What a difference a month can make…

Hope’s front leg was amputated just a little over a month ago on June 17.  At that time, we were so worried that she had given up on life, as she wouldn’t even try to get up to eat or go outside.

I can’t stress enough how post surgery drugs affect a dog.  Looking back, I recognize Hope’s lack of energy was due to the pain meds which kept her drowsy.

For the last month, Hope has been going up and down MANY steps unassisted and even begs for food on her hind legs–she’s back to her old self!  The twinkle is back in her eyes and her tail wags constantly.  What a happy dog she is!

Even though the blogs on this website talk about how well a dog adjusts after surgery, I didn’t see that happening for Hope.  Hope is a rescue dog, so we are uncertain about her age, but guess her to be around 9 years old.  We felt that losing a FRONT leg at that age would create obstacles for her and imagined ourselves carrying her outside for the rest of her life.  What a wonderful surprise to see her knock the other goldens and labs (all 5 of them) out of her way to get outside!  And she’s become the welcome wagon for people walking past our house.

We continue to give her Standard Process Whole Body Support and fish oil, to keep her healthy.  Hope weighs about 60#, which is a good weight for her, but I would like her to lose just a few pounds to lessen the stress on her legs.  That might be easier said than done, because Hope loves her food!

For anyone who has given up hope, as I did in the early days, please know that things turn around quickly.  Dogs really do adapt well–much better than people do.  They find ways of doing all the things they used to do–they don’t give up and we can’t give up on them.

Barb and “Happy Hope”

Author: 4hope

My golden, Hope, was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma of the paw three years ago. Early on, she had traditional surgery to remove the mass, but the lump always came back. We found a wonderful holistic vet who was able to use Eastern medicine to keep the tumor in check for most of those 3 years. Recently, holistic care lost out to the cancer and her leg was amputated at the shoulder on Friday. I joined this group to learn how I can assist her through the healing process and help her maintain a good quality of life. —– For the first few days following surgery, Hope was pretty high on tramadol and the patch. She seemed much better after the patch was removed, but refused to try to get up by herself. We had to use two slings to drag her outside to go potty and even then, she didn't go. She had only two bowel movements in the week and urinated only three times. She looked very depressed–like she had lost the will to try. The only thing that perked her up was food–Hope LOVES her food. Had she stopped eating, we would have been very worried. During this time, she continued to drink water. On June 25, we took her to the surgeon and she manually expressed her bladder. It took three big, thick towels to hold it all! Immediately, Hope got up and starting walking around and had a bowel movement right in the doctor's office and then started exploring down the hall. If I had not been there, I wouldn't have believed it! It's only been one day since she started walking without any assistance, but she looks happy and she is no longer in pain from her cancer. Another thing–her surgeon took her bandage off early. She said that some dogs really hate the bandage and to be carried around in a sling. Apparently, Hope was one of those dogs. Maybe having the bandage removed gave her some of her dignity back–you just never know how change affects our dogs. Hope might not be running a marathon anytime soon, but we are so glad to see the progress she's made in such a short time.

11 thoughts on “What a difference a month can make…”

  1. Hope likes to “dress up,” so when the weather cools down a bit, I’ll put on her prettiest pawty dress and send you some! She’s been visiting with the neighborhood kids (who are fascinated that she can get around on three paws!), but I’d like to take her to some pet stores to encourage dog owners there is GOOD quality of life after amputation.

  2. I was amazed at how well Kosar did after only a few weeks. He is 2 so it probably makes a big difference. He does seem to get worn out more easy than he did prior to the ambutation. He can still run his laps in the back yard like a maniac though.

    Glad to hear Hope’s story.

  3. Angi,

    Thank you for your kind words and for sharing an update on Kosar. I think Kosar will totally amaze you in the years ahead. He’s a young dog, so his strength and stamina probably haven’t totally kicked in yet. When it does—look out! 🙂 Go Kosar!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Rio was nearly 11 when she had her amp back in February. She’s actually had more problems associated with her Cushing’s disease (pituitary tumor) than she had recovering from her surgery. Even still, she’s amazed me with her resilience and the fact that she refuses to give up. Dogs are amazing!!!

    Best of luck with your hoppy Hope!


  5. Thank you so much for your post, Micki.

    Yes, dogs are awesomely amazing–both Rio and Hope are testaments to that! They really surprise us with their determination–no matter what their age! 🙂

  6. I was so heartened to hear Hope’s story. Our beloved 6 year old Newfoundland, Yogi, had his front right leg amputated 4 days ago due to bone cancer. It has been such a shock for us and we were initially told he wasn’t suitable for amputation as he’s such a big boy. Unfortunately he’s in dog hospital 100 miles away from us in Edinburgh, Scotland and we haven’t seen him yet, we are collecting him today. His surgeon has told us he’s struggling and only managing 10 steps at a time and I’ve been so worried that he won’t manage or he won’t be happy.

    Give Hope a cuddle from me as she’s helping me get through today.
    Yves x

    1. Yves,

      I’m sorry that you find yourself facing a hard day, but seeing Yogi will make it much better. He’s been on some very strong drugs for pain management, which will affect his ability, or I should say inability to stand and walk. You will be able to watch Yogi figure out how to maneuver by placing his front paw in the middle of his body for balance and then shifting his weight on his hind legs before sitting. Yogi might seem unhappy for a couple of days, but that’s just because he’s confused about how to get around while being on meds; he might look and act “spacey” during this time. You might even question your decision when you see him look like that that, but believe me, after a few days he will figure out how to maneuver on three legs and he will look at you like he hasn’t done in a long time. Dogs learn to deal with a constant pain/ uncomfortness when they are ill, and only when the “painful thing” is gone do they really feel good again–and their eyes show it. I’m sure you’ve gone through rounds of treatments and doctor visits, which Yogi will NOT miss! That was a stressful time for everyone, including Yogi. Spend some extra time with him and give him words of encouragement and he will be up and around in no time.

      Hope had a lot of trouble going potty for several days after her surgery, due to the meds. Ask your vet what to expect and what to do if Yogi doesn’t need to potty. Hope had to go back to the surgeon, who had to manually rellieve her bladder; Hope “thanked her” by having a bowel movement in her office! After that, hope had no trouble at all with going potty. I think her not wanting to walk was due to feeling uncomfortable with all that waste in her body. Once it was gone, she started almost running!

      Please let me know how Yogi is doing! He WILL surprise you, Yves.


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