It was a slow decline. In the Fall of 2018, Berlyn started to limp on her back leg. It seemed like a sprain and I grew up with dogs so I know that when they push themselves too hard, just like people, they can be a little sore afterwards.
Especially with Berlyn. This dog NEVER stops playing. Just to give you an example, I was throwing a ball into a lake over and over again and she kept jumping in to chase after the ball… it got to the point where I thought, “Oh crap, I might need to swim out and rescue my dog because she’s so tired she can’t swim back to shore.” Don’t worry, she made it back just fine, but I took that as a very loud hint that the only way she was going to sit and rest is if I told her to, never mind listening to her own body.
The was limp persistent though. She would seem better and I would see her chasing Half-Tail (our resident squirrel with yep, half of a tail) up and down the fence-line like nothing was bothering her, but an hour later, she could hardly stand up. Like I said though it was a slow decline. With dogs like Berlyn that just keep going and will push through any pain, it was so hard to tell if this was something she would heal from on her own or not.
After Christmas we decided to take her to the vet to ease our minds with a professional opinion and see if any medical intervention was required. The vet agreed that it was probably a sprain and gave us an eight week time table. His prescription was on a leash for potty and lots and lots of rest. We all crossed our fingers that this sprain would heal itself.
I grew up on a farm and have had MANY different types of animals. None of them have had an injury that lasted as long as this. We did have a cat with asthma, but other than that.. Clean bills of health. Knock on wood. So the soon-to-be frequent vet visits was going to be new territory for me.
By the time eight weeks was up, unfortunately the limp was still there. In fact, the muscles in her hips were starting to atrophy from the lack of activity. It was time to go back in and talk about further testing.
Berlyn is the first dog that I’ve truly called my own. I was a cat person growing up if I had to choose, but from the moment I saw that wiggly ball of fur in the shelter, Berlyn became my baby before my actual baby. Rousey, my other pup, is too. But Berlyn gets the spotlight today. My baby was hurting and needed help.
Fast forward two months and a couple of checkups and physical tests later… it was determined Berlyn had a clean ACL tear. The anatomy terms are different in dogs, but for lack of a knowing that term, her ACL was torn. I think you might see where this is headed.
Yep, our only option was surgery.
Well that’s terrifying!!
Did I mention that I have had more pets than I can count in my life (I’m only 28) and Berlyn is the FIRST pet that I have had that needs a medical intervention such as this. We had no other choice though. Berlyn is only seven years old and hopefully has many more years left to enjoy jumping into a lake after a tennis ball. Our wallet was already burning a hole in my pocket when we were told how much the bill would be, but again, our pup was hurt and needed help.
August 5, 2019 was the day we marked our calendars, and inside I was a nervous wreck. I mean come on! Even though I was told that this surgery is literally the only thing that this surgeon does (and based on his lack of availability I’d say he’s well off), it’s still a surgery!! I mean, they don’t call them “accidents” if they are planned, am I right?! Not everyone or everything makes it out of surgeries since everyone reacts differently. I had to stay positive though as I dropped her off and left in the hands of this surgeon. The eight hour countdown began…
About midday I got a call from the vet and when he told me, “Everything went well and we are now going to monitor her through the rest of the day”. The weight of the anxiousness that I was holding onto lifted.
Berlyn was ok and the from the moment I got to the vet’s office it was extremely evident to me that this recovery was going to be unlike anything else I’ve had to work through with a pet. We were given a time table for milestones to hit and follow up visits to schedule. It was hard. It broke our hearts that Berlyn had to stay in a crate except to go outside on a leash to go potty, but both Bryan and I were on the same page that we HAVE to get this recovery plan right to the best of our ability. It helped that the giant credit card charge in our face was reminding us that if we get careless with this recovery… well, let’s just say the balance won’t be going down anytime soon. So the leash became our best friend. And let me tell you! The amount of dog poop bags that we have gone through!!
During the recovery period, there is no playing. So what do you do when you have another healthy pup that wants to play with her sister if we walk her to the backyard to go potty? She wants to play and jump on her. Ya no. So in our effort to get this recovery right the first time, we took Berlyn in the front yard to go potty and Rousey could have the backyard. It was a lot of shuffling, but it worked.
We’ve always been good about cleaning up dog poop in the backyard, but if we’re now using the front yard multiple times a day, we had a poop bag on hand at all times. Also, I swear Berlyn pooped EVERY SINGLE TIME I took her outside and when we began the gradually increase walk time and distance around the neighborhood, without fail she would poop twice on every walk.
I mean, if she is going doing her duty twice on every walk, I’m not going to hold a full dog poop bag to wait for her to poop again only to try to handle two poops in one bag! I’ll just use another bag, no big deal. *P.s. The five year old in my house talks about poop on the daily so let’s keep talking about poops too! It’s normal right?? Haha!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you know that my family has made it our mission to make our home as close to zero waste and plastic-free as possible. It’s one way that I feel like we can make a dent in all of the waste that eventually all ends up in the ocean. I’ve tackled toilet paper and paper towel alternatives, but the need for what seemed like endless poop bags at the time prompted me to start looking for eco-friendly/plastic-free dog poop bags.
I tested ALOT of poop bags on our walks. To see which dog poop bag came out on top and to start reducing your plastic footprint with your dog poop bags, click HERE.
Now that we’ve figured out which dog poop bag will get the job done during the rest of Berlyn's recovery and for all dog walks in the future, let’s fast forward to December 2019.
Berlyn is finally out of her crate and CRUSHING every goal that the vet throws our way! At her last appointment, her injury was 99% healed and we were given the go ahead to start running in a straight line. Still no unsupervised backyard time since those pesky squirrels are always looking for something to tease, but we are on our way!
But YAY! BERLYN! BERLYN! BERLYN!!! :)
Bottom line, Berlyn is doing so good!! Crushing goals and will soon be chasing Half Tail again.
What I wish for you if you have to go through a similar situation, is that this blog post offered you a little bit of encouragement as you nurse your pup back to health. I get what you are going through! If you want more in depth details about Berlyn's recovery and the steps we took to get to where we are now, DM me on my main blog page HERE.
*Disclaimer, I'm not a vet so what we did may not work for everyone and consult your vet for your dog's recovery plan. I'm here to offer support along the way though!
Otherwise, even if you have a strong and healthy dog, you should be using an eco-friendly dog poop bag option. I mean think about it. It doesn’t make sense to put something that will decompose (poop) in a plastic bag that will not decompose. Head over to Part 2 of this blog post HERE where I discuss what thekyliebee's brand of choice is and why it has come out on top.
Click HERE to subscribe to my blog for stories about what life throw's our way. Also, for future zero waste, sustainable, and plastic-free alternatives to products that we use everyday.
Until next time,
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