Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

TPLO #2 Day 1 February 24, 2011

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO — knitwhits @ 7:31 pm
Freia's crate nametage

Freia's crate nametag

Well they say it’s easier the 2nd go around and so far that’s true, though I’ve only had her home for 2 hours. Her spirits are generally good, all things considered. I got her home and she walked  straight into her pen and pretty much settled down right away.  The set up is better this time, no extra blankets for her to catch her bandaged leg in, it’s basically just a covered foam mattress and her pillow on the ground with a bowl of water and a couple of toys nearby. Of course for now she has no interest in the toys, but so far so good.  I lay down with her for a little bit but she doesn’t seem to be as needy (yet) as she was last time.

The doc gave a couple of extra meds this go around. In addition to the pain pills, the anti-inflammatories, the antibiotics and sedatives she was also given an antacid too. I guess they had problems with a few dogs and decided to add that to the routine. I’m all for it if it makes things easier on us, though I don’t recall her having trouble last time. Better safe than sorry though.

She was the darling of the vet’s office, they told me she was very good, didn’t cry at all, and after her surgery just hung out watching all the comings and goings in the recovery area. They even made a special nameplate for her crate:


Here we go again – TPLO #2 February 22, 2011

Tomorrow Freia (finally) goes in for TPLO #2 – on her left leg this time. I’ve been voraciously reading my blog to recall how it all went the first time. It’s bringing back good reassuring memories and some not so good ones..

She blew out the other knee completely about 3 weeks ago. We were at the dog park and a couple of dominant Collies were harassing her – not really doing anything or even touching her, just behaving in a very dominant manner. She got intimidated and crept away, tail tucked. I found her at the top of a slope about 4 minutes later and she was fully 3 legging it. I knew what this meant. Her knee was well and truly gone. Such a bummer. And poor girl was so scared. I reassured her that it was all OK. The other dogs had moved on. I made a sling for her out of her leash, mainly just to help support her back end and we gingerly hobbled out of the park. What would normally be a 10 minute saunter probably took about half an hour. What also really sucked was that she hadn’t even had a chance to romp around the park when this all happened, we’d not even been there 10 minutes. PLUS on the way over there I had a bad, bad feeling. I don’t know why I don’t listen when I get those.

That first night she was in a fair amount of pain, but has steadily improved and was in fact pain free from about the 3rd day. She is still hopping on 3 legs though, especially if I let her pick up speed (apparently with the ACL it’s not a pain problem that makes them hop, they are just unstable, so hopping is a safer way for them to get about).  Here’s a video of what she looked like a couple of days after the “incident”.

Now though it’s about 3 weeks since she tore it and our walks have become shorter and shorter – at her request – I let her lead the way and she pretty much just walks me around our building. This is really no different from the first 2 weeks post-op so this view is going to get pretty old, but her comfort is the most important thing.

If there is a silver lining, her knee has been troublesome for two years now, so it’s a relief to have it finally go so that we can all move on and hopefully by autumn I can take her to some really lovely off leash local quasi-wilderness areas that I’ve not been able to take her to for over a year.

So, my nerves are shot but it’s a go. She was originally scheduled for last monday, but had some really nasty tummy bug which was being overly persistent. I felt dreadful calling Dr. Sams late on the Sunday before the surgery to see what he thought and possibly reschedule. Without any hesitation he made it clear that her health was the most important thing and that the surgery would be best postponed till she was better. This is why I like Dr. Sams so very much. He really cares about the dogs, their health and wellbeing and the success of his work. I really can’t recommend him enough. If you are in the Northern California area, he is the surgeon to see.

Wish us luck – tomorrow is going to be pretty darn awful. Maybe I should start on the sedatives now…


False Alarm? May 17, 2009

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 7:08 pm

W_RJust a quickie here as I’ve been getting a few messages about the dog.

This may in the end have been a false alarm about her possible torn ACL in her other knee.

My dog, who is endlessly injured in one way or another (seriously I really do not suffer Baron Von Munchhausen syndrome.. ) recently ate a bunch of foxtails. Well.. I think her intention was to eat grass, but ate one foxtail, it aggravated her, so she ate more grass, etc etc.. 10 minutes later, she’s hacking, coughing, desperately trying to clear her throat and I’m on the phone to the vet.

By the time we get there she is a bit better, my vet thinks it OK to take a wait and see approach. Well I lasted about a day. She went in the morning of the 2nd day to be knocked out to get her throat checked as clearly something wasn’t right. Yup, she had a foxtail stuck in her tonsils. There was another that had abcessed in the side of her throat but they weren’t able to get anything from there.

Since she was being knocked out I asked also for a nail trim and for them to check her leg while she was sedated for any drawer movement.. Nothing. Though the vet said that there was some “lateral” movement, whatever that means, but no drawer movement. So, she has something wrong, but not yet needing any further action.

She came back from the vet very groggy (falling asleep standing up trying to watch me!! soooo cute!) I had to lay her down so she didn’t hurt herself! But no more throat clearing, so that was taken care of.

Three vet appts since the knee began bothering her and three different vets, but the concensus is to wait and see. I take her to the park daily for 1 – 1 1/2 hours and she barrels about, rock climbing, swimming, playing and ball chasing and is not even limping anymore, so maybe it was some sort of strain. If something bothers her I give her 1/4 of a Rimadyl and by the following morning she’s right as rain. And I’ve not even given her any for a couple of weeks now.. so.. your guess is as good as mine. Needless to say, I’m not worried right now about it.

Though of course she is limping once morel.. but, I should say, not limping from her knee..

Now she’s done something else.  Darn dog. I found another foxtail in her front paw which,  with a bit of a struggle she let me remove, but then she was limping madly – actually hopping –  on her back paw (operated leg). Poked around her toes for yet another foxtail but nothing. Later that night upon re-examination I found a pretty nasty slice in her paw pad, probably from the rocks at the dog park, or more likely some broken glass, as the cut is a clean slice.

Poor pup.. does it ever end?

In other news.. my latest obsession? Wardrobe_remix on flickr. I started a flickr group for the people that knit my designs to post their pictures, then one day was wearing an outfit that I liked, so.. it ended up on W_R.. and now? I think everyday about what I’m wearing. Working at home it’s easy enough to get sloppy. Especially when my primary outing is to the dog park – silly to look too nice there, you only are going to get covered in mud and slop from the goofy happy wet soppy dogs. But I don’t know, W_R is fun. It’s made me look at what I wear more carefully, and care about what I put together, even on a day when I don’t want to document my clothes. So the picture? it’s a wardrobe_remix one. My plan is to include Freia in each one.. I’ve only done a few, but it’s a start – if a late one.


Wow.. it’s been a while April 17, 2009


Freia finally got her freedom and for two months was the happiest, sweetest, happy-go-lucky pup. No more sneering at other dogs, just play play play. Made me realize how much the injury has affected her this last year.

Sad to say though, about 3 weeks ago she injured the other knee. Though till then she never showed any signs even under sedation, the additional stresses can and often do take out the good knee. The ratio of dogs is some 50% go on to require surgery on the other leg, so I’m bummed out, but not entirely shocked.

She is bummed out too. We still go to the park and I let her run about, but if she does more than an hour and a half of intense play then she’s out for the count and very limpy the remainder of the day, though right as rain the following morning. Though I’ve not had confirmation from the dr. yet, I recognize the signs. The soreness and limping after exercise, and toe-touching the rest of the time. And of course, out at the park, running about, you’d never know there was anything wrong with her.

Such a drag.

I have a call into the doctor today and I guess I will take her in next week for confirmation and schedule the surgery for the following week. It’s a bit tricky as I go to Ohio for TNNA in June, this would put her 6 weeks post op when I have to go, but her doggie day care can do the job of walking her at that point. She will be mobile and the hardest part will be keeping her calm more than anything. The timing of the surgery is tricky as I have a series of shows from June on, so I really have no 8 week stretch when I will be here.  At least if I do it now, even if it seems early, then it’s done and she will be able to enjoy the summer. I have to keep in mind, though this injury is not (yet) as severe as the first one, it won’t get any better, short of keeping her on a leash, which only disguises the injury, it is no cure. And I certainly don’t want to keep a 3 year old, high energy dog on a leash for months on end again. I promised myself that if the 2nd knee went, I wouldn’t wait.

The rest of my life has been quite a ride too. I’m referring to it all as a series of unfortunate events. Nothing major, but an endless river of annoyances.

  • Garbage disposal broke, replaced, new one broke.
  • Computer crashed beyond repair and wasn’t backed up for 3 months, but that wasn’t the worst of it, I also lost over a year of data for my company’s accounting. Fortunately taxes had been done, and I have everything printed out, but I will be spending the next few months re-entering it all.. this time I’m backing it up.. lesson learned.
  • Car needs a service.. again
  • When doing the data entry for the new laptop I accidentally deleted a day’s worth of work.. luckily this time I had it backed up, but still.. sheesh.
  • Oh, and the new laptop? (paid for with my tax refund – in one door, out the next) The new laptop that I received just a week ago needs to have the keyboard replaced. Luckily I have on-site service and though they tried to tell me that it was easy and I could do it myself, I figure the way things are going right now.. bad idea.
  • Spent $20 on new bulbs for my under cabinet lights in my kitchen, still didn’t work. Bought a new set of under cabinet lights. Did, at best, a mediocre job of installing them, the wiring is sort of funky. Had a friend come over to help me pull the fridge out so I could remove the last of the wiring of the “broken” lights only to find that the plug had simply become dislodged and my old, nicely installed lights actually worked just fine.. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend.. replacing the new ones with the old ones… sigh..
  • Wrote a list of 10 goals for Knitwhits, been already shot down on 2 of them.. ouch. (but I’m not giving up on that.. I’m stubborn that way and will pursue these ideas further) I’d give you more specifics on them but they aren’t really things I can talk about in a public forum. Still stings  though!

So.. see what I mean? nothing life-shattering, but just sort of tedious and endless.. at least I haven’t stubbed my toe lately – that’s always an eye opener.


Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO Week 7 & 8 January 9, 2009

Oh Brother.. so much for willpower. Well Christmas was the beginning of my downfall.

I think for about another day or so I kept Freia in her Xpen, but probably daily have given her more and more freedoms. It started with letting her watch me prepare dinner with her lying down on the rug nearby. Then she got a case of the zoomies one day and tore around the house like a 4 month old puppy. She survived that just fine, though I thought I would keel over. I kept watching her for a limp, but nothing. So then one night I let her have the whole bedroom, instead of only access to her sleeping area. Another time I let her hang out outside the pen in the livingroom, but kept the stairs blocked off.. you see where this is going, right?

The one thing that I did notice, and this was a big giveaway that she was feeling good, is that her behaviour went completely down the tubes this week. She was very snappy to other dogs, becoming extra territorial and bitchy. Watch out, Freia’s back in town.. Well. Not if I have any say in it. I realised that I’d completely slipped in the training/reminding of good behaviour since her injury in May. I let it slide. Not so good. So this was also a crackdown week in the training dept. Lots of kibble rewards for ignoring other dogs on our walks. By day 3 she got it, now she’s back to signalling me when she sees another dog, not by growling at them, but by turning to me for a treat.. Good girl! This isn’t going to make her an angel overnight, but will act as a reminder of what is and is not acceptable behaviour.

What I love about this is that now, a week into it, she’s no longer the dog freaking out, she’s the good dog ignoring the other dog (who’s barking it’s head off) As far as she’s concerned, she has more important things to do than worry about other dogs on our walks. Dogs to her mean something good might come from me to her, if, and only if, she’s good and ignores that dog. You gotta love the trainer that came up with this, it’s so simple and works like a charm. I almost want to tell the other people with the crazy barking dogs, but I’m still getting too much satisfaction out of having the ‘good’ dog! 🙂

New Year’s Eve. Some doggy parents came over for a glass of champagne. Freia had not seen one of the parents, the owner of her best friend, Rufus, (the dog who sadly was killed in a car hit & run earlier last summer) since her injury back in May. She was sooo excited to see him – she brought him her bones, gave him lots of smoochy kisses and tail waggles and finally just curled up as close to his lap as an 80lb dog can get and contentedly gnawed another bone. Well, since that night I just decided to continue letting her run free in the house. A little bit of guilt and concern for getting into trouble with the surgeon at my appointment this week, but then I would look at her thick, bony, grown-in rock-hard knee and it just seemed OK. She occasionally had a bit of limping which would quickly pass and I chalked it up more to a muscle ache than anything else.

So, today was the big day. Day 56. It’s been 8 weeks since the surgery. The first two were hell. Trapped downstairs with spiders crawling over us at night, uncomfortable, sleepless nights for the both of us. Lots of medication for her, multiple times a day. By Day 5 we’d cut back one of the three meds, by Day 10 we were done with the antibiotics, after 30 days, the antinflammatories were tapered to one pill every other day, till finally two weeks ago, no more pills. It started to feel like we were getting somewhere. I’m so glad to have found the ortho that I did. He encouraged exercise within limits which helped keep us all sane. Somehow in the beginning 5 minutes was all she wanted, and at week 3, 10 minutes was just right. Having an adaptive dog has certainly been very helpful for me. She’s been a most excellent patient.

She’s definately a little frightened of the ortho, though she doesn’t hold it against any individual there, she looked at me when I led her in as if to say “what?? again? how many times do we have to do this? Is this gonna hurt????” poor thing. I dropped her off at 8am, and came to pick her up and meet with Dr. Sams at 11:30. He said that “she looked like a million bucks” and proceeded to run through her freedoms and restrictions. Basically it ain’t bad, she can do almost anything on leash, her main restriction is no full out crazy play at the dog park. She can hike, swim, walk, play gently – all within the limits of her not-as-fit-as-she-was body.  As she rebuilds muscle, my concerns to watch for are her achilles tendon and patellar tendonitis. Since it’s been such a gradual, yet consistent, increase in her activity, she has so far not shown any signs of soft tissue injury. He did also caution me that someday she will probably tweak her knee and may need rest and NSAIDS for a couple of days – along the lines of how my own knees are after 30+ years of skiing. If the tweaking lasts more than a couple of days then to call him for a check up. But that’s all she wrote!

Day 1 - Day 56

Day 1 - Day 56

Day 1- Day 56 - side view

Day 1- Day 56 - side view

In another 4 weeks he wants me to come in for one more Xray, she still has some bone growth to come in yet, but overall she’s done great. He expects her to be toe-touching for another 6 weeks or so, but that also six weeks from now, she can.. wait for it… wait for it.. be OFF LEASH at the dog park again!! woo hoo! That will be one happy day for this not-so-little dog!


Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO Weeks 5 & 6 December 29, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs,Chesapeake Bay Retriever,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 11:03 pm

Well, I’m going to combine these last two weeks as for all of week 5 it continued to be more of the same. Freia went up to 15 minute walks 2 or 3 times a day, we continued with her “weight training” – the little weight wrapped around her operated leg to make her “high step” like a Lipizaner pony and use that leg muscle.. looks a bit silly but it works!

By the end of week 5 I was starting to get a bit concerned as it really seemed like not much was changing. She’s been walking well since the start, but was still a bit wobbly/hobbly in her Xpen.

What a difference a few days would make. It could have been the change in the weight used – going from 2 oz to 4 oz – or maybe it was just time, but at the beginning of week 6 I started seeing little things that were good, very good and encouraging.. Just a little more excited, a little more bounce in her step, a bigger squiggle and wag in her tail. And as the days have worn on (and on… ) this change for the better is sticking. She was definitely still a bit gimpy when she was only making little steps – that seems to exaggerate her limp more, but on the move, well, she really was on the move!

She started a new trick, cute in a lap dog, unusual to say the least in an 80-pounder. Now when she’s excited she gets up on her hind legs and does a little leg hopping act.. a bit like what I imagine a dancing bear to look like. Yup, she’s feeling pretty good! Since it doesn’t appear to be hurting her,  I’ve let her do it rather than force her back down and risk injury that way.  She seems to be no worse for it in any case.

Week 6 was also Christmas week which meant a road trip 2 hours north, an unfamiliar environment and her nemesis.. young children. Acepromazine became my friend once more. Safely ensconced behind two stacked baby gates with her bed, multiple favorite bones and she was pretty good.. She got in a few cat naps but was mostly just kind of dopey.

My little 5 year old nephew even gave her a treat or two and she was tolerant of him and she might have admitted to liking him if it didn’t completely ruin her street credibility. All in all she was very well behaved, almost grown up, didn’t go completely nutso, though she was, as always, in complete adoration of my mum and stepfather – the meaty bones she gets from them probably has something to do with it. She was also very happy to have a bit more freedom around the living room later that day and the following morning. Then.. little devil, when I had my back turned, she climbed out of her Xpen (only partially closed) ONTO the very slippery polished coffee table! I caught her nose in the cookies.. sigh. The following morning (once again waiting till my back was turned – this one’s no dummy) she carefully climbed onto the couch, she’s clearly feeling back to her old self. I had a little heart attack over her on the couch as she’s really not supposed to jump up on anything, yet with her dancing bear act of late, a slow steady careful climb on the couch won’t really hurt.

So now week 6 is done, she’s clearly feeling good, feeling a lot like her old self, and though the days are flying by, this next two weeks, and hopefully final weeks of restriction, will apparently be on the challenging side. Since we’re moving about a bit more I’ve also upped her food as she was very obviously and vocally letting me know that she was getting hungrier.

Two more weeks to go, I’m counting the days, hours and minutes. In another week I’ll be counting the seconds.. I really hope I’m allowed at that point to give her back her freedom around the house, please oh please… a long walk would also do us both a world of good..


She went out with a bang December 10, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs — knitwhits @ 9:04 pm

I think I’ve just had the most insane 3 hours of my life.

I was checking on the cat about every 20 minutes and at every sound I’d hear coming from upstairs. Her breathing was getting more shallow, she was clearly weakening, not able to support herself steadily, but comfortable once lying down. In the afternoon on one of the last checks I found that she had some blood coming out of her mouth, it seemed like it was time. She was close, but at the same time she was holding on to life and I wasn’t convinced that though she was pretty out of it, she wasn’t now also in some pain or discomfort. I called the vet to see if Dr. Yoo was in, she was the same vet who put Sam down back in January. She was and she would wait for me to come in with Sable. That’s when it got nuts.

I had sort of a small window to get comfortable with this decision even though I knew I really had no choice, watching Sable suffer was not right at all. It was 3pm, and the housecleaners were due any minute. I thought of waiting for them but decided instead to give my neighbor the key and the money for the girls and I would take the cat, the dog (she can’t stay when the cleaners are there, way too territorial) and myself to the vet. I’m now in pretty deep hysterics, the crying where you go “hup!.. hup!… hup!” My neighbor was so kind and helpful and was right there offering me whatever I needed emotionally to get through. She was lovely.

From the moment I picked Sable up from her spot in the living room to when I got her to the vet she barely moved except to breathe. I knew I was doing the right thing. In the car, of course, it’s the Bay Area so I hit traffic, finally get to the vet, they take me straight to my own room, cat in my arms. As I took her into the room she started this sad quiet and mournful moaning, and almost seemed to have the hiccups in her breathing, two normal breaths, one hiccup.. two normal, hiccup. Dr. Yoo comes in, gently looks her over and thinks that she’s so out of it that we don’t even need to give her a sedative before the heart stopping drug, but I want her to have the sedative anyway, I don’t want Sable to have any clue or any feeling of the heart drug. In the split second before she gets the sedative, she twitches up and seemed to stop breathing. I think she’s almost gone, so very close, no rising and falling that I can feel at all, but I can almost still feel her blood coursing, though her heartbeat is not there that I can sense. The sedative is good, it stops the moaning and the hiccuping and she’s clearly at peace. Dr. Yoo came back in and I told her I thought she was gone. Dr. Yoo listened for her heart and said, it’s very very faint, she’s gone. I asked her to give the heart stopping meds anyway. I didn’t want to risk Sable somehow waking up from the sedative at the vet, she was such a fighter, though improbable, it almost seemed possible.

Now she was really gone, free from pain. Release. It was the right thing.

But her spirit wasn’t done yet. I’ve decided she was determined to make me remember this day for eternity.  As I left I had a lovely chat with the nursing staff, they were all so kind and sympathetic, and they barely knew Sable or Sam, but they know Freia and we are all like family to them. On my way home at my freeway exit I realize that I’m out of gas, and now my Low Voltage warning light is on. I change lanes to go to the gas station at the next corner, and now the ABS warning light is on. My car slips into “limp home” mode. I somehow get enough revs out of the engine to creep into the gas station, I pump in ten gallons hoping that somehow that will breathe enough life into the engine to take me the six blocks home. Nope. I don’t even make it out of the gas station. It won’t go forward, BUT, my car will go backwards.


I maneouvre the car into a side spot sort of out of the way, go grovelling to the attendant to ask if it’s ok to leave it for as short a time as possible and I’ll get a tow truck there ASAP and how sorry I am and how I just bought gas from them. He looks at me like I’m a little nuts (keep in mind, i’ve now been crying about the cat off and on for 36 hours so I’m sure my face looks well puffy and red-eyed – what a mess). I get the dog, get to the first traffic light at the corner and Freia snaps at some strange woman behind me who much to my horror is beginning to bend down to pet her. I look a the woman and coldly say “she’s not friendly and she has a broken leg”. Seriously. Don’t pet strange dogs, or at least ask the owner first.. geez. What with everything going on, Freia had figured out that this was Sable’s last road trip, the car breaking down she was just as much on edge as I was, and she wasn’t about to let anyone near me at that point.

We walk home, cleaners are still there, put dog in bathroom behind baby gate, ask cleaners to throw out litter boxes, litter, floor mats around litter box and to clean that whole area well, call the car repair for the number of the tow, explain to the car repair what wrong, tell them I’ll try to get the car to them before they close in an hour (ever tried to get a tow truck in under an hour during rush hour??). Tow company puts their guy on OT to pick up my car (love them). Scramble to straighten up the office for the cleaners, get dog, walk back to gas station, meet tow truck, walk dog home again. Cleaners still there, get on phone with car repair, dog in bathroom starts barking her head off cos now the cleaners are in the office with us – vacuuming – two neighbors come over so now there’s six people in the room, two vacuums, barking dog and me on the phone, and I’m a wreck from the cat.

Can you say “madness”?

A sense of sanity slowly returned as the vacuuming was done and the dog realised that barking wasn’t making anyone go away. My lovely neighbor brought me a beautiful bunch of flowers, the other neighbor stuck around a bit longer to give me some kind words and pet the dog on the head.

And now, calmness. I can hear the silence. The only sound is the tapping of the keyboard as I write and the dog snoozing next to me.

Sable is at peace and so are we.