"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ramp It Up - ACL Prep

Our Assignment:  Prep the house for Ginny's post-operative recovery.

Our Mission:  Prepare all the dogs both mentally and physically for the temporary changes in our household routine.  And if there's one thing that dogs rely on it's a routine.

I'm sure our dogs are just like your's.  They live their lives in a fairly predictable pattern.  When changes happen to the routine, the dogs can tend to get a bit anxious.  Everything I've read about Canine ACL recovery leads me to believe it's going to harder on us than it will be for Ginny.  Ginny is a smart, adaptable, mature dog.  We know she'll do just fine. 

It's the other two I've got to worry about, Casey in particular.  Ginny is Casey's go-to playmate.  They'll wrestle and run, play tug with toys and even sleep together at times. 

We're assuming that the first day or two Ginny won't feel like doing much of anything so we plan on keeping her crated pretty much 24-7.  SM has committed to working from the house on Tuesday and Wednesday since I have to put in 10 hour days at work.  Then I'll be off from Thanksgiving Day through the weekend.  We're hoping that by the time we're both back to work next Monday that the new routine will have been accepted by all the critters and it will be business as usual.

At some point next week, I know she'll want to stand, perhaps walk a bit.  Research on ACL recovery says that the only time she can walk around is for her bathroom breaks.  No free roaming of the house.  No jumping, running or climbing onto the couch.  After several weeks, PT and more walking can be introduced. 

So two things need to happen around here.  I need a larger "restricted" area in the family room that Ginny can live in that allows her social access to her "pack" but still limits her range of motion and keeps the other dogs off of her.  And I need a ramp. 

We set up this excercise pen today and put Ginny's sleeping pad in it with some extra pillows to try and support the walls. 

It's not as sturdy as I'd like it to be but that's likely because I bought the 48" height.  I went with the tallest wall they had to try and discourage any of the dogs from jumping on it.  It's also adjustable size-wise so you can fit it in whatever space you want.  We had it out in the open at first but I was afraid it might topple over if bumped, so we decided to utilize some corner walls and the sofa to create a more protected space.  I wish it had a window she could see out of since she loves to lay on the couch in the front room and bark at people as they go by, but even that might be too much for her leg.  We'll see how it goes.

I'm saving the box in case I want to take it back.  Dr T, who has a dog who went through ACL surgery a few years ago recommended this type of indoor pen for Ginny's recovery.  Dr T has 7 dogs (he's big into rescue's) so the man knows what he's talking about.  It should be large enough that she can stand up in, move around a bit, eat, drink and be merry inside it.  Hopefully it's also sturdy enough to keep Casey away. 

The ramp was SM's project for today.  We live in a single story ranch but it's on a crawl space so we're elevated up about 4-6 steps high.  And steps are supposed to be a "no-no" for the first few months.  SM hesitated about building the ramp right now.

"Are you sure they'll even DO the surgery?"  He asked.

"I'd rather be safe than sorry.  We'll need it within hours of bringing her home for potty breaks, unless you feel like carrying around a 50 pound dog?" 

SM had lots of scrap wood laying around.  I wanted it wide and SM suggested we cover it with outdoor carpeting to prevent slipping since it's winter and we can't avoid the rain, ice and snow that's soon to come.  We still have a few single steps here and there that she'll have to go up and down.  Hopefully these won't be an issue.

This picture shows the outdoor carpeting tucked in for now.  Assuming the surgery happens as planned, SM will screw it or staple it down better than the picture shows.  If surgery doesn't happen...Well...I guess I'll be returning a few things next week.

So far today all the dogs have been in the pen and have gone up and down the ramp.  We're as ready as we can be.  Wish us luck!  I'll let you know how things go over the next few days.


  1. Good Luck!! I always hate taking them in for surgery and the last time I dropped off my dog the Tech made me turn around and leave without even getting a word out. I guess she felt I was the one having the hard time and was bringing the office "down". Humph!