After two and half years of fighting Lucy’s leg injury with bandages, a toe amputation and an arthrodesis surgery, we’ve come to the point where a decision had to be made: continue spending time and money to “save” the leg (and potentially suffering from an untreatable infection the next time she cuts her paw open), or remove the leg and let her live a more normal life. It’s a tough decision.
I’ve been told by many well-meaning people that three-legged dogs do just fine. They run and play and don’t seem to notice they aren’t like the other dogs. I’ve seen this myself as there are quite a few three-legged dogs in the area. I like the thought that Lucy will be able to play and go hiking and camping without the concern that she’ll lose the hiking boot she wears and cut her paw open (again). We won’t have to worry about bandages and the eventual resistance to almost all types of antibiotics and downtime healing up her paw. The money saved on many fewer visits to the vet for exams and bandaging and re-bandaging and more antibiotics… well, that would be nice too.
The hard part is making the decision… making the decision for a family member who cannot make the decision herself. It’s not a decision I am making lightly, either. If somebody came to me and told me that for everybody’s benefit I would need to have an arm amputated, I’m not sure how I would feel. I know dogs don’t have the mental capacity to reason through this process and I shouldn’t anthropomorphize their “feelings” into the decision, but I can’t help it. It’s a “life-changing” decision for her and for me. I’ve made the decision and I have to convince myself it’s the right thing to do.
We have a consultation with one more specialist tomorrow afternoon, and while I don’t want to go into the appointment with my mind pre-determined on the course of action, I’m unsure what he can say that will change my mind about the amputation. I’ve also decided that I don’t want any kind of prosthesis for her — all of the dogs I’ve seen with an amputation seem to get around quite well without any prosthetics.
Pending some miraculous and game-changing treatment option from the specialist tomorrow, we’ve tentatively scheduled the surgery for Monday 28 November.