Friday, 12 December 2014

6 Years ago to the day.

The world renowned Noel Fitzpatrick met Blue and changed his life and destiny.

11th December 2008 Blue got up in the morning as a bouncy 7 month old pup, full of his usual energy and vibrance, Blue being his normal self.

The day was quite unremarkable going into the early evening, when for no reason, Blue was unable to stand up, he did not seem in any apparent pain, but was becoming distressed.

Without delay he was a mile down the road, being carried by my wife and me into the vets (Abbey Vets), for an emergency appointment. Here he was seen by the vet Adrian Caunter, who carried out a close examination following our description of the events leading up to Blue's sudden change.

Adrian was a young eager vet, who had come to look on Blue as a favoured visitor; It was Adrian's handling of the situation that set the path of Blue's destiny. He told us of this practice in Surrey "Fitzpatrick Referrals"who had the ideal set up for what he feared was a spinal issue.

A call was made by Adrian, and after checking we had the means of travelling to Godalming in Surrey, he booked us an appointment. Though Blue was now clearly in discomfort, he explained that we needed to keep Blue still and calm and make the journey for an eight o'clock appointment.

Of the journey we recall very little, driving with half a mind on the road half on Blue, how we found such a remote place i do not recall.

Our car at the time was a Landrover Freelander, and by chance in the back was a plastic storage tray, we used this as a carrier, as we walked into the reception.

They were expecting us, we were on time, and guided into the consulting room. 

In walked Noel, who was busy assessing Blue, as we described the reason for being there.

Then without any indication the bomb was dropped, Noel explained that Blue was in a lot of discomfort and pain, there was a spinal issue, which needed surgery, but it was essential that it was carried out.

Blue was carried away by Noels team to begin further detailed assessment, x-rays and pain relief.

We stayed in the waiting room for news, it was confirmed, Blue had excessive bone growth on his vertibrae, causing the spinal cord to be compressed. 

Noel explained that he would carry out a "Spinal Laminectomy" to Blue's spine.

The operation was carried out and Blue was to remain in residence for three days and nights. 

There was no doubt ever in our minds that Blue had been very very lucky, he was seen by the right people who made the right decisions who brought their training, knowledge and dedication together to ensure he had the best outcome we could ever have wished for.

That is really the start of a long road to recovery, where good use of his crate, managed and monitored exercises, hydrotherapy were all part of his rehabilitation.

One year on, after the operation, we felt confident enough to travel to the Highlands of Scotland

Blue with trusty crate

Blue had missed out on his first Christmas, his second was to be in Scotland on holiday, and the old Blue returned, demonstrating that a traumatic year was now fading into the past. Does the picture below show signs of a dog that had undergone major spinal surgery 12 months previously.

It is pleasing to see Noel's work being shown on National TV, and we can only endorse everything he and his team do, as you see them on the TV, that is how they truly are, wonderfully dedicated people, from the reception ladies, to all the support team.

Thanks must also go to my wife, Sue; She has been so instrumental to Blue's recovery.

So just one final thing of caution; If you are walking your dog off lead in open spaces and you see another dog on a lead, he may be another Blue, recovering from a major injury that needs to be kept calm and stable.

Blue will never "play" with other dogs, he missed out on that side of socialising along with his limitations of twisting and turning, causing loss of stability to his back limbs.

Aside from that he leads a healthy active life, often amazing others that see him on some of England's highest mountains, as he was in the Lake District this summer.

Blencathra summited and a well earned rest

High above Cat Bells in the Lake District.

You can follow Blue's outlook and opinions on life on his dedicated Twitter page