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Sam is about 2 years old and weighs 40 pounds. He is a smooth collie mix. We had seen him previously when at an inner city shelter looking for dogs to bring into our rescue group for adoption. We saw Sam sitting there, holding his deformed left leg in the air. Then, three weeks later, there we were again, looking for adoptable dogs to come into foster care, when we saw Sam still sitting in the same shelter cage, holding his deformed leg in the air, just like he had before. Who was going to come into an inner city shelter and adopt this dog and do right by him? Chances were, nobody. So we committed to taking Sam into our care to see if something could be done to repair his leg.

Sam has been seen by a surgeon at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and it turns out that his deformed leg is due to an old injury that was never fixed. Sam needs carpal arthrodesis surgery. Some sort of trauma had caused a forearm bone to break loose from his wrist and it will need to be fused back with a plate. The success rate of this type of surgery is very high and dogs go on to lead a relatively normal life. The only difference will be that he will not be able to move his wrist. Sam has such a sweet temperament and is such a good dog. We are thrilled that he can be fixed and will be able to go on to be someone's loyal companion. Sam's surgery will be expensive, about $2,500.

Thursday, June 24
Sam had his surgery today and was neutered at the same time. His surgeon reports that the operation went very well. Sam should be able to leave the hospital and return to his foster home this Saturday.

Saturday, June 26
Sam is back at his foster home and is resting comfortably.  He is protesting a little bit at not being able to cut loose and play with his friends, so he must be feeling well.  But no running or jumping so he is going to have to adjust to confinement for a while.  It will all be worth it in the long run.  Sam goes back to see his doctor for a follow-up visit on July 6.  He will be x-rayed in 4-6 weeks to assess healing.  We thank everyone at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital for taking such good care of him.  The veterinary technician who was assigned to Sam said he was a very good patient and was such a sweet boy while in her care.  Sam got lots of hugs and kisses from the staff as he was leaving.

Monday, June 28
Sam had to make a quick trip back to the hospital because his paw had become swollen.  There is a little opening at the paw end of the bandage so we can keep an eye on his toes for swelling.  He needed a bandage change because the original one was a little too tight.  Now Sam is dressed in blue instead of red.  When Sam is at his most relaxed, he sleeps on his back, belly up.  So, as you can see, Sam is relaxing very nicely!  He is being a very good boy and is taking his crate confinement very well without complaint.  His crate is right next to a door which is left open when the weather is nice so he can get fresh air and look outside.

Wednesday, June 30
Sam was a bad boy.  He started to chew through his bandage.  He didn't do that much damage but enough of the outer layer was removed so that it was noticed that there was some seepage coming through the padding.  So all in all, a good thing that Sam was bad!  Back to visit the surgeon who said there was more drainage than he'd like to see so Sam got antibiotics and is now dressed in powder blue and is sporting an e-collar so that he won't damage his bandage again.  He loves going to Red Bank Veterinary Hospital but we are hoping he can now wait until his scheduled follow-up appointment on Tuesday.  Note how Sam has started sleeping with his leg propped on a stuffed toy.  He knows how to get comfortable.

Friday, July 2
Sam has been so good that he has earned some out of crate time without his e-collar.  The rules are that he must stay on his leash and quietly chew on a toy without moving around while under close supervision so he doesn't chew on his bandage.  He can easily spend a half hour entertaining himself like this, then he's ready to go back into his crate to nap.

Saturday, July 3
Sam had lots of visitors and well-wishers at the adoption event.  He received $74.23 in his donation jar towards his surgery.  Thank you!  And a special thanks to the teenage boys who emptied out their wallets AND pockets, then went to get their friends to do the same thing.  You guys are the best!

Tuesday, July 6
Sam made it to his follow-up appointment, bandage intact.  Sam is doing well and the vet said Sam should come again in a week for another bandage change since there is still some discharge resulting from swelling after surgery.  The vet always comments how well behaved and patient Sam is while his bandage is being changed.  So for the next week, Sam is decked out in attractive neon green.

Tuesday, July 13
Sam had his follow-up visit and his doctor reports that his leg is looking good.  There is a little bit of skin irritation from the bandage but that is to be expected.  Sam will return in 2 weeks for his next follow-up at which time he will be x-rayed to assess healing.  His bandage is red this time so we won't post a picture since it looks just like the first one :-)

Tuesday, July 27
Great news!  Sam's leg was x-rayed and the final verdict is that Sam's surgery was a complete success!  He isn't completely healed yet and can still injure himself so there are still restrictions although they have been lifted somewhat.  But no more splint!  Sam is now going to start using his leg the way it should be used.  He will still have pronounced limping for the next month while he becomes accustomed to using his leg properly.  He has pretty severe muscle atrophy in that shoulder but the muscles will come back with exercise.  He also has some sores on the back side of his leg from the bandage so he has to wear his e-collar a while longer until those are healed.  But they will heal quickly since the bandage is gone.  He is allowed short, controlled walks every day, increasingly longer, until he is up to normal walking.  Other than his walks, he must still stay in his crate with no running or jumping.  But at least he can get some exercise now to get his muscles back in shape.  Although no further follow-up visits are required, Sam's surgeon will do one more follow-up visit in a month.

The first view of Sam's leg perfectly straight instead of crooked!  It will look almost good as new once the hair all grows back.

Sunday, August 8
Sam is making great progress.  He now up to walking 8 blocks at least once a day in addition to a couple of shorter distances and is using his leg more and more every day.  We increase his distance by a couple of blocks every few days.  Sam loves his walks so much that every time he is taken out in the back yard, he pulls to the gate thinking he is going for a walk again.  It has also made his crating more tolerable.  Where Sam had started to protest at being crated all the time, the walks now give him a respite from the crate and tire him out so he rests and no longer gets antsy when having to be in the crate.  Because Sam has to walk in a controlled manner, we are using a modified method which teaches formal heeling so the bonus is that Sam should be a good leash walker as a result.  Sam has met many neighbors on his walks since everyone wants to know if his paw is hurt when they see him limping.  We have to stop and explain that Sam is doing physical therapy because of his surgery so they don't think we are being mean and making him walk with an injury.  Sam eagerly approaches everyone, even children, and is very happy to visit with them.  Sam can do the three steps up to the deck perfectly, fully using his leg on each step.  No more e-collar!  The sores on Sam's leg are completely healed, hair is growing back and the scar is becoming less visible.   Sam will be visiting our friends at The Dog Patch in Westfield this week for a much needed manicure and pedicure.   From not being able to run, those nails have grown fast.  In a little over 2 weeks Sam should be able to be loose in the house and go outside in the fenced yard to do his business without being on a leash.  

Tuesday, August 24
Sam had his final follow-up visit and there are no more restrictions!  Sam can now run around and play just like any dog and he is more than happy to do so after his long, long crate confinement.  Sam races around the yard and flings toys in the air out of pure joy.  This is the first time in a long time that Sam can run normally.  He will always limp a little when walking but it doesn't bother him in the least.  Long walks will be beneficial for him to strengthen his muscles.  So basically, Sam is now like any other dog and has no special needs.