Putting in the work

It has officially been a month of crate rest for Georgia.  It has been a very long month and has been awful for Georgia.  She has been very vocal about her situation.  We have to keep a sharp eye on her because she will jolt if given the opportunity.  The whole month seems to have been spent saying “Georgia No!” or “Georgia Stop!”  Despite it all, we made it through.

Through the whole month we experienced 4 incidents of vocalized pain in her neck each lasting less than a minute.  Each incident was a result of Georgia sleeping in her tight donut for a long period of time and being roused suddenly by us to either eat or go potty before we went to bed.  Upon discovering this fact we no longer force her awake when she has been napping for long periods of time.  Instead, we have found that the sound of opening the treat container in the kitchen will usually pull her out of her slumber and allow her to wake up without issue.

On Wednesday February 3, we had our follow up appointment with neurology.  Her rehab appointment after that had to be rescheduled for February 12th due to a scheduling error.  We were pretty confident that despite those few incidents, that we had made progress through medical management. We were looking forward to allowing her more freedom.  We know that things won’t go back to how they were, but were ready to get into the new normal.

We purchased a ramp for getting up and down off the couch.  It is a work in progress, but she is getting the idea.

 

We also have someone coming to our house on Monday to look at adapting the stairs that she has to take to get outside. She currently has a bit of a drop going from inside to outside.  We hope to get the stairs built up to eliminate that first drop.  We have been carrying her up and down these stairs for the past month.

We were looking into pre made ramps for our existing stairs, but found that the angle coming from the house, turns the ramp into a slide.  The angle is too steep.  We are hoping we can incorporate a ramp somehow into the rebuild of the stairs.

Needless to say we are getting ourselves prepared as best as we can for Georgia’s future as a senior dog.  We are also excited to give her more freedom.

Going into Wednesday’s appointment we felt like we had a plan.  We were confident in her recovery. We even had a cake made to celebrate Georgia’s freedom from the crate.

The neurology department seemed to focus their questioning heavily on the 4 incidents reported.  As with the last appointment we were unable to be present due to Covid restrictions for the exam.  They acknowledge that Georgia has improved with medical management, but feel it appropriate to continue crate rest/exercise restrictions for 4 more weeks.  We will be continuing the Gabapentin schedule.

Georgia is also overweight.  Pill pockets, peanut butter, and no exercise caught up to her.  This was not a surprise to us as lifting her had become increasing difficult.  Going forward we have reduced her caloric intake.

So here we are.  Faced with the prospect of 4 more weeks of crate rest based on 4 incidents that were totally instigated by us.  Georgia is overweight but not allowed to exercise.  Georgia is miserable.  We are miserable as her jailers.

We went ahead with the cake, though extremely limited quantities.  She deserves something nice.  It is a lot of cake, but I’ve got lots of dog walking clients that will be getting pieces as well.

To say we’re frustrated is an understatement.  How can she lose weight successfully while laying around all day?!? Starve her?  We have been having conversations about how far we want to go with this.  We opened up her potty area so she has access to the whole yard.  We let her go outside when she wants, but we still carry her up and down the stairs.  This evening was her first day on the couch and she seemed so happy to be a part of the family.

So what is the right thing?  We are inclined to try to strike the balance between the personal and the professional.   We certainly agree she needs to lose weight, but the rest of these restrictions at this point seem extreme.  We are not professionals though.  Im not a vet.

All I know is that when I tell Georgia to go lay down, she looks so defeated and I feel like all the snuggling in the world can’t cure those blues.  Im just not sure we can do crate rest for another 4 weeks without completely breaking her spirit.

Thank you so much for taking the time.  I can be pretty long winded when it comes to my girl.

4 thoughts on “Putting in the work”

  1. Hey there. Your headline scared me and I can hear the exhaustion in your writing voice. I can only imagine how tough this is for all of you and I’m so sorry. But (there’s always a but isn’t there?), you still have so many things to celebrate! She is showing glimmers of her old self, she is still engaged and wants to be part of the pack. That is a terrific sign that what you are doing is making a difference!

    The crate rest sucks, I get it. Is there any way you can put up an x-pen in your home so that she doesn’t have to be crated all the time? Not sure if we discussed this.

    Also, the weight issue is a huge impact on a dog’s weight. Dropping even a couple pounds will help her mobility so much. BUT (there’s that word again!), exercise is just a very, very small part of weight loss! Don’t lose hope! You are doing the #1 thing to help her drop weight and it WILL make a difference. You can hear Dr. Ernie Ward discuss how exercise really is a minimal part of weight loss for a dog. The real impact is all about what we put in their bowls.

    It sounds like other than restricting her food you didn’t get much guidance there. If that’s the case, please see a vet nutritionist or get an online consult. They can help you come up with a meal plan you both can feel good about, while helping her drop the weight.

    Hang in there. I know it feels frustrating but you guys are on the right path. Try not to think of this in terms of weeks, but rather small little victories that add up. And remember, she will mirror your emotions so stay strong!

    Keep us posted.

    1. My husband said the same about the headline so I just changed it. Thank you for the perspective on this whole thing.

      My ignorance is showing again here, but I personally work out to keep my weight off, so I applied that prospect to her as well. Hindsight is 20/20. We have reduced her caloric intake and supplement snacks with carrots and celery instead of treats when she seems hungry.

      I glossed over the nutrition details. They did provide some guidance on that front. She should consume no more than 610 calories a day. Georgia weighed in at 49.1 and they want her to be at 40. Treats should make up 60 calories. They recommend treats like green beans, carrots, apples, blueberries, cucumber, and strawberries. She loves carrots so that switch has been easy.

      I think I just needed to vent a little when I posted this. We have come so far already so we just can’t get caught up on the little setbacks. Thank you for your advice and perspective Jerry. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi, this is Linda.
    I just read your post. I’m sorry to hear about Georgia. I hope she’s better soon. She’s a cutie and your cake is awesome. I have a Yellow Lab that was just diagnosed with bone cancer. He tore his ACL and was scheduled for a Tplo surgery. When they opened his leg the bone was brown and started to crumble when a spot on the bone needed to be shaved. The doctor is recommending a right rear leg amputation along with chemo. Boomer is the sweetest little guy and is a love bug. Playing ball and sleeping on my lap are the things he loves the most. I adopted him in August 2020 and he’ll be 3 years old this Wednesday. I’ve been told the life expectancy with bone cancer isn’t good, only 20% live past 10 months. I see the recovery has been tough on Georgia and you. Knowing what Georgia and you have been through, I’m wondering if you would do this again. What was the reason that Georgia’s leg had to be removed? Was it cancer or a different illness? Thanks for your time.

    1. Hello Linda!

      Georgia is actual an abuse/neglect tripod. Our experience is a little different from others on here who are experiencing amputation by injury or cancer. When she was left at the shelter the leg had experienced such trauma that it had to be removed. We adopted her after she spent over a year at that shelter. I have a previous blog post that goes into a more detail if you want to check it out. She has been a Tripawd the whole time we have owned her.

      I feel that if I were to adopt a Tripawd in the future we are going to be more prepared given the experiences that we have now with Georgia.

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