Will you help me fix Cosmo the Corgi’s knees? Or please spread the word?
The day after Christmas, I took the dogs to the dog park. They’d been cooped up on the holiday and I know they wanted to get out and run. No sooner had I gotten inside the gate and was still removing Bella’s leash when I saw Cosmo -who had bolted straight down the fence with a pack of Greyhounds on the other side – sit down suddenly, look stunned and he couldn’t get back up.
Cosmo’s always been prone to issues. He was a puppy mill rescue and with that came a lot of vet bills. A LOT. Within 48 hours of having him he had developed pneumonia and giardia and had to be hospitalized in an oxygen tent. He almost died, twice. After a little over a week, he was finally allowed to come home (with the $3000 bill), but it was a while to get him recovered and he’s always been susceptible to anything that comes along, especially kennel cough.
Here’s the thing, though: my pets are my family. I know that sounds weird to some and it’s not how my family raised me – dogs generally stayed outside and never saw the vet, and cats could be given away like they were only a plate of cookies – but it’s how I am now. I have a genetic disorder that will require medication for the rest of my life and have chosen not to have children as not to pass it on, so my dogs (and cat) are my children. They are also service dogs. I understand being “defective”, so giving up on Cosmo was never an option.
He is a living teddy bear and very happy to be hugging and kissing you for the better part of the day.
So, when this suddenly happened, I had a bad feeling. I thought maybe he’d walk it off, but no. I packed the dogs up, dropped Bella at home and went right to the emergency vet hospital. Not my vet, but the one that’s is open 24 hours. With certain things, I go there instead because I know when it comes to accidents with him, I might be back in sooner than later. He was in a lot of pain and couldn’t move. They thought it was his back after x-raying him. $376, a pain injection and some meds later, I took him home, worried as hell he would be paralyzed. That evening he didn’t pee. That night, nothing. He couldn’t move and he couldn’t hold himself up to go, so he wouldn’t. He’s not the type to mess in the house. I slept with a light on and just got up every hour to check on him. A few times in the middle of the night, I took him out. Nada.
By 4:30 am, I called them and said that he hadn’t wee’d in nearly a full day, but was drinking a lot of water. “Bring him back in. It sounds like he’s regressed.” Shit.
(That’s why I chose the 24 hour emergency vet hospital. Experience. Unfortunately.)
I packed him back up and drove over. They did more x-rays and told me the surgeon was due in at 8 am, why don’t I just leave him to be looked at. I asked if they could do something to relieve his bladder. He was catheterized and apparently he REALLY had to wee.
I went back in around 11 am and the surgeon told me it was his ACL in BOTH knees.. This was good, since it meant his paralysis would not be permanent. Then he said it would be about $1500 per knee to fix. Not so good. “Doc, I could get my OWN knees fixed for less than that.” Plus a stifle brace, meds and rehab…and a 4-6 month recovery time.
That bill was another $301. And Cosmo still didn’t pee until 24 hours later. I thought I was going to have to take him in again!
My aunt, who is a vet from the University of Pennsylvania, backed the surgeon up. We’d been thinking about a holistic approach, and she likes that option for many dogs, but not this case. Because he is only 7 years old and has a long life to life…because of the Corgi breed being a chest heavy one with short legs, and because he is not a 15 lb dog, she advised against skipping the surgery. She warned that if we did, it might set him up for a tough life later as he ages with a lot of pain, arthritis and loss of use of the leg, anyway.
Surgery, it is. Friday January 10th.
The surgery uses nylon, and the reason it’s such a long recovery is that unlike with a human’s torn ACL, where they use a cadaver ligament to repair it, they don’t repair dogs. They drill right under and allow another ligament to take over–which takes time.
A few others who have had this issue and some indy film people suggested I do something on IndieGoGo and see if I can raise a few dollars that way to offset some costs.
Personally, I didn’t like the idea. I’ve been broke as hell before and never went on any government assistance or asked for any loans. I’ve always found a way or been exceedingly lucky. But in this particular case with Cosmo in so much pain and the costs so high…I think crowdfunding is the option here.
This is the link if you’d like to see more of the story: IndieGoGo-
If you can help, I am extremely grateful. I know that sometimes what the heart wants the wallet simply cannot do, so if you can please share my story or link, that’s appreciated too.
Thank you. Xo