When I was a kid we always had a dog but it was relegated to being an outside dog. My parents might bring it inside if it got cold enough outside but it had a dog house to live in.
Now a days we think nothing of sharing our beds with our dogs, taking them for car rides and even dressing them up. Steve and I have two big greyhounds that sleep on the floor next to our bed. They would probably like to sleep in the bed but we have to draw the line somewhere. Like most people we take our dogs for car rides and they get a lot of fresh air when they accompany us to the farm.
Most people think of greyhounds as very fast agile dogs. I'll agree with the fast part but not agile. They have very muscular bodies but little thin legs. We recently found out just how thin when Apollo was startled and jumped up and ran into a ladder that we had setup to do some painting in our bedroom.
It all happened in a matter of seconds and life forever will be different at our household. I had gone next door to drop off some stuff at the neighbors. When I returned, I noticed that Apollo was hobbling. Steve told me what had happened with the ladder. We looked at the leg, which was already beginning to swell, and knew that we would all be taking a road trip in the morning to the vets.
At the vets, they took x-rays. Imagine my shock when they came back and told us he had broken his leg in 3 different places. They suggested that he have surgery and connected us with a specialist an hours drive away.
The next day Apollo accompanied us on yet another car ride. This one would be a life changer for all of us. This vet recommended doing surgery to input a plate and pins to hold Apollo's leg. With 8 - 12 weeks restricted movement, his leg may heal. The may part alarmed us. Apollo had broken his toe and we had it casted 3 times and it never healed properly.
Keeping Apollo restricted for a week would be extremely hard work and neither of us could envision keeping him contained for 8 - 12 weeks. The other option which would allow Apollo to be back to a normal life sooner was to amputate his leg. They said that dogs do extremely well with 3 legs and Apollo would likely be back to normal activity within 2 weeks.
Praying that we made the right decision, we decided to proceed with the amputation. We left Apollo there and heard later that evening that he had come through the surgery well. If all went as planned, we would pick him up the next afternoon. As we drove down to get him, we were both quiet in the car. Each thinking about the decision that we had made. The "what ifs" that always resonate in the back of your mind when you have to make a tough decision.
As we waited in the lobby for Apollo to come out, one of the vet techs told us that we would need to prepare ourselves. That they amputate all the way up to the shoulder and that the incisions took a little getting use to.
With that, we saw Apollo hobbling out to us with the help of a sheet to insure that he was balanced. We helped him into the back of our car and off we drove. Again, both of us wondering if we had made the right decision. To manage the pain, Apollo would receive 18 pain pills a day. What had we done???
Starting with the next day, Apollo quickly showed us he was up to the task. Each day he wanted to walk further and further. We had made a little restricted area in our living room that was layered with down blankets so that it would be soft. Imagine my surprise as I lay in bed on day 5 and I heard a thump thump thump coming down the hallway to my bedroom. My door pushed open and in walked Apollo. He had managed to come up the stairs by himself and he was telling us he was ready.
Its been 2 1/2 weeks now and we have cut him down to 3 pain pills a day. We will continue to wean him off of them. We try to hold him as he goes down the steps but he doesn't appreciate our help. Every day he is able to do more and more and he wants to do it by himself.
I must say that I've learned a lot from this and I have a new respect for my brave dog Apollo!