By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
For Pets Best Insurance
The story about how Tulah came to be a part of my family is at the same time heart-wrenching and heart-warming. She has unwavering optimism and is unconditionally loving despite her rough start. She is a huge fluff ball of fur, with a tiny little body in the center. She is likely a Pomeranian-American Eskimo mix. These days she enjoys eating, sleeping on the couch, treats, playing with her little Shih Tzu brother and, oh, did I mention eating? Her life wasn’t always so easy though.
Tulah was brought to my clinic early one morning in a box. Somebody had hit her with their car. Thankfully they stopped, but chose to put her on the nearest doorstep instead of bringing her to an emergency veterinarian. The doorstep she was placed on did not belong to her, but the family brought her to us anyway. She never cried, and despite being badly injured she licked everyone that came near her. She still does this, unfortunately…
Because the family did not own her and didn’t have dog insurance for Tulah, they could not assume financial responsibility. Nobody responded to the ads placed about a found dog. There were also no “Missing Dog” descriptions that matched hers and she didn’t have a microchip or a collar with tags and, thus, she became our clinic’s property. The decision was made to try to save her, even though nobody claimed her, or would pay for her care.
After stabilizing her and treating her for pain and shock, radiographs where taken to better diagnose her underlying injuries. She was unable to walk and xrays showed she had a fractured right femur and a badly shattered pelvis. One of the fractures in her pelvis went through the acetabulum, which is the ‘socket’ portion of the ‘ball and socket’ hip joint. This can be very tricky to fix; if alignment is a little off, the ‘ball’ will not fit into the ‘socket’ and it’s very painful. Unfortunately, the decision was made that in order to save her, she would have to lose her right hind leg. Because accidents like Tulah’s can be pricey and accidents like these can happen at any time, pet owners should sign their pets up for pet insurance. In this case, the veterinary hospital absorbed her treatment cost.
Tulah’s surgery went very well and she woke up without complaining. She would carefully wag her pom-pom tail when anyone walked by her kennel. The staff quickly fell in love with her. However, Tulah was having another potentially serious problem. As a result of the injuries to her lower spine and pelvis, she had lost the ability to control her bladder and colon; she was incontinent. If this didn’t resolve, she would not be a good candidate for re-homing and would like be euthanized. Slowly over several days this improved, and soon she was able to hold her urine and stool normally.
After about a week in the hospital Tulah went home with one of our veterinary technicians who agreed to foster her until she was healthy enough to find a permanent home. She had to be crated and confined for 6 to 8 weeks while her broken pelvis healed. She also had to re-learn to use only three legs to get around. Tulah is a quick learner though, and she displayed such amazing optimism and spunk despite her handicap. After she healed, it was time to find a more permanent home for her. She stayed in the clinic for a few days and watched me with pleading eyes, imploring me to take her home. Ok I thought, just a trial run in our house, if it doesn’t work out, she’ll go back… The rest is history. Tulah became a member of the family.
Most people don’t even realize she only has three legs. She is quick, nimble and optimistic, and also one of the happiest dogs I know. I’m not sure who is more thankful for her being a part of my family, Tulah, or me.