Bed sheets. Did I mention the drainage soaks through the shirts? Well it goes through the towels as well.

4. Laundry detergent. Man that is a lot of shirts and towels and bed sheets to wash.

5. You could never imagine how a picture of dog doodoo sent to your phone with the words “HE POOPED” can make you smile with relief =P

6. The vet will hate you with the 214 “Can you have the Dr call me” calls to check in to see if something is normal.

7. If we ever do this again we will check the weather first for the upcoming week. The rain and mud have truly been a night mare.

8. You would think nobody would be scared of a 3 legged blind dog but when he growls if we move him we jump lol.

9. Us and him BOTH are tired of eating the meatballs we have to hide his pills in.

10. Though the week was hell. the mud and rain and cold was nasty and the exhaustion at times for us and him was hard to fight through. To see the rain clear. To see the sun come out. And to see the boo feel the sun on his face. To find HIS normal spot on the grass and see him smile as we have seen him done every day for the last 8 years gives us great hope that though rough. He would thank us for helping him.

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Blame it on the rain… Please feel free to sing along

Second day home... First steps =)
Second day home… First steps =)

 

Well first few days home for our new Tripawd alumni Bonz Bonz. So I guess since he is new to the amputee fraternity this is pledge week. Otherwise known to you Tripawd veterans as HELL WEEK and it has not had issue living up to it’s name so far. Going into our third night with Bonz home and I think over those 3 days we have a combined 4 hours sleep between us. My hats off to you Tripawd veterans and your kiddos. You guys have earned your stripes. We have been down for the count soo many times the last few days but at least those days have given us some rays of hope that we made the right decision.

The first night was the worst.. When they say it rains it pours and it did pour… Bonzai has never been one to be comfortable in a strange bathroom. Heck when I moved I do not think he went to the bathroom even a tinkle for 3 days. What can I say he is a creature of habits and stubborn as a mule. So I knew that he had not gone to the bathroom since we took him in for surgery and apparently the stress and anestesia brought out some intestinal issues with diarrhea. So in 38 degree weather… in POURIN RAIN…In a back yard already mud and much and 2 inches of water from a weeks worth of rain we went outside with a towel under the boo. And then we went again about 30 minutes later.. And again and again and again.All night long!! Shoes were ruined.. Carpets were soaked with mud. We were exhausted as I know boo was as well.  But in those moments came our first sign of happiness and hope when he peed for the first time. It was a huge deal. Bonzai does his own thing in the yard. He pees alone he eats alone. He growls otherwise. He is a proud pooch who handles his business. I know how embarrassed he must of felt out there suspended in a beach towel standing in water under the rain cause he hates getting wet more than anything. But he did not growl when we helped. He had to go soo bad.. It must of been such a relief to him and for us for  n that yard wet, covered in mud, frustrated, we all three realized we were on our way to recovery.

The rain has continued. The diarrhea as well. The mud worse from constant trampling by me and the wife and Bonz. The little “pooch bombs” that can’t be seen at 3am. We endured. Then after exhastion another little Miracle. We thought Bonzai was passed out on the bed after a night of exhastion going to the bathroom. We heard a jingle. We looked in the room with a gasp to watch him jump off the bed and stagger out the door into the living. OMG! he can walk!. Yes it was shakey and yes it was scary but just 2 days after surgery he is up! He is scared. He is in pain. He is stoned out of his mind. But that is not gonna keep that stubborn boy down. Over the last day it has even gotten better. THE RAIN STOPPED =) . It got warmer. He now  fights to go to the door  to just go sit on the patio not just to go to the bathroom.

T-Plus 3 day… feels like a lifetime

WOW.. what a four days for us and our family. Just a whirling pool of stress and anxiety and RAIN.. Oh yes RAIN GOD AWFUL RAIN.

I would like to start by saying thank the good lord my wife finally got here… She was supposed to be here for the drop off at the surgeon Friday morning.. Unfortunately American Airlines had different ideas.. Her flight was delayed and delayed and delayed and eventually cancelled for Thursday. I did not want to drop off Bonz at the Dr alone. She told me to be strong. I did not want to be the strong one. I wanted her there for her to be that job. I wanted to cry. I wanted Bonz to know it was the hardest decisions I ever made in my life. I didn’t want to hold it together and drop him off and tell the girl at the front desk “OK great thanks. I will talk to you later” And leave him there like laundry at the cleaners. I did though. I did OK. I managed to make it to the car before crying my head off… Later I tried to call the Dr.. He said he would do X-rays before surgery to see if he saw any spreading of the cancer. If he did there would be no surgery we had decided. I think the call was more of a last ditch attempt by me to take it out of my hands. To make me not have to make the decision to take his leg. To have the Dr say “well no it has spread. I am sorry. Surgery is  a bad idea. When I called though to remind about the X-rays the nurse said they had done X-rays. They proceeded with surgery  and removed the leg and the Dr would be calling me shortly.

I was on my way to the airport when the Dr called. My wife had gotten a flight coming in Friday. The Dr said the surgery went very well. I was still very nervous. Bonzai would stay the night there. I understood but hated it. He would be scared, but I knew he would be too much for us to handle at home even if awake. My wife’s flight got delayed in Dallas on a layover. Then delayed again. Then again.. UGH here he go again. We eventually had to get her switched to a different airport. So Friday was spent all day sitting in my car trying to figure out WHERE she would land and when. I guess in a way it was better. I was stressed over the flight and Bonz , though present in my mind, Was on the backburner while I tried to get my wife home

Saturday morning we went to get Bonz. He had not seen mommy in a month because of her being out of town caring for grandma. Oh boy he was happy. His tail went nuts.. They said we could open the kennel and he pulled himself out by crawling before we could even stop him. They said he could stay till Monday but they did not have overnight people stay and that worried us. So we brought him home. I will save that post for the next one though.

 

 

2 days left to go

Hi everyone this is Bonzai. Daddy left the computer open so I thought I would write a post since he is is pretty stressed out.  He is trying his best to decide what is right for me. I know everyone tells him whatever choice he makes will be right. I have told him that too. I know he will do what is best for me. He always has.

He took me for a walk last night. I have not been on many lately because I can’t even go 500 feet from the house without my leg hurting soo bad that I have to hobble. Last night was no different. He only wanted to take me on a short walk to try out this new harness he got me for after surgery.I didn’t like it at first. Mainly because daddy could pick me up and turn me around in it lol. He tried to take us home pretty quick but I wouldn’t let him. My leg was hurting bad but I love my walks and I pulled him the entire way around our regular walk. Those walks really take it out of me because of the pain so afterwards daddy gave me my pain pills and I went to sleep.

Daddy called the Dr today. I heard him ask the Dr all kinds of stuff about the surgery. I am glad I don’t understand human words cause it looked really upsetting to daddy and he cried a lot. Daddy said Mommy was coming back into town for the surgery. I am glad. I miss Mommy. She has been gone a month taking care of Grandma.. Grandma has cancer like I do. Though her’s is in her brain and lungs. Mommy will get to go to the Dr with me Friday. They are both soo worried about me. Not as nearly as worried as I am.. Well not yet at least. I hate the Dr and I get very upset when I am there. Daddy says I have to stay the night. I do not know what that really means but I just hope it doesn’t mean I have to stay there long.  Dad said we had to skip the walk tonight cause it’s really cold and windy out but he promised to take me tomorrow.

 

T-minus 11 days to the toughest decision of my life

It all started about a month ago on a walk.. Bonzai LOVES walks.. He totally commands them. You will move when he says move and you will return home once HE says he is finished…. He tried to step up on the curb and let out a YELP. He was limping a little going home. I thought for sure he had twisted something in his front left leg.. Within a day or two his elbow was huge.. his limp now very noticeable as he would not put any weight on his leg at all. Once again I thought for sure he had torn a ligament. Googling my best I felt it was concerned. We scheduled a trip to the vet.

The vet concurred from our story it was probably just inflammation, arthritis even. We were given NSAIDS and sent home and told to come back in a week if no improvement. A week went by and his elbow was the same to we took him back to the Vet. The vet did some x-rays and said it looked normal as far as the joint. He said to keep him on the NSAIDS for another week and if no success we would need to see a specialist.

Queue the specialist. It did not take the orthopedic Dr long at all to give us the news. He tried to drain the liquid and said it was a soft mass. He did not seem to have much doubt it was cancer.. He said we could amputate. He said thought it would spread . He said at age 11 Bonzai was a little older but that he did not see any reason Bonzai could not handle it. You see Bonzai hates the Dr so even at 11 when he is in that exam room he is full of spit and vinegar. The Dr referred us to an Oncologist as the next plan of action.

We met with the Oncologist the following day. He did a biopsy and x-rays. He said he could not see it had spread. He said it would be amputation and chemo for 6 months. He said the likelyhood that Bonz would get cancer again somewhere in the next 9 months was about 50/50 . he said he felt even with amputation the survival would be 1 to 2 years and he seemed very optimistic about that. He said bonz had energy and he felt that even blind.. Yes Bonzai is completely blind. He suffered detached retinas due to pressure 3 years ago.  That even blind he did not see the dog would have any problems adapting to 3 legs. He said he felt age would not matter either. That Bonzai was strong.  He said amputation would be $3000… Chemo about the same….He gave us options of just doing chemo without amputation but said there was not much of a chance it would work.

Heartbroken we left with our options….Though money should never be a decision with those we love we still had to discuss it. We went to our local Vet to see if we could get the amputation done at a price we could actually afford. He could not do it but his colleague could.. $1500.. We trust them. They have done surgery several times on Bonz before. We breathed a little relief. We could AFFORD the procedure.  The Dr even gave us some Tramadol to help with pain. The specialists had not. Maybe the specialist knew more. Maybe they knew the Tramadol would not do much. That it was pointless, but it felt like were were at least doing something for Bonz so it helped us at least. Our Dr said he felt Bonz had life. That dogs tell us when they are ready to go and by Bonz trying to pull me out the door he was only try to say GET ME OUTA HERE. lol. He said Bonz had life.

We went to see our Dr’s colleague for pre-op. We had a plan. We had 3 Dr’s saying they felt Bonz would be a candidate. We were scared but we had hope.. Dr Henderson the surgeon was nice. He was sooo nice. He really took time with us. He said by looking at x-rays Bonz had arthritis in his right Front leg.. He told us he worried about this. He said the arthritis would get worse. He said if it were his dog he had no clue what he would do because it was that tough of a decision. He said there was no way of knowing at Bonz’s age with his arthritis and the fact it was a front amputation if he would do OK.

UGH!. It had taken almost a month to pull ourselves out of this valley of heart ache. To feel we had no hope and then find just enough to think we were going to do the right thing. Now were we? Would we put him through this amputation and then see him struggle with arthritis to the point we then have to put him to sleep a few months later? The fact that he is blind? Not one of the 4 Dr’s had any experience with a blind amputee. Yes Dogs adjust put poor Bonz already struggles as is with his lack of sight. ….

We scheduled the Surgery. The Vet said no harm in that. So now we wait.. Wait until the 9th to decide if we take him in or not. Talking ourselves in and out and in and out of surgery till our head aches from the tears. He is in pain. I cannot see him living like this. I know it is either surgery or a much worse decisions very soon.

 

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