Yesterday Betty Had 4 Legs

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Friday the 13th of November, 2020, Betty had surgery to repair a broken humerus. The repair included a pin inserted into the bone, however, after surgery, our vet told us it was a harder repair than he had anticipated given that he discovered in surgery that Betty has brittle bones.  He feared the surgical repair may not hold and she may require amputation so he insisted we return for a re-check after a few days. This photo of her was was taken yesterday, 4 days post-op humerus repair, and is one of the last photos of her with all 4 legs.  After a rough few days, she finally began getting up on her own and doing a little walking on her 3 good legs. She even sported this tiny little grin! With her obviously feeling better, her wound site healing well with swelling and redness reduced significantly, we thought we were past the hump and on the mend. So, when we got to the re-check appointment today, we were horrified to find that the pin had slipped because the bone which our vet said was like eggshells hadn’t been strong enough to hold it. We faced 2 options now: amputation, or humane euthanasia.

For an 11 year old with orthopedic issues, this was a very difficult decision, particularly given she had the humerus repair surgery just 5 days ago and the fear that putting additional strain on 3 remaining legs (with brittle bones, unknown origin likely heredity or age) comes with it’s own risks. Both of our options bring heartache.

We chose amputation. Ultimately, we wanted to give her more time with us to smile. And even if we only have another 6-12 months with her, as my husband says, that time is still quite significant to a dog whose entire lifespan is so much shorter than our own. Is it the right decision, we aren’t completely sure, and we struggled to make the call. But ultimately, we know in our hearts that Betty is the strongest willed and most stubborn dog we’ve ever met; and, over the course of the humerus post-op she had already begun functioning much like a tripod already, so we felt like we owed her this chance.

The vet called tonight, after Betty’s amputation procedure, and let us know that she handled the anesthesia and procedure well. Whew! So now, we’ll get to pick her up after 10am tomorrow morning, brave happy faces on when we see her, load her into the car and head home to begin our new journey.

We’re scared. About everything. We’re worried about her overnight in the hospital wondering what’s going on and if she’s struggling. We don’t know what the future holds, how she’ll do, how much time we have, whether this will be successful, or whether we made the right choice. What we do know is that bringing her home tomorrow, my husband and mines 14th wedding anniversary, will be a hard day for us all. But, we’re family, and we’ll support one another through this, and cherish the extra time we have with our Newly 3 Legged Big Brown Baby Betty, for as long as we have it.

I know we’re unprepared now, and that we have so much to learn, and quickly. So, please, we welcome the input/advice of the Tripawd community, and wishes for a speedy and full recovery for our old gal, Betty, the Boxer/Shepherd mix.

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6 thoughts on “Yesterday Betty Had 4 Legs”

  1. Welcome and thank you for sharing Betty’s story. Your future blog posts and pages will publish immediately without requiring moderation.

    You will find much more help and feedback in the discussion forums or by searching the member blogs. Start here for help finding the many Tripawds Resources an assistance programs.

  2. Our 11 year old Shepard golden mix at 140 pounds went to the vet with a bump on his front knee. We figured something easy to fix or manage. Nope it was cancer. Had to amputate my Frodo’s leg.
    We were scared and worried. With his size would he be able to get around? Vet said he would do ok but not to expect more then 6 more months. Wow…….

    He was up and walking after the surgery. We supported him with a towel under his front leg. Within a week he was on his own and doing steps!

    We had an additional 18 months with our big boy. He was happy to the end. His last day he let us know he had enough. He simply refused to stand or come inside….not even for cheese, his favorite treat.
    Love your pup with all you have. Time is precious

    1. Hi Jeanette, thank you for sharing your story of Frodo with me. I’m so happy you got an extended time with him. I agree with you completely, time is precious and we’ll definitely do our part to make sure she knows how loved she is! With Frodo’s age the same as Betty’s, and him being twice her size, that gives me some hope that she’ll be able to adapt and thrive! Thank you.

  3. Betty and family, we are sorry you found yourself here but are so glad that you did join us so that we can help! Just by taking the step to find your way though our community, you are already more prepared than you were before you found us!

    Yes, it’s scary but Betty is going to surprise you. Dogs and cats do so much better than we ever believe they will do. Sure, Betty’s a little older and her recovery will be on its own timeline (don’t compare to others or you will go insane!), but clearly she’s got the spunk and sparkle to bounce back.

    Have you seen Jerry’s Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books yet? You’ll find tons of info there, and also in our What to Expect articles. And then there’s the Discussion Forums, which is where you’ll find fast help and support too.

    It’s never fun to lose a leg but we are here to make sure that you get through this as easily as possible. And remember, Betty will look to you for direction so the more pawsitive and optimistic you are about the situation, the more she will reflect it right back to you. Stay strong and keep us posted!

  4. Welcome to Tripawds Betty! You certainly are a beautiful girl!
    My kitty Amber recently had her left rear leg amputated because of cancer. I also worried how she would do overnight. Take some comfort in knowing that Betty is on some heavy pain meds right now and is probably more concerned by the pink elephants and purple zebras dancing around than the fact that she’s spending a night in the hospital ;). Hoping for a speedy recovery for Miss Betty. I’m sure your new tripawd will surprise you in ways you never expected just like mine did!

    Hugs & Kitty Rubs
    -Alissa and Trikitty Amber

  5. A little late to the welcom pawty for BIGBROWNBETTY! So I’m just in time to ask how she is doing and to of you jave any questions about recovery.
    Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks, but doesn’t last furever.
    And that picture of her……priceless!! I’m in love!!
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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