It was a Monday evening, like any other Monday evening, and then suddenly, it wasn’t.
All three dogs were in the backyard, playing, chasing stuff, sniffing the smells, and generally enjoying some outside time. Running along as they usually do, Kirby was chasing Scout, and in the middle of a sweeping right turn, he whimpered, stopped, and dropped his butt to the ground, sitting lopsided with a tongue hanging low out of his panting mouth.
I stepped over to him, my right calf just at his left shoulder, and he leaned onto me with a heavy weight, hanging his head low.
I examined him all over, and finding nothing to suggest the cause of injury, I stepped back to give him a little space, which he quickly filled by pouring himself to the ground. Once he’d had a few minutes to rest, he tried to get up, but couldn’t quite get his hind legs under him. As I helped him inside to cool off, I realized something was amiss with his back legs, so I got a hold of Mandi, and she made arrangements for him to see his Doctors the next morning.
The trip down to LaGrange was a tough one, for me; Kirby, sitting curled up in the passenger side floorboard, watching me, his eyes drilling deep into mine, his little tongue flicking out now and then, and his constant effort to get a little more comfortable, urged me on down the road.
We got to LVH around 1030, and they had us in an exam room in no time. They did some checking and weighing and examining and thinking and such, and decided to keep him for a bit to confirm their suspicions of him having trick knees.
I spent the next several hours handling busywork, getting small things done, but my mind never strayed from his face, that little smile he always has, and those brown eyes, seeming to softly ask for just a little less pain.
It felt like weeks, but after only five hours, Kirby was coming out of sedation with x-rays to confirm the diagnosis: Bilateral Patellar Luxation (medical words that mean his kneecaps don’t stay in place).
We discussed treatment options, concluded that surgery is needed, and very likely to solve the problem permanently, and can be done at LVH, so now it’s just about getting that all set up.
Watching Kirby transition from several months at the shelter, through my training program, and into the sweet, loving, happy pup that he is now is very rewarding for me. Watching this issue come up and bite him in the ass (almost literally!) has been difficult, but hammers home two very important points:
1) Every dog deserves a chance to have love. Some need a little more discipline than others, but they all need training and care.
2) Every day that goes by is another day that proves Kirby was mislabeled, and almost died because of that. Sometimes, people suck.