Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Toe Lost, a Family Gained: My Final Rehab Chapter


Hi everyone! It’s me, Junior. I know you probably thought I forgot about you guys, but I didn’t! But I have been busy with my new legs.  My rehab is officially OVER! 

When my mom took me to the vet they were shocked to see me doing so well.  Not sure why because I’m such a freaking stud! But my mom said since my injuries were so extensive, they were just surprised by how well I responded to everything.  They said if they didn’t know me, they wouldn’t know by looking at me that I’d had ANY surgery, let alone two ACL repairs!

The doctor said I do have some bone hardening, but that is something that I had before the surgeries (because of my injuries), so she wasn’t too worried about it.   My hair on both my legs has grown all the way back in, and you can barely see the big scars on both my legs.  I’m like a brand new pup!

Me, looking handsome, as usual.
I have some more news to share…do you want the good, or the bad first? Okay, the bad it is.  But before I start telling you, just know that everything is aye-okay now!

I went to the vet to have a hysteocytoma removed from the back of my leg, and while I was on that crazy medicine that puts me to sleep and makes me pee myself (gosh, so embarrassing), my doctor found something fishy on my right front paw.  She stuck a needle in it so she could look at the cells under the microscope, and told my mom what she found wasn’t good. 

My mom and I were in the waiting room for what seemed like forever, and when she finally came in she gave us the news.  My mom was really sad, and sat down on the floor with me.  I hate it when she is sad, so I sat right on her lap to try and make her feel better (and I think it helped a little!). 

The doctor told my mom that I had a mast cell tumor on one of my toes, and that she wanted to remove it as soon as possible.  Being the worrywart that all moms are, my mom immediately had flash-forwards of life without me and got even sadder.  I gave her lots of kisses to comfort her.

The next week, I was back at the vet to have my toe amputated and a precautionary ultrasound done on my abdomen.  The surgery went well, and thankfully, the ultrasound came back squeaky clean.  Whew!

They sent my toe (gosh how I miss that thing) off to be biopsied and got some promising news—it was a very low-grade (1-2) tumor and they had gotten really great margins on the amputation.

My recovery was tough though—I had to go back on crate rest for almost 8 weeks, and this time it was worse than my knee surgeries because I couldn’t even go on my rehab walks.  I also had to wear that stupid cone when my mom and dad weren’t around to “supervise” me, and had a bandage on my paw that they had to cover with a plastic baggie every time I went outside to pee.  I was done with this injury thing and wanted to revolt. 

But I’m a better dog than that.  So I didn’t. I listened to my mom and dad, and even though my sutures broke quite a few times (it’s much easier said than done to keep this doggie quiet!) I’m back in business now.  My toe (well, the place my toe used to be) is all healed up and I’m able to go on walks and play.  Woo hoo!

Okay, so are you ready for the good news?! My mom and dad are engaged! They said I can’t be in the wedding, but I did make it into a few of their engagement pictures. Oh, and did I mention I had a role in the engagement? A pretty big one, actually! I wore a tuxedo and waited for my mom to get home to start the night of surprises.

I mean really...how could she have said no to this?
After the initial shock of how freaking adorable I looked in my tuxedo, my mom realized something was up. She saw a ring box on the table, and of course, opened it.  But there wasn't a ring inside.  Instead, there were five pink Post-it's with instructions for a scavenger hunt.  She eventually found my dad outside her door.  He fell to his knee and said, "will you marry me" faster than I’ve ever heard him talk my entire life.  

I'm so excited I can't stop kissing her.

So we’re going to be a family! I’m so excited I can’t even stand it.  I’m really curious when we’re going to get one of those baby things, like my cousins have at their house.  Keeping my paws crossed on this one.

Me and my family.
I can’t end this entry without saying a big thank-you to Toby, who’s fund, Toby’s Gift, gave me the best gift ever.  Better than any bone, squeaky toy, walk, or treat—a gift that allowed me to stay with my family, and be a dog again. 

But since Toby was a dog like me, he wouldn’t be able to give this gift if it weren’t for the Boxer Rescue Foundation, and all the generous people on the Boxer Mailing List.  Because of all of you, I got to stay with my family and live the rest of my life like a normal dog.  And I couldn’t ask for anything more.

To say thank you, my mom and dad aren’t giving wedding favors (because who really remembers those, anyway?) at their wedding.  Instead, they will be giving the money they would have spent on wedding favors to the Boxer Rescue Foundation to support Toby’s Gift.  Because another family needs their dog, just like we did.

With my mom and dad.  Thanks to you!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A note from my mom...

Hello everyone!

Junior gave me permission to do a guest blog.  I couldn’t believe he was willing to share the spotlight, but I guess it is the giving season!

I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this since the day we got the call that changed not just Junior’s life, but our lives.  Especially mine.  Because thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. 

Before the Boxer Rescue Foundation saved Junior’s life, Junior and I were both struggling, but in different ways.  His struggles were physical, obviously, but mine were different. I was, for all intents and purposes, unemployed, relying on my parents to pay my rent and expenses, and all I had to show for it was a new master’s degree.

But then, out of nowhere, came this dog.  My boyfriend’s dog.  Junior.  I’d always known Junior, because when Brent and I first started dating, he and Junior both lived with his sister and brother-in-law (Junior’s Aunt Jamie and Uncle Bill). But in the last few months, Brent moved out, to a place where he couldn’t have Junior, and Junior stayed at his aunt and uncle’s house, where Brent and I both frequently visited.

So when we got the wonderful news that Junior was going to get his surgery, thanks to the people on the Boxer Mailing List and the Boxer Rescue Foundation, Junior and I became closer than we’d ever been.

Junior came to live with me for his rehab, partly because he needed to be away from his cousins, Rocky and Rudy, in order to properly rehab, and partly I just had this feeling.  At the time, I thought it was because it would be what was best for him.  And it was. But what I didn’t know then is that it would also be what was best for me.

Junior needed me.  For everything.  To feed him, to walk him, to love him.  It took me awhile to get used to the drool.  And the gas.  But it didn’t take long.  Because I needed him, too. I needed someone to take care of—other than myself.  A reason to believe things would turn around.  And they did. 

Junior has taught me so many things over the past 5 months.  Things I’m not sure I would have ever learned.  He has quieted my mind, softened my heart and shown me that life isn’t as complicated as I once thought it was.  That it’s not just all about me.  That things are so much simpler than they seem.

I can’t imagine coming home and not seeing his wiggly butt.  Not waking up to his jowls shaking and his collar jingling.  I can’t imagine not loving him. 

So thank you.  Thank you for saving Junior’s life—and changing mine.  We are forever grateful, and someday, hope to be able to do the same for another boxer family.    

Sincerely,
Junior’s Mom

P.S.  Junior is doing great.  He is coming up on his 8th week of rehab, and his left leg is getting stronger and stronger every day.  Here are some pics that I just have to share!!! 

Cuddling with Mama!

Looking at Mama!
Junior's jowls 

Junior posing by the Christmas tree!
Junior in "The Boneyard"

GOSH I just love him.  
Yes, I know. I've saved the best for last! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cat food, sassy giraffes and a stolen hot dog costume: Surgery round 2!

Hi everybody! Thanks for checking back in.  It’s been almost three weeks since my second surgery, and I’m feeling more and more like myself every day.  It was tough at first, because I was so used to my strong leg being my weak leg, but I adjusted quickly. 

My mom and dad were worried about me the morning after my surgery though, because they woke up to a lot of bruising around my knee and incision.  My dad snapped this picture on his phone and immediately sent it to the vet.   But he told us not to worry, that this kind of bruising is perfectly normal.  Whew!



As usual, and to my annoyance, my parents have been following Dr. Bertoy’s rehab instructions VERY strictly.  This of course means ice, heat and range of motion exercises.  Boo!  The upside?  I get to eat cat food for dessert.  I think they’re trying to trick me by hiding something inside each bite, but it’s so good I don’t care. 

Here’s one of me getting a hot pack from my mom.  This one actually feels good, but I don’t want her to know that, so I’m giving her the “stank eye.”



And this one is my dad icing my leg.  I’m using by cousin Harper’s play mat as my pillow.  It’s so soft!   I’m not sure about that giraffe though…he keeps looking at me funny…



We also went to the doctor a week after my surgery, and guess what? They said I’m doing great!  No shock to me, of course.  I’d have been chasing my cousins at the dog park by now if they’d just let me run already! 

I’m up to 20-minute walks twice a day, and am putting lots and lots of weight on my left leg, which my mom says is a good thing, even though it’s stiff sometimes.  I’m even feeling good enough to try an jump on the furniture—but, of course, my mom always catches me in my “pre-jump stance” before I can actually do it.  Boo again.

I did have a rough time this past weekend though—but not because of my leg.  My dad wasn’t feeling well, so my mom had to take care of him, which, of course, meant I wasn’t the center of attention.  But he’s okay now, which means it’s back to me, me, me!  Yippee!

Thanks again for visiting.  And thanks to the Boxer Rescue Foundation and everyone from the Boxer Mailing List who donated to make my surgeries possible and stay with my family.  My mom kisses me every morning and tells me I’m a miracle.  Oh, and by the way, she’s going to do a “guest blog” soon, so stay tuned! 

P.S. I didn’t have to dress up as a hot dog for Halloween because some lady at Target took the last one off the rack as my mom was rounding the costume aisle.  God bless that woman.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm now a dog who can jog!

Hi everyone!  It’s me, Junior here.  Don’t worry, the reason I haven’t written lately isn’t because I’m not doing well—it’s because I’m doing GREAT! (And because my mom got a job. YAY!)  I’ve been so busy with my walks and rehab that I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write.  Until now!

It’s been more than 12 weeks since my first surgery, and my leg is so strong, the doctor cleared me last week to have my second one.  I’m going under the knife this Thursday, October 20.  Cross your fingers that it goes as well as my first! 

Here’s a video of me jogging with my mom...and then me trying to lick the camera lens off.  I can’t believe I can run again!

video


Here’s a photo of my incision—or what’s left of it! All healed up!


And here’s one of me at Starbucks. Usually it’s my mom trying to take a million pictures…but this time it was my dad!  As my good friend Pearson’s mom would say, I’m “on strike” in this one.


In this one, I’m trying to show off my harness.  My dad says it makes my chest look big, which I think is a compliment.


This is of me at my cousin’s house.  Don’t worry, I’m not in jail.  That’s just me in my crate!  My mom and dad bring it over and set it up in my cousins’ living room so I can hang out with everyone when we’re visiting.  I miss being able to run around and play with them, but my mom says I’ll be “out” soon!


My mom wanted to post a video of me peeing to show how strong my leg is, but my dad said no. (She told me to tell you she’d keep trying.)

Thanks for visiting and to all those who helped make my recovery possible.  I’m such a lucky dog!  Speaking of dogs, I heard a rumor that my mom and dad are dressing up as ketchup and mustard for Halloween.  You know what that means…I’m going to be a different kind of dog for the night.  The kind between two buns!  Help!

Thanks again to the Boxer Rescue Foundation and all who donated to make my surgeries possible.  Without you, I wouldn't be jogging!

  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Puppy's got a brand new leg

Hello everyone! I've had my new leg for almost 6 weeks and things just keep getting better and better!  First things first--my mom wants me to apologize on her behalf for not posting for a few weeks.  She's been so busy taking care of me (and lots of other stuff!) that she hasn't had a chance to write.  And as I'm sure you can imagine, it's tough to punch keys if you have paws!

A lot has happened in the last few weeks--I got to visit my cousins Rocky and Rudy, who I stayed with for awhile before my surgery, and their new baby sister!  Her name is Harper (FYI, she is a person, not a dog) and she smells like Heaven, as my aunt would say.  I was in my crate when I first met her, but I still gave her kisses!  That's her with my mom and dad.  Isn't she cute?

It was also fun to see my aunt and uncle.  They have done so much for me and I'm so lucky to have them!  Before my surgery I stayed with them for awhile, and even though I really missed my dad and mom, I loved being there.  They took such good care of me and always gave me lots of love and treats.  I'm one lucky pup!  That's them on the right in our Christmas picture.  I was so jealous Rudy got to sit on Santa's lap...

I also got to see my grandma, grandpa and other aunt, who came to visit baby Harper.  They were so much fun!  They used to have a boxer that looked just like me, only a bit stockier.  His name was Bear, and he's who I'm named after.  That's him (and my dad and aunts!) when he was a puppy.

Pretty cute, huh? But not as cute as this guy!
Yup, that's me! It was taken the first day my dad had me.  He said it was love at first sight!  I thought the same about him too.

Don't think since I've been a travelin' dog the last few weeks that I haven't been doing my rehab.  Oh no.  You better believe my mom and dad made sure I stayed on track with that! This is the latest exercise.  My mom calls these our "Figure 8's," but I call it walking in circles.  Sometimes I wonder about her...see for yourself!
video
Like I said.  Circles!!!

And to finish it off, I wanted to include this picture.  It goes out to all those folks on the Boxer Mailing List who made my surgery possible.  Because without you, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the things I love, like sprinklers!  And we all know how much I like those.

Thank you for giving me a chance play in these sprinklers.  And live my life with my family!



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Check-up...CHECK!

Hello everyone!  It's been almost two weeks since my surgery and I'm feeling better than ever!  I had my first follow-up appointment yesterday and I got an A+.  My incision is almost all healed, I'm putting lots of weight on my leg and I'm all done with my pain pills, antibiotics and anti-inflamitories. I'm taking two 20 minute walks a day and even trying to jog!  But, of course, my Mom and Dad give me quick leash tug because I'm not allowed to do that for a few more weeks.  I'll be there soon though!  Below are some pics from the last week.  Since the hair on my leg is finally starting to grow back, I don't mind showing off a little! 
Doing my rehab (I think this is called flexion?)
(And extension?)

YES!  I was right! A marrow bone for me!!!

Kisses for Dad. He likes it I promise!

About to take away Mom's camera...seriously...I'm trying to nap here.

Me and Dad in the waiting room at the vet.  The flash made me blink...
Waiting for the vet!  She was really nice. And gave me a treat!

Thanks for checking back in!  More updates and pics to come--unless my Mom's camera mysteriously goes missing...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Dog, Old Tricks (Junior vs. The Sprinkler)

Hi again! It's been a whole week since my surgery and I'm feeling great!  Almost as good as one of those spring chickens in the yard behind me that drive me so crazy.  (Lay an egg already!!!)

I'm even back to some of my old tricks--like this one:
video
Face it sprinkler head.  I own you.

My incision looks great and I'm not just toe-touching, I'm even putting a little bit of weight on my leg. I'm also really enjoying all the time I'm getting to spend with my Mom and Dad--especially my Dad.  He's been staying home to make sure I don't do anything silly like lick my incision or try to jump on the bed.  It's so nice to have him here and I feel so lucky to be spending my recovery with him.  And even more excited to spend the rest of my doggie days with him!

I'm sleeping well in my crate, even though I much prefer snuggling in the bed, and am adjusting to my lampshade considerably well.  It actually catches my drool quite nicely! I've also been eating and drinking well, and keeping up with all my medicines.  My Mom doesn't even have to hide my pills anymore!

A big shout-out to my cousins Rocky and Rudy.  I miss you guys but will see you soon when I'm all better and ready to play. In the meantime, Rudy, get the rope toy ready; and Rocky, don't sleep on me.  I've got new legs!!!  (Well, sort of.)

And an even bigger shout-out to Toby, the Boxer Rescue Foundation and the generous donors from their Boxer Mailing List, who made this all possible!  I wouldn't be here with my family if it weren't for you.