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Day 1 – Amputation Day

Today was the big day. We met the surgeon the day before for our consultation, and he miraculously had an opening the following day for the surgery. This was the only time throughout our entire ordeal that anything had been turned around so quickly – and of course, I was a nervous mess. I still wasn’t sure I was making the right decision. People offered “Trust your gut” but my gut wasn’t telling me anything. Logically, I knew this was her best shot at life. There was no way we could keep her hopped up on pain meds (that frankly were doing nothing to manage her pain) forever, and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. I argued with myself: am I being selfish? Have I already given her the best life possible? What is this surgery doesn’t work? What if she passes in a couple of months anyway?  I didn’t want a Frankenstein dog just to appease my need for her, so it was incredibly difficult for me to differentiate and something I am still struggling with today (on day four).

I woke up early to give her paws a kiss and she hopped into my partner’s SUV and was on her way while I was a blubbering mess. I obsessively checked my phone all day for updates, and finally got a call from the surgeon at 5PM. Surgery went well, and he felt like he was able to get all the affected nerves. They didn’t reach her spine, but were close, he said. All in all, he considered it a success. She would stay overnight and he could call in the AM to set up a time for discharge.

I felt incredibly relieved, but also nervous. I knew that seeing her incision would be tough. Obviously – a missing leg would also be tough to see. I felt sick thinking about what I had agreed to, while simultaneously feeling a bit of hope that she would do just fine and come home and be back to her usual self in a few weeks. I reflected on how just three months ago our lives were completely normal and now, in July, my dog is getting her left amputated.

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