August 21, 2007

Murphy's First Snow - Feb 2007

August 18th - 1 Year Anniversary (Rt Knee)

Today marks the first anniversary of Murphy's first TPLO (his right leg)and despite the months we all spent living in our laundry room, it wasn't long after he was cleared by his vet that we started to see the benefits of his new knees.

Shortly after Christmas he was able to literally walk up onto the couch, which was something that he simply couldn't do before. He had always needed help w/ his backside, or would need to get a running start. We were amazed at how strong his legs were for him to 'walk' up onto the couch so gracefully.

The winter season in Washington DC was very mild and we didn't have a lot of snow. Rob was able to take Murphy out into the field and play fetch w/ him for the first time at the beginning of Feburary. He started out by making Murphy sit while he threw the dummy out. Then he would give Murph the command to "Fetch it up!" Doing it this way ensured that Murphy wouldn't "cut" while running and possibly twist his knees.

By the time our first snowfall of the season came on Feburary 25th, both Murphy's knees were strong. We all went out and enjoyed his first snowfall by making snowballs and snowmen. Murphy was a riot running around, barking, jumping, and carrying on. By the end of March not only was he back to playing fetch on a daily basis, he was running faster, and playing longer than he EVER did before his surgeries.

Now, one year later, the only hint that he ever had surgery is the bowing of his right leg when he walks. We still think that it was put back together crooked but what can we do? We don't want to have it fixed because it doesn't seem to bother him. He tears around the yard chasing his cousin and hurdles the bushes to chase the little yap-yap dogs up and down the fence next door. He has yet to limp once since either of his surgeries, and never seems to tire out.

He still sits with one leg kicked out, and now walks bow-legged. The only thing that probably bothers him is our nicknames of "Kickstand" and "Crooked-leg". All things considered, we are happy with the outcome of the surgeries. Getting to see how happy he is playing fetch pain fee is worth every penny we spent.

January 4, 2007

January 4th - Murphy's Birthday

Today Murphy turned 3 years old; it also marks week 11 of his recovery from his TPLO on his left leg. He is doing wonderful, and we couldn't be more pleased with his overall recovery.

December 16th was a big day for all of us, it was Murphy's first trip up any stairs in 4 months, and it was the first night that he was able to sleep in our bed. He went to sleep almost immediately and snored contently.

We had visitors over the holidays which included his favorite pal Sadie, a Golden Retriever. He was so excited to have company. The two dogs played and played. His favorite game with Sadie is still tug, and after we moved all our non-skid rugs onto every opening in the dining room, they were able to have a blast without being yelled at.Murphy even figured out how to get up onto the couches without using his new steps. He is able to just step up onto them, no jumping, and no frantic clawing with his back legs, just one big step. I know that it sounds so simple, but before the surgery that task was anything but graceful. We aren't sure if it is a benefit from the surgery and that he is more limber, or if he's just figured out how to do it correctly. Either way, he's looking pretty graceful.

We still haven't let him do any running, but maybe in a few weeks. He's starting to get some of his muscle back in hind legs from all his walks and stair usage. Rob is excited because with all the walks from the past 4 months, he has finally gotten Murphy to heel both on and off a leash. Murphy has officially graduated to Sainthood.

December 11, 2006

Left Knee - 3 Days Left To Go!

We moved the baby gate to the bottom of the stairs this past weekend. It took Murphy a while to get up and explore his additional space. He will occasionally follow us to the bottom of the stairs, and look up at us pathetically. We make sure to tell him exactly how many days he has left until he the Dr. tells him that it is okay for him to climb the stairs. "Only 3 days left!"He hasn't put it together that he can actually go to the door to greet people again. The "Man in the Big Brown Truck" has been busy delivering our Christmas presents, but all Murphy has done is stand up on his bed and make his presence known.

He back to his normal self. He helps Rob in the garage when given the opportunity, and has been out in the front yard to potty a few times without his leash. He has even taken time out of his busy walks to stop and greet people across the courtyard with his lovely mow hawk and deep throated barks.

We've been chuckling and saying, "Yep, he's back to his old self!"

December 2, 2006

Left Knee - Week 6

Murphy has been very comical this week. He has figured out the differences in his walking routines, and that Rob and I each do different things. No matter which way we go, has figured out the approximate time that we will start his exercises. There are treats involved, so he has become very attentive mid-way through.

He has even begun to half sit during his "Sit-Come" exercises. He does this quick little drop of his butt and then comes right back up w/o being told. He thinks that this will get him his treat faster. We have had to periodically change things up and make him do a full sit just to throw him off a little.

He has also figured out exactly when dinner is, and when we are downstairs, he has begun a barking routine as if to remind us. He is getting antsier by the day. He periodically will come and nudge us and then walk to the baby gate, as if to say, "Let’s go upstairs." Rob has been taking him out the front door, and he hasn't made a break for the stairs yet when the gate is down.

His knees are looking pretty good. He still gets sloppy with that right knee and bows it out. I've noticed that sometimes he'll bow it in too. He doesn’t appear to do it on his walks, only when he is standing in front of us wanting to play. We kind of think it is a lazy tendency, hopefully it will go away, or he will grow out of it.

He has resumed one of his favorite things, "Scratch the butt." He learned this from his cousin Sadie, who forces herself between your legs and stops half way so that you will scratch her butt. The funny thing about Sadie is she does this funny little dance where she picks up her legs and kind of dances around as you scratch her. Some where along the line, Murphy has picked up Sadie’s "Scratch the butt" dance. We don't mind doing it, because with all the dancing around he is shifting his weight, so its become another exercise for us.

The other day Rob brought him out front when I was out getting the mail. Murphy got all excited and tried to run and come see me. He quickly knew that he shouldn't because before we yell at him to stop, his run turned into a fast walk.

He sits at the baby gate at least once or twice a day. It is almost like he knows he only has just a little over a week left before the Dr. will lift the not activity rule, and then he'll be allowed to brave the walk up the stairs.

I'm including some pics for a couple of weeks ago of him doing his "Walk-Over's". He has been doing good on these, and not doing any hopping with his back legs. Maybe all the "Scratch the butts" has made this exercise a breeze for him. LOL!

I also want to let everyone know that there is a wonderful Ortho Group on Yahoo called "Orthodogs". Pretty much everyone on it has an animal with knee, elbow, or hip problems. It is very informative with people who have opted for surgery and many who have not. I wish I would have found them back in week 1 because they can answer a lot of questions.

November 24, 2006

Left Knee - Week 5

November 24, 2006

Murphy started a few more additional exercises on Monday. I was the first to implement his "Sit/Stands" with him on his morning walk. We tell him to sit, and then just as his hips are squaring up for his butt to touch the ground, we tell him to come. This exercise is designed to strengthen his muscles as well as make him shift his weight to his back legs. The first time I did it with him, it worked great! The "What the heck?" look on his face was priceless for me, but he didn't find it funny because that was the only squared sit I got. He proceeded to do his 'sloppy sit', leaning to one side, on all the next sit commands.

We also started his "Walk-Over" exercises on as well. These are also designed to make him shift more of his weight to his back legs. For this exercise we sit on the floor with our legs spread apart, and make him walk over both of our legs. The goal is for him to pick up each leg and walk over the obstacle in the way of his feet, no hopping is allowed. We made sure to get some rugs so that he wouldn't slip if he got tired or tripped. We think this is his favorite exercise because there are treats involved.

Rob is in the process of building Murphy a set of stairs for him to use to get up onto our bed. Since he has never actually learned to jump and uses his back legs to climb up onto things, we figured that the addition of a set of stairs to our bed is worth protecting our investment into his two new bionic knees.

It is strange to watch him at this point because he literally is at the same stage he was at with the first leg. He thinks he is healed. He is once again getting up off his bed to walk to the gate to greet Rob when he gets home, barking at any noise he feels we should be aware of, and he is getting more playful by the day.

He is scheduled to get his final x-rays on Thursday December 14th, one day earlier than anticipated.

November 14, 2006

Left Knee - Week 3

November 14, 2006

We are fast approaching the 4 week mark, and Murphy is doing well. He still isn't distributing his weight equally on all four legs, but that is to still be expected. He is up to 20 minutes on his therapy walks, and he is much more tolerable of his toe and Achilles stretches.

Rob and I are eager for him to rejoin us upstairs. We can't help but notice some of the adjustments that Murphy has made to his life in the laundry room. He doesn't eat out of his dog bowls anymore; he eats out of his kennel bowl. He can't come find one of us whenever he needs to go outside, now he sits up on his bed and stares at you casually glancing at his leash hanging from the coat rack. He doesn't have a toy basket that he can get a toy from, so again, he stares at us to get him one of his toys on the top of his kennel. He and Rob haven't played fetch in months, and my squeaker time with his toys nightly has taken its place. He still does some of the same old things, like steal Robs spot in bed during the one weekend night that he spends whith him in the laundry room. Last weekend not only did Murphy claim the bed, he claimed the pillow as well. He just looks at you with those "Remember when..." eyes. Pathetic!

November 7, 2006

Left Knee - Support Problems (Wk 3)

November 7th, 2006

Yesterday in the vets office Murphy had some problems keeping his grip on the floor. A couple of times when he went to get up, he didn't have a secure footing and it caused him to stumble. We didn't think too much of it because the tile is semi-slippery in the entire building for the paws of a dog. The clinic tries their best to compensate by lining the walk areas with rugs, but some dogs just have a different mindset when it comes to following the rugs.

Rob said that this morning when Murphy went to get up, both of his legs slid out from under him causing him to lose his bearings and drop to the floor. We've figured out that it doesn't have anything to do with the texture of the flooring, it has to do with the weight he is trying to avoid putting on his back legs. We are assuming that he didn't hurt himself because he got right back up with no problem. Rob said that Murphy just looked at him as if to say "Oops!"

Late this afternoon when Murphy sat up to switch positions on his bed one of his legs cracked. It was the loudest one that I've heard yet and made me quiver. Again, it didn't seem to faze him he just went about his business and rolled over.

We can't do too much about his clumsiness. All we can do it continue with his therapy, and keep a watchful eye. With any luck his balance will continue to come back. In the meantime, we just hope he doesn't hurt himself.