First Day Home

Whistler is back home!

Dra. Mariana Amoedo, his friend for a long time from boarding, who is the team lead who put together the surgical team and is in charge of his recovery, brought him home this morning about 11am. He hopped right out of her little VW, and insisted on taking a little walk with Mariana and Mark up the street to do some business and “leave his messages” before coming into the house, so happy to see Lisa. Got right onto his dog bed and stayed down while all hanging out together, then wanted some food.

Here he is in his jumbo crate, enjoying a yummy chewy treat.

Enjoying a chewy treat in his crate.
Enjoying a chewy treat in his crate.

It’s the kind with some nutrition in it. (Some.) Mark picked it up at the local veterinarian mutualista Veterinaria SAV, his regular vet clinic, when he got Whistler’s Tramadol painkillers.

He’s back. He can get around. But it’s not at all easy, and we have to be careful that he doesn’t try to overdo it. More importantly, we have to be careful we don’t think he’s better than he already is. We had a scare on that already.  Whistler is already quite well adapted to 3-legged locomotion, because of the several weeks of limping dragging the now-gone leg that he couldn’t put any weight onto. The osteosarcoma got bad enough in the last two weeks that he was mostly already a 3-legged dog before last Friday’s amputation. Mostly – and that’s different from entirely. He still had used that bad right front leg, at least momentarily, for partial balance, and now he doesn’t have that. He needs to adapt more, despite how well he’s already adapted. He did so well on that half-block morning walk, on the walks at Mariana’s place, and in our backyard, that we decided it was ok to take him on one more half-block, outdoor walk up the street again.

Wrong. Before Mark got Whistler up past the next house all the way, he was freezing in place. Seemed in pain, and scared, wasn’t hopping well. Called Lisa to come out with a big bathtowel. Mark used that to support his chest, while Lisa walked slowly ahead back towards home, promising pizza crust tonight (his favorite leftover, and yes, he just got it as we’re writing this!)

We got him home, but barely. With the barely-healed surgical incision under the compression bandages, we don’t want to re-do the “Mark carries him home” thing of the week before the surgery. We all need to pace ourselves. And we need to make that chest support, that way to take some weight off his one front leg, to give him some confidence that he won’t fall, a regular part of any walk from now on.  We knew that was recommended, but he was such a “good hopper” both before and after surgery, that we thought he was stronger than he was. Lesson learned, and luckily only 2 house-lots up the street.

Here’s a picture of him laying on the dog bed in the living room, a couple of hours after that stressful walk, after some food, and after some pain meds. But before the pizza! He’s perked up some since getting some crust, and is giving the “Where’s the rest of my pizza?” look.

Greyhound with amputated right leg and shoulder, laying on left side on dog bed on floor. Wrapped in blue compression bandage.
Whistler after perhaps too much first-day-home stress

He’s doing ok now, and the night-time Tramadol is kicking in. Will just take him into our small backyard for any nighttime business, then back into his crate for safety at bedtime.

Blessings and thanks to all who are following his journey!

Lisa, Mark, and Whistler the healing hound.

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Whistler the Hound

Whistler is the family pet of Mark Mercer and Lisa Marie Mercer. At only 7 years old, he is fighting the terrible and deadly disease, osteosarcoma. That's a fast-growing and painful bone cancer - in his once-strong right front shoulder. We aren't giving up on our greyt doggie, because he isn't giving up on us. Though he started limping badly again, with increased pain medication in early January 2015, he came back to his old normal personality, and began hopping around fine. But the leg will kill him if it doesn't come off, and otherwise he would only have days to at most weeks left. On January 16 2015 he is scheduled for amputation surgery. A difficult race is ahead, with rehab and chemotherapy, with emotional and financial stress. But he's worth it. (Because dogs don't type as well as cats do, posts from "Whistler the Hound" are interpreted by his people, Mark Mercer and Lisa Mercer.)