I brought home my most challenging foster ever last week...I'm bouncing between highs of seeing great things from him, and lows of feeling like a the worst foster mom ever for the painful things we have to do to clean out his wounds.
He was picked up by animal control after he fell in a canal. His paw pads were so shredded that he couldn't stand up. His belly was covered in urine scald from lying in his own pee for days. He had cuts and sores all over his legs. He was, quite simply, a wreck.
We later found out eventually he was an inside dog who had gotten out. He was owned by an elderly man who realized he could not longer handle him. The dog is just 18 months old -- and big (77 pounds and still a gangly stilt-walker who hasn't grown into his long legs yet).
After a week in the vet clinic, the dog came home with me. We've had a rough week. I'm cleaning wounds with diluted betadine solution, bandaging, and wrapping daily (sometimes 2X a day). Yesterday he was in a lot of pain, so back to the shelter's vet he went...to lance an abscess that had formed under the healing sore. Now we've got a new cleaning protocol to add. It took use 90 minutes to do all the cleaning, wrapping and medicating this AM. He won't take pills, even in Pill Pockets or meat, so they all have to be popped into the back of his throat...and he's on a lot of meds right now (multiple antibiotics and pain meds).
We went through 5 days of not eating much at all. I know the cephalexen was jacking with his tummy. I was squirting diluted chicken baby food in his mouth, feeding him as much Nutri-Cal as he'd take, offering Natural Balance log diced up...anything to get calories into him. People kept saying things like "chicken and rice" not realizing he was in the midst of a "Shepherd Shutdown"--nothing
tastes good to them once that happens. He wasn't drinking either, so we were squirting Pedialyte into his mouth with a needle-less syringe, 10 ml at a time.
To add insult to injury, he broke with Kennel Cough on Saturday. It was a bad weekend. I was worried he had walking pneumonia and in a bit of a panic once the cough and runny nose started. His lungs are okay though, according to the vet.
Somehow after getting the abscesses lanced, he turned a corner. He came home and ate a bowl of high-quality kibble and a bunch of Natural Balance log and started drinking lots of water (with Pedialyte mixed in). The goofball even wanted me to take him for a walk when he went out to pee (NOT happening on those feet!). When we came in, I draped the leash over a door knob and he tossed it over his back, pulled it off the door and brought it to me and wiggled--asking to go out again!
This AM, while we were cleaning his feet, he rolypoly'ed around like a huge puppy, grinning at having his belly rubbed. He was so stinking happy to be fussed over. We're finally seeing his personality emerging. It's been a long time coming. He's still a big puppy at heart.
We aren't out of the woods yet (lots more bandaging and wound cleaning lies ahead), but at least he's feeling
He may have one of the best temperaments I've ever fostered. He doesn't fuss or complain even when we are flushing open wounds to clean them out -- and I know
it stings. He rolls on his back and puts his feet in the air when it's time to work on them. It's amazing--such a good dog.
I'm exhausted, but hopeful. He's pretty special, so he's worth all the time and stress. So tell me about your most stressful medical needs foster, and how it worked out -- and add a picture!
Here is Bruno, the day he left the shelter: