Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last Run?

We all know that life is short and bad things often happen without warning. In my case, I have had some warning over the last year or two. Jazz had been limping every once in a while for almost two years. We switched him to prescription joint diet food and I have been very careful to warm him up and cool him down when we do agility or other activities. He has always kept his weight down - he eats when he burns calories and doesn't eat when he isn't exercising. (That's a nice trick I wish I had!)

Tuesday evening Jazz was standing in the yard and suddenly started crying. He is not really a crier so I was terrified. He was unable to put any weight on his left rear leg. This is the leg that has been causing him trouble, so I was really worried. I iced it a little and felt it all over. I didn't feel any breaks and it didn't seem to swell up that much. The best we can determine, he just stepped off the sidewalk and twisted his leg. I waited until morning and took him to the vet. He has torn his ACL and probably has cartilage damage in that knee also.

All I could think was - let's fix this! I am very sad to discover that fixing it will probably not be very easy. I am writing this before we have xrays or see the surgeon. I have read some of the material on knee surgeries and talked to lots of people who have been through this. I think I have talked with someone whose dog had each of the surgeries and someone who did not do surgery. I have talked to people whose dogs sailed through and are doing beautifully years later and people who had terrible experiences and limited success. I am so frightened for Jazz.

He has been hopping around on three legs since Tuesday night as we wait to see the surgeon this coming Tuesday. My heart literally feels like it is breaking, but he seems fine. He is taking pain meds and seems pretty comfortable. He is not panting or drooling and he is sleeping fine. He bounces up with his tail doing it's little pom pom shake and even stole a toy from Coach. (I am not dumb enough to let them interact, but Coach laid the toy down and turned his back. Jazz snagged it and is currently sleeping with the toy under his chin.) He cannot put any weight on the injured leg.

I am so grateful for the image of what is likely to be our last agility run. We ran the Open Jumpers course in the sweltering heat. We dropped a bar, but ended with a dash to the finish over the last three jumps. Our friends cheered, I laughed and Jazz wagged his tail and felt pretty good about himself. I am so very glad that we ended that way instead of last fall when I was letting myself get disappointed. I cannot imagine this being harder than it is, but I think I would have been even more miserable if I had ended on that note with him.

I found myself angry with Coach this morning, because he was romping around and I could only see him as a threat to Jazz. Poor little guy is just being a puppy. I will have to watch that and be careful not to neglect him. He is a great dog, but he is bigger than Jazz now and outweighs Jazz by five pounds. We will have to be careful and I will have to make very sure that Coach gets opportunities to play with my daughter's dog and burn off all that energy any way we can.

I hate leaving Jazz at home and taking Coach to training. Jazz is so shocked that he could be left behind and so unhappy about it. I have to learn to deal with all that guilt or I will make a mess out of both dogs! Coach is being surprisingly gentle around Jazz and is even more glued to my side than usual. Either he's afraid I'll start leaving him too, or he knows something's up and needs a little reassurance. Either way - he's a good little brother and is getting lots of practice on "leave it" as it applies to Jazz.

This is a fairly disorganized post. It accurately reflects my state of mind. I think I am usually a pretty optimistic person, but there is a lot of sadness in my life right now. I am determined to be positive and stop feeling sorry for myself. I really admire people that can be supportive, caring and cheerful in the face of adversity. I want to be one of those people. I hope this is the very hardest lesson Jazz still has to teach me. I may not be up to any harder ones.


  1. Kathy, HUGS TO JAZZ!! I'm sure whatever decision you make, it will be one you are both comfortable with! I'm thinking of you!!

  2. Oh ouch! I am so sorry to hear this but know you will make the right decisions about what to do. Please keep us updated and know we are thinking about you both. And Coach, too.

  3. Im not sure what to say but that Im sending healing thoughts your way. I hope you get the answers you need at the vet Tuesday. Diana

  4. will be thinking of you as you make this difficult decision.

  5. Remember Jazz is going to get his special therapy walks & lots of surgery related attention that Coach will have to miss out on. I understand the doggie guilt look. Bridget gives it to me regularly! Jester doesn't, hum.

  6. FWIW, I had TPLO surgery done on my 8-year-old Berner a year ago. The recovery was long and took a great deal of effort, but she's doing great. She gave up jumping at 3 years old for reasons I haven't been able to determine, so she's not an agility dog, but she's back to doing musical freestyle with no hint of a limp, and happy as can be. Best wishes to you both.