Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Abby Blows Out Her ACL

On a late spring day in 2005 in the early afternoon, I received a call from my mom. She said Abby was in the backyard hurt. Abby saw a squirrel on the patio when my mom let her out. Abby gave chase as she always had, but this time she pulled up lame on the hill in the yard. Abby couldn’t move for a while and stayed on the hill for a while. I left work early to see what I could do. I suspected she blew out her ACL.

By the time I returned home, Abby had hobbled down to the patio deck. She stayed there for a while. She didn’t appear to be in pain unless she tried to move. I ruled out going to the after-hours clinic. They would not be able to perform surgery on her and the cost would have been well into the hundreds. Instead, we made an appointment for the next morning, Saturday. We were able to assist Abby walking by using a rolled-up towel to support her. However, it would have been nice to have known about this leash, which did come in handy when Andy had his issues a few years later.

The vet confirmed what I suspected; Abby had torn her ACL. She didn’t have to have surgery but something like that wouldn’t get better on its own. The vet said surgery was possible, so we scheduled Abby’s surgery for Monday morning. The surgery went well without any complications. I’m not sure if Abby spent the night at the vet.

When Abby did come home, I stayed over with my mom for a week. I put the inflatable mattress in the living room where Abby and I slept. Andy slept at his usual spot at my mom’s, my mom’s bed. The first day was the toughest. Abby had a hard time positioning herself to go to the bathroom. She found a way to stand on the hill so she didn’t have to squat while at the same time not soiling herself.

Overall, the surgery was a success. Abby never had ACL problems again. But we would never let her run again, ever. The first few times we let her out were the toughest. She still had that instinctual desire to give chase to squirrels. I had to yell at her to stop. She learned. Abby was so disciplined that a few times, squirrels approached her to within a few feet. Abby didn’t run. Instead, she starred at them with a furrowed brow and whined, but she would not give chase. She was a smart and good girl.

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