Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Too Hip for Guide Work

I got the phone call yesterday: Truman has been released from the GDA program, because he has hip dysplasia.

It's just on the left side, and fortunately, it's a mild case. So mild, in fact, that not only does he show no outward signs of it, they had to get the opinion of an orthopedist because the x-rays alone weren't strong enough evidence to make the determination. Missed it by that much....

Of course, I'm sad that he won't graduate and go on to a life of guide work. I'm sad that he can't even go to search and rescue -- which I know he would love -- because he's been released for medical reasons. And I have spent the last 36 hours or so in deep thought and fervent prayer and my fair share of tears, and discussion and e-mail exchanges with many people, in an attempt to make the difficult decision of whether to adopt him myself or to let the school adopt him out to someone else.

The logistics are difficult. I live in a third-floor apartment with no yard, and would no longer be allowed take him to the office where I spend two of my weekdays at work. I would be taking on his medical expenses, no longer receiving reimbursement for his veterinary care. I would be paying for his food, and no longer allowed to claim the things I buy for him as a tax deduction. I would be a little less free to do what I want and go where and when I want. I would no longer have the luxury of dropping him off for free room and board and a bath up at the school. A full-time dog is a human tie-down.

But he's my Roo. He's this little face:



Okay, the face eventually grew more mature. But even when Truman was being difficult and adolescent and full of attitude, barking at nothing and demanding attention from the nearest person, daring me to correct him, this was the little face that I saw in my heart. I love that little face, and the heart behind it, and the messed up hip behind that, and the wagging tail behind that. And if he were to come home to live with me, I would KNOW he'd be getting the care and love that he needs, because it would be given by the person who knows him best and the person who loves him most.

So he will come home.

We will have help from my wonderful boyfriend and some other very supportive and loving people, who understand that my taking him back forever will be a challenge. I will definitely be making a list of the folks -- puppy raisers, friends, family, co-workers -- who have offered to watch him for me occasionally, or who have offered playdates with their own dogs or swim time in their backyard pools (really good exercise for dysplasia).

Yes, I will still update the blog with the last two months or so of photos and adventures...but I wanted to share this news with you right away so that you can share in my joy on Friday, when Truman becomes my Forever Dog. I can't wait.

21 comments:

Erica said...

I have no idea how I found your blog awhile back, but it was when you were turning in your last dog. I cried reading about that and was not looking forward to crying again when I read about you turning in Truman. Well, I cried anyways when I read this post, but because I'm so happy that you and Truman don't have to say goodbye!

One thing I'm curious about...do they not check for hip dysplasia when they are puppies? I had a scare with my golden retriever earlier this year and the vet told me while reviewing the xrays together that hip dysplasia is something dogs are born with, not something they develop (this was news to me). But maybe they can't see it as well before the hips are fully developed?

Joanna and Camry said...

Again, I'm very sorry he was released... but I'm SOOO happy you decided to keep him!!!!!!!! That definitely helps numb the pain a bit!!!! Oh I hope you'll do a Truman Post when you get him back on Friday!!!

8675309 said...

Joanna, thanks. :) I'm sure you'll see him again sometime soon.

Erica, hi! Thanks for reading. Who knows how you first got here...maybe you were one of the few people every week who still land at my site by doing a Google search for "maybe the dingo ate your baby"....

Anyway, to answer your question, the school doesn't do that kind of test on the young'uns unless there appears to be a reason to suspect dysplasia, which in Truman's case, there wasn't. Many dogs are released from the program even before they get to turn-in, so it's most cost effective to x-ray them as they go IFT so they can do it in a 30-dog batch all at once every three months, and not waste money on a dog who would have been dropped earlier for some other reason. It's a bummer, but it does make sense from the standpoint of a nonprofit.

I see you're from Nashville! My friends Bobbie and Pete live there, and my last dog Lomax and his partner recently moved to a small township in TN as well...it would be crazy if you ran into them!

cube said...

All this time I've been sad about you giving up Truman. I've talked about it to my family. If I see dog that looks like Truman, I think of you and the amazing work that you do.

All this time...

Thank goodness you decided to adopt the little bugger. I couldn't be happier for you both.

8675309 said...

Awww...thanks, cube! Everyone at the school seems to be really happy about the decision, too. He's my boy. And if you're ever out here visiting in Southern California -- this goes for you too, Erica, and all my other supercool out of town blog buddies -- please let us know. Truman would love to meet his fans. ;)

Geegs said...

Hi! Never posted here but have been reading about Truman for a little while now.. I'm soooooo happy that you decided to keep him. He will show you unconditional love for many years to come! I sure hope you keep blogging about Truman now that he's your own!

8675309 said...

Welcome, geegs, and thank you! I'm sure Truman will continue to be a Wild Beastie staple (though once I update I'm not sure how much "regular" blogging I'll do for a few months). Congrats on your new little one, too! :)

JuliaR said...

Wow. I don't know why but I feel stunned! If his hip problem is so minor, then you shouldn't have problems with it later, I wouldn't think. Maybe there is some kind of exercise/therapy that will strengthen the ligaments or muscles to keep the hip in place. Maybe also you will move out of your apartment and into a place with a yard!

Anyway, I am happy that you are happy with getting your Roo back. Will you take another puppy now? Or maybe in a little while, after Roo settles in as a pet? Will you keep calling him Roo too?

8675309 said...

I will of COURSE keep calling him Roo. :) He has many names....

Julia, I'm hoping to try raising another puppy with Truman's help (or should I say "help"), but it's going to be several months -- that's the length of time I'd planned to take a break, anyway. And yes, eventually I'll be in a place with a yard....

Erin and Midnight said...

Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?!
I'm really glad you get to keep him;

Kelsey, Spike, and Burgess said...

Awww I am really sorry. Your post made me cry, but not until you said you were able to bring him home with you. Can't wait to hear more stories about Truman.

Emily, Suede, and Burgess said...

When you said you were keeping him, I cried as well. That was an awesome way to put things. Great post! I can't wait to hear more about the adventures of Truman as a CC'd dog! Have fun tomorrow :)

8675309 said...

Wow...thanks so much, everybody, for your support! I know I made the right decision, and seeing that all of you agree with me is very encouraging. THANK YOU! :)

Lani said...

Truman, welcome to the world of CC pups, I love being a k-9 tie down, my people let me sleep on the bed, and eat peanut butter and wait until you get to play with tennis balls! Your mommy loves you the best...Welcome Home
love GDB flunkee Waffle

Natalie said...

Aw, this post made me cry too!! Sorry to hear of his release from the program but YAY! SO happy to hear he is coming home! Can't wait to read more of your adventures Roo- Welcome home :)

8675309 said...

Thanks, Nat...can't wait to see your upcoming trip posts, too. Now NEXT time you come to California, you can meet Truman for sure!

Waffle, thanks for your perspective...I'm sure Truman is looking forward to finding new liberties. And Lani, it was great meeting you at Open House! Can't believe I haven't blogged about that yet.

cube said...

Has the vet recommended costochondroitin supplements? It's probably a good idea.

8675309 said...

I'll get some more specific recommendations today from the vet staff up at the school (one of whom has a severely dysplastic dog of her own and has plenty of supplement advice for me!), and I'll probably take him to my vet as soon as I can to get his records updated and have a wellness check and get his thoughts.

I have many friends with dysplastic dogs, actually, and have heard about all kinds of glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, some of which have other great things like Vitamin C in them. There is much to learn...meanwhile, I'm sure Truman will come bouncing home like there's no problem at all and I will start on the path to overprotective paranoia until I live with it for a while and figure out what the healthy balance of activity and restriction is for him!

Ben said...

wow. the support you have on this blog is amazing! Congratulations on your new life-long friend.

8675309 said...

So true, Ben. Dog people are awesome. :)

Kimberly and Rufus said...

Wow, this post took me to tears and then smiles again. So sorry to hear Truman was released, but very happy to hear he will be staying as your puppy raising helper and best-loved bud.