The Severely Abused Chihuahua-Pom
As Honey was beginning to trust me more during the first week that she came home with me, a glimmer of her personality started to show. As she lay on my lap, I would talk to her softly telling her that no one would ever abuse her again and she seemed to understand – looking at me with her sweet eyes and for the first time wagging her tail ever so slightly. I could sense a higher level of intelligence and gentleness than I had expected. But, I was also concerned because she was extremely afraid to allow anyone to get close to her face. She wouldn’t try to snap, but would quickly pull her head back whenever I tried to give her a hug or a kiss. So I would just move my head away and tell her that it was ok that she was afraid, after all she had been through so much.
Honey didn’t seem to know what a toy was and had no idea of how to “squeak” one, but would just watch as Wrigley and Millie, my other two rescues, played and squeaked theirs. She had a wonderful appetite, and I had her on a special diet to stimulate bone healing, but she had no clue what a treat was. Although it didn’t take very long for her to finally accept and demand these, making it much easier to administer her meds, it would take months for her to allow a hug or acknowledge a toy.
The first three weeks following her second surgery, her life consisted of going to the office with me in the morning, staying in a ward with a pee-pad, returning home at night, lying on my lap until we were ready to go to bed and then being placed in a small dog kennel with her blankets and her pee-pad. When a couple of Pack’ Plays were donated, she was able to spend her days at the office in one and sleep in another one that we kept at home. This made life so much easier for all of us and she started to feel more secure with the nearly constant clinic activity happening around her.
After two weeks, and every two to three weeks thereafter, she would need to be anesthetized, have her cast removed, undergo fifty minutes of physical therapy and laser treatments, have updated x-rays taken to monitor her healing and have the cast replaced. This would continue for the next three months, with each new cast application modified to allow her an increased level of mobility. She would eventually be transitioned to a soft support bandage and finally free of her bandages altogether. I knew that she would need to have both knees surgically reconstructed at some time in the future since she also had the severe bilateral MPLs that I was able to visualize once her fractured bones were reduced and aligned. As discussed previously, Medial Patellar Luxation is a congenital (genetic) defect more commonly found in the small dog breeds. Poor little Honey was going to need a lot more surgery on her legs, not including an ovariohysterectomy (spay surgery).
She was turning to be a major medical and surgical case for me, and I remained as optimistic and committed to her as on day one.
To be continued…
William T. Carlisle, DVM