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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

I have my 11 month old going in for a full hip replacement in 2 weeks.

I am trying to decide what sort of room setup would be good and what bedding to use. What have you guys done for your surgeries?

I have a small house and am thinking of baby gating the living room for us to both live in for the recovery as it is carpeted. I can place the crate in there.

Regarding bedding I am unsure. I was thinking of putting a low mattress on the floor for me to sleep on as he is used to sleeping in my bed with me. Or will I need to crate him at night immediately after surgery? He has never been crated at night. The room is pretty small, smaller than my bedroom even so maybe un-crated is fine...

For him he has a X Large Kuranda bed that fills his crate, but I am worried about the small height on it and unsteady footing when on. Thoughts on this? Should I buy some soft low foam bedding? I previously banished those due to him EATING it, but I am going to be home with him for the first 2 weeks after surgery.

Last question is about stairs. Of course I will be discussing with my surgeon but I have 3 steep steps to my back garden. It is old linoleum. I am thinking towel/sling but it sure has me worried.

I am really freaking out as this gets closer. Is this the right decision? Can I keep him calm? (really worried about this one, he has no off switch right now and it's a struggle we are working on) What if this makes things worse? He does not show pain at all and has gotten so much stronger in the last few months but he lies down during fetch and I occasionally still feel his hip pop/grind. But what if I totally stuff him up? What if he becomes even more scared of stuff and I loose my goofy, adorable, happy playful puppy?

While you guys can't help me with my doubts and decision I am hoping you have some opinions on the bedding lol :D
 

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If you have a good surgeon and the surgery goes well, a total hip replacement will be the best thing you ever do for your dog. Where are you having the surgery done?

We've had 8 total hip replacements done in dogs over the years. Only one got screwed up, and we never should have taken the dog to that surgeon, as we learned afterward.

A carpeted small room for aftercare would be ideal. No bedding at all, especially a Kuranda bed. A fall or slip when dealing with any kind of bed could be a disaster. And yes, you should sleep on the floor next to him since he is used to sleeping in your bed with you. But no low mattress for you because he may slip climbing on or off it. Sorry. You may need orthopedic surgery after this.

Good luck, and please let us know how the surgery goes!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you have a good surgeon and the surgery goes well, a total hip replacement will be the best thing you ever do for your dog. Where are you having the surgery done?

We've had 8 total hip replacements done in dogs over the years. Only one got screwed up, and we never should have taken the dog to that surgeon, as we learned afterward.

A carpeted small room for aftercare would be ideal. No bedding at all, especially a Kuranda bed. A fall or slip when dealing with any kind of bed could be a disaster. And yes, you should sleep on the floor next to him since he is used to sleeping in your bed with you. But no low mattress for you because he may slip climbing on or off it. Sorry. You may need orthopedic surgery after this.

Good luck, and please let us know how the surgery goes!
Hi JonRob,

Thanks for your feedback. I am in Michigan Detroit and on a few recommendations am having it done at the Animal Surgical Center of Michigan. I was referred to the surgeon by our vet who we really respect.

I am still unsure about no bedding at all. No Kuranda bed makes sense due to it's surface and footing, but I would imagine low soft bedding would be better than none in the hard crate. I will see what sort of bed I can find for us both on the floor lol...I would sleep on the couch but am worried he tried to jump up so am going to banish couches haha.
 

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I would imagine low soft bedding would be better than none in the hard crate.
I wasn't clear--a hard crate would not be good. He should be on a carpet in a small room. To save your back and joints, you might consider a very thin (1 inch thick) double-size foam mattress pad with a nylon cover on the carpet. Stay away from inflatables--they have very unsteady footing. And definitely no couches! You may suffer more than he does . . .
 

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I have no experience with hip replacement but do have experience with seriously arthritic senior dogs. For your 3 steps to the yard I would invest in a telescoping pet ramp with a nonskid surface. Get it now and teach your boy to use it now. walking slowly up and down an easy sloped ramp will likely be much easier on him than trying to sling him up and down stairs. Check with your surgeon first though just to be sure.
There are several members that have gone through hip replacement and FHO recovery and rehab. Hopefully some with chime in and share how they handled recovery and sleep accommodations.
 

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Why do you have to do hip replacement at 11 months?

Unless the dog were in so much pain that I would be considering euthanizing or hip replacement, I wouldn’t do the surgery.
 

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What does your surgeon say? They will give you pretty strict instructions. Call and ask them about the steps.

My suggestion is to get him crate trained now because he will have to be crated and contained while he heals.

My co-worker just had this done and bought a large crate for temporary use. When my dog had her acl done, I bought a 48" crate. I could lay in there with her.
 

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Why do you have to do hip replacement at 11 months?

Unless the dog were in so much pain that I would be considering euthanizing or hip replacement, I wouldn’t do the surgery.
SunFlowers,

His hip pops and grinds when he moves and sits. This has improved as he gained more muscle but it's still there. He lies down a lot during fetch and drags himself when he rises. Looking at him you would think nothing is wrong but I don't want him living a life of pain if I can fix it. He is an active dog and I got him to hike with.

The orthopedic surgeon said it was not likely to get better and he will need the surgery in his lifetime so I should do it while he is young because young dogs heal very quickly. However he said I can wait too, he was not being pushy. This makes sense to me but there is also a part of me freaking out that this could be a very bad mistake. It has been months of agonizing over this and to be honest I just want him to be happy and pain free and if I can give him that , I will.
 

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What does your surgeon say? They will give you pretty strict instructions. Call and ask them about the steps.

My suggestion is to get him crate trained now because he will have to be crated and contained while he heals.

My co-worker just had this done and bought a large crate for temporary use. When my dog had her acl done, I bought a 48" crate. I could lay in there with her.
Hi Jax08, I will be discussing this in more detail with my surgeon for sure. I read through their protocol on the site and they just mention the restricted activity time frames and checkup follow ups.

He is already crate trained and is in 4- 5 hours at a time while I work so he likes it fine and it won't be anything new to him. I actually have the 57" crate as he outgrew his 42" lol. and to be honest he fills it! Lots of room over his head though so he can stand. He is a very very big dog.
 

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Why do you have to do hip replacement at 11 months?

Unless the dog were in so much pain that I would be considering euthanizing or hip replacement, I wouldn’t do the surgery.
Moonshayde (love that username BTW), just about any time someone posts here asking for helpful advice about postoperative care, someone pops up and instead of giving any helpful advice they start shrieking that the dog shouldn't have the surgery--as if they knew more about your dog than you or your vet know. So don't take that stuff personally or seriously. It's just a thing some posters do and really has nothing to do with you. You don't need to justify your choices for your dog to critics like this.

I think your vet gave you excellent advice and you are an awesome person for spending so much money (these things aren't cheap) to give your dog a much better quality of life. I wish there were more dog owners like you.
 

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Why do you have to do hip replacement at 11 months?

Unless the dog were in so much pain that I would be considering euthanizing or hip replacement, I wouldn’t do the surgery.
Huh?

I did a total hip replacement on last GSD at 18 months. The surgeon wanted to wait until growth plates were closed as much as possible. That dog lived an active life on a farm, running, chasing, swimming, going camping, etc until he was almost 10 years old when hemangiosarcoma took him.

Veterinary medicine often gives us options for our dogs to *thrive* if we have the financial means.

Why wouldn’t the OP do the surgery?

Now, to the OP, I used firm deluxe orthopedic dog beds, the ones with the thick core and no pillow top (Drs Foster and Smith used to sell them, but they’ve gone out of business. Petco bought Drs F&S, so you might try there). I laid 4 extra large ones down next to each other so it was about the size of queen size bed. I didn’t have to worry about him rolling off. My dog and I were both able to sleep on these. He smashed up next to me when sleeping.

Ask your surgeon if they will provide or can sell you a sling for your dog. They probably will. If not, check out Labra and/or Loobani or similar brands. Get a couple, so you always have one where you need it. (If you have insurance, they may pay for these even if you buy them off Amazon).

For the stairs, I had the same set up outside. We anchored a 2x12” plank on the stairs but first, we wrapped it securely with good quality (but not squishy) yoga mat. Then anchor it as a ramp for the dog giving you plenty of room to walk alongside it.

Walking the dog on his sling is like carrying a suitcase. When you go up and down the stairs, your dog/suitcase travels up and down the ramp.

If you're strong with both arms, then you can switch off. But if you’re right (or left) handed and really need to always lift the sling in that one hand, then anchor your ramp so you give yourself enough room to walk on both sides.

Starting ASAP, start using the ramp. It’s easier to training him now than after surgery when he’s on pain meds. Use a cue (command). I use “scramble” for up and “ramp” for down. It doesn’t matter what your cues are. Just start now.

Plan to leave the ramp there forever. The more your dog uses the ramp, the less wear and tear on all his joints his whole life. I moved to a new home and put in new ramps 4 years after surgery. I still have ramps at my house (and my other dogs use them because stairs are hard on joints and as dogs age, ramps are just easier to use. So I have left all my old ramps in place).

I wouldn’t use telescoping ramps. I have purchased a couple of these. They aren’t nearly rigid enough for post surgery.

(If you need photos, I can email some to you. Drop me a message. I don’t post here often, but I’ll keep an eye on my messages in case you have specific questions. I recall how scary the leadup to this surgery was.)

After surgery, it’s imperative you follow instructions regarding not being too active. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from your surgeon if you need. A mild sedative for your dog for a few weeks can mean the difference between surgical success or failure. Young dogs (and yours is younger than most for this surgery) are hard to keep still. Don’t expect miracles of yourself.

Good luck. Wishing a successful surgery and speedy recovery.
 

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Why do you have to do hip replacement at 11 months?

Unless the dog were in so much pain that I would be considering euthanizing or hip replacement, I wouldn’t do the surgery.
SunFlowers,

His hip pops and grinds when he moves and sits. This has improved as he gained more muscle but it's still there. He lies down a lot during fetch and drags himself when he rises. Looking at him you would think nothing is wrong but I don't want him living a life of pain if I can fix it. He is an active dog and I got him to hike with.

The orthopedic surgeon said it was not likely to get better and he will need the surgery in his lifetime so I should do it while he is young because young dogs heal very quickly. However he said I can wait too, he was not being pushy. This makes sense to me but there is also a part of me freaking out that this could be a very bad mistake. It has been months of agonizing over this and to be honest I just want him to be happy and pain free and if I can give him that , I will.
The reason I would consider waiting a bit is so the dog is finished growing. It's important that both back legs are the same length so the pelvis isn't tilted, putting undue pressure on the spine. If the dog still has growing to do, the surgeon will have to guess at final leg length.

As 4K9Mom stated in her wonderfully informative post, her surgeon wanted to wait until the growth plates were closed before the surgery.

This would also give you time to work on helpful behaviors that you anticipate the need for after surgery. You could get whatever bedding you choose and work on a place command with long down stays. Work on a move slowly command, like easy or whatever you want to call it. Acclimate the dog to a sling, ramps, handling that may occur during vet visits, how to get into and out of the car, eating while laying down. All this would be easier now when you can work on things incrementally a few times a day instead of throwing it all at the dog when it's still trying to recover.

I'm not saying your dog couldn't handle everything all at once. Many do just fine. I think it would remove some stress if the dog was already used to these situations and behaviors before surgery.

Keep us posted, and thank you for taking the time and spending the money to give your dog a better life 🙂
 

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Moonshayde, here's what the Animal Surgical Center of Michigan has to say about age at total hip replacement:

"Selection of the patient to do a hip replacement must therefore be done carefully. Dogs that are not candidates for hip replacement include dogs less than 10 months of age (we usually wait until the dog matures)"

Dog Hip Dysplasia - Hip Replacement - Animal Surgical Center of Michigan

This link also has a pic (Figure 1) of what can happen to a dog's hip joint if hip dysplasia is allowed to progress. It's not pretty.

And here are the credentials of this Center's total hip replacement surgeon:

"Dr. Charles E. DeCamp

Dr. DeCamp, a native of Flint, is professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Michigan State University and has joined Animal Surgical Center of MIchigan. Early in Dr. DeCamp's post-secondary education, he studied English literature and received his first degree therein. During this time of study, he also completed pre-veterinary courses and subsequently earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree at Michigan State University. Thereafter he completed an internship, during which he became passionate for veterinary surgery. During his surgical residency he trained under the tutelage of Drs. Flo and Braden. Although during this time Dr. Brinker, another grandfather of veterinary orthopedic surgery, was for the most part retired, Dr. DeCamp's surgical training was also influenced significantly by him. After completing his residency, Dr. DeCamp was board-certified in veterinary surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and has been employed by Michigan State University as professor for 29 years. He continues to serve Michigan State University, at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. DeCamp has authored oodles of peer-reviewed research publications, book chapters and is the editor and author of one of the main orthopedic textbooks used by students, interns, residents and orthopedic surgeons: "Orthopedic Handbook for Small Animal Surgery". At Animal Surgical Center of Michigan, Dr. DeCamp's expertise in joint surgery, fracture repair, angular limb deformity correction, arthroscopy, and total hip replacement are commonly used."

http://m.animalsurgicalcenter.com/bio_degner.html

Unless I have a reason to believe otherwise, I have a great deal of respect for that kind of expertise and experience, and it totally outweighs speculation from amateurs who are not veterinarians.

This Center also has outstanding google reviews from clients.

What day does he have his surgery?
 

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Moonshayde, here's what the Animal Surgical Center of Michigan has to say about age at total hip replacement:

"Selection of the patient to do a hip replacement must therefore be done carefully. Dogs that are not candidates for hip replacement include dogs less than 10 months of age (we usually wait until the dog matures)"

Dog Hip Dysplasia - Hip Replacement - Animal Surgical Center of Michigan

This link also has a pic (Figure 1) of what can happen to a dog's hip joint if hip dysplasia is allowed to progress. It's not pretty.

And here are the credentials of this Center's total hip replacement surgeon:

"Dr. Charles E. DeCamp

Dr. DeCamp, a native of Flint, is professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Michigan State University and has joined Animal Surgical Center of MIchigan. Early in Dr. DeCamp's post-secondary education, he studied English literature and received his first degree therein. During this time of study, he also completed pre-veterinary courses and subsequently earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree at Michigan State University. Thereafter he completed an internship, during which he became passionate for veterinary surgery. During his surgical residency he trained under the tutelage of Drs. Flo and Braden. Although during this time Dr. Brinker, another grandfather of veterinary orthopedic surgery, was for the most part retired, Dr. DeCamp's surgical training was also influenced significantly by him. After completing his residency, Dr. DeCamp was board-certified in veterinary surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and has been employed by Michigan State University as professor for 29 years. He continues to serve Michigan State University, at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. DeCamp has authored oodles of peer-reviewed research publications, book chapters and is the editor and author of one of the main orthopedic textbooks used by students, interns, residents and orthopedic surgeons: "Orthopedic Handbook for Small Animal Surgery". At Animal Surgical Center of Michigan, Dr. DeCamp's expertise in joint surgery, fracture repair, angular limb deformity correction, arthroscopy, and total hip replacement are commonly used."

http://m.animalsurgicalcenter.com/bio_degner.html

Unless I have a reason to believe otherwise, I have a great deal of respect for that kind of expertise and experience, and it totally outweighs speculation from amateurs who are not veterinarians.

This Center also has outstanding google reviews from clients.

What day does he have his surgery?
Me too
 

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I did a total hip replacement on last GSD at 18 months. The surgeon wanted to wait until growth plates were closed as much as possible. That dog lived an active life on a farm, running, chasing, swimming, going camping, etc until he was almost 10 years old when hemangiosarcoma took him.

Veterinary medicine often gives us options for our dogs to *thrive* if we have the financial means.

Why wouldn’t the OP do the surgery?

Now, to the OP, I used firm deluxe orthopedic dog beds, the ones with the thick core and no pillow top (Drs Foster and Smith used to sell them, but they’ve gone out of business. Petco bought Drs F&S, so you might try there). I laid 4 extra large ones down next to each other so it was about the size of queen size bed. I didn’t have to worry about him rolling off. My dog and I were both able to sleep on these. He smashed up next to me when sleeping.

Ask your surgeon if they will provide or can sell you a sling for your dog. They probably will. If not, check out Labra and/or Loobani or similar brands. Get a couple, so you always have one where you need it. (If you have insurance, they may pay for these even if you buy them off Amazon).

For the stairs, I had the same set up outside. We anchored a 2x12” plank on the stairs but first, we wrapped it securely with good quality (but not squishy) yoga mat. Then anchor it as a ramp for the dog giving you plenty of room to walk alongside it.

Walking the dog on his sling is like carrying a suitcase. When you go up and down the stairs, your dog/suitcase travels up and down the ramp.

If you're strong with both arms, then you can switch off. But if you’re right (or left) handed and really need to always lift the sling in that one hand, then anchor your ramp so you give yourself enough room to walk on both sides.

Starting ASAP, start using the ramp. It’s easier to training him now than after surgery when he’s on pain meds. Use a cue (command). I use “scramble” for up and “ramp” for down. It doesn’t matter what your cues are. Just start now.

Plan to leave the ramp there forever. The more your dog uses the ramp, the less wear and tear on all his joints his whole life. I moved to a new home and put in new ramps 4 years after surgery. I still have ramps at my house (and my other dogs use them because stairs are hard on joints and as dogs age, ramps are just easier to use. So I have left all my old ramps in place).

I wouldn’t use telescoping ramps. I have purchased a couple of these. They aren’t nearly rigid enough for post surgery.

(If you need photos, I can email some to you. Drop me a message. I don’t post here often, but I’ll keep an eye on my messages in case you have specific questions. I recall how scary the leadup to this surgery was.)

After surgery, it’s imperative you follow instructions regarding not being too active. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from your surgeon if you need. A mild sedative for your dog for a few weeks can mean the difference between surgical success or failure. Young dogs (and yours is younger than most for this surgery) are hard to keep still. Don’t expect miracles of yourself.

Good luck. Wishing a successful surgery and speedy recovery.
Now that is a fine and helpful post with excellent practical advice. You are very kind to take the time to post it and offer to send photos and answer specific questions. Wish there were more folks like you. And I'm sorry you lost your wonderful dog to hemangiosarcoma.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The reason I would consider waiting a bit is so the dog is finished growing. It's important that both back legs are the same length so the pelvis isn't tilted, putting undue pressure on the spine. If the dog still has growing to do, the surgeon will have to guess at final leg length.

As 4K9Mom stated in her wonderfully informative post, her surgeon wanted to wait until the growth plates were closed before the surgery.

This would also give you time to work on helpful behaviors that you anticipate the need for after surgery. You could get whatever bedding you choose and work on a place command with long down stays. Work on a move slowly command, like easy or whatever you want to call it. Acclimate the dog to a sling, ramps, handling that may occur during vet visits, how to get into and out of the car, eating while laying down. All this would be easier now when you can work on things incrementally a few times a day instead of throwing it all at the dog when it's still trying to recover.

I'm not saying your dog couldn't handle everything all at once. Many do just fine. I think it would remove some stress if the dog was already used to these situations and behaviors before surgery.

Keep us posted, and thank you for taking the time and spending the money to give your dog a better life 🙂
Hi David,

I was also adamant about Haku being old enough for this surgery but the surgeon insisted that after 10 months it is absolutely fine. I did not have the confidence to contradict him.

There was a bit of a snafu and surgery is now scheduled for next Wednesday sep 18th. I feel sick...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Moonshayde, here's what the Animal Surgical Center of Michigan has to say about age at total hip replacement:

"Selection of the patient to do a hip replacement must therefore be done carefully. Dogs that are not candidates for hip replacement include dogs less than 10 months of age (we usually wait until the dog matures)"

Dog Hip Dysplasia - Hip Replacement - Animal Surgical Center of Michigan

This link also has a pic (Figure 1) of what can happen to a dog's hip joint if hip dysplasia is allowed to progress. It's not pretty.

And here are the credentials of this Center's total hip replacement surgeon:

"Dr. Charles E. DeCamp

Dr. DeCamp, a native of Flint, is professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Michigan State University and has joined Animal Surgical Center of MIchigan. Early in Dr. DeCamp's post-secondary education, he studied English literature and received his first degree therein. During this time of study, he also completed pre-veterinary courses and subsequently earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree at Michigan State University. Thereafter he completed an internship, during which he became passionate for veterinary surgery. During his surgical residency he trained under the tutelage of Drs. Flo and Braden. Although during this time Dr. Brinker, another grandfather of veterinary orthopedic surgery, was for the most part retired, Dr. DeCamp's surgical training was also influenced significantly by him. After completing his residency, Dr. DeCamp was board-certified in veterinary surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and has been employed by Michigan State University as professor for 29 years. He continues to serve Michigan State University, at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. DeCamp has authored oodles of peer-reviewed research publications, book chapters and is the editor and author of one of the main orthopedic textbooks used by students, interns, residents and orthopedic surgeons: "Orthopedic Handbook for Small Animal Surgery". At Animal Surgical Center of Michigan, Dr. DeCamp's expertise in joint surgery, fracture repair, angular limb deformity correction, arthroscopy, and total hip replacement are commonly used."

http://m.animalsurgicalcenter.com/bio_degner.html

Unless I have a reason to believe otherwise, I have a great deal of respect for that kind of expertise and experience, and it totally outweighs speculation from amateurs who are not veterinarians.

This Center also has outstanding google reviews from clients.

What day does he have his surgery?
Hi JonRob,

Yes I have a lot of respect for this practice after being referred by our own vet who we trust a lot. She said I should talk to Dr. DeCamp or Dr. Doyle. I actually got Dr. Doyle doing the surgery, who was taught by Dr. Decamp. He does A LOT of these surgeries and on his recommendation is why we are going ahead with it. He asked me what I want to do with my dog, tested his hip for laxity or something, looked at the xrays and said, "I would do the surgery if this were my dog." When I asked him. He was confident that after 10 month sof age there is no reason not to do a hip replacement. I didn't know what to say to that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@4K9Mom thank you so much for your awesome reply! I like the idea for the bedding that's really great. I would have to see about the ramp. Unfortunately I have a 2 story house so my pup has been doing a big flight of stairs multiple times a day since I got him :(

The steps I am worried about are 3 ones from my kitchen to back yard. There also is a nasty corner right after so space is super limited. I would have to see about a ramp. Not too sure how to anchor it. Its in my kitchen. I like the yoga mat idea!
 

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If Haku gets excited/ over alerts when the mailman comes, you may want to stop mail delivery and pick it up at the Post office for a few weeks or maybe move the mailbox to a post at the end of the driveway. Also, ask family and friends to call you instead of knocking at the door easy enough to do since almost everyone has a cell phone.

Its just a couple of things we will be doing for our guy to help keep him calm and quiet.

Good luck with the surgery.
 
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