Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Fantastic Checkup!

It's hard to believe it's already been four weeks since Callie's surgery. She is doing so well! Actually, that's an understatement. She is doing phenomenally.

For the first week at home, she had on her bright pink cast. When she had it removed after her 2nd week, the vet technician told us everything looked really good. Callie was putting weight on the leg as soon as the cast was off and her foot was back on the table, which impressed everyone! We learned how to do the physiotherapy exercises with her too - 10-15 minutes of stretching, massaging, and icing the area, three times per day. Callie was a champ - fully flexing and extending from the very first time the vet showed us the process!

Since she still had the stitches in her leg, we had to watch her to make sure she never bit at them.We also had to put her in her crate, with a big old plastic cone around her neck, every time we left the apartment and at bedtime. (It was the only way to be sure she wouldn't re-injure the area while we couldn't watch her.) Poor Callie hated it, but she was pretty amazing considering what she was going through. And she was still darn cute the entire time.

The stitches themselves looked very clean, and in fact the cut on Callie's leg healed remarkably quickly. I didn't see her bite or even lick at the area even once! A week after the cast came off, we took her back to the DMV to get the stitches out, and once they were gone it was hard to even see the scar! But I did Callie a favor and went ahead and trimmed the fur off her foot and from her back - the vets may have buzzed a lot of it off, but they didn't exactly do a professional grooming job. Below you can see her with stitches and pom-pom foot, followed by no stitches and a nicely groomed foot!

In the last two weeks, Callie has been moving around more and more. She has never once acted as though she was in pain, and has spent a lot of time resting and sleeping. We have noticed that she gets a little restless sometimes, and she has again started hoarding all her toys (probably in the hopes that we will throw them for her). But as you can see here, already she's putting both legs out behind her again, so clearly she's feeling much better and quite flexible!

Yesterday, David and I took Callie back to the DMV for her first official checkup (post-operation) with Dr. Planté. He did two x-rays of her leg, and then brought us back to the lab area to show us the improvements since the operation. I don't have any pictures this time, but take my word for it when I say that the changes are remarkable.

For one thing, her kneecap is firmly seated in the newly deepened groove. Dr. Planté told us that even when he manipulated it to see if it would pop back out of place, it stayed exactly where it was meant to be- right in the center of the bone! (And yes, I cringed when he mentioned that...) Of course I understand that they have to do thorough testing, but it doesn't mean I have to like hearing about their efforts to dislocate her kneecap! Thankfully, Callie didn't seem too phased by the tests.

Another amazing improvement is that the chunk of bone that was cut off and repositioned on the tibia has already fused in place. In only *four* weeks, a bone that had been completely severed has re-attached itself in its new location on the tibia. In the x-ray it already looks like a solid piece of bone! It's incredible. Even Dr. Planté was surprised by Callie's progress.

So generally, the news is great. Dr. Planté told us we can start taking Callie on 30-60 minute walks again, and we don't have to do any more physiotherapy. She can run and play a bit, and stand on her hind legs if she likes, and in the next month she can try the stairs again! We will keep taking it a bit easy while her tendons and cartilage heal a little more, but we don't have to watch her nearly so carefully.

Also, because the bone has already healed (which was the major reason to keep Callie slowed down), he said there is little need for us to bring Callie in for her 2nd follow-up appointment. He told us the bone looks so good that he won't even need to do any more x-rays. So unless something dramatic happens between now and then, we can just call and check in with him in 4 weeks by phone!

We were extremely happy when we left the DMV yesterday, with all this good news. And we think Callie is happy too, because she is no longer confined to flat surfaces - she can sleep in her squishy beds again! There is joy all around. (:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our little invalid

Last Saturday (4/9) we were finally able to pick Callie up from the vet's office after her operation. She actually looked much better than we expected when she greeted us - ears up, eyes bright! She was clearly freaked out, but otherwise seemed very happy to see us and quite alert.

We had a meeting with one of our vet's assistants, who walked us through our responsibilities for the next couple of months, and then we paid our bill at the front desk. Looks like prices went up since last November - the total bill came to $2,020.63! If you are curious what that bill looked like... here you go:

So yes, it was about $500 more expensive than we had hoped! They said that the prices of some things had doubled since last fall, and although Callie still received the less intensive (cheaper) version of the surgery that we had hoped for, the price of that surgery had gone up from the $1500 we were previously quoted. But the rock show fundraiser by itself raised enough to pay for an amazing 25% of the operation, and thanks to so many donations and our own savings, we were able to pay what we needed and take our little lady home! It was worth it.

As you can see, Callie came home with a bright pink cast with a blue/green star on it. Pretty cute, really! It's made of a thick gauze bandage, wrapped with that rubbery plastic kind of bandage that sticks to itself. I know Callie doesn't like it, but she seems to be adapting to it pretty quickly.

Sometimes she even sleeps with her head resting on it, which is kind of sad and adorable all at once.

Callie spent most of the first day just sleeping. In fact, that's pretty much the pattern every day! She is still working out the various ways to rest with that big ol bandaged leg, but she's doing well. When we take her out to go to the bathroom, we have to wrap the bandage up in plastic to make sure it doesn't get wet. Naturally it rained a lot the last couple of days, so "wrapping the bandage" involved a few twist-ties and grocery bags! Even though it looks huge and ridiculous, thankfully the wrapping doesn't seem to get too much in the way. In fact, generally Callie is much more mobile than we expected! This is great, because it means she is feeling all right, and also problematic, because it means we will have a hard time keeping her SLOW once the bandage comes off.

Callie gets a few medications each day. One is the glucose supplement that she has been taking since last November, which should help her joint heal and strengthen. Once a day she also gets an analgesic (painkiller) that comes in these little single-serving tubes. There are no needles - it's just syringes! She really dislikes taking this one, because I sort of have to force-feed it to her, but thankfully it dispenses quickly and is abruptly over. Only 5 days to go!

Lastly, she also gets an antibiotic twice a day. I have to give her 3 mL of it at a time, which may not sound like much but I guarantee is more than Callie wants to take. I fill up the syringe with this pink-orange goo that smells oddly like banana, and then I have to sort of wedge it between her teeth and dispense it gradually. Yuck!

We are halfway through the medication period, and in just a few days we will get the bandage removed. On Thursday we'll drive back to the DMV Center to get it taken off, and we'll also get a quick checkup and instructions on how to do physical therapy with Callie. She will hate it! But we'll get through it. Callie will have to go one more week after that with the staples in her leg, unbandaged, and we'll need to watch closely to make sure she doesn't lick or bite at them. Once those are finally removed on April 21st, we will keep doing physio and keep trying to restrain our pup from running and jumping! And then it's the slow road to eventual recovery.

We will have our first evaluation with Dr. Planté on May 4th, when we will do a round of x-rays and he will tell us how Callie is recovering. Hopefully 2-4 weeks after that he will give us the all-clear, when Callie will at last be free to run and hop as she pleases! We have been forewarned that probably within the next 3 weeks Callie will start to feel like she can move a bit quicker, and in fact we have already seen her trying to hurry from place to place even WITH the giant bandage on her leg. Somehow we will need to contain the little cutie, until her leg is ready to keep up with the rest of her furry little body. Although this worries me a bit, for the most part I am just extremely thankful that the surgery is done and that Callie is doing such a good job. Seriously guys, you wouldn't believe what a tough little pup she is.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Surgery Day!

Today was surgery day. Last night I sat on the floor and tossed Callie's very favorite toy (a bright pink ball) with her over and over and over again, sending her running up and down the hallway, long ears flying. I think I was trying to make up for the fact that I'll have to hide that ball from her before she comes home from the vet with her gimpy leg. While she's healing, it will be too much of a temptation to run and scamper around after the ball, so we will just have to remove it til she's all healed up. In the meantime, her dozen or so stuffed animals will just have to suffice. I snapped a few pics of her last night because she was so clean and pretty looking - I figured I might as well give her a bath before we took her in!

At 6:45 a.m. this morning, David and I hopped into our rental car and drove Callie way across town to the Centre DMV. As always she shivered in the car during the ride, but it was more a generic stress response to driving than any awareness of the surgery to come, I think. Mostly she just curled up in my lap and tried to doze until we stopped the car.

She was well-behaved as always, and we ran around a little in the parking lot before taking her inside. Her last run in the grass for a few months! When we finally headed through the doors, Callie was greeted by an absolutely huge brown dog, but he was friendly and they had a nice little sniff. The girl behind the counter surprised us by asking that we pay a deposit of $1,000 up front for the surgery - I guess that's how you know you're in for a serious operation. (We won't know the total cost until Saturday.) While we were completing the transaction, one of the veterinary assistants came up and gently took Callie from me, and before I knew it she was whisking her away! David didn't even have a chance to pet her goodbye. We figure they do that so that owners won't get worked up and add any more stress for the animal, but it was still pretty tough to see her go so quickly.

When we had finished paying, they told us we could go and that we'd receive a call later to let us know how everything went. We drove back to Montreal, dropped off the rental car, came home and ate some cereal. Then we both got to work, and I tried not to think about it for the whole entire day.

Finally at around 4:30 I got a call from Dr. Planté's assistant, who told me that Callie was starting to wake up from her surgery and was doing well. She told me that because Callie got a bit cold, they had put her in an incubator, but I still don't have an explanation for that one. I'll make sure to ask about it at my next opportunity. She said the surgery lasted only about an hour and a half, and that Dr. Planté would call me soon.

Around 6:30 he did call, and gave me all the details. He did the x-rays and apparently the femur and tibia were both very, very curved (a problem), but they curved in different directions and he decided that trying to "correct" them could create as many problems as it would fix. Thankfully, he ended up doing almost exactly the surgery that he described to us last November. He made the groove for the kneecap much, much deeper, and did a bone transplant (to hold the muscle) on the tibia, which is now held in place with 2 pins. He said repeatedly that the end result was very good, that the kneecap is stable and the joint is strong!

At present, they are observing Callie for the next day and a half. I will get a call to update us tomorrow, but Dr. Planté said he expects we can come pick her up on Saturday. She will have a bandage (maybe a cast) on her leg for a week, but once it comes off we will need to do physiotherapy with her every day to help heal the leg. She will get antibiotics and pain pills for around 10 days, and of course the big one: no jumping, running, hopping, or any activity but gentle hobbling for 6-8 entire weeks! I even have to hide her fluffy dog bed, because the uneven (squishy) surface could make her lose her balance and mess things up horribly. So we will just have to be extra careful for a couple of months.

Finally, Dr. Planté said they also did x-rays of her pelvis and right leg. I'm extremely happy to report that he said they found no signs of arthritis or problems in either place, so she should not need any surgery on her other leg! What a huge relief. He also said if we had any questions at all, we should call him directly at any time. Seriously - he's amazing! Dr. Planté, if you ever read this, thank you!!

Now I just have to wait a day and a half before we can get her home, and the long healing process will begin. I will keep everyone posted on Callie's progress, and I'm sure she'll be back to hopping in a HEALTHY way before we know it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rock Show Recap

I am happy to report that the rock show was a huge success!!! Both bands put on amazing shows, and we had just under 50 people who came in and donated the cover charge. Pretty impressive for a Thursday evening at the end of the school year! Because of all the people who showed up, plus everyone who donated through paypal, we have now raised enough money to be able to pay for Callie's surgery! (If everything goes as planned, anyway.) I was so impressed by the turnout at the show, and I want to thank Brian for his incredibly hard work, Ghost Before Breakfast and The Easy Offs for such fun music, Elephant Mauve for donating such a cool door prize, and ALL the people who contributed to our fundraising. It really exceeded my expectations, and I am just so pleased that everything went so well! I hope everyone who came out had as much fun as I did. (: Also, congrats to the Easy Off's drummer, who won the raffle for the Elephant Mauve photography package! He DID pay the cover fee to get in, and he was super excited by the prize! I think we all agreed it was nice to see the drummer win one for a change. (:

As I mentioned in my last post, Callie's surgery is this Thursday - less than two days away! We will take her to the DMV bright and early in the morning, since she has to be there before 8 a.m. If everything goes well, we should be able to pick her up on Saturday, and then we begin the healing process. I will of course keep everyone posted when I find out how the surgery goes, when I get her home, and as she starts to recover. Thank you for all your support and kind wishes!

And now, some photos from the show! You can see more pictures from the evening at the end of the album here.

Ghost Before Breakfast

Ghost Before Breakfast + Crowd

Brian, who did such an amazing job!

Dan & David enjoying the show!

My announcements (not singing)!

Me with Andrea from Elephant Mauve, choosing a prize winner

The drummer wins! (:

Crowded bar

The Easy Offs

The Easy Offs

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Springtime, Surgery, and Rock Show!

The sun has finally come out in Montreal, and with temperatures back above freezing it has been nice taking Callie out for little walks! Callie and I don't go very far, because the poor girl's hopping starts immediately, but I can tell we are both enjoying the bright, fresh air. This is a picture from last summer, when Callie was playing (most exuberantly) in the park with David. I think it's what we are all looking forward to!!

Also, we have finally booked Callie's surgery. She is scheduled to go in before 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 7th - just over a week from now! We will drop her off with the vet, who will then sedate her so he can take some really detailed (and probably uncomfortable) x-rays. The surgery process will start right after that, and once they have started cutting we will finally know just how severe her condition is. If it's what we hope, the surgery should only take a couple of hours and cost us the $1500 or so we've been planning for. If it looks worse, they will give us a call to get the go-ahead before proceeding with the (longer, more complicated) surgery. Then Callie will stay at the hospital for around 48 hours of observation, and if she does well we can pick her up on Saturday.

I have to confess some conflicting emotions. Naturally I am terrified at the thought of someone cutting up my little lady, but thankfully I have a lot of confidence in the vet and I know it's a relatively common procedure. A part of me is also relieved - her hopping has gotten worse and worse, and I am positive it causes her some real discomfort sometimes (even though she tries not to show it). The sooner we get her operated upon, the sooner she will be back to her jumping, bouncing, streaking-furry-bullet self! And hopefully we will have her all healed up (or pretty close anyway) in time for the real summer weather around here.

Still, I know this will be tough for all of us. The last time Callie had an injury it was right after the WORST haircut of her life (my bad), and somehow she got a cut on her neck while we were out of the apartment. She was ok, but just LOOK how heartbreaking this little dog can be when she's injured!

With the surgery so close, it means our rock show really is our last significant push to raise some funds before the operation. So in case I haven't blogged, emailed, posted on facebook, put up posters, or shouted often or loudly enough about it...

Callie's benefit rock show is TOMORROW night! That's right everyone - we are only one day away from the most outstanding benefit-to-save-a-dog's-leg-plus-great-music-plus-amazing-pet-portrait-prize-rock-show that Montreal has ever seen! Yes it's a weeknight, but Thursday is pretty close to the weekend, right? I'd call it "weekend-ish." Come hear some music, chat with cool people, and have a drink or two. If you can possibly come out, we would love to see you there! Here's what you need to know, one more time:

Rockin' so Callie be Walkin!

When: Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Starting at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Where: Cabaret Playhouse
5656 Av. du Parc
Montreal, QC H2V 4H1

Who: Ghost Before Breakfast
& The Easy Offs

Bring: $5 at the door

Bonus: All guests will be entered to win a pet photography package from Éphant Mauve, valued at $350! 

I would like to take a moment to again thank all the people who have generously sent in their support for Callie and the surgery. I have been surprised and pleased by how many people have emailed or come up to me to say they can't make it to the show, but still want to pay the cover charge and support the cause. Guys and gals, it means a lot!!!

I will be taking some pictures tomorrow night and will try to post some on here soon after, so everyone who can't make it can still get a sense of the fun. Until then, here's something cute.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Exciting Updates!

I have been blown away in the past few days by the response from people wishing to help with Callie's surgery. What a busy week! First, thank you to the people who are unable to attend the rock show but have generously sent in donations for Callie's surgery. We will miss you at the show but your donation means so much! We are creeping ever closer to our goal of paying for that operation.

Second, I'm excited to report that the show and Callie's situation were featured on Dishpan Hands Radio, CJMQ FM with Sheila Q., last Wednesday night! Brian did a great interview and you can't imagine how excited I was to hear about lil Callie on the radio. In case you missed it, here's a recording from the DH Radio show!

Thanks Amanda, for recording it!

Third, and very exciting, we've received a really generous prize to be offered at the rock show. Éléphant Mauve has donated a pet photography package valued at $350.00, and everyone who comes to the show will be entered to win it!  Here's EM's description of the prize:

 "We offer pet portraits and family portraits that include your furry, feathery and scaly friends.
This personalized, in-home package includes seven poses in your choice of size, and all retouches (removal of pet hair, pimples, drool etc.)!
*To get the most accurate representation of your pet and to have creative input in your images, the winner will be interviewed before the portrait session takes place.
Our photographers are very relaxed, experienced with animals, and provide a lasting, memorable experience."
(EM will be on site during the show, and for more information about EM you can visit
I am so grateful to EM for offering such a fun prize, and I can't wait to see who wins it on March 31st! You've got to be there to win, so I hope we'll see you there!

Finally, yesterday was St. Patrick's day, and in the spirit of the holiday I had a mini photo shoot with Callie! She didn't love the little hat, but it was too cute to resist.

Thanks again to everyone who has donated. For anyone who can make it, we would love to see you at the rock show! $5 at the door could win you the $350 prize!
Thursday, March 31st - the Cabaret Playhouse at 8:00 p.m. See you there!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rockin' so Callie be Walkin'!

Great news, everyone!

In my last post I mentioned that I was hoping for one last fundraising opportunity before Callie's leg surgery. I'm excited to announce that there will be a rock show to help raise funds for Callie's operations, featuring Ghost Before Breakfast and The Easy Offs!!

Rockin' so Callie be Walkin!

When: Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Starting at 8:00 p.m.

Where: Cabaret Playhouse
5656 Av. du Parc
Montreal, QC H2V 4H1

Who: Ghost Before Breakfast
& The Easy Offs

Bring: $5 at the door

Bonus: All guests will be entered to win a pet photography package from Éphant Mauve, valued at $350!


These two great bands have offered to put on a fantastic show for us, and all proceeds will go to the cost of Callie's surgery! Come alone, come with friends, invite your neighbor! Fun note: even though the poles have been removed, I'm sure this former strip club will provide some funky ambiance for a ridiculously fun evening. It's going to be a great time!

I am extremely excited about the show, and I hope everyone can make it out for this fun event. If you can't make it but want to help support the pup, you can always "attend" virtually by donating the $5 cover charge through paypal! (:

Facebook page here:
Rockin so Callie be Walkin

I want to thank everyone for their generosity through this process, and especially Brian for putting together the show. We're going to hear some great music, be in good company, and hopefully make a bit of money for my little hopping dog!