It’s been three weeks since Kloe had her Bi-lateral TPLO surgery. She is doing fantastic! She is feeling so good that the hard part now will be to keep her on a short leash – figuratively and literally – for at least another month or so.
The first few days home Kloe mostly slept and soaked up the love and attention that we gave her almost 24 x 7 staying within feet away to make sure there were no mishaps. We’re fortunate that we have a one bedroom apartment under our home that has ground level access and a small patio area. The apartment is used for friends and family when they visit the Golden K. But for the first ten days post surgery it was Kloe’s convalescent home staffed primarily by Holly who did what she is so good at – taking care of her family. I spelled Holly from time to time but it was mostly Holly who monitored Kloe during the critical first several days, administering medicine and changing bandages when needed. Holly created a safe and comfortable environment for Kloe setting up a day bed in the main living area of the apartment and a nighttime bed in the bedroom where Holly could sleep on the floor next to Kloe.
After a few days Kloe became more ambulatory and willing to walk the few feet to the patio to “get busy” what we call it for our girls to pee and poop. The summer temps were very warm and Kloe relaxed next to Holly’s side on the shaded patio. Every minute that passed Kloe’s bones were knitting back together and our vet said a little bit of walking helped that process.
After about ten days we felt Kloe was strong enough, and safe enough, to come back upstairs. Between the car, the driveway to the upper part of our home, and me carrying a heavy 75 pound load for the last 40 feet Kloe arrived back upstairs. We celebrated on the deck by doing what we normally do – hang out with our girls, drink wine, BBQ, and enjoy the beauty of the Golden K. It was great to have the
band pack back together!
The five of us are together so much that ten days of fragmented family life seemed like a lifetime. It was great for this group of habit creatures to be back in our routine, even if it meant Kloe had to be tethered while on the deck. She also must be on leash when we take her to “get busy” (pee and poop). The sight of a squirrel, feral cat, or other critter could cause her to take off and run and jump which for now is a major no-no.
Since then we’ve lengthened the leash a bit but Kloe can still not be outside untethered. She once again has mostly free reign inside the house but when we leave she has to be sequestered in our bedroom by herself. We’ve come too long to risk injury or setbacks. Our vet says that in a week we can begin taking her for short walks – five minutes – on flat ground. What comes after that I’m not sure.
I’m trying not to get to far ahead of things but I can’t help but wonder what the signal or trigger will be for when we can let her off leash outside and let her return to “normal” activities. The prognosis is that she will return to almost 100% of her old self with periodic spells of soreness after very active periods. In my eye’s mind I can see her muscular athletic body running through the Golden K as she once used to. That image makes me both very happy and also scared. I’m a worrier and I know I will be cringing every step of her way at first but hopefully not forever.
So for now I try not to think too much about the whats and whens of Kloe returning to normal activities and just focus on how far our sweet girl has come. She’s been a model patient, stoically accepting everything we’ve thrown at her over the past several months not least of all an invasive surgery and long recovery period where she now feels normal but cannot yet act normal. All in good time sweet girl (the authors says for himself as much as for the patient)….