6.06.2012

Broken Benny

More than two months ago, my rescue dog, Benny, and I were playing in the yard, when I realized that something wasn't quite right.

His back leg seemed to be bothering him, which caused him to shift his weight onto his other 3 legs, as we played.

He'd been running a lot that day, so initially, I thought maybe he'd just pulled a muscle, during all the crazy chasing and excitement.

But... upon further inspection, I realized that his knee seemed to be the problem. Shortly thereafter, we headed to the vet, for an exam and some x-rays.

When it comes to my rescue babies, I tend to be super-over-protective. So... on our way to the vet that day, I tried not to worry too much, assuming that Benny's injury was likely nothing "major."

But... it turns out... it was.

During Benny's physical exam, Doc confirmed my initial theory: a dislocated patella (kneecap). However, the x-rays would soon uncover... a much bigger issue...

Prior to that day, we never would've known it.... but Benny was born with a bone deformity. To put this in simple terms, his back-right femur is "twisted," which inevitably led to the issues with the misalignment --and dislocation-- of his patella.

Basically, to repair the issue, Benny needed major, orthopedic surgery on his leg... immediately.

Doc and I discussed the options for surgery, and the potential complications of each.

For Benny's sake, Doc wanted to try the least-aggressive surgical approach first: with primary focus on repairing and resolving the issues with the dislocated patella, while basically "working around" --and with--his bone deformity.

Based on Doc's professional opinion, I agreed on this approach, in hopes that it may resolve the issues with Benny's knee, without forcing him to go through the immense pain and extensive recovery associated with the more invasive operation.

If the first surgery worked... well, perfect! Problem solved, and Benny would heal much more quickly, with much less pain.

Well... a week after the first surgery, Benny and I returned to the vet, for his follow-up appointment. As Doc analyzed the x-rays, he shook his head, and looked back at me.


I said: "It didn't work, did it?"
He replied: "Basically, no. I'm sorry... I was really optimistic, hoping this approach would be enough for him. But I hate to say.... he's definitely going to need the more-aggressive operation."
I said: "Well, if it's best for Benny, then let's do it."

Next, Doc provided me with a comprehensive overview of the surgery, discussing the pain, the risks, and the recovery time for Benny. Essentially, Doc would have to cut, re-set, and align Benny's femur, and then... his patella. This was a MAJOR surgery.

Then, he said: "Okay, Ashley... here's the deal. I know you're not gonna be happy about this, but please... just hear me out..."

Hearing those words... I braced myself.

Doc proceeded to tell me how he'd need to keep Benny there, at the vet clinic, during the early phases of his recovery. There were several reasons for this: Initially, Benny would need around-the-clock monitoring. In addition, in order for proper healing to occur, Benny's physical activity would need to be extremely-limited, and medically-monitored, in the clinical environment. Then, there'd be the immense, physical rehabilitation process...

Tears filled my eyes, as I said: "So, wait... Benny can't come home with me after surgery?! For how long???"
Doc replied: "I know you want a definitive answer, but I just can't give you one right now. It all depends on how he heals. He may need to stay here for a month... it may be two months."

In that moment, I felt sick. One month?! TWO months?! THAT long!? You're talking MONTHS... without my Benny... and he without me?? It felt like a cruel joke.

Benny is my baby. I just couldn't stand the thought... of us being without each other, for so damn long. In addition, Benny has always been one of the healthiest, happiest, most-energetic dogs I had. He loves life here at Lucky Dog.

Now, suddenly, an unforeseen birth defect... had taken all of that from him. In the short-term, at least...

But beyond that... here's what truly broke my heart:
During his recovery at the vet clinic, Benny would be forced to live in a tiny cage, which would restrict his ability to stand and move around (Honestly, this was only for his safety). Following this massive, orthopedic surgery, these drastic measures were the only way for Benny to heal. And as heartbroken as I was... I knew the truth: this was all for Benny's benefit... for the sake of his recovery... and ultimately, for his future...

But... even though I realized that these things were critical to Benny's long-term well being, I also knew: Benny won't understand this. He'll want to run. He'll want to play. He'll want to be with me, his mom...

Yet... he won't be able to do any of that...

He'll think he's being punished. He'll think I just left him there. He'll think I simply abandoned him, just like all the others had done to him, before me...

Even still... all of this was necessary... for Benny. So, with my consent, Benny underwent a second, major, much-more-invasive, orthopedic surgery.

A couple days later, I went to the clinic, to visit my Benny. During my visit, he was in so much pain, that it took everything I had.. not to cry in front of him.

And it took everything he had... just to lift his head...
That's how much he was hurting...

Despite his pain, as I went to leave, Benny tried to leave with me. It was one of the saddest moments of my life, as I had to say: "No, baby. You're sick. You have to stay here right now..."

After that day, I limited my number of visits to Benny, just so I wouldn't get his hopes-up --and break his heart-- each time he realized... that he wasn't going home with me that day.

Meanwhile... a week passed... then, two weeks... then, a month had gone by. During that time, I constantly harassed Doc... asking for updates on Benny.

At some point, Doc chuckled and said: "Ash, do you think I'm torturing your boy or something?!"
I replied: "I'm sorry. I promise I don't think that. It's just... I miss him. That's all."
Then, Doc said: "I'm sorry. I know you miss him. I know you're ready to take him home. I promise it'll happen soon."

During that time, on each of my visits to the clinic, for appointments with other rescue dogs, I'd hear Benny in the background, barking for me... as he heard my voice.
In desperation, I'd look at Doc, and ask: "Can I please, please, please take him home today?!"
Doc would say: "Not yet... but soon. I promise."

Well... before I knew it, two months had passed, without my Benny

And then... I finally got to take him home...

When I arrived that day... I said: "Today's the day, buddy boy! You get to come with me this time! Let's go home!"
Benny's excitement brought tears to my eyes. He showered me with kisses, releasing massive squeals of excitement. 

Then, as I loaded him into the car, Benny had a huge smile on his face... and I had one on mine. The whole way home, Benny watched out the window, in anticipation of our arrival... home.

Yet... today... even now... Benny is still recovering. He's still hurting, he's still adjusting, he's still experiencing the daily physical struggles of his reality.

It'll be 6 more weeks... before we'll know if this surgery was a success for Benny. That's when Doc will review and reevaluate... to see if he needs --yet another-- surgery.

But for now... and until then... Benny is home.

When we arrived at Lucky Dog that day... the day that Benny finally came home, he looked back at me... with the biggest smile he's ever had.

A smile that said: "Thank you. Before now... no one ever came back for me. No one ever came... to take me with them. Finally, I know how it feels... to go home..."

If you'd like to donate toward Benny's past & future medical care, please click below:

36 comments:

  1. he is adorable!!

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  2. My prayers are with you and Benny.

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  3. YOU ARE A ANGEL AND GOD BLESS YOU AND BENNY

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  4. Such a sweet story. You both are so lucky to have each other.

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  5. I pray Benny's health is completely restored and that he has a long, happy life with you.

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  6. I love reading your stories but I cry every single time! I love animals so much! If I lived closer yup you I would volunteer my time every single day! One day I will visit Lucky Dog!

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  7. I love reading your stories but I cry every single time! I love animals so much! If I lived closer yup you I would volunteer my time every single day! One day I will visit Lucky Dog!

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  8. I love reading your stories but I cry every single time! I love animals so much! If I lived closer yup you I would volunteer my time every single day! One day I will visit Lucky Dog!

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  9. I love reading your stories but I cry every single time! I love animals so much! If I lived closer yup you I would volunteer my time every single day! One day I will visit Lucky Dog!

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  10. I love reading your stories but I cry every single time! I love animals so much! If I lived closer yup you I would volunteer my time every single day! One day I will visit Lucky Dog!

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  11. Oh Benny! I'm so happy you are back home with your forever mom. She loved you so much that she had to give you up for a few months because it was the right thing for you. Moms have to do that sometimes. Yay Benny! You are LOVED! :) Bless you Ashley! :)

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  12. He's such a gorgeous boy! Be thankful, though, that Benny's problem can be alleviated with surgery. Before you know it, he'll be running around the way he used to. Lots of love to both you and Benny!

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  13. Tears are filling my eyes as I write this post.I would first and foremost like to commend you,Benny for your patience and bravery considering your lack of ability to understand this was all done for your own benefit.Second, your,mom, for her ability to find the strength needed to put Benny's needs first,as heartbreaking as it was at the time.Now Benny knows what it's like to be cared for and missed.This story has a happy ending,I wish all animals would have a mom like Ashley.

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    1. Wemberly, you have said all that is in my heart. Very well said my friend. I too feel Benny is such a true hero and so Blessed to have a Mommy like Ashley. God Bless you both. I am praying your next visit with the Doctor will be filled with wonderful news.

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  14. i cried when i read this story its so sad yet a happy ending and that's all that matters. Benny is such a beautiful and happy dog to have you in his life.if it wasn't for you Benny's life could have been shorten.hope everything goes well for Benny in the future with his other surgery.the next time he will know you will come back for him.god bless you and Benny

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  15. I'm praying for Benny. My Roxy had a luxating patella and I researched treatment and vets because of my finances. I found a great vet who healed her leg with meds and food. I'm so thrilled! Roxy is lucky, she didn't need the surgery. Our previous vet said surgery was the only option...without even taking an XRAY! That's when I found a new vet who treats animals as simply as possible FIRST and then moves forward if necessary. Ash and Benny - we all love you over here xoxo

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  16. Praying for you and Benny, I hope all turns out well. Thank you for making this babyboy happy :)

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    1. As always Ashley, Great job. Your are the dog saviour. Keep up the Great work you do. We love you.


      Deb Tampa Fl

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  17. Your stories always make me cry. I'm glad you have your baby back home and am praying for quick healing for him.

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  18. Loved the happy ending. I love your delivery of a story.

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  19. A beautiful story. I feel the same way when I leave my adopted babies at the vet. It's amazing how resilient our furry friends can be and how unconditional their love truly is.

    God bless you for everything that you are doing for these animals!

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  20. Replies
    1. Are you kidding me?? You're really trying to SELL puppies on a RESCUE page?? Ugh.

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    2. Amarjeet,
      Within the last few weeks, I've seen many similar comments from you... on several of my blog posts.

      In response to each of your comments, I've responded... kindly asking you to please refrain from posting "dogs for sale" links on my animal rescue blog.

      So, once again, out of respect for all of the amazing, deserving rescue dogs in my care, I'm respectfully asking you to PLEASE stop posting these pro-breeder comments on my blog.

      This is not the place for your links. Feel free to share your thoughts about my posts. However, do not feel free to share your "buy dogs" links.

      It's inappropriate and highly disrespectful.

      Thanks,
      Ash

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  21. Oh my gosh, I don't know what I would do without one of my babies for 2 months! I'm sure you were heartbroken to leave him there. I'm so glad he's home now, and I hope and pray he has a full recovery and won't need further surgery. Love to you and all your babies. <3

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  22. So glad Benny is back!! I must come visit him ASAP! I love that Horse!

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  23. Lucky Dog Rescue can earn a donation every time you search the Internet and shop online!!!

    Please Become a Supporter of Lucky Dog Rescue - Meridian on GoodSearch.
    Search the web with Yahoo-powered GoodSearch.com and they’ll donate about a
    penny to Ashley and her dogs each time you search!

    Amount I have raised $66.74 ... http://www.goodsearch.com/
    I support Lucky Dog Rescue - Meridian

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  24. Hi Ashley!
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for doing what you do! I aspire to be able to have my own rescue one day, in fact I have been taking steps to do so! I think Pet Pardon is a great and inspiring idea and believe it can help so many great animals! I hope that you will connect with me as well. Please feel free to follow me at dogsofagoodsociety.blogspot.com

    MyLy

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  25. The tears are just pouring out of my eyes!!! I'm so happy that he had a safe and happy home to go back to. Thank you for all you do for these special animals that no one cares about. There should be more people in the world like you.

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  26. Ashley, both Benny and you both are amazing! To go through what you both have together and yet apart shows exactly how love is supposed to be. I'm so glad you're the person you are and that Benny is with you. God bless you both for a long long long time!

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  27. God bless you Ashley for all the good you do and God bless Benny and hasten his healing. I am not able to donate very much right now, but I hope to be able to do more in the near future. I know every little bit helps. I am trying to find out about a non-profit grant to open a thrift store for pet rescues and non-kill shelters. If I am able to succeed, I will have Lucky Dog Rescue at the top of my list, even though I am in NC. Once again, God bless you so many times over for your special loving heart!

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  28. Ashley, your compassion overflowed to Amarjeet. A human being with less sense and heart than all the animals you have helped. You are a much bigger person than I. I am afraid my rapier tongue would have gotten the best of me. Instead, your kind heart, helped an ignorant person perhaps gain some respect for what is done-AND WHY-at Lucky Dog Rescue. Why breed when there is such a need to rescue. Will that dollar comfort you at night? I am sure Benny, and many others like him, comfort you each night, Ashley. God bless you.

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  29. I was doing well until that last paragraph broke me down. It's almost exactly what I thought the day I could finally adopt and take home my dog from our animal local shelter. She'd been there as a stray for weeks and apprently her owners didn't miss her. Then I walked in the door. I visited her 3 times that week before we could finalize the paperwork and adopt her. SOMEONE FINALLY had come back for her. She is our baby. Can't imagine being away from her for 2 months.

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  30. How is he doing now...?

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  31. That's a great post - thanks for sharing.

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