Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday True Story -- Dog helps save man paralyzed in biking accident

This is a true story from right here in my home town of Austin, TX.  Just shows you how much we get from our pets!


This story sounds like something out of a movie: A freak accident leaves a cyclist unable to move, so his dog takes over.
Five weeks ago, on Oct. 30, Paul Horton set out for his morning bike ride.  As always, his dog Yogi, went along for the run. However, this ride would end like no other and offer proof why dog is "man's best friend."
Paul Horton, 57, wound up at St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital after he failed to negotiate a seemingly little jump from trail to paved road near Lake Travis.
"I had probably done that 100 times, 200 times," said Horton.
But on the morning of Oct. 30, he did not.
"I went over the handle bars and landed on my head on the concrete ... and life changed," said Horton.
Life changed because he was now paralyzed from the chest down.  Horton lay motionless for 45 minutes. With no one in sight, he realized his four-year-old golden retriever, Yogi, who had been along for the run, was still by his side.
"I expected him to behave like Lassie and run down to the police station and tap out my location in Morse code or something," said Horton.
Yogi did not do that, but did something just about as impressive.  Horton's neighbor, Bruce Tate, recalls walking down Mountain Trail with his wife when they were met by Yogi.
"Yogi is a quiet, happy dog, he's never noisy at all, but he was barking furiously to get our attention," said Tate.
The Tates followed Yogi throughout the wooded area and down the hill.  When they saw Horton,  they called 911.  To this day, the Tates wonder what would have happened if Yogi had not interrupted their walk.
"I don't think we would have seen Paul without Yogi," he said.  "I think Yogi saved his life."
"For somebody who cannot move and cannot ask for help, you can develop a pressure ulcer, you develop an infection, a clot, and you can die if you are not rescued soon," said Dr. Juan Latorre, the Medical Director of St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital. "So I think the dog was critical."
"He is my hero, I mean he is my hero. It is possible that if he had not done what he did, they might have walked right on by and gone down the road and there is no telling when somebody else would have come by," said Horton.
Horton has some movement in his arms, hands, and upper body. His rehab specialist says in just a month he has made the kind of progress it takes some patients a year to achieve.
Horton and his wife Shearon are extremely grateful to St. David's, their friends and neighbors, and most of all, to Yogi.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Update on Satchmo's situation

My boy had surgery to remove the left lobe of his liver due to a very large mass.  He had to remain in the ICU until the following Monday, when he got to come home finally.  He was weak and mad at me, but he was definitely glad to be home.  He didn't even mind being locked up in his crate.

My first reaction was horror when I saw the size of the incision.  He has an op-site bandage running from his breastbone down to the right side of his penis sheath.  He is a very good boy, though and is not the least bit interested in licking or chewing this bandage.  He does, however, worry the places where he had the IV's and he really hates that he has no hair on either side of his body. 

He was not out of the woods entirely when he came home.  We still had to wait for the pathology report on the tumor.  His vet called finally to give me the news.  NO CANCER!!!!! His tumor was a benign type of liver tumor so he will not have to follow up with an oncologist.  Now, he just has to recuperate and get his strength back.  He is so thin!

But, every day he seems to be feeling better and he has just a bit more energy.  He still wants to spend the day in his crate, but I can leave the door open because that's where he wants to be.  At night, though, he wants to be in the bed with me, so I let him get settled on his side of the bed and wake myself up 100 times to check on him.  Its kind of silly since I have been sleeping with him all of his life, including when he was just a tiny little thing.  I am just afraid that I will inadvertently hurt him and I can't stand that thought.

He goes back to the vet on Monday for a check up and to see if he can get any of his staples removed.  I, for one, am not in any hurry to get them out.  They don't seem to be bothering him and I don't want him to reopen that humongous wound.

More to follow when we get back from his check-up.  For now, I am just so happy to have him healthy and home.  I love this baby boy very much and am glad I was able to do the right thing for him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Satchmo had surgery!

Well, after a week on an emotional roller-coaster ride and daily trips to various veterinarians, we finally diagnosed the baby boy with a liver mass the size of a man's fist.  He had a CT scan done Wednesday and surgery was a viable option, so this morning, he went back to the vet's and had his surgery at noon. 

The vet and I had a very long talk yesterday about prognosis and treatment.  He felt that since the mass seemed to be encapsulated and he could only find tumor in one lobe of his liver, the option of surgery was a good one.  He then proceeded to show me the dangers of this particular surgery and he was very upfront and honest about the fact that I could just as easily lose my boy during the surgery as not.   That being said, he described the option of doing nothing and watching Satchmo simply succumb to the tumor and waste away.

I felt strongly that Satch deserved a chance to live and agreed to the surgery.  I spent a very horrible day today waiting to hear from the vet how he did.  When he called, I was afraid he would say that he lost him, but instead he said that everything went even better than we expected.  Now that I have spent every dime I could get my hands on (this is not a cheap or easy option), Satch has made it through the surgery and has been outside to the bathroom.   I just called to check on him and he is sleeping now but they plan to try to get him to eat something later tonight. 

I plan to go see him tomorrow to let him know that I love him and am waiting for him to recover and come home.  I am so relieved, but the vet warned me that he still can suffer complications from the surgery so he is not out of the woods yet.  I appreciate this vet's honesty and forthrightness.  He has earned my trust completely.  He has told me everything he planned to do and even how he would deal with unexpected events during surgery.  He was empathetic and provided me with support that I really needed.  I feel that he is looking out for my boy.

I'll try to update tomorrow after I get to visit my Satchmo.  I'll probably call the clinic through the night to check on him, though.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Satchmo is sick!!!!!!!!

I'm just in a dither here.  I can hardly think.  My Satchmo has been losing weight and recently he almost got out of his harness because it was too loose.  I took him to the vet yesterday and had labs done.  The vet called me and said she had never seen liver function tests with such high results in her entire career and neither had any of the other vets in the practice.  His GGT was 20,000 times normal!    I really don't understand.  He eats and drinks well, he pees and poops normally, he plays with Austen and chases the cats.  He was just losing weight.

So, today he went back for an abdominal ultrasound to see what the deal is.  She just called me to say that Satchmo has a very large mass on his liver and she wanted to do an xray to rule out metastatic lesions to his lungs.  I, of course, said yes. 

She called back to say there is a spot on his xray but she doesn't think it is a lesion.  So I got him home now, but tomorrow he and I will be going to a specialist to see if he is a candidate for surgery.  I'm a basket case!
This is my little man!  I cannot seem to get my head around this. 

I'll try to remember to update tomorrow after speaking with the specialist----if I can.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Continuation of the Saga of the Kittens!

Thought I'd update you on my kitten fiasco.  As I have said before, the two little black kittens that I adopted and feed are grown now.  They are brother and sister and I named them K.T. (boy) and Ditto (girl).  They live quite happily on my porch because they started out feral and are just learning over time to trust me.  I feed them daily and K.T. goes walking with me and the dogs in the mornings.

I was able to trap K.T. and so he got carted to the hospital and neutered.  Got him a complete physical and all his shots, too.  Since then, he has become quite loveable and allows me to pet him and even pick him up sometimes.  He has also begun following the dogs in the front door when we come in from our walks.  He doesn't want to stay inside, though, and begins to howl if I don't let him out right away.

Ditto got pregnant before I could trap her.  She had a litter of two little ones.  The children in this apartment complex caught the smallest and I guess they dropped it because it's front leg was broken.  So I took both to the vet and had the little one put to sleep while getting the other one shots.  This baby was inside my house from about 5 weeks of age to 3months of age, but she never got friendly or trusting and she bit and hissed and scratched if you got anywhere near her.  I finally had to catch her and take her to the animal shelter because she was biting me all the time.  I am sorry that I had to do that, but I really didn't know what else to do. 

Anyway, all this time I never could catch Ditto and she got pregnant again!  I was so upset.  This time, she had her babies close by and when I put a box outside the door, she brought them to live in the box.  Three little kittens now living in a box in my doorway.  When the kittens were about 4 weeks old, someone took them.  They were there in the morning and gone in the afternoon.  Ditto was frantic!  They finally were returned after a couple of days and they were thin and frightened.  I brought them in the house for safety and Ditto came inside to care for them.  She is very skittish and frightened, but she was so happy to see her babies again that she forgot to be afraid. 

Once the kittens were eating on their own and getting more independent, I finally got to take Ditto to be spayed.  No more kittens for us!  I found good homes for all three of these delightful babies who were well socialized from being in the house.

I was so happy to think that my cat issues were now over.  Or so I thought!  About the time I got the last kitten placed, I noticed another feral black cat hanging around.  She looked like she was nursing and she came to see if my two left any food.  The next day, I went out to feed my cats and guess what I found!
Four kittens were waiting to be fed.  No mother cat in sight.  Great. 

These are truly feral kittens, but they were starving and they fought my cats off the food.  Now, if I want my cats to be able to eat, I have to feed the kittens too.  I am not thrilled.  I really don't want to be the cat lady on the block.  So, my plan is to take the TNR class at the Humane Society so I can trap these four kittens and to release them away from my home after they are fixed.    I'll let you know how that goes.

It really is a shame that people in apartments just leave their pet cats when they move.  I have always seen colonies of feral cats at every apartment complex I have ever lived in.  Seems a shame. 
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