It’s been a while since I’ve wrote about her so I have lots to share, but really hoping to do that in ‘updates’ rather than all one big story. If you don’t know Elbee’s story from the beginning please read below… and if you do, just skip on to the amazing updates I’ll be sure to post within the next few days!
On Feb 7, 2018 a beautiful little pibble mix with no identification was picked up as a stray on the streets of San Antonio, Texas. One week later, on Feb 14th she was scheduled to die. I happened to come across the plea to save her life during that week & she just spoke to me... She was listed as 10 months old, with no additional info. No weight, no behavior assessment, no injuries... and so the wheels started turning. A dear friend, who was within a 2 hour drive agreed to head to SAPA on Feb 13 & save her for me. Upon arrival that friend called to say "she's injured, an employee just told me they believe she has a soft tissue leg injury & they have her on rimadyl. They won't temperament test her because she's a puppy & its against their policy to take puppies outside their kennels." In my gut I knew this could easily be the perfect storm, the recipe for something I was not able to take on or welcome into Bullet's home. But I also knew if I didn't save her she would die the next day. And so that dear friend filled out the paper work to bring her home. We fought to postpone her spay... to get her released as-is, to get a proper health & physical evaluation before potentially causing additional damage to unknown injury. (SAPA does not have radiograph equipment. They would not allow us to pay for X-rays or consult with a specialist prior.) And so on Friday Feb 16 she was spayed & released to my friend.
Once at my friends home she was quarantined away from the canine residents & allowed to decompress. It was immediately noted she may suffer some neurological issues. Two days later my sister, Bullet & I arrived to bring the beautiful pup we named Elbee home to Pittsburgh. I knew immediately she may not be a good fit in our home, but I was determined to get her back to a healthy state, figure out what was going on with the leg & then figure out the rest in time.
We never even got to that point... While traveling back to PA in the early morning hours of the 19th, Elbee began coughing. What we thought was perhaps kennel cough & started treating for such, began to spiral out of control over the next 3 days. No symptoms pointing specifically at one diagnosis. On Feb 21 Elbee & I spent 8 hours at our integrative vet, followed by 6 hours the next day. One look from our vet at Elbee walking & she said "that hip has been dislocated before" ...but that was the least of our concern at the time. She was crashing fast. So IV vitamin C, fluids, loads of herbs, immune light therapy, X-rays, a PCR (virus) panel and $2100 later ...we confirmed Elbee had pneumonia, was anemic, tested negative on a PCR panel for viruses (which means her infection was stemming from bacteria or fungal), and what the incompetent shelter vets called a “soft tissue left leg injury” turned out to be a broken hip & disintegrated socket, by blunt force trauma... an old injury, likely at the hands of a POS human!
The hip went on the back burner, focusing on improving her health... rather than the inevitable death. Within a week her respiratory infection was improving & she was regaining her spunk! And then Bullet's cancer threw us a major curveball the following week. A visit to the ER, multiple follow ups with our integrative vet... many nights of no sleep, a few days of my worst fears and $2600 later, he was back to himself & doing great! But during that time Elbee's neurological symptoms really took a turn for the worst! Our follow up visit after 30 days in quarantine revealed rabies miasm & adenovirus vaccinosis… and who knew what else without thousands dumped into MRI’s, CT scans & spinal taps! Our hope & plan became improving her neurological state before proceeding with surgery to treat her broken hip. (The obstacles have been terrible at times, but so far she’s we’ve powered through & this girl continues to shine! I’ll write more about these in updates.)
On March 28th we met Dr Snow (a board certified orthopedic surgeon) at UVS in McMurray PA. Elbee was sedated for X-rays where we learned the broken hip is actually healing! Dr Snow was very thorough & answered many of my questions... FHO is indeed the surgery of choice. FHO stands for femoral head osteotomy. FHO is a salvaging surgical procedure that removes the head and neck (aka the ball & socket) from the femur. It‘s commonly used for severe hip dysplasia dogs. The bones of the joint are no longer in contact, there's no implant involvement, and the surrounding muscles & developing scar tissue work to support the area, basically acting as a false joint. FHO causes the leg to be slightly shorter than the other, and we did discuss amputation but decided it‘s not in her best interest. You see, even her "good leg" ain’t so good. Her lack of ability to balance... using both rear legs, center mass, as if they're one - kind of like "a single peg leg” means she really needs to keep the broken hip/leg, if nothing but for being able to balance herself the way she’s adapted.
I knew after this appointment, not only could I not afford this procedure, but I also could not commit the time required to rehab. And then came the real curveball; Elbee who had attempted to go after Bullet for her first 6 or so weeks in our house had finally calmed down - I think she really just decompressed & was feeling better! But Bullet had other plans in mind! He HATED her! He wanted her gone! I worked with a reiki practitioner, animal communicator, and pretty much anything I could think of to better the situation & everyones health… but Bullet’s cancer & behavior just continued to decline. I clearly bit off more than I could chew! And so, in early June, I moved Elbee to rural Ohio, where she's hanging out with some friends ;) Friends who had the time …well really they reorganized their home & their lives… to help me & ultimately help her! They are continuing the ‘job’ I started, with a goal of making Elbee a more desirable & adoptable dog. This friend is also committed to following through with Elbee’s surgery & rehab, we just need the funds! To date I don’t even have any clue what she’s cost me - I stopped counting.
A dog’s quality of life should never have a price tag!
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