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Rocky Homecoming (with an update)

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May 8, 2021

This handsome dude Rocky has recuperated beautifully.  His amazing personality is coming back.  His first 10 days or so back home, he was on a ton of medication, including anti anxiety drugs.  He wasn’t himself, but he was certainly aware and secure in his home and back with his humans.  Every day, his legs got stronger and he walked more steadily. His appetite has improved and with some enticing (chicken and raw carrots) he is eating well.   About 9 days post op, he had a day of vomiting.  He was coming off some of his medication.  The emergency vet in Brewer, ME examined him and said he looked good and he gave him an anti emetic shot.  That was the end of the vomiting, and he came off all meds.  His interest in his surroundings grew, and a few days ago, he found his favorite squeaky ball and brought it to Brian. Last night, he visited us in our home for the first time since his surgery. We have been visiting him on his turf before this.  Because he is doing so well, it is tempting to let him play and jump and run around, but he is still in his 4 weeks of recovery and mostly “bed rest”.  He spends most of his day in his little doggie rehab bed, except to go outside for potty breaks.  Very soon, Brian can set Rocky loose on the world and throw a ball for him to fetch.  He will be able to go outside in our back yard when he visits, and give Stanley a run for his money.  This is all good news and all of us are thrilled with his recovery.


April 20, 2021

So the little pickle head Rocky is coming home today.  Rocky has spent some grueling hours away from his human Brian and suffering through pain, paralysis, incontinence, lonliness, and anxiety, but he will prevail!  He is my new hero. Brian has set up a little Rocky rehab in his apartment, and he got him a nice new harness with a back handle on it.

My previous blog described what he went through on Friday April 16.  Since then I have spoken with a representative of the Maine Veterinary Medical Center.  I struggled to stay civil, but I did.  She explained that

1. there was a dog even worse off than Rocky that day that they had to tend to first, and

2. an employee called in and had tested positive for COVID just before they threw Brian and Rocky out.

She further explained that the pre MRI and surgery work up takes 2.5 to 3 hours, and I asked about the waiting around for an additional 3 hours and she went on to explain about the sicker dog.  I asked why if it was going to be that long they didn’t send Rocky to Boston earlier.  She failed to explain that  to me adequately.

My opinion is this.  Everything that they did to and for Rocky was to prep him for an MRI and surgery, that they never performed.  Then to top it off (that Rocky and his serious issues were at the bottom of the triage heap), someone called from home with a positive COVID test.  The person was not in the clinic.  There is no risk to animals for COVID.  The neruo team who was going to do procedures on Rocky was at no more risk at 2pm than they were at 8am …while they worked together on a different  sicker dog.  But, they made an administrative choice to shut down the neuro team and procedures at 2pm.  I hope they all enjoyed their weekend.

Then without medicating Rocky, they put him in Brian’s car and sent them on their way to Boston.  Rocky thrashed and struggled against the cone and the IV for the whole trip.  She claimed that medicating a neuro dog is a two edged sword, and can interfere with an up coming neuro exam.  Anxiety and thrashing around in the throes of new paralysis and incontinence because of a bulging disc can also cause problems.  It was inhumane to do that to him.

Today, after excellent care at the Angell Veternary Hospital in Boston, Rocky will come home.  He is walking, but he still has left leg weakness.  It should resolve once the swelling and bruising from the disc issue and surgery are healed.  He will need help with a few things and will have to lay low for about a month.

In a month, I hope to see that bouncy big brute run into my house and scan for changes.  After giving him a good rub and scratching,  I want to give him a special treat of boiled chicken, that I suppose he will have to share with his little buddy Stanley.  Stanley will be coached prior to Rocky’s first visit to take it easy on him and to share his favorite prickly ball.  It is the favorite toy of all the dogs in our lives.  Good times are coming.

I will credit MVMC for refunding all of their charges aside from diagnostics like blood work and xrays, and “portables”, like that pesky IV catheter in his front leg.  So, there was a reasonable refund to the account. I am ok with that since the labs and xrays would have been done at the Boston clinic prior to surgery in any case.

Thank you to all the great friends and contacts who have followed this sad and frustrating saga of Rocky’s troubles. Every one of you knows the love of a dog and how important they are in our lives.


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