The Trials of Arabella + Tips for Caring for Sick Puppies

Our beloved daughter Arabella Page recently underwent surgery to repair and replace a faulty hip and luxating patella (painful shifting kneecap). Her agonies are our agonies, although we can't imagine suffering with the noble resignation of Arabella. Recovery is slow (up to 4 months before a single 15-minute walk) and fraught with complications, not the least being our neurotic fear and hyper-vigilance. Cafe Drake HRV will continue to post periodic updates on Arabella's progress (bet you guessed that, huh?) and many many thanks to all those who called, checked in, helped out and sent FB "get well soon" messages.

Tip #1 : If your pet is on over 5 different medications to be administered throughout the day at scheduled intervals, with or without food, best to do as Cafe Drake HRV and create an Excel spreadsheet noting medication and time of dosage. We've grown dizzy and bleary-eyed keeping up with Tramadol, Clavamox, Previcox, Acepromazine, EnteDerm and probiotics.

Tip #2: is a little secret . . . turns out surgeon let us know that you "can't really overdo these painkillers for larger dogs". In a quest to keep Arabella as comfy as possible we had to call for a re-fill on Day 4.

Tip #3: Fave stuffed toys seem to offer no comfort post surgery. Just let them sleep if possible!

Tip #4: The IV bandage can come off once you get home. Be sure to rub the area with prescription antibiotic ointment though.

Tip #5: These E-Collars are heartbreaking but far more devastating is a chewed open fresh suture. Trust! Have a giant box of baby wipes on hand to clean the collars of nauseous dogs.

Tip #6: Although these pain management patches appear brewing with bacterial colonies, keep them on as long as possible.

Tip #7: The external sutures above are seen just hours after surgery. Swelling and some bleeding are likely to occur that evening and the following days. Just accept it. Worse things are soon to follow.
Tip #8: Do NOT snort the dog's painkillers or sedatives. Grinding however makes them easier to slip into bowls of baby food or cooked rice.

Tip #9: Avoid freaking out when your normally voracious garbage disposal of a puppy refuses to eat. Home cooked food is essential to entice and also repair GI tracts wrecked by meds and anesthesia. Cafe Drake HRV started the first two days with simple boiled rice, barley and bits of ground beef. You're STILL going to have to entice them to eat so serve warm and seasoned with plenty of salt. Arabella Page eventually tried a bite after the addition of fish sauce.

Soon, begin to supplement rice and meat with bits of canned food.
In a few days begin stirring in their more nutritious regular dry food; Ms. Arabella favors any dry kibble from Taste of the Wild.

And a Week Later . . . 

Any intermittent return of appetite is generally centered around meaty bones.

Blankets and pillows in the side yard allow Arabella a bit of fresh air as even 5-minute outdoor walks are forbidden for 2 more weeks.

The Face! That face - and huge heart - makes caring for Arabella a privilege.

Pulling out the LR sofa bed gives Arabella a change of scenery and allows us to snuggle with her, a feat in smaller spaces given the scope of her E-collar.

A friend and animal behaviorist suggested we play the television for Arabella during her long hours of fully prone recovery. It seems to work! Although deaf, Arabella's rapt attention to rapid, moving images passes the time here and there. She seems most intrigued by broadly drawn, chaotic and fast cartoons. Cafe Drake HRV, not so much, hence reading material.


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