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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remi's return from disaster

The last three weeks were so busy that they feel more like three months. First, on May 12 John traveled to Quebec, where upon the invitation extended by the Quebec Blood Tracking Dog Handler Association he was helping develop a new certification test for handlers. When he came back, we almost immediately left for UBT Trackfest in Pocahontas, AR. We got back on the night of May 25, and not even two days later I traveled to Batavia, NY to attend  three field trials for dachshunds. I got back home late last night, and tomorrow morning John is leaving for Michigan to breed Paika. In the next week or so we will write about all these events and post pictures, but tonight I'd like to write about Remi and Justin.

If you search this blog for Remi, you will get a lot of info about this pup, who turned one year old on May 25. Two days before his birthday we received these two pictures from Justin Richins from Utah.

Remi was enjoying life. Then on May 26 e-mail from Justin brought devastating news and tears to my eyes: "I just ran over Remi. We were in the mtns identifying wildflowers, he was running 20-30 yards out as he usually does. I stopped to take a pic of a flower I wanted to identify. I then got back in and started driving forward when heard him yelp. It was then I realized what had just taken place. My truck is a big heavy 4 ton diesel. I'm at the emergency vet right now. He was going into shock by the time I got here vet. I'm an emotional wreck right now but I will keep u informed."

Few hours later another e-mail came: Initial X-ray showed fractures in the hip, ball out of socket and blood work showed elevated liver enzymes. They are not too worried about the liver as they think it could be from shock and say it will heal on its own. They are doing pain management before more X-rays to keep him from going further into shock. Also they think his spine and other organs are fine, We will be transferring him to 24 hr facility in a few hrs. I was just idling along slow with my foot on and off the break getting in and out of the truck to inspect and identify what wild flowers were on the property. I'm guessing this slow moving contributed to this accident because there was no increased engine noise signaling the truck was moving or about to move. I will go up latter today and go look at the tracks and pushdowns so I can figure out how this happened. 
Friday - Remi was stressed and in a lot of pain. He was refusing to drink.
Justin's frantic search for info how to fix Remi started right away. He wrote on Sunday: Ok, so I have been on the phone, internet and researching like crazy, and there are very few options for smaller dogs as parts just are not available.. However, I have found a few vets located in Colorado and one in the Ski resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho who have done hundreds of total hip replacements. I found their info through a manufacturer from Liverpool, England that produces Micro hip replacements! Anyway the vet's secretary in Idaho was kind enough to forward him my emails and x-rays and he called me back within 10 minutes even

though she said he was leaving for England and would not be back for several weeks. From my conversation he had much more knowledge than any other vet I have talked to and has done over 800 total hip replacement surgeries. Tomorrow morning I'm headed to Idaho as he is assembling a team of 4 doctors to work on Remi Monday because he leaves for Liverpool, England Tuesday morning . He believes one of the pelvic fractures must be fixed /plated before doing any work on the side with the broken hip & he will take all options into consideration. I feel good about this decision.

Yesterday, when I was still in Batavia, Justin called that the surgery was successful and Remi's prognosis is very good. John sent this letter to Justin: "Hi Justin, I just spoke with Jolanta as she started back from a field trial 250 miles away. She told me a little about the operation and your sense that the prognosis was good. I have a lot of respect for the way that you handled the whole thing. The tragedy was well publicized in the Borntotrack Group and you have a lot of admirers out here in the East. You set the standard for a man’s relationship with his tracking dog. I’m glad the pain has diminished for both of you."

Today Justin sent a picture taken on his way from Idaho. He said that Remi can walk and he even wags his tail. What a relief! We'll keep you posted about his progress.  

Remi with his new hip on his way home.
This was his message:
Thanks to everyone for the prayers and support. As you all know we traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho for Remi¹s surgery. The doctor Randy Aker there was phenomenal. He spent an extensive amount of time with us prior to the surgery explaining all of the different options and exactly what was involved with each. He was extremely knowledgeable and made sure we understood and felt comfortable before he began the surgery. He was going to try to salvage Remi¹s hip, but once they got in there they found the hip socket was broken, femur head was severed and the end of the femur bone was shattered making it impossible to reconstruct. They ended up doing a cemented total micro hip replacement.

The doctor called me after the surgery to let me know all had gone well. They kept him over night to monitor him. When I arrived to the clinic expecting a lethargic post-op puppy, especially since he had been struggling the previous days to even have any desire to move his head to acknowledge someone lying down near him, to my surprise, it was like the old Remi, full of life and energy. Wagging his tail vigorously and giving me a face full of kisses! They told me he had eaten breakfast that morning and had walked outside to use the bathroom. I could not believe he was walking again let alone 18hrs after his surgery. We have been home for a few hours now and it is clear to me my greatest task at hand will be trying to keep this active little guy down to allow his body to heal. I would never have believed that after being ran over by a 8,000+ lb truck that this little dog would be doing so well. He is truly a little miracle. Apparently he still has many more days of hunting to live out. I will continue to keep you all updated with his progress. Thanks again for your concern.

Remi X-Ray Before

Remi X-Ray After

Justin and Bionic-Remi


Stan said...

Amazing dog; amazing owner!

Teddy said...

Bet Remi is healed and ready to track by this Fall. Glad all went well with the operation.

Andy Bensing said...

Wishing you both the best! Thank goodness for what we have available for our dogs today.

John said...

Want to let Justin know to please follow the recovery time for the hip surgery. I have been a surgical rep and have been on over 3,000 surgery's over a 10 year period granted in humans and not dogs, but the biggest mistake people make is to do too much too soon, , 8, 10 16 weeks recovery is nothing over a 12 year period. Look at the big picture. If he has any questions Id be more than willing to have my brain picked, I worked with one of the top Orthopedic Surgeons in South Florida

Anonymous said...

John. I would love to pick your brain.

Samantha said...

Best of wishes for Remi and Justin - such an inspiring story for anyone who loves their dog! I'm sure he will be tough as nails after this experience!!