Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TPLO Poster Child

So Dr. Haburjak (Paco's surgeon) called me the other day asking for a favor. Basically, he is in the process of creating a new informational brochure for clients and wanted to know if he could use an image of Paco since, well, he's an actual patient.

I told him I'd call him back after I ran the idea past Paco. It took a little sweet talking, but once I emphasized how many dogs he could benefit by helping educate about the TPLO procedure, Paco reluctantly agreed with the concession that we use a previous image (since his ass is still mostly bald he is being a little bashful about modeling right now).*

Dr. Haburjak agreed to the terms and selected the following image to grace the cover of his new brochure. Keep an eye out for it in hospitals everywhere! (well, at least Berkeley Dog and Cat)

*this conversation may not have happened exactly as described. . . or maybe it did.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


So looking at Paco's hind end the other night I was saddened to see how much his butt has atrophied. He now has the hind end of an old man or someone who has lost a lot of weight very quickly.

I tried to get a good photo but, alas, none could really illustrate the drastic change he's undergone in just a few weeks. I'm confident he'll regain it once we begin the exercise, but we're still a ways away.

Until then, I decided to pay homage to his dearly departed ass. Here's a side view of the magnificence:

And here is a rear view. Note the roundness and the feeling it invokes in you to want to squeeze it:

Lastly, a shot my friend Molly took. I don't know why, I don't know when, but it happened:

(And to those who think dressing an animal only satisfies the whimsy of the owner, I'd like to point out how utterly naked my dog is from the underside. . . almost to the point of being disturbing).

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Paco has graduated from Conehead to Non-Conehead, woohoo!

Yep, our little guy tends to be a compulsive licker/fusser so, heeding the advice of a good vet friend (thanks, Jenny!), we kept the cone on extra long to make it through the itchy-post-suture-recovery-stage. The result? A completely healed dog who has no reason to obsess over his incision site.

Yep, now he can point his mouth towards other things, like fun interactive toys filled with treats like this one:

For those of you familiar with this "indestructible" toy you'll notice Paco has already removed that annoying barrier of a rope (which most normal dogs use to carry the toy around with them). Oh well, who can fault him for taking creative shortcuts?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Paco Pals

Doggie guests are a common thing in our house. Since Paco has been recuperating I've kept his dog interactions to a minimum. . . and when I say "minimum" I actually mean "not at all" since he's prone to getting really, really excited.

Now, we have two special dog guests, Muggy and Lola, that stay over a couple times a week. Their owner is a firefighter, so they get to spend the night when she pulls a late week 24-hour shift (someone else watches them earlier in the week).

Yesterday I was running around getting ready to take the girls on a walk. I'd just pottied Paco and his x-pen was ajar. I started to suit up Muggy but then got sidetracked doing something else (my hair). Taking advantage of the opportunity to go into "forbidden territory", Muggy snuck into Paco's pen and cuddled up with him. I came back to this sight:

It was so cute I left his pen ajar all night and Muggy cuddled with him off and on. . . you know, until she remembered that wasn't really a dog and actually belonged on the bed with the rest of the humans.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Paco Pants

Looking at Paco day in and day out "without pants" was getting a little depressing so we got him some pants. Check 'em out!

(disclaimer: we took off the sling for the pictures only)
Dorky, yes, but at the Target closeout price of $1.48 (yes, one dollar and forty-eight cents), we couldn't resist. Even Pirate approves:

Despite the horrible embarrassment, Paco has been doing quite well. His legs are getting stronger and he's able to move more easily. We've even worked up to assisted walks down the driveway and to the corner a couple of times per day. Look at him go!

Monday, April 7, 2008


First let's clarify, I'm not advocating you perform your own TPLO surgery at home. But for anyone who has ever needed to rehab a dog at home you know it can get expensive for you and boring for the dog, so I'm sharing a few tricks that have been proven life-savers for us.

First is the grocery bag sling:

It's something lots of experienced folks told me to do. Just take a cloth grocery bag, cut open the sides, hem it up and, voila, insta-sling for you and free advertising for your favorite establishment (disclaimer, Whole Foods is not our favorite establishment). Even if you have a plethora of slings around already, it's a good idea to have at least one more in the case of pee-on-the-sling.

Next is the tie-down. Take an eye hook, screw it in your wall. Take a sturdy clothesline material, preferably plastic coated metal wire, attach it to a snap hook, and clip to the eye bolt.

Measure out enough room so the dog can get up and turn around, but not so much they can get any momentum should they choose to break into a run, attach a snap hook to the other end, and clip to dog.

If your dog is at all crafty and has figured out how to tip over an x-pen (not that we know any dogs that fit that description), then the tie down can be your best friend. It also allows you to put eye hooks and beds in multiple rooms, thus creating multiple "rehab stations" so your dog can safely be with you wherever you are. In fact, if you're going to run a multiple dog home or ever consider having overnight doggie guests, a foster, or plan on adding a new canine to your pack, a tie down system can be your best friend. If you don't have some eye hooks already scattered around your home, I highly recommend doing so now.

Lastly, we bring you the "habi-trail":

It gets boring for the dog to be in the same space day in and day out, so change it up! Think hamster cage. Here we see how a crate has been turned in to a cave. Some days we'll make the x-pen larger or smaller depending on what's going on. Hey, if it works for rodents. . .

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


So yesterday we went to the vet for suture removal and 2 week check-up. According to his report card, he's doing great. The incisions look good and he's healing well. His spirits are also in good shape, as evidenced by the fact that he broke out in song the second he saw the vet building (despite the whole tranquilizer I gave him an hour before we left).

I asked if I could see his x-rays and they sent me home with a disk. Despite initial technical difficulties, we finally got these downloaded. Check it out:



I wonder what else happened in surgery as the first x-ray shows his sex as "M" and the second shows his sex as "N". . . one can only assume he went from "male" to "none".