An Update on Dax

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As you may know, I grew up in the Midwest. Out in the corn fields where I’m from, pets don’t always have a high place in the family hierarchy. I’m not saying that’s true for all families, but there was always kind of rule that pets needed to earn some kind of keep at our place. Dogs needed to keep vermin out of the barn, and cats needed to keep mice at bay, yet leave the birds alone. There were some harsh realities that I had to grow up with, and I learned the hard way that just because I loved some furry creature, it didn’t mean it was always going to be there.

When I moved out on my own, the one thing I really wanted was a cuddly little fur ball that I could take care of that nothing bad would ever happen to. Duncan found his way into my life in college, and Rob and I got Dax after we were married. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for these two. Remember when Dax hurt his knee and had his first surgery? And then his second one? Well, they failed.

The surgeon wanted to do a third surgery. The first one was hard enough, both financially and emotionally. The second one pissed me off, because as I was told the first procedure should have taken care of his knee issues. And when the surgeon told me he wanted to do a third surgery? Well, I flipped my shit.

I sat in the tiny blue patient room and did my best to hold everything in while the vet gave me the news, that they wanted to cut open his leg and cut Dax’s bones apart again. He did his best to put on a good face, but I think he saw what was coming when I couldn’t stop crying. Maybe it was PMS, maybe it was over two years of frustration, but I let him have it. As I yelled and sobbed, with my poor dog trying to figure out why I was so upset, I told him exactly what I thought about giving him a third “try” at fixing my dog’s leg. No way, no how, was I going to pay him to screw it up again.

As I went out to the lobby to get more pain meds for Dax, everyone in the waiting room stared at me. I couldn’t hide that I was crying. I didn’t bother to try to hide the words “find an alternative therapy to doing surgery for a third time” from everyone listening when I asked the receptionist if she could recommend someone. The surgeon had told me he didn’t think physical therapy would do any good, but I wasn’t about to try his route again.

The first therapist I found was amazing. Her name is Jean Pierson, and she was a delight to work with.  Dax wouldn’t even use his leg prior to seeing Jean. At our very first meeting, she managed to straighten out and relax his muscles, and suddenly he was using his leg again! I was so happy, and continued working with her until she said it was time to move Dax onto more challenging therapy.

Right now we’re seeing Dr. Carol Helfer at Canine Peak Performance. Dax is in love with Carol and the water therapy there, and his little leg is getting stronger every day.

Growing up, if you had told me I would one day be paying for a dog to have multiple surgeries, dog massages, and water therapy, I would have told you were grade-A crazy. But I would do everything over again in a heartbeat when it means I get to finally have my sweet little dog be his happy self once more.


  • Awww, he is so sweet! Before my beloved Halo Cat passed away in November (at the age of 23 – we think), we had spent thousands of dollars on her in healthcare, all of it totally worth it to make her as comfortable as we could make her. She was our kitty kid! I’m soooooooo happy that Dax is doing well and I really think you have made the right decision. Pets are not always just pets, sometimes they are more than that. I’d had Halo since I was 8 (and I am 29!) and always considered her kind of my “sister,” as she was always with me, through good times and bad. I was so happy I was able to give her a great kitty life until the end.

    • Your kitty was TWENTY-THREE? Wow! I thought Duncan (our cat) was old because he’s eight. I’m glad to know he’s got a lot of tread left on his furry kitty tires! I’m so sorry to hear that Halo passed, but I’m glad you were able to keep her comfortable.

      Dax is definitely more of my baby than Duncan (I have to admit). He’s so dependent on me, and I absolutely CAN NOT take it when he’s in pain. I would do ANYTHING to get him back on track and going for our afternoon walks again!

      • Yeah! Twenty-three! We’re not absolutely sure of how old she was, but she wasn’t a kitten when we got her and we got her when I was 8! She was literally ALWAYS a part of my life and so when it was her time to go in November it was absolutely heart-breaking. Knowing I did everything I could to help her have the best life ever was the best feeling in the world, even though both of my parents were very skeptical about why was I spending so much money on a cat? (I could hear it in their voices on the phone!) If you feel it is the right thing to do, then it is!

  • Oh Amy, I understand completely. There’s no amount of money I wouldn’t spend to keep our dog, Waffles, happy and healthy. But, before I owned a dog myself, I didn’t really understand why someone would, for example, spend $5k on reconstructive surgery for their labrador’s foot. But now I do.

    I love the video – a friend of mine opened her own “dogswimming” business and does water therapy for dogs. It’s always so cute to see the pics of the dogs on the water treadmill!

    • I LOVE THE NAME WAFFLES! Before Dax, I didn’t understand when a friend said his limit for spending on his dog at any one time was $10,000. I think my eyes about popped out of my head. But now, with Dax, I’ll do what needs to be done so he can play again. He’s way too active of a little guy to not use his leg! He and Waffles should have a play date sometime!

      I love the video too- I couldn’t NOT tape it when it looked so funny to me! I should get one of when he tries to stop walking and he scoots all the way back to the edge of the tank. When his butt hits that glass wall he jumps and always just about dunks himself. It’s so funny!

      • I would LOVE to see a video of that! Dax is so adorable. I think he and Waffles would get along very well!

  • Patty in Kansas

    Hello…tonight I went to your blog for the very first time, and was totally charmed by the story of how you dealt with the vet regarding your sweet little dogger. Good for you! I am delighted that he seems to be doing so much better with the water therapy, etc. Our pets really do become part of our family, don’t they? I visited Posie Gets Cozy, and noticed your blog listed as one of her favorites to visit. I plan on visiting your site often. Have a great week.

    • Thanks so much, Patty! I may have charmed you, but I think I scarred the vet for life. 😉 Dax is doing great with his therapy, but I don’t know that he’ll ever be 100% again. Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

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  • Annette

    We have 8 cats, and have spent a lot of money on them, some more than others. Would do it all over again too, in a heart-beat! We were never blessed with human babies, but we were blessed with fur babies! Dax is a beauty, and hope he is doing better. And hope his mom and dad are okay too! Just be glad you have the time, energy, intelligence and money to help them in any way you need to. And very glad you lost it with the vet.

    • Hi, Annette! Yes, Dax is doing very very well. Water therapy and massage did wonders for his little knee, and as long as he gets his exercise he doesn’t seem to get too stiff. I would do anything for him, and would happily yell at the vet all over again. I’m happy to hear that you also love all of your kitties and would do the same.

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