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Niki, the dog who loves to run

car accident dog rear leg amputated

Niki, the dog who loves to run

the accident

April 25th, 2010 · 18 Comments · Uncategorized

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friday night my white shepherd was hit by a car and had to have her leg amputated. NOW that i have time to read about it online, i am finding out they should not have amputated it so high and she could have gotten a prosthesis ….
her favorite thing is running, she was so beautiful, running and bounding through the woods… what have i done? her rear leg was corkscrewed and the artery was ripped. i don’t know how she’s going to go to the bathroom with only one rear leg!


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18 Comments so far ↓

  • majorbubbatank

    Many of us understand that initial wave of doubt and regret that hits you in the first few days. Rest assured that as long as your baby’s healing goes as planned, she will run again. In fact, you may find that Niki moves even quicker post amputation. That’s the really amazing thing about rear amputees. Believe it or not, Tripawds can usually get around better and more comfortably than those with prosthetics, too. Regardless of what happened, all you can do now is do your best with what you have. It won’t be easy for the first couple of weeks and we’re ALL here to lend our support and experience. First bit of advice is to sit back and watch Niki amaze you!

    Rachel (Major’s mom)

  • etgayle

    stop beating yourself up!!! you did what you had to do to save her life because you love her, right!!! love is always right. i’m not sure the prosthetic things really work… three legs work fine for running too. it just takes a little (and remarkable very little) time to get your ‘sea legs’, then off you go. i had a front leg amputated in february and i’m doing pretty darn well chasing after squirrels now. and by the way, my peeing and pooping skills hold up with the best of them… take a breath, and love that girl…by the way, welcome to you and niki!!! gayle

  • jack crowder

    What a terrible thing to have happen, getting hit by a car.

    Shelby, the P.P. has a front leg that is missing and we’ve met a ton of rear leg amputee’s and I think you’ll be very surprised how well they adapt.

    I think you’ll find she’ll be able to run and play and have a great time. Going to the bathroom will be a concern for a while, I think you’ll, again, be pleasantly surprised

    You say, she WAS so beautiful…please be thankful your beautiful sheherd will be around for many years. You think she was beautiful before, you wait and see how much more beautiful she will become and also, be ready to be amazed at the life lessons your Tripawd will teach you.

    Welcome to an amazing family of caring and helpful people and, oh yeah, don’t forget the AMAZING Tripawds you’ll grow love and care about.

  • gingersfolks

    So sorry to hear about your sheperd. We have a golden with her left rear leg amputated. One of the questions I aske before the surgery was how is she going to go to the bathroom with only one rea leg? I was assuredthat she would cope and let me tell you, dogs re amazing! She squats just like she used to. She shifts more weight to her front legs and can balance perfectly. She runs around and does very well. your next 2 weeks will be rough, I can’t deny that, but after your thru it, she will be the dog you always knew. Maybe a bit slower and more of a hop that a graceful run, but she will get around just fine. I can’t imagine putting a prosthesis on Ginger. She would be more uncomfortable with that then with no leg. Dogs adapt very very well. Good luck with your husky. You have come to the right place. People here will hlp you thru anything. This is a great community full of wonderful people who can help you with any questions you may have. Let us know your huskys name and keep us informed as to how she is doing.

    Randy and Sharon…Gingersfolks

  • Peyton's Path

    She will be just fine! You will be amazed at how fast she adapts to losing a leg! She will be running and playing in no time! When you have time read up on some of the other blogs, watch some videos! These tripawds are amazing! You are one of the lucky few not to deal with cancer too! She has a wonderful long life ahead of her!!!

    Best wishes, we hope to hear progress stories!!!

    XOXO
    Dillon and Rhys

  • merrie

    Thank you – her name is Niki and she’s a white german shepherd.. she did go to the bathroom today. I took her to where she used to run and she got all excited but then could only hop. I felt so bad for her!! It just breaks my heart! i feel like maybe I should have waited – that maybe vets are too eager to amputate just as some of them seem too eager to put a dog to sleep if they’re old or ill… I was so distraught that when they told me I could look at the xray, I completely forgot to! They did let me stay with her the entire time. How old is your dog? Mine is only 4 and in her prime. She just LOVES to run!!

  • merrie

    I feel like she’s had all her vigor taken from her! That maybe she thinks she’s going to get better and have her leg back! If she hadn’t loved running so much, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal but she seems so unsteady and slow now. I’ve been reading all that I can – I wish I had the time to read some of it before I let them take her leg – maybe I shouldn’t have let them take it off so high (at the knee) but they said if they left more of it, it would be in the way and she would try to use it. I just feel like she’s crippled now!

  • merrie

    I love her so much – I live alone and moved to another state alone. I had another dog but the park ranger think someone took him as he just disappeared a couple of months ago. Niki and I still haven’t gotten over his loss and now this! She is all I have and I am so grateful that she wasn’t killed. I just don’t want her to be unhappy and struggle. It just kills me when she hops around. If I moved away from her for only a moment at the vets, they said she just watched the door until I came back. It was after hours so they allowed me to be with her the entire time. It was awful. Her foot was up by her back and backwards. The artery was severed. They said a little longer and she could have bled to death.

  • merrie

    We went for a walk and she did her business – although it was a little wobbley. She acts so much more attached to me – she must feel insecure or maybe doesn’t understand what’s happening.

  • merrie

    Do you know if it’s easier for a dog who loses a rear leg rather than a front one? Will she be agile or will she always get tired easily? It will always be harder for her and take more effort to run or walk , won’t it? I know – the doubt – at the time, I couldn’t imagine leaving her leg all twisted to wait two days to see an orthopedic specialist but now I wonder – I made a decision that will alter her life forever – maybe I should have waited… but the artery was torn… the vet said if there was any way to save it when she got in there, she would … I wish I could have had another opinion. But it’s gone now and there is no bringing it back. I just hope Niki’s quality of life isn’t compromised too much.

  • admin

    We are so sorry to hear about Niki’s accident but glad you found us. Please know that have done the right thing. All too many times we here from those who have put their dog through numerous costly surgeries, or attempted to use expensive prosthetic devices, only to proceed with amputation eventually anyway.

    Many here will agree amputation is the best solution for treating such severe injuries. We believe prosthetics for dogs have come a long way, but they are not perfect by any means. They must be customized for each dog’s specific situation and offer a much greater potential for infection. Most dogs will learn to adapt much quicker on three legs than to a foreign object attached to there body.

    Many of the questions I now see you’ve asked in your last comment are answered in the forums, and some are addressed in our recent helpful three-part video interview with California Animal Rehab.

    Before long, Niki should be proving to you that you’ve done the right thing. Many members who question their decisions have found the book Without Regret quite helpful in coping with amputation for their dogs.

  • Leslie

    Whoa, take a deep breath! :- ) First off, just a tip, make new blog posts, don’t just respond to the comments. That way when someone clicks on your page they will definitely see what you’ve written. More people will see your questions that way, and maybe you’ll get more feedback.

    Secondly, and more important, like Rachel said, as long as the healing goes well your Niki is going to be just fine!! I know that’s hard to believe. But you have to remember, the people responding to you are people that have lived it, not just people trying to make you feel better. You’ll get straight advice from this community, not fluff to calm you down. She will absolutely adapt, she will work it out and she’ll do it very quickly. It’s like my vet told me – dogs don’t have expectations like us humans. They just are. She doesn’t see that she’s lost a limb the way you or I would. They take a situation and go on, there’s no drama. The best thing you can do for her is try to be as positive as you can. She can feel your fear and your anxiety. Just love her, talk to her like you normally would, and be there. She’s going to need you at the top of your game for about two weeks. Two weeks will be a roller coaster while her body heals. And if you’re anything like me you’ll probably cry on several occasions.

    My boxer girl had her leg amputated on March 2nd, by March 18th her discomfort seemed to be gone all together and she was acting very close to normal. She has long been acting completely normal, jumping around and playing with her doggie brother and sister, and you should see her run!! She doesn’t hold the amputation against us, she loves on us just the same. If anything, the extra attention she received during recovery made her love us that much more. You just wait, by May 7th you’ll be on here saying how happy you are you saved her life and she’s doing wonderfully. In the mean time, read about the success stories on here and picture Niki doing that well, keep us updated with how both you and Niki are doing, and feel free to email me anytime. I’ll help as much as I can.

    Leslie
    Roxy’s Mom

  • maggie

    Oh so many questions….and rightfully so, so many concerns… It is easier, I’m told, for a rear leg amputee…dogs put more weight on the front, so more labored for a front leg amputee. As for being ‘agile’ again…check out Maggie’s recent blog for a short clip of her running with her friend, Woodie.
    http://maggie.tripawds.com/
    it’s more effort to walk slowly than it is to move along at a faster clip.
    Nikki’s quality of life won’t be compromised too much but you will have to help her build herself up. Take a look around my blog for helpful video’s on PT work that I would suggest you do with her. Take things slowly…it will take a while to build her up physically now on three legs.
    I know it will be tough….more so on you than her. Trust me on that one!
    Tracy, Maggie’s Mom

  • Carmen (Catie's Mom)

    Horrible about the accident; wonderful that Niki survived.

    Niki will rally and recover her spirit. If she’s on pain meds, they will impact her somewhat. She’s just been through some heavy duty surgery, not to mention the trauma of the accident.

    Maybe I’m naive but I have to believe that most vets are in their profession from a love of animals and I don’t think a decision to amputate a limb is ever made lightly.

    Sometimes it’s hard for us humans to see properly – through all the guilt and second guessing and fear and anxiety – the progress our furry family members actually make. You mentioned she could have bled to death. So…take a deep breath. Major’s mom said it very sweetly and wisely: sit back and watch Niki amaze you.

    She will.

  • jerry

    Merrie,
    We are truly sorry to hear about Niki, but you wil be so amazed at how she adapts and leads a healthy happy life. There are so many lessons that humans learn even during the hardest of times they go through with a dog. I promise, hang in there, things will get better.

    For now, please consider writing new blog entries instead of writing in your comments section of this post, because more people will see the new entries/posts instead of the comments. And the more people that see them, the more who can help you and provide support.

    And speaking of, please consider going to our Discussion Forums. There is ALWAYS someone there who can offer advice on the spot, and can see your questions faster than they can see them here.

    Meanwhile, try not to live with regrets. You did the best you could under the hardest of circumastances and for that, Niki will be forever grateful. Yes, maybe, some dogs can live with a prothesis, but most dogs do better without. They are just too difficult and unnatural for most dogs to live with. We wrote about it in our News Blog a while back.

    For now, move forward with the success Niki has achieved by surviving this tragedy, and you will see that life can be good again. Hang in there and let us know how else we can help OK?

  • merrie

    I took Niki to the vet this morning because there was a lot of blood settling in the lower part of the amputation. She said it looked good and that would happen until it’s absorbed by the body. I told her that I was sorry I was persuaded into amputating her leg and wished I had tried to have them save it. They explained to me that although they may have been able to reconstruct bones (possibly), that there are only 5 places in the US where they have the equipment to do bypass surgery on dogs and that is what would be needed to re-connect the cut artery (if they could find both ends). Otherwise the leg would be dead.
    So there was really no choice and I don’t feel so bad about the decision I made. I just felt like I was such a mess and so distraught that maybe I had made the wrong one.

  • merrie

    Am going to check out your blog.. putting her on a raw bone diet and she is loving that! Saw the vet this morning and expressed concerns to her and she confirmed that the removal of her limb was really the only option – she would have had to go on bypass to put the artery back together – if they could find both ends – the leg was so twisted up. Thank you.

  • cometdog

    Dear Niki’s mom,
    First off welcome. I’m very, very happy to see your baby survived the accident.
    I’m going to tell it to you straight (in hopefully a loving way)…You are still in shock. Shock of everything that has happened. You have to come to terms with all of it for the sake of your precious baby and your own mental state. And by your last post, you sound like you are getting there! That’s great!

    I have had a 3 legged dog for 11 1/2 years. She was born with a front deformed leg that doesn’t function. She has had a normal life. Normal might not be exactly as you are used to but it’s pretty darn close.
    Comet has done everything a 4 legged dog would do. I have a 2 story house and she has always gone up and down the stairs – just fine.
    I want to address the part where you think they should have left part of the leg. Trust me, that would be the biggest mistake. If you are worrying now, I will tell you – with a partial leg, you would have worried all of Niki’s life. Comet still has her deformed leg and it has given me more grief because I have been so afraid it would get caught on something and be broken off since she can’t feel it. To this day, I am always watching out for it! When she was just a baby she was scheduled to have it removed but she got very sick from kennel cough and pneumonia. It took several months to get her well and after that we just kind of put it off and decided against it. If I do overs, I would have done it.

    Okay, I hope that wasn’t too harsh. Your baby is probably still in shock, too and experiencing the healing process. She’ll be back to her old self. Dogs are resilent! They don’t think about their legs like we do. They think about pleasing us! If you are sad, she probably is too based on you.

    There is a simple test to tell. Smile and laugh. Sounds silly. But I do it when I think I’ve sent some bad vibes to my Comet. I give her a big smile. Dogs love for us to smile at them and they love to laugh with us.

    We are here for you and we are rooting Niki’s recovery!
    Warm wishes,
    Comet’s mom

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