Good news, bad news

Posing at Badger Creek
Lucy poses at Badger Creek

Lucy’s bandage was removed about a week ago and we’ve been taking progressively longer walks all week. She even played at the dog park one day at lunch. As a reward to her for putting up with two years of surgeries, bandages and limited activity — also rewarding Fabi for understanding our need to keep Lucy healing — we took a road trip this weekend.

I drove the girls down to southern Colorado to check out some potential camping spots for later in the summer. We hit Cuchara, near the defunct ski resort in the San Isabel National Forest. As I expected, it was still a bit too muddy to drive all the way up to the Bear Lake campground, but the girls had fun playing in the river and snow. After a couple of hours we drove back north through Westcliffe and eventually to our friends’ house north of Cotopaxi. Both of my dogs love the property and spent the rest of the night and much of the next morning exploring the rocks and trees and hillsides.

Sunday morning Robert and I drove the dogs up to a park where the Badger Creek grows larger with the help of several springs. It meanders through a small valley before beginning a 20-mile-long drop down to the Arkansas river. There are boulders and pools and waterfalls. It’s a wonderful area, albeit relatively unknown. Fabi and Lucy ran and climbed and swam . It was nice watching both dogs acting naturally… no casts or bandages or boots on Lucy’s leg. She did very well.

On the way back to Denver we did a little more exploring east of Westcliffe. I took a road through the forest along Hardscrabble creek and stopped to let the dogs play in the water one more time. Lucy ran around for a bit then headed back to the truck, hopping on three legs. She was unwilling to place any weight on her front right leg (the same leg we’ve been treating these last two years). I checked her out: no thorns, no cuts, no abnormal swelling, no obvious fractures. I hoped that she had just strained her leg too much after so much inactivity and that a good night’s rest would help her feel better. When we made it home she still wouldn’t put any weight on the leg and I could tell by her actions and body language that it was causing her some pain. I had some rimadyl remaining from her surgery so I gave her a tablet before bed. She snuggled up next to me on the pillow to sleep, and that only happens when she doesn’t feel well.

The next morning Lucy was still hopping around and didn’t seem any better. She went out in the backyard to lie in the sun as she normally does. When I checked on her a little later she had been licking and nibbling at the top of her scar from the last surgery to a point where it was bleeding, which told me that there was something wrong. I phoned the animal hospital and loaded up the dogs. After her exam and x-rays, the emergency vet said he didn’t see any change in the x-rays compared to those taken last week. This was good news. He did give her some pain meds and a new bandage with a splint to help recover. He also said he would have our normal vet/surgeon call us when he came back on Tuesday.

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