My little dog, Roxy, is quite the character. A Yorkie-Chihuahua cross, she’s small – very small – and skinny, weighing in at a negligible three pounds, five ounces. At twelve years old, she’s been toothless for several years and is slowly losing her eye sight to cataracts. That hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves most, which is basically playing ball and romping around the backyard with Hubby. We take her with us whenever possible, usually carrying her in a sling if we’re walking. She’s gone on numerous road trips, generally snoozing on my lap the entire time. A few weeks ago, while traveling to Alberta, we made a pit-stop along the way. My heart about stopped when I came out of the restroom to find Hubby cradling the wee dog in his arms, with a horrified look on his face.
Apparently, another dog had made her nervous, so Hubby picked her up and sat with her at a picnic table. I don’t know if she squirmed from his arms or if, being partially blind, she didn’t realize how high up she was and decided to jump down, but somehow she ended up taking a tumble off the table. It was immediately obvious from the way she kept it protectively tucked in close, she’d hurt her front left leg. Hubby said she let out one yelp when she landed (thank goodness I didn’t have to hear it), but as we carried on our way, she just laid quietly on my lap, not whimpering or crying. Being such a delicate dog, she’s had slight injuries to her legs before. And she’s always dramatically let us know she had an owie, even though it never proved serious. So I didn’t know how to gauge this injury and I hoped she’d just shake it off with rest.
By time we arrived at our destination, the little wrist joint had started to swell a bit and she’d put no weight on the leg. But still not a complaint of any type from her. The next day, the joint had swelled even more, so we took her to a vet. It was decided not to x-ray it immediately, although the vet did feel the leg was likely broken. Because of the amount of swelling, she just immobilized it and gave us some pain meds. Roxy was not terribly happy with the purple camo bandage, and for the first time she whimpered softly under her breath for several hours. She felt very sorry for herself, and I felt very badly for her too. Because the little leg had to stick straight out, she couldn’t sleep in her travel bag, so we made her a comfy bed on the floor, but she didn’t stay in it and we’d usually find her sleeping on the carpet in the morning. A few days later, we returned to the vet to have the leg rechecked. I had my fingers fervently crossed that she was doing better, but it wasn’t to be. The swelling hadn’t gone down and she still couldn’t bear any weight on the leg. We were told she’d need to see our vet for x-rays as soon as we returned home. When we left, Roxy sported a stylish, but no less cumbersome, leopard print bandage. It was obviously uncomfortable, and I had to carry her everywhere, remembering to bring her for food and water on a regular basis. She did numerous faceplants after becoming off-balance, but she never complained about that. The only time she squeaked was when she needed help, or if she was beyond bored with just lying around and wanted some attention. At the end of the week, we were back in the car, heading home and she stoically, if rather pathetically, lay quietly on my lap. To say she was pleased to be home was an understatement, and she snuggled into her blankie with a happy sigh. At the vets the next day, I was given the news I’d hoped not to hear, but expected nonetheless. X-rays showed both bones above the wrist joint were broken and one in the joint was broken and slightly displaced. There’s a possibility the ligaments are injured too, but because she seems to be in little pain and the swelling is gone, I’m hoping there’s no serious damage. So now Roxy’s in a brace, with a (much larger & heavier) happy pink bandage. Her bandage might be happy, but she’s not. Poor little thing really is bored. For most of her day, all she does is lie on the couch. When she wants/needs attention, she squeaks, knowing I’ll come running. I’m afraid she’ll jump off the couch, which she has done at least twice, and somehow she even jumped back up once. My fear is that she’ll reinjure the leg or worse, hurt the other one by landing awkwardly. So I’m basically at her beck and call. I carry her around when I have the time, I take her outside for short periods so she can roam around and I give her lots of tummy rubs. She had another check-up last week and the vet was quite pleased with her progress. Especially how she’s not biting or scratching at the cast. It’s definitely not comfortable and it’s probably quite heavy, but it doesn’t slow her down. She muddles along to the best of her ability and has become quite good at getting around, usually on three legs, occasionally on all four. Hubby let her have her ball one day and it was like finding a dear old friend. She couldn’t scoop it up, so she ecstatically rolled all over it. I caught it on video and it’s beyond funny. Sometimes she lies on her injured side, then gets stuck, unable to roll over because the cast is in the way, and I have to come rescue her. It’s only been three weeks and we still have another three to five weeks to go. It hasn’t been fun for either of us, and I imagine it won’t get any easier, but it could be so much worse. My spoiled little princess has proven to be a pretty tough cookie and I’m proud of her fighting spirit.