Not as naughty as he looks

Since Leo is 100 pounds and leash reactive, I often assume he will be perceived as scary. He proved otherwise to me during this past month.

At the end of October, he started limping. I had to leave him at the vet for a couple of hours while they X-rayed him. I worried that he’d whine or cry or bark from the kennel while he waited his turn, but I’m told he did not. Everybody seemed totally crazy about him.

The bad news was that he had torn his cruciate ligament and needed TPLO surgery. I had never heard of this surgery before, but apparently it’s very common, and there’s a 50% chance he’ll need the surgery on his other leg too!

I took him in for the surgery two days later. A brand new place, brand new doctors. They loved him. When the surgeon called me to tell me he was in recovery, she said, unprompted, “I like him,” in such a wistful way I knew she meant it. She doesn’t say that about all the German shepherds.

After his sutures came out, we had a consult for underwater treadmill therapy and the new vet asked if our other dog is as mellow as Leo. Ha! The other dog (Mia) is the mellow one! And here a little video of him on the treadmill a week later.

TPLO surgery is serious business with a long recovery period. Leo has been a total champ. He wore the cone for two weeks without complaint, and hangs out in his crate quite comfortably. He did have a few snarly incidents (fights, if I’m honest) with Mia, triggered by his barrier frustration (vision blocked by cone plus separation with a gate), disorientation from pain meds, and pain. It’s been a few weeks since the last skirmish, so I think that’s behind us.

He’s been walking on the new knee since day one, which has led me to be too cavalier about confining him. I let him get up on the couches, because he’s tall enough to climb up without jumping. But that also leaves him with access to jump on the couch when delivery people come to the door.

And at one point while Rob was decorating the backyard for Christmas, Leo raced toward the back door, sliding across the wet floor, his legs splayed out on both sides—exactly what they told us we didn’t want to happen.

So there have been a lot of times this past month where my heart rate has spiked and I felt like the worst nurse ever. If you ask the people in my TPLO support group on FB, I might be the naughty one for not following the strict directive to confine him and keep him away from furniture.

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6 thoughts on “Not as naughty as he looks

  1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about his injury and surgery. When Mr. N had his dental surgery, we had to up his meds because he was so stir crazy. I hope he heals fast!

  2. So glad for the successful surgery and recovery. But I understand the guilt. I fostered some dogs recuperating from surgery and it was tough to keep them as quiet as needed for recovery.

    As for Leo–well, of course he’s sweet. But it’s also interesting to see how others see our dogs. When we work so hard with our dogs to help their behavior or temperament, it can be tough to see them for exactly who they are beside the behaviors we work with. And sometimes, they behave very differently around strangers.

    While I would never wish an injury on any dog, it sounds like you got an interesting chance to see Leo as others see him.

  3. Looks like he’s doing remarkably well! What a good patient! I hope Leo continues to thrive.

  4. I’m so glad it’s gone so well!! It’s tough to keep them quiet when they don’t want to be, and it sounds like there was no damage done by that sliding incident, I hope?
    Thanks for joining the hop!

  5. I’m glad that the surgery has gone so well! I know how hard it is to be a good nurse–I caved on keeping Rye separated from Soth after his surgery after about 48 hours. It was supposed to be two weeks, but they were both miserable without each other. Isn’t it nice when our pups surprise us by being so good when we expect otherwise? Thanks for joining the hop!

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