Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Ortho Dog 12 Step Program

I have shared a lot on the blog how much support I have received from the OrthoDogs yahoo group. They have been an amazing source of support and a WEALTH of knowledge. Tonight, I stumbled across a file on the site that gave the "12 Steps" of being an OrthoDog mom. I think it is not only humorous, but also give great insight into what we got through for our babies!! ENJOY!


SHOCK AND ACCEPTANCE: Getting over the initial shock and accepting that your perfect dog has developed a pretty severe injury. Reactions may include: crying, denial, blaming self (maybe if I had done this or not allowed that), wondering if you vet (whom you’ve been using for years) is suddenly confused and has no clue what he/she is talking about.
REFERRALS AND CONSULTS: Visiting every possible vet with every possible background (hopefully, you’ve discovered ortho dogs by now), getting really confused and feeling like you never really knew anything about taking care of your precious pet. Questioning everything you are being told (oh, this is such a good thing so you are really starting into recovery). Oh yes, there is some shock again at this point once we get the estimate. Make sure you have someone with you for that in case you faint and need to have someone catch you so you don’t hit the floor.
DECISION AND MORE QUESTIONING: You’re now beginning to accept the diagnosis and have made a decision on a course of action. You feel good that you were able to sort things out and have made that decision. Well, you think you have, maybe, there was so much information, now what did that other doc say, but is it the best one? Oh gosh, what will I do if it is the wrong one? At this point I think we are all still hoping we’ll wake up and it will be a bad dream or maybe it was a mistake.
BUILDING THE RECOVERY FACILITY: You’ve probably all ready started this but it is a separate step. Gathering up the throw rugs, pumpkin, xpen, crate, ecollar, and bed for you, ramp, and sling, and supplements. Oh these days are so busy, but we’re still not sure we really want to have surgery. Perhaps while we’re doing this our dog will heal, they do seem to be doing better with the confinement,
PRE OP NIGHT AND SURGERY DAY: Oh my! What an experience. I just can’t even come up for words for this one except HELP! WHAT AM I DOING? WHAT HAVE I DONE? WILL HE/SHE BE OK? OH GOSH, AM I REALLY READY FOR THIS?
COMING HOME: Oh they are so happy to see us. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought, Wow, that wasn’t difficult at all. UH OH! We’re home now, is he/she in pain. Oh what can I do, I don’t speak dog, Oh gosh, I’m not capable of taking care of this, where is that emergency phone number to the vet?
TOE TOUCHING AND WEIGHT BEARING: Oh, yes, maybe we did make the right decision. Things are going to be fine, just fine. OH NO! Today no toe touching. Where is that emergence phone number to the vet?
FIRST BOWEL MOVEMENT: Ok, here is when we know we’ve got a problem, because we’ve most likely never been to concerned about our dog actually having a bowel movement and it somehow seems strange that we should be so excited and that others are excited for us. Oh, we are in such a new and strange place in life. By the way, co-workers and friends can imagine why you are so excited about this event, they smile, say oh that is great, wonder what the heck you’re thinking and may whisper politely behind your back.
SUTURE REMOVAL/TWO WEEK CHECK UP: Oh yeah, we can do this. Life is good! Oooops, was that a slip, a pop, a creak? Where is that emergency phone number to the vet, better get on Ortho Dogs and ask some questions. Oh, I’m not sure I made the right decision.
AREN’T WE FEELING JUST WONDERFUL: Oh No. Keeping him/her quiet is harder than I thought, Kongs and toys, treats and TV. Oh you’re not as healed as you think you are. Oh, why have I tortured myself like this? I’ll surely go nuts trying to keep this dog from hurting himself/herself again! Better log on to Ortho Dogs and ask some more questions.
8 WEEK XRAYS/CHECK UP AND BEYOND: Oh yeah, life is good. Got the bone healing going on! Can smell the roses from here. Gonna be back to normal in no time now. WOW, was that me so frantic only a few weeks ago. Better answer the Newbie’s post and do some reassuring. Things are going so wonderful. UH OH, A little limping, where’s the emergency phone number for the vet?
RELEASED FOR A LIFE TIME OF FUN: Oh, that really was nothing. Better post my success story on Otho Dogs for all to read. We did a great job and things are wonderful. Should I really let him/her play so hard, or be off leash, was that a noise I heard from the knee? Limping on the other leg? Ugggggggg! Where’s that emergency phone number for the vet?


  1. Hi Gwen,
    I know it's been a while since you posted here, but I'm hoping you'll read this soon. We have a 10 year old Lab mix (45 lbs.) who has the dreaded torn ligament in her knee. I've been to GA Vet Specialists in Atlanta and liked them. He recommended the TPLO for her because it has the best success rate of the surgeries. It's $3000 there. Can you tell me what your surgeon charged for the TPLO? I'm fretting over this decision. I don't know how she'll do in recovery and if the other knee goes, I really don't want to put her through a 2nd surgery at her age. AHHHH!

  2. I would love to discuss with you! Shoot me an email at - I don't see your email address on here!