Thursday, December 04, 2008

Asta Joins the Walking Wounded

Doesn't she just look sad leaning against the door for support here? The leg she is sitting on is her damaged one. She curls it under her to protect it. And yes, that is a light up deer in the box behind her.

As some of you know, Asta had a Thanksgiving Day accident. All in all she is a very lucky girl but she is going to be recovering for quite some time. I was waiting to blog about this until we had some actual news.

Oso and Asta had a sitter over the holiday break while we were all gone. Apparently they took exception to being left behind because they laid in wait for Jimmy to return home on Thanksgiving night and they they took off out the front door when he opened it. Being quick black dogs, they were not the easiest things to find in the dark and Jimmy had no luck. He searched for them and grew frantic and was unable to reach any of us because the cell phone gods were against us that night. Oso returned around 2 in the morning without Asta. Jimmy didn't know what to do. When my parents called him the next morning to tell him they were returning later that day, he told them what had happened and they suggested he look for Asta in the park across the street from our house. He found her there, beat up with scratches on her head and legs and unable to walk. A gentleman was trying to help her walk and get close enough to read the tag with her name and mine and Matt's cell phone numbers on it. Jimmy carried her home and alerted my parents that she had been found.

This is the best shot I could get of the scrapes on her head. She tries to lick the camera when you get too close to her. You can't see the cuts under her eyes here.

Mom and Dad arrived home later that night and got Asta to drink a little water but mostly she just wanted to sleep. No one, however, alerted me to the situation, a curious choice if I do say so. I found out however, because eventually the cell phone gods let Jimmy's message get through and I called my parents to find out what was happening. They took Asta to the vet first thing Saturday morning and the vet determined that she had been hit by a car. The scratches were road rash from bouncing out from the car. No bones were broken so he gave her some pain meds and told my parents we should watch her for a few days and then take her to a specialist.

I returned home late Sunday night and Asta hasn't let me out of her sight if we are in the same house since then. I called the surgeon the vet had recommended and Asta saw him this morning. It turns out she had congenital knee problems to begin with, something Matt's uncle (also a vet) had determined before the accident from a description I gave him of her weird come and go leg problem. This would have required minor surgery to fix but the vet wouldn't have done it until she was at least a year old and her bones were fully fused and grown. But he is going to have to operate sooner because of the car accident. Her back left leg isn't working. The ACL is torn through and a ligament in the front is also now completely detached. She goes in for surgery on Tuesday morning and we'll pick her back up on Wednesday. Then comes the really tricky part. She isn't allowed to run or jump or play for 4 months while she recovers. They won't immobilize her leg because they don't want it to lose muscle and it will heal better if it moves a little. So I have to convince my 9 month old puppy that she is no longer able to play with the big dogs, her favorite activity, or run in the backyard, or jump around. She is a very enthusiastic dog. Nola will be down for Christmas. This is going to be interesting. The specialist has taken her off the pain medication so that she will stop using the leg and there will be no post-surgery pain killers. I understand the reasoning but it does seem a bit cruel.

In summary, she will be okay and will gain full use of her leg eventually. She'll have the 2nd surgery in April and that recovery period will be much shorter. I do wish I could say that this has all taught Asta something about safety and caution but she doesn't seem particularly frightened by cars and she hobbled off down the alley as quick as she could go the other day when she heard one of the neighbor dogs barking. She is a very stubborn dog and we had to drop out of obedience classes for the time being and she can't sit properly with her leg so even home practice is out for now. On the upside, the cats love this slower version of the puppy and have been spotted giving her kisses. She is delighted. She has been trying to get kisses from them since they met.

Sorry for the long post but I thought it would just be best to post the whole story at once. I'll give post-surgery updates next week.

Here is Asta on her chew-resistant bed looking very pleased about the loss of her pain medication.


Molly said...

I would like to defend the choice not to tell Kym immediately. Mom and Dad had no real idea how bad she was hurt and thought it best (and I agreed) that we would wait to tell Kym until there was actual information so she didn't start worrying about things that may not even be reality. Our plan was foiled but I stand by it.

Kym said...

I'll keep that in mind when I'm taking care of your pets in the future. I was not a fan of this plan in college and I still find it dubious. I have the right to worry about my own pets. Just saying.

Kate C. said...

Poor Asta. That is a rough road for a young puppy. Penny, Neilson's sister's boyfriend's (!) dog had that same surgery. She did get better but wasn't too happy about the whole thing.

Kym said...

Did Penny have the ACL surgery or the surgery for the knee cap problem? Good to hear she was fine afterwards.

jody said...

Poor thing, I am sorry she has to have surgery, I hope it all goes well.