As reported in my earlier blog in January 2016, Rockie is a dog that I first encountered during a Tails of the Trails hike at Williamson County Animal Center. He is a Feist mix that loves walking. The only drawback is that he lifts his rear, right leg off and on during those walks. After a consult at Nashville Vet Specialists (NVS), Rockie underwent surgery to repair a luxating patella (a kneecap that would move in and out of place thus causing the limp to come and go). We are now six weeks into his eight week rehabilitation period and I’m happy to report first and foremost that Rockie is doing AMAZING!
Let me paint the picture of his rehabilitation period: he has been restricted in his movements, not allowed to run, jump, climb stairs, play with other dogs, jump on furniture or any other movements that would deter his healing process.
For the first two weeks, he had to wear an E-collar (also known as an Elizabethan collar) around his neck so he didn’t lick or bite his surgery incision. Though somewhat cumbersome, he did great with the E-collar and more than tolerated it. After a follow-up exam at NVS, his surgical staples were removed because the incision had healed so well and he was no longer required to wear the E-collar—freedom! To keep him confined and away from the other dogs in my house, Rockie got a “man cave” of his own in my bedroom, a portion of the room sectioned off by a crate and plywood walls. He has been allowed to be out of his man cave during bathroom breaks and feeding only.
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My initial concern was that he would be going stir crazy being confined so much. He’s a young, energetic, happy dog who loves people. Yet, he spends most of his days in this confined area with only a 12 foot space to move around. I engage his mind with food puzzles, food-stuffed toys and the like. It’s said that if you engage a dog’s brain in these types of behaviors, you wear the dog out mentally and that can be four times more exhausting than physical activity. Even with that, I was still concerned his desire for activity would far outreach his imposed restrictions.
One of the amazing aspects of Rockie is his ability to stay in the confined area without being hyper, destructive, or other such behaviors. He also doesn’t complain when he has to go back into his area after bathroom and feeding breaks. When he is out, he is the snuggliest, happiest, most affectionate dog you can imagine. He’s my kind of dog. He loves it when I sit on the floor with him. He snuggles in my lap and laps up all the love and petting I give him. He allows me to gently rub his healed incision to stimulate blood flow to the area. In addition, he loves to chew on bones which has the benefit of releasing his energy while keeping him off of his feet.
My fears of an emotionally and physically pent-up dog who needs sedation have not come to fruition. He’s been the easiest foster I’ve ever had and has endured this time with happiness, contentment, and willingness to accept all the restrictions necessary. I’ve learned a lot from his example; to not grumble so much when I go through a tough situation. For that he’s a true champion.
He continues to be a delight and brings such a smile to my face. I look forward to two weeks from now when x-rays show him healed and ready for action!
Stay tuned to this blog for updates on Rockie’s next consult with NVS which will determine if the activity restrictions can be lifted and what the future holds for him.