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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Short Update on our Black Dog

Yesterday, on the 7 week anniversary of R's CUE surgery, he went to our vet for physical therapy. Our vet likes to call herself a "rain cloud" because she tends to talk about all the "not so good" aspects of a dog's condition. She's a great vet - so we don't mind this habit one bit.

With that background, you can imagine how happy we were to hear her say that R was doing fabulously! He now has a greater range of motion in his elbow than ever before in his life. He was born with elbow dysplasia so his flexibility was inhibited right from the start.

Our vet gave us a new set of exercises to do this week with R, including things like a one-armed push-up on his "bad forelimb", playing tug, and crawling forward and backwards under a chair. Obviously, he's reached a whole new level where we are working hard to bring back the strength around his surgical elbow.

I will soon have a video of his gait and his exercises. The only slightly worrisome thing is that he still has a rather obvious limp but our vet feels confident that it will go away as he learns to trust that limb again.

R's favorite rehab instruction is that he must chew a bone while holding it between his paws for 10-15 minutes per day. This helps strengthen the small muscles around his elbow. Until a few days ago, he figured out ways to chew the bone without touching it with his left paw (that's his surgical limb). As you can see, he finally started using his left paw a few days ago! Another great sign!

He's thinking to himself, "this is waaaay better than one-armed push-ups!".

As a celebration of his great checkup, we walked him up to our "sunset lookout point". He's supposed to do four 20 minute leash walks per day now. Our celebration walk pushed the limit a tiny bit (26 minutes - don't tell our vet). We won't do it again but it sure was nice to have a pack sunset hike for the first time in 7 weeks.

The sunset was incredible!

The brilliant orange clouds spread all across the horizon so I couldn't get them all in one camera frame.

As the bright orange started to fade, the rest of the sky was filled with pastel colors. As we watched the sky, a hermit thrush started singing its mournful and beautiful song. Hermit thrushes are my favorite birds due to their song. They'll sing from now until around the middle of July.
For R, next week will be 8 weeks post-CUE surgery, and he'll have elbow x-rays taken to check that the implants (new weight bearing surfaces) are looking good. If they are, he'll be allowed to start running just a little bit. The first day will be 5 minutes... but it will be a happy day!


  1. Hooray! So far, so good. Fingers crossed and mojo sent for continued healing and improvement!

  2. Thank you for the update! I've been thinking of R, and you all, a lot.

  3. Wonderful to hear R is progressing so well. It's a good thing you have worked so much with him on training and commands. Otherwise it would be quite difficult to get him to do the exercises properly.

    Lovely sunset photographs and I'm delighted you were all together for it.

  4. We are so happy to read this post! Go, R! What a beautiful sunset♥

  5. so happy he is doing so well, and i had no idea chewing a bone is exercise. that makes sense.. that sky is totally awesome

  6. I know when I broke my kneecap a couple years back, I limped for a long time. It was not pain related. The PT person said we develop muscle memory of the limp, and it takes a while to stop the unnecessary limping. Maybe some of R's limp is that as well.

  7. Glad to hear he's progressing so quickly! I'm with him on snacking being better than pushups any day!

  8. Wow, this is GREAT news! Way to go on the PT, Mister are very brave to tackle that bone-chewing exercise so rigorously!
    Will be keeping fingers crossed for an excellent x-ray report next week. Keep up the good work, Team R! Even the sky celebrates your efforts :)

  9. It must make you both very happy to see R doing so well! Lots of hard work and perseverance from all are paying off!

    Have a great Sunday.

  10. Keep it up R, we're sure happy you are improving!

  11. Such a good report, very good news. As much as I admire R I admire his caregivers more. His great progress would not have been possible without such dedicated caregivers. R is very fortunate. Not many humans would be so dedicated.

  12. I'm so pleased for R and for you all. Keeping paws crossed that the X-ray has great news too. What a stunning sunset. A superb celebration.

  13. Progress going so well, vet's words to make your heart sing, beautiful sunsets, and I am sure sunrises too. R, go slowly, you are a marvel,and it's all that TLC in heaps that is doing the trick.Can I cancel my ticket now, you sound lots happier, is the schedule getting easier?

  14. We are so happy with the report on R too!
    He really is doing fabulous!! He looks so happy!
    The beautiful sky and clouds are beautiful!

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  16. WoooHooo!!! this is indeed good news R!!!! and you gets to eat a bone for your THERAPY???!!! Oh man! that is too good! Keep up the good work R, and knows that I gots my paws crossed real tight that you can go on that short run soon!
    those pics are just beautifuls!!!!
    Ruby ♥

  17. It is pure joy to read of R's progress

    You and the Runner are inspirational !!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Yay for R! I'm so glad he's doing well!

  19. sounds like recovery is going well!!!!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  20. Crikey ..... how good is that?? Mum's grinning from ear to ear and so am I. Such good news ...... well done to all of you!!

  21. Grreat news about R!! Woohoo!!! I think holding a bone is much better than one-armed pushups too.


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