Recovering From Dog Surgery: What’s Changed

First: A Story About My Own Foot Surgery

In March of 2005 I had surgery on the subtalar joint in my foot to un-fuse what’s called a tarsal coalition. I still don’t really understand it, but I know that before the surgery I had so much arthritis that I could barely walk at times (much less run or play soccer) and many years later I’m able to do almost any sport I want (although I have to ice and stretch a lot.)

I bring this up because my surgery was scheduled for my senior year of college spring break, and I was going to have 10 days at home with my parents. We made plans to go to the movies, to the mall, out to eat, and enjoy other fun leisure activities. We knew I’d be on crutches, but that wasn’t going to stop us from doing some fun things!

Boy were our expectations wrong. I was so sick and totally knocked off my feet (literally) it was hard for me to even get to the bathroom and back those first few days. The painkillers made me nauseous, and I barely moved from the couch that whole week!

What does your surgery have to do with Gus?

Gus did really well with his ACL surgery. We knew he would have limited mobility for a while, but what we didn’t realize until Thomas’s post-op meeting with the vet was that Gus has to be confined to a small room for TWO WHOLE MONTHS!!!

Obviously we knew he wouldn’t be going on any river romps or leash runs anytime soon, but we had no idea that he would have so many restrictions at home. It makes sense – we wouldn’t want him to do any sudden movements, including jumping up to bark at the doorbell, going up and down stairs, or chasing a squirrel in our yard, that might jerk his leg. All of his visits outside must be on a leash as well.

Bless his heart, he probably has no idea why he had to go through a painful overnight vet visit and now he can’t even enjoy his usual nap spot on the rug upstairs!

We converted the downstairs mud room into Gus’s room

We actually have the perfect spot for him downstairs in our basement mudroom. We have a baby gate blocking the door and part of our couch behind that so he is not tempted to jump over the gate. He has his bed, his food, some toys, and a private entrance. Another reason he has to stay in the mudroom is because he isn’t allowed to go up and down stairs, and had we picked another small room on the main floor of our house he would have had to go up and down stairs to go to the bathroom. Thomas built a DIY ramp over the basement steps that solved the stair problem. Lastly, we set up our extra baby monitor so we can watch him if we’re not on that level and at night.

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The vibe in our house feels totally different

It’s so strange not to have Gus greet us when we walk in.

But it’s kind of nice that he’s not barking at every single visitor who knocks.

Remember how I was asking you guys what to do about the dog hair while Birch learns to crawl? Well that problem was “solved” overnight. A house’s worth of fur is now collecting in the mud room.

But now all the baby food that is getting tossed onto the floor isn’t getting eaten! Gus used to love that.

While it’s lonelier upstairs, my floors haven’t been this clean for YEARS!

I’m actually really digging our family room with the couch split in two. It’s so much more open!! We’ve been spending a lot of time playing downstairs to keep Gus company.

Overall, he appears to be handling his situation very well. And his walking is improving day by day.