Since retirement, our family now consists of Charlie and Parker and the two of us. Charlie and Parker are Golden Retrievers and we will be talking about Parker primarily with a little bit about Charlie thrown in. Parker is 12 years old and Charlie is eleven. The two of them are best buddies.
Last summer they spent glorious days at our daughter and son-in-law’s home on Lake Kellogg. It’s their idea of Heaven no doubt about it. Wonderful swimming, boat rides and running with abandon! But summer ended and their activity level decreased. A little later we noticed a distinct limp affecting Parker’s left front leg. The first thing we did was take her to our Vet. To start, he had x-rays done and gave us a script for medication that would keep her comfortable. That was the first of multiple trips to the vet. She was not responding to any approach that we tried. We literally said “stop” when the medication she was on had her sleeping all the time. Her discomfort level was all too obviously, at an all time high. Charlie sensed this also when she refused to play and have little to do with him. She was miserable and it was so obvious that she found getting around and putting her weight on that leg a real trial. The vet, in frustration because he tried everything, re x-rayed her. This time there was a huge arthritic deformity in the elbow joint. We had a choice. Stronger medication or surgery. We did not make a decision at that moment.
When we got home I went to the Internet. I started with a link to find a splint for that elbow. The Company that I tried was nice enough to say that they didn’t make splints for the canine elbow.
They referred us to OrthoPets for evaluation for a brace. It was the best advice we got for Parker. I contacted OrthPets for information after viewing their web site and talked to LiLen who became our case manager. She led us through the project step by concise step. Perfect information and she was very up front about the cost of our project and what was expected from us in order to get the brace done. She was so professional and kind to two people starting out with a completely foreign subject and nothing more than our love for our dogs. LiLen has always been available to us with answers to questions through the whole process, and right up to to-day. We took all the information talked about it and decided to give it a go! Now great care was given by LiLen as to instructions for the procedure.
First an assessment of Parker had to be done and this was accomplished through close up photographs of the leg in different positions and instructions given on how they were to be taken. Their assessment of Parker was done with the photographs and documentation from our vet and we live about 2000 miles from Denver. Their assessment and conclusion was 100% accurate! Measurements of the affected limb were done by our vet (who by now was so enthused and interested in our project) When OrthoPets received the information, they sent the casting kit directly to our vet. He in turn called us and set up a time to cast the leg. LiLen told us the amount of time it would take to make the brace and it was right on time. They sent it directly to the vet. for proper application and any possible adjustments he would recommend by OrthoPets.
It was perfect!. Parker accepted the brace immediately and had no problem trying it out by walking on it. She has not chewed on it or shown any signs of discomfort. Parker will come immediately when she’s called in the morning to have it applied. She even lets her Groomer apply it without fuss. She has mastered the stairs and the grounds of our home with ease. As time went on, she progressed in her abilities. Charlie has his play partner back, which he is so happy about.
The brace, coupled with appropriate arthritic pain medication, has given Parker a new lease on life. She’s a happy, happy camper!
Let me tell you just a little more about Parker. Aside from the surgery she had when she was spayed, she later underwent surgery for a malignant Mast Cell tumor on her chest. It was done at Michigan State University. She survived! Surgery for a torn ACL (Parker loves to run) She survived!
Later she had surgery for a torn ACL in the other leg. at Michigan Veterinary Hospital. She survived!
Later she developed a lump on her shoulder. After it was biopsied, surgery was performed to remove it. It was malignant. She survived! Parker is a survivor with all the love and class of a lady! She is a wonderful, loving, warm part of our family and Community. Everyone knows Parker.
We thank OrthoPets for providing the ability for her to enjoy her senior years while she plays and lives almost like a puppy again.
Parker and Charlie