Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow-Up Appointment Update

Amos' follow-up appointment with Dr. Gilson went really well. Dr. Gilson said that Amos is progressing very well and that he looks really good. He took out his staples, which Amos did not like very much because a couple were embedded in the scabbing of the incision, but there were no casualties. He gets pretty vocal when he is experiencing pain, and we're not sure if it is because he has been in a lot of pain because of his hips that he is now expressing that pain or not. We are working with the behaviorists at Best Friends to help us with some of these anomalies in his personality to determine if they are a direct result from the surgery or if they may be longer term issues we will have to deal with. We'll see. He still has one more surgery to go through, so hopefully these are only short term issues.

Now that he has had his staples removed he no longer needs to wear the dreaded gigantic e-collar. So that is making him very happy at night. We no longer get woken up in the middle of the night with him clanging the e-collar against the x-pen as he tries to reposition himself in his sleep. So that is good for us too. Per Dr. Gilson, we are also allowing him more space in the evenings when we are home and can supervise him by taking him out of his pen and confining him to our living room. He likes this a lot better than being confined to the smaller space. The only problem is that he really likes to be wherever Rick and I are, so if we are on the couch he wants to be up there too. We are going to have a heck of a time keeping him off of the couch while he is recuperating. We have been able to keep him down so far, but we can tell that the urge to get up there is definitely there. We are keeping him down by getting on the floor with him so he isn't tempted to try to jump up.

We can tell that his right hip is actually feeling a lot better, as he is starting to put more and more weight on it and is actually shifting his weight more and more to the right leg because it feels better than the left leg. This morning he even tried hiking his left leg (bearing even more weight on the right leg) when he went outside to go to the bathroom. That is a good sign it is feeling better for him.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Post-Surgery Follow-Up

I know it has been a couple of days since I have updated all of you, but it has been pretty much status quo at our house. Amos is doing great and is starting to get a little stir crazy being couped up but he is getting into the routine and fitting in at our house with ease.

We did have a slight mishap on Sunday night though. He is still unsure of Casey and snarls at him whenever he gets close. Well, Sunday night he got a little closer than Amos had liked and Amos lashed out at him. Amos caught Casey in the right eye and his eye was a little banged up. He is doing fine now, but he now gives Amos a wide berth whenever he walks by him. We'll see if this behavior is due to Amos' insecurity of recovering from the surgery or if it will be a bigger problem as he recuperates. Only time will tell if Amos will get along with Casey.

Today is Amos' first post-operative follow-up appointment with the surgeon here in Phoenix. His doctor here in Phoenix, Dr. Gilson, at Sonoran Veterinary Specialists is working with Amos' surgeon in Las Vegas, Dr. Geels, on his post-operative care. Today Dr. Gilson will remove the staples from the incision site. We're hoping that Dr. Gilson will give us the green light to eliminate the need for the e-collar now that his incision is healed and the staples are removed. Amos hates the gigantic e-collar that he has to wear. If we are home and directly supervising him we do not have it on him and he has not even licked the incision once. We only put it on him when we leave for work and at night to sleep. So he is getting pretty difficult to let us put it on when those times come. We'll see what Dr. Gilson has to say. I'll fill you all in on everything from his appointment later this evening...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Same Stuff Different Day

Today was a good day. Amos keeps getting stronger and is adapting well to our routine and us. The separation anxiety issue is not really an issue today. Who knows what tomorrow may bring, so we'll see. We will take it a day at a time.
I think he and Rick have definitely bonded, what do you think?

A Boy and "His" Dog

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We Have a Routine...

We have settled into a great new routine with Amos and he is getting the hang of it nicely. We start the day off with getting him up, take off the H U G E e-collar (we have to keep him in the e-collar so he leaves the incision alone), we feed him then give him his meds and then take him outside to go potty. Once he is done pottying, we bring him back in to give him some love (short love session so we can get to work) in the pen then put the e-collar back on and secure him in the pen. Once we are ready to leave we make sure he is secure and give him a sedative to keep him safe while we are gone to work.

Rick and I have adjusted our work schedules so we can try (traffic is the deciding factor as I have an hour commute each way to work on a non-traffic accident day) to get home from work about the same time so we can get Amos out to potty. He is a B I G boy so it takes two of us to take him outside so that one of us can take the leash and one of us can sling his back end to support it so he doesn't slip and hurt himself. So once he goes potty, Rick sits with him while I move his pen and bed from the bedroom to the living room so he can be with us through the evening until it is time for us to go to bed for the night. We feed him and give him his meds and then I usually sit in the pen with him for a while so he can get some major 'lovin' and a break from the e-collar. As long as he is being scratched and brushed and loved on he leaves the incision site alone, so I usually hang out in his pen with him for about 30-45 minutes so he gets accustomed to us. Rick hangs out with him sometimes too, but it is mostly me at night.

Tonight he fell asleep while I was brushing him.

Isn't he the most adorable thing you've seen?

Once we are done giving him some lovin' we put the e-collar back on and secure him in his pen to resume our evening activities. I usually hang out in the living room with him and take care of emails, blog updates, etc. while he sleeps. Rick works on the computer in the office and usually washes blankets or beds, depending on what needs to be washed. We think he inherited a bad habit at the vets office and has a tendency to urinate in his crate, so we are working on that.

When it is time for us to go to bed we take his e-collar off and take him outside one more time to go potty and give him his sedative for the night. Again, Rick sits with him while I move his pen and bed into the bedroom so he is close to us at night. We place the e-collar back on him and walk him into his bed. We secure him for the night and we all crash to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Day...

So it was a pretty rough first night with Amos in his new home. Getting him out of the back of our SUV and into the house when we got home from Vegas was an ordeal as he was still pretty loopy from the sedatives they gave him at LVVRC before we left. He was pretty restless in the car so I'm sure he didn't sleep much on the way home so when he got out of the car he didn't really want to walk at all. We had an x-pen set up for him in our living room with a soft bed and blanket and tried to get him to walk to it, but he wasn't having it, so we ended up carrying him to it and laying him down (boy is he a B I G boy). We fed him and gave him his meds and some water and then he crashed to sleep. Dr. Geels at LVVRC instructed us to give him an Acepromazine (sedative) for the first few nights to help him sleep and to keep him less restless while we sleep and can't keep an eye on him. I made the mistake of giving it to him at around 7:30pm last night instead of right before we went to bed (they work pretty quickly). When it came time to go to bed, we tried to get him to move to go outside and go potty but he was completely out of it. Partly from the drugs and partly because I'm sure he was exhausted from the trip. We got him as far as the kitchen when he couldn't hold his bladder anymore and let it go. Poor boy. After we got him cleaned up we got him situated in the pen in our bedroom (so he could be closer to us) and settled in for the night. Because I gave him the sedative so early that meant he was up rather earlier too. I woke up to him whining in his pen about 3:30am this morning. After some consoling that we were still there he finally went back to sleep. When we finally got up for the morning he was ready to walk himself outside (with our help of course) and go potty. We got him fed and cleaned up and back in his pen for the day. Whew. He was full, happy and ready for some more rest to help his hip get better... Not too bad for the first night.

He fared better during the day today, but he has a bit of diarrhea today. We are keeping his fluids up since we think it might be the cocktail of medicines that he is on, or the nerves of being in a strange house with people he doesn't really know yet. His stool was a bit more firm this evening so that is good. He is starting to get the light back in his eyes this evening and I think he is settling in to a routine. He is having a bit of a separation anxiety issue whenever Rick or I leave the area where his pen is. Hopefully this will not be a long term problem, as we don't want him hurting himself while we are at work. We'll have to wait and see. More tomorrow...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Home at Last

As I told you yesterday, we left Phoenix and drove to Las Vegas so we could pick Amos up today at the Las Vegas Veterinary Referral Center. We got into Las Vegas yesterday about 5:30pm and crashed at our hotel until around 7pm then went down to the strip for dinner. After getting a little lost we finally found the parking garage at the Venetian (the only FREE self-park lot I knew of on the strip) and parked to go to dinner. We had dinner at the Wynn hotel at a nice restaurant then headed back to our hotel because we were both spent after the drive into Vegas. After a brief detour (I refuse to say we got lost again) we got back to our hotel from the strip around 9pm. Rick and I both had a pretty restless night because we were anticipating picking up Amos in the morning. None the less, LVVRC called us this morning at our hotel and told us we could pick Amos up today at 11am We were finally going to be reunited with him after three months of longing and waiting.
We got to LVVRC at around 10:45am and got to meet Dr. Geels and discuss Amos' recovery and future surgery. He is a very nice Doctor and Amos is definitely in good hands with him in charge of his care. We also got to put several faces with the names of people we have been in contact with at LVVRC since we found out Amos was having his surgery there and we were picking him up there. After a brief consult with Mindy, Surgery Tech at LVVRC, we were given Amos' drugs and sent on our way.

Amos ready to head home to Phoenix in the back of the car

Amos home in Phoenix exhausted from a long trip

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And We're Off

So, I got a call from Dr. Geels today to let me know Amos is doing great! He has been completely taken off of his pain medicine and is walking with limited assistance. He will be ready to go home tomorrow. Yeah!!

We are heading out to Las Vegas this afternoon after we drop Casey off at Aunt Nancy's and Uncle Jon's. So here we go.....

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We heard from Dr. Geels today for an update on Amos. He is feeling considerably better and is able to toe-touch on the right leg today. Dr. Geels said that they were going to ween him off of the pain medicine over the next two days and we should still be able to pick him up on Monday as planned. I'll let you know what they tell us when they call tomorrow with their update. Until then...

Friday, January 15, 2010


Well, it looks like we won't be going to Las Vegas today after all. After Dr. Geels did his rounds this morning he gave me a call to update me. It turns out Amos is still really sore from the surgery yesterday, which is to be expected, but Dr. Geels feels that with the long car ride ahead that it would be best to keep him a few extra days and send him home on Monday instead of tomorrow. So Bummer. We still have to wait. It is only a few more days, but it is still a bit disappointing. Oh well. So it seems we will head there on Sunday afternoon to pick him up Monday morning.

Dr. Geels is the attending physician for the clinic this weekend, so he said he would give me a call each day and let me know how Amos is doing. So I will keep you posted as to what he says.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And We Wait... and Wait... Finally!

Joyce from Best friends emailed me yesterday morning to let me know that Sarah Kubacki, vet tech with Best Friends had picked Amos up for the trip to Vegas so he was on his way.

So today's the day... Amos' first hip surgery is to be performed today at the Las Vegas Veterinary Referral Center in Las Vegas, NV by Dr. Geels. I was told by Holly at LVVRC that someone should be calling me once Amos is out of surgery to inform me on his status and how the surgery went. So all day I waited on pins and needles for a phone call to let me know how it went. and I waited... and I waited.. So, at 4:30 pm with no word, I couldn't take it anymore and called LVVRC to see if maybe they forgot to call or to see if something went wrong. Holly at LVVRC informed me that Amos was fine, but they had a lot of surgeries today and they hadn't taken Amos in to the operating room yet and that he was on the schedule to be the last surgery of the day. While I was on the phone with Holly, a surgery tech at LVVRC called up to the front to let them know they were prepping to bring Amos into the operating room then. Whew! Finally, he is on his way to the operating room and the long surgery is about to start. Holly told me that since the office closes and shuts down their phones at 5pm that I would have to wait until the surgery was over for someone to call me with an update on Amos' status. So again I waited... and waited... and waited some more... I got home from work at 6:45 pm and still had not heard anything. Now I'm starting to get concerned that either I wasn't going to get a call or that the surgery was taking a lot longer than I thought. But yet, I waited some more, hoping to hear something soon. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it until the morning when the office opened to find out anything and that if that was the case it was going to be a L O N G night. Finally at 8:30pm Dr. Geels called me to let me know that Amos made it through the surgery with flying colors and was sleeping the drugs off peacefully in his cage. Whew. Dr. Geels informed me that they had planned to operate on his left hip, but under anesthesia he determined that the right hip was a little worse off so they operated on the right hip today instead. Dr. Geels opted to use a cement less hip joint in lieu of the cemented hip joint as the cemented joints tend to come loose over the coarse of time and cement less joints actually bond to the bone of the femur so they have less slippage over time. He also informed us that now comes the critical time, as the most common post-operative complication in large breed dogs is a femur fracture or break. So we have to be really careful and keep him confined and limit all activity for at least six weeks. That's going to be a bit challenging with such a big dog, but I want the surgery to be as successful as possible and the recovery to go as smooth as possible so he can get back in for the second surgery to his left hip when he is ready.

Dr. Geels said he would follow-up with me in the morning after he does his rounds with all their patients to let me know if Amos will be discharged on Saturday morning as we hope. So, off we went and took Casey to spend the next two nights at Aunt Nancy's and Uncle Jon's house, just in case, so we can leave tomorrow afternoon to head to Vegas to pick him up from LVVRC on Saturday if he is ready to go. Yeah! If there are any problems with discharging him on Saturday we will have to wait and pick him up on Monday morning. So we are hoping everything goes well tomorrow and we will get the green light to pick him up on Saturday. We'll keep you posted...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Journey to Bring Amos Home With Us

After we returned from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary I convinced Rick that we needed to adopt Amos (It wasn't really too diffucult) and now I was set on bringing him home with us. Well, that was not an easy thing to do since Amos is not the ordinary dog that Best Friends tries to place in a home. Amos has horrible hip dysplasia and is in dire need of two total hip replacements in order for him to be more comfortable. The staff at Best Friends was working with Amos' Vet, Dr. Mike, and trying to determine if Amos was a candidate for the hip replacements or not. Over the course of the next two months (November to December) we waited for word from Best Friends as to Amos' final prognosis and if he would have the hip surgeries. While we waited we went ahead with our home visit to make sure that when the time came for Amos to come home with us that we were through the final approval process for the adoption.

In the meantime, in early November our oldest Golden, Sunny, became increasingly ill and after several visits to the vet it was determined that she had an inoperable spinal tumor. Since Sunny was in incredible pain and her quality of life was diminshed greatly with no hope of recovery, Rick and I made the ultimate decision to let her go to the Rainbow Bridge. This was the hardest decision that I have ever had to make in my adult life. I've had dogs my entire life, but I have never had to make that decision before. Rick and I decided to have her cremated and we plan to place her ashes at Angel Canyon at Best Friends Animal Sancutary in the spring. It now became even more dire for us to bring Amos home with us, not only for ourselves, but for our other Golden, Casey, who was crushed by the loss of his faithful companion.

Well, shortly after Thanksgiving, we were contacted by Marti, our adoption coordinator at Best Friends, who has been working tirelessly through the process with us on our adoption of Amos. She informed us that Dr. Mike had approved Amos for surgery and that he was sending Amos to Las Vegas, NV (2 hour drive from Kanab, UT) to the Las Vegas Veterinary Referral Center for evaluation for surgery. Sarah Kubacki, a vet tech with Best Friends took Amos to LVVRC on December 11, 2009 for evaluation. Dr. Geels at LVVRC approved Amos for surgery for the first of his hip surgeries to take place on Thursday January 14, 2010. He will be having a total hip replacement followed by evaluation in 12 weeks for another total hip replacement. Once we were notified of the confirmed surgery date we made arrangements with Marti at Best Friends for us to pick Amos up in Las Vegas after his surgery to finally bring him home with us. We have been in contact with LVVRC and Best Firends to coordinate his pick-up from LVVRC after his surgery and are traveling to Las Vegas on Friday January 15 to bring him home on Saturday January 16.

Once we bring him home we will have the task of rehabilitating him and going through all of the follow-up appointments for his care. After approximately 12 weeks we will have to return him to LVVRC for evaluation to determine if he is still a candidate for the additional total hip replacement. If he is still a candidate, he will have the additional surgery and we will then bring him home permanently.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Blog....

At the urging of a few friends I've decided to start a blog to chronicle the trials and tribulations we go through with and for our dogs. As many of you may know, we do not have children and our two beloved Golden Retrievers, Casey and Sunny, in a way have become our kids. With their individual personalities and unconditional love they have transformed our lives to overflowing with joy and adoration.

When we first got together, we knew we wanted to get a dog, so we did what probably every new dog buyer does, we looked in the paper. Trying to be as responsible as we could, we then researched the different breeds and breeders in the area and settled on our first bundle of fur named Casey, a Golden Retriever. Casey was a really good and easy puppy. He was potty trained in two days and never cried in his crate at night. We were pretty lucky with our choice in our first dog. When Casey was about a year old, we noticed him getting sadder and sadder when we would leave to go to work in the mornings. He didn't want us to go, he wanted us to stay with him. We discussed this with our vet and she recommended that we get a friend to keep him company during the day while we were gone at work. At the time, a co-worker of mine was fostering a female Golden Retriever through a local Golden Rescue organization and asked me if we were interested in adopting her. Her name was Sunny and she was a four year old female. We decided to try an introduction between her and Casey to see if it would work out. Well a two week trial visit turned into 10 years. They were inseparable and fast became the light of our lives. In Spetember of this last year, Sunny started to slow down a little bit and we knew that she was probably not going to be with us much longer, since 14 years old is pretty old for a larger dog, especially a Golden. So we decided to look into adding another member to our furry family to help Casey (and who am I kidding??-US) through the loss of Sunny when the time came.

In October my friend Nancy invited me to go to Kanab, UT to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Best Friends is the largest animal sanctuary in the country and is a "no kill" shelter to over 700 animals of all kinds, shapes and sizes. We volunteered at Best Friends on October 30, 2009. We volunteered to work in Dogtown in the "Old Friends" section. It was here that I met and fell in love with a Saint Bernard/Great Dane mix named Amos. After taking several dogs from the "Old Friends" section out for their morning walks we were asked by Joyce, one of the staff at Best Friends, if we would like to take one of the dogs out into town for some socialization and exposure to life outside the sanctuary. Nancy and I decided to take Amos for a stroll through town and to get some coffee. Well, needless to say, after about 30 minutes with him I was smitten and set on seeing if we could start the adoption process.... The only problem was how to break it to my husband who was 400 miles away that I was adding a rather large member to our furry family of two Golden Retrievers. One look at him and how could he say no?