Gryphon has stumbled…my snowshoeing mountain masher, my confident paddling buddy, my straight-line skijoring steed, my slow and steady hiking partner, my wildlife spotter, has suffered a knee injury that has put him on the disabled list. Without suffering any apparent injury or trauma, in late August he began limping after getting up from his bed; we thought it was because he is just “getting old”, but the limping persisted for over a week. A trip to our local veterinarian and diagnostic x-rays indicated he had noticeable arthritis in one knee, and would be a candidate for arthroscopy. This did not sound too bad; after all, both my husband and I have had our knees scoped, and we then returned to normal activity. An appointment was made at PEAK Veterinary Referral hospital, with high recommendations for their medical staff made by many of our dog owner friends. Griff happily went into the hospital, and was seen by Dr. Schultz, who has performed successful surgery on many dogs we know.
Our hopes for a “simple” arthroscopy quickly faded, as the doctor detected a noticeable “click” in the knee, indicating a cruciate tear. Poor Griff…he did not understand why he could not run and hike, nor did he know that a more intense surgical procedure was in his future.
Off to PEAK we go!
In the month between surgical consult and the day of surgery, we were able to take Gryphon on two previously scheduled camping trips. One trip was for closing weekend at Green River Reservoir State Park, a canoe camping trip with no portages. The second was a GO trailer trip to another state park in Vermont, also one which required no long walks or portages. This was great, since he loves camping, and by eliminating hikes from our plans, he was able to fully participate in the trips. He was able to camp and canoe right up until the day before his surgery, oblivious to my concern and sadness over what awaited him. Of course, Gryphon’s facing surgery was not enough to worry about…my husband is also facing knee surgery ( knee replacement) 2 weeks after Griff has his surgery!
The camping trip to Gifford Woods State Park was special for both dogs, since their Aunt Jackie came along; they love spending time with her, and doing so at a campsite was extra special. We did only one short hike, to a local waterfall, on an accessible boardwalk. The nights were cold ( 30 degrees), but the days were sunny, and the paddling was quite fine for late foliage season.
The morning of Griff’s surgery was tough for him…since he could not get fed his breakfast! Edgar and I took him to the PEAK facility, and then I brought him in for his surgical check-in. He seemed in good spirits, but was not appreciative of having the muzzle put on prior to examination. Though he is a mellow dog, a hurt dog can be unpredictable, so for the staff’s safety, I suggested the muzzle. I think that was the point when he realized that’s “something” was happening. He looked forlorn as he was led away by the surgical techs, but I was thinking positive thoughts, and hoping that this surgery can return him to at least a semblance of his active lifestyle. So as to not dwell on the situation, I took Edgar for a paddle in a nearby lake…one I had not paddled since 2010, the first time we put Griff in the canoe! That was not planned, but a coincidence based on this lake’s being the closest to the PEAK facility.
The veterinary surgeon had told me that Griff’s surgery would not be until later in the afternoon, so around 3pm I started to anxiously await the call. The call was received, and it was all good news— a successful operation, torn cruciate discovered, and repairs made . Anesthesia had been no problem, and he had woken up without any issues; hungry, of course, and eating the baby food they had offered him. I knew he would be staying overnight, and satisfied that he was in good hands and recovering well, I prepped the house for his return.
- Obtained a used ramp, for use in the car and our small steps
- Brought out the puppy pen, thinking it might be nice for Griff to sleep on his bed without being bothered by Edgar
- Set out the GO dog beds on the floor, for Griff to have a large flat comfortable area
- Washed the dogs’ car seat cover—can’t have a nice clean surgical wound sitting on a dirty cover!
- Bought cheap hot dogs…for dispensing of pills.
The next day, I arrived at PEAK, and received all the post-operative instructions, and medications. I knew that Griff’s activity would be severely limited for the next 2 weeks, but felt we would do the best we could to keep him happy and comfortable during this phase of his recovery. He came out to me, assisted by a vet tech, a bit wobbly, and confused by the silly “hat” he was wearing, but so happy to see me!
When we entered the house, Edgar was behind the room divider…I feared he would try to jump on Griff in their usual “welcome home, brother” greeting. I need not have worried…Edgar was terrified of Gryphon, who was festooned in the “Cone of Shame”. Edgar kept his distance, as Griff went to his padded bed in the large enclosure we had placed in the room. All was looking good, and we look forward to the return check-up in 2 weeks. The toughest part of this period for Gryphon will be his not being allowed to run down the ramp to the dog yard. Thankfully, we have a new side gate, so I can walk him around and monitor him in the yard while he takes care of his business. Puzzle-toys, lots of physical contact, and supervised couch time have helped him in this tough time. Onward we go, into this new phase of a return (we hope) to normalcy! Edgar, who has been getting out daily for paddling and hiking, will also have to adjust to once again sharing me with Griff!
It has been incredible to us that we have received so many supportive greetings and well–wishes on our social media platforms…we are extremely appreciative of this encouragement! A fellow Green River Reservoir fan even offered to loan us a soft collar for Griff. Thanks to all of you!
In 2 weeks, we will be updating with easy-peasy hike reports, and end of season paddling photos….what a great way to spend stick season!