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What to Do When Your Dog is Having Surgery


On Wednesday, August 14, our Puppy Relations (PR) Manager, Dexter, is having surgery under anesthesia to repair a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and removal of a damaged meniscus: the shock absorber portion of the affected area. As such, we are dedicating this post to the skilled hands of the surgeon, the caring vet techs who will monitor him, and the love of his family and friends to carry Dexter through this surgery. I just want my little boy home.

DEXTER POSTOP UPDATE AS OF 10:50 am on 08/21: The surgeon just talked to us. Dex was what he called “a perfect gentleman,” very receptive to the catheter, anesthesia, letting them get him ready. He made it through the surgery and he now has to stay in the hospital for several hours. Pending anything out of the ordinary, he can go home by 3 pm est today. He had a completely torn ACL and a damaged meniscus.

For any pet parent who has faced surgery, whether for their puppy or senior, middle aged or age unknown: We pace and pray with you.

Things to do when your dog is having surgery: I seriously need a distraction while he is out of my hands, not visually able to be seen, and being put under anesthesia and eventual surgery. Anyone have ideas? Aside from read, pace, text, work, pace, count the dots on the ceiling tiles, and hope that with each exiting employee that comes out of the OR doors and into the waiting area of zombie-like dog parents, that maybe just maybe the doctor is there with good news for me…what else can a pet parent do?


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  1. Do you knit? Maybe you can knit him a special blankie for his recovery!

    I will be thinking of you and Dexter tomorrow. I’m sure everything is going to go fabulous and he’ll be as good as new in no time!

    1. I wish I did – I am taking the new Chelsea Cain novel with me and see if I can focus. Thanks, Jodi – appreciate it very much. Looking forward to following your PT with your pooch, too.

  2. Praying for your sweet Dexter. When my boys have had surgery, I cleaned house and worked in the yard. Physical labor makes the time go by faster for me.

    1. That is a good option, Kristin…. 😉 Woofs of thanks for the prayers. They worked – he made it through the surgery!

  3. Carol, have your cell phone handy to get any updates, but what about offering to walk or groom shelter dogs? You’ll feel good about what you are doing, and goodness knows they will appreciate it! Best wishes for a wise and talented surgeon, and a quick recovery!

    1. I remember when my last Cocker had to have a grade 2 patellar luxation repaired at Cornell – we feel so helpless as pet parents….and I survived that – I just have to remember that this go round. Never easy, sigh. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Jackie!

  4. Mom tried to distract herself when I was sick but its too hard. She went to yoga class but she had a “bad” class (as she can’t be in a moment). Well, give it a yoga/meditation a try. Sending Lots of Golden Healing Thoughts to Dexter. Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    1. Sugar, you are one of my heroes and thanks for the inspawrational advice, my friend.

  5. :-/ Oh man, having surgery is no fun at all! My paws are crossed that Dexter has a super quick recovery time! Hm, I’d definitely try to keep your paws and mind busy while the surgeon does his/her thing…I’d say that a yoga or any exercise class will not only keep your mind busy but will also give you some happy endorphins for positive thoughts! Take care guys!!!

    1. I swear, I wish I could have gone through it for me. TY so much for the nice words 😉

  6. i’m so sorry you are going through this with your dex. [i’ve been there twice with my kibbles (rip my sweet angel). first tear needed surgery, the second one didn’t.]
    do you drink tea? a nice cup of chamomile tea might help with the anxiety and stress.
    i will be praying for you and dex, and for the surgeon as well.
    wags & hugs, bailey unleashed

    1. I have to say – I did drink a few cups of tea and just ended up needing to pee a lot – and hurrying to do so in case the surgeon came out when I was in the bathroom LOL

      Thx for the warm wishes. Love the pic on your blog today, say “ahhhh” so cute!

  7. My dog had to have emergency surgery over a week ago. It helped that I was exhausted, but tv and mindless internet surfing helped me pass the time without going crazy. Sending healing thoughts to Dexter!

    1. Yeah that is what it amounted to for me at the hospital. I tried to just pass the time. Can’t wait to get him home. TY, Dawn 😉

  8. We are thinking of you. We have had a few pets undergo surgery and I was a nervous wreck. Take care and just keep thinking positive thoughts!

    ~ Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

  9. Our thoughts are with you and Dexter. I know my mom worries like crazy. When I was spayed she went with a friend to a seminar in the hope of being distracted. It did not work 100% but it did help somewhat. Once the vet called and said I was in recovery, she could finally relax. I’m sure it will go fine and Dexter will be home with you to begin his recovery before you know it!

    1. I loved the vet – he was so nice, skilled, and compassionate: to us and to Dexter. He really seemed to care about what he was doing, and he put me so at ease. Thanks for the kind words, Emma. Find more Snoopy things – I am loving the pics!

    1. Thanks a lot. I swear, I was a mess and just want to have him back home. Minute by minute now. 😉

  10. So glad Dexter came through it so well! We’re all praying for a quick recovery for him!

    Believe me. That book isn’t going to make a bit of sense if you read it now. Go for a walk. Go walk dogs in a shelter like someone else said. Go window shopping in a large mall and walk the whole thing at least twice. Burn some of your nervous energy off. You need to be as zen inside as possible once they let you take Dexter out of there–or he’s not going to start out his recover well. He’s going to need to learn a bit of calmer spirit during the next few weeks. Make sure you’re too tired to have your inner spirit affecting him from the get-go.

  11. Love that picture, and I was so happy to read the update on Dexter. I am sure that you have plans to spoil him–even more than usual–when he gets home!

  12. As vet I still get nervous when a pet of mine goes under anesthesia and I know how amazingly rare it is for anything bad to happen. It’s kind of how I always feel a little nervous getting on an airplane – you know it’s safe but it still a bit nerve racking.

    I get too nervous doing procedures on my own pets, so I usually just ask the veterinarian to call me immediately if anything bad were to happen. Then I know that “no news is good news”. Then I try and read or work to keep my mind off of things.

    Wishing Dexter the best!
    ~ Cyndie

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