Meet Chester, a Border Collie mix picked up by the police limping along the highway in Angola, IN. in October. The Steuben County shelter called us because if we couldn’t take him, they would have him put down due to his injuries. His right rear leg was dislocated and the ball of the femur was severely broken. Half of the ball was still in the
socket and the half still on the femur was dislocated and being held only by the muscle. Surgery was his only hope and speed was of the essence. It had to be repaired before it started healing over incorrectly. So, after hunting for our best vet for the surgery, we brought him into our foster network. The operation removed the top of the femur and the remnant of the ball in the socket. He will always have only the muscle and the regrown cartilage to locate the top of his leg. He was neutered at the same time as his leg surgery.
To top all that off, he ended up with a nasty kennel cough, which he managed to pass onto our other 3 dogs.
Now two weeks after his surgery he is healing beautifully. He has his stitches out and is running around outdoors with our other three dogs (Macy, our youngest female BC is his new girlfriend) and keeping up admirably. He holds the right leg up yet when he is running, but is beginning to use it 95% of the time when going at a walk. After watching him interact with the other dogs, he would probably do best if he found a home with another compatible dog to help keep his activity level up, especially while he is healing the leg. He has just finished his kennel cough meds and rarely coughs now. He is still on some mild pain meds to help him get to using that leg. His foster parents are even beginning to not hover quite as intensely. The vet is very happy with his healing and thinks he will lead a long 4 legged life; although he may always limp a bit and favor that right rear leg. (Thus his new name in honor of the “Gunsmoke” deputy.)
Chester has always been a sweetheart, even when he must have been in great pain. All the way back from the shelter on the day he was rescued, he stood on the seat in back of the driver with his right paw on my shoulder till we got home. He is housetrained, is well behaved, and definitely a people dog…read that wherever you are, he is! He will walk reliably with you without a leash. He is already on the way to learning about our electric fence. He loves to be by your side to cuddle while you watch TV in the evening. He likes to be with you whenever he can. He has a good recall and is learning his name now. He knows “no” and “wait”. He is good with our cats (chase and play , but not hurt) and great with our 4 yr. old granddaughter who thinks we should keep him. He has taken to a ball and chew toys a bit, but we haven’t pushed that in deference to not overdoing the leg activity.
All this has been really promising for him, but already having 2 forever Border Collies and 1 forever Great Pyrenees, we can’t keep Chester permanently. I think he would take readily to anyone willing to spend the time and coddle him enough to convince him he has a new caring human. Then he will stick to you like Velcro.
This loving 3-4 yr. old mix (probably some setter from the looks of the tail) will be available for adoption in a few weeks. Keep your eye here for future posts.
Chester is currently living in south central Michigan.
Update November 27,2010: Health – Chester’s leg is continuing to improve. He uses it virtually all the time at a walking pace and to some extent when he is running. His activity level is increased, to where he can fairly well keep up with the other dogs when he’s motivated. It may take a long time to see where the use of his fixed leg will level out. Right now, it’s way down on muscle tone, so even when he feels comfortable enough to put some weight on it, it’s strength is limited. The hopeful sign is that the more active he is, the more he uses it.
Personality – He continues to be really attached to his new people and prefers to follow us wherever and whatever we are doing. He has discovered (or re-discovered) tummy rubs which we enhance with more of a massage to his hard working front shoulders and manual movements of his fixed leg to check flexibility and just give it a rub. A few minutes of this seems to just about mesmerize him. Tummy–up is now becoming his favorite jealousy tactic when he thinks the other dogs are getting more than him. He is a bit of a “noser” when he wants to get your attention. In the evening, he’s content to park near you and if possible, lay with his head on your foot; or better yet, lay next to your legs if you sit on the floor.
Activities – He has a bit of a thing for the chew toys and works over the remnant knots of the tug toys. Generally he doesn’t bother things that don’t belong to the dog toys.
Again, he seems to enjoy a ball, and has punctured one, but we haven’t deliberately pushed ball games for fear he will do more than he should with the leg just yet. All-in-all, his activity level is increasing as he gains confidence with his new condition and is probably feeling less pain or awkwardness.
House Training – He understands the principle and is very reliable if we are just paying attention to his message. As the nights get longer, we try to give him a just-before-bedtime outing and it generally results in at least a tinkle. Most nights he makes it to about 5:30 – 6:00 am before we get the “nose job” at the bedside to wake us up and want out for his morning duty. So we get up and let him out wherupon he does his thing promptly and comes right back in and settles down. Actually, he’s only ever had a couple night accidents and that was before his surgery when he was really having trouble mobility wise and we hadn’t figured out his schedule. During the day, he’s in and out enough with our people activity and he has never had a day accident.
General Health – He’s put on a few pounds of weight (which he needed) and his coat is glossing up nicely with almost no shedding. The hair on his fixed leg is coming back in rapidly. He’s still on the last several days of the pain pill schedule that will run out this weekend and we’ll see if he seems to need any more of that. Our guess at this point is he will get along fine without medication. It’s amazing how a little good food makes so much difference.
We think he’s ready to get serious about finding his final home and start a new life.
He will make a real lover of a companion for someone who gives him the attention.