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I knew this would happen...

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Quick background story: My nephew was diagnoised with Wilson's disease about two years ago. No way around it, at some point he will need a new liver, and guess who's a match and said "sure, just let me know when you need it." Yep, me.


I don't mind that at all, I mean, he's family and it's the least I could do. The problem is that I had tried to put off getting a new puppy until after the transplant. Of course, that didn't quite go right because after Kellie was killed, I needed to get Kayzie for my own mental health.


So now, my promise to Nephew is quickly coming due. I just recieved word tonight that he is steadily getting worse and the transplant will likely happen very soon. No exact date yet, which I'm seeing as a good thing.


This puts me in a bit of a spot with Kayzie. She has made remarkable progress in the month and a half she's been with me, and I've been teaching her to act as a service dog to assist with limited mobility. However, she's also starting to enter that goofy teenage phase. I missed out on some important phases in Kellie's teenage era, and we had aggression issues as a result.


I'm concerned that I won't have the time to train Kayzie and curb the unwanted behaviors that crop up before the transplant--and to be honest, I don't trust the people around me to do a good job with KZ since they're ones who looked after Kellie.


So, I'm asking, once more, for some advice. Is there anyone here who has had any experience with undergoing a major surgery while a dog was in puppyhood? Is there anything else I should be doing with KZ to prepare her? I want her to be able to visit the hospital and see me, and Maverick too (especially since Nephew loves Mav and, should anything happen to me, Mav will go to him), so we are making visits to assisted living homes and I'm getting them aquianted with crutches, canes, wheelchairs, etc.


What else can I do?

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Right now, I would work on a good solid recall. One that no matter where in the house you are or where KZ is, or what she is involved in, she will come running. I accidently had that on Skip and Jackson when I fell and broke my shoulder. I had one week of extreme pain and limited mobility until I had surgery to replace the top part of my upper arm. Skip was only around 5-6mos. old at the time. All the dogs pretty much just hung out in the room with me for the first week(thank God for the doggy door!)that I was home. Then we just played some games that did not involve me getting out of bed, like throwing the toy after they brought it to me, or hiding it under the covers. They were very forgiving and I am sure KZ will be too. Just lay on the couch and start imagining and then doing things that do not require too much movement. It's amazing how much they realize that you are in pain and not up to snuff. Hopefully someone else will offer more games you can play. Prayers for you and your nephew. And kudos to you for stepping up. If your liver is as big as your heart, you won't miss what they take a bit.

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DH had major knee surgey (cartlage transplant-really neat) about 2 months after we got Poke. Poke was about 8-9 months oldish. Back then Poke would nip at any fast, erratic, or "not normal," movement. Poke hadn't quite learned to trust us yet, and didn't like to be touched very much. (I forgot how far we have come from that time)


While his knee surgery was "major," we lucked out and DH was released early and didn't have to stay in the hospital for more than a day. Poke didn't quite get what was going on since he hadn't really bonded/ trusted us yet. Ceana tried to take care of DH, but Poke just didn't get it. I played a lot of frisbee and we both learned about clicker training.


Do you have anyone that you trust to just come over and have a play date to help her burn off some steam? Depending on how you feel, you can clicker train, even if you are in bed rehabing. You can play the "100 things to do with a box," game. as well as tricks and toy names.


I am sorry I am not much help, DH's surgery was no where as extensive as yours. I can tell you not to worry too much about the aggression issue. I have a fear aggressive dog, and I have found that I am sometimes a little too paranoid about dog aggression. There was a point when I would just wait for it to happen with our foster dogs and at adoption events. I was very edgy and jumpy and I have had to let go of my fear of aggression. I have found this is the hardest part. I was so out of control at one point trying to deal with Ceana that I would try and over compensate by preparing to possibly loose control with dogs that were not aggressive. 99% of the time the dogs are fine and I am the one with the issue.


Best of wishes to both you and your nephew.

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Prayers for you and your nephew. And kudos to you for stepping up. If your liver is as big as your heart, you won't miss what they take a bit.


Exactly what I was thinking. I don't have anything to add as far as advice...but sending lots of mojo your way, good thoughts for a quick recovery.

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Bless you!

I doubt the dog will get into the hosp. to someone who had a transplant unless you can teach it to gown up, glove up, and mask up! (and you can wash it's paws for 3 minutes each in nasty soap!) Organ recipient won't have much immune system for awhile due to chemically reducing it so the body won't reject....

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I'd be inclined to send her to someone I trusted, even if it meant she might be a good distance away from you. As Marty pointed out, it's unlikely that she or Mal would be allowed in the hospital, so the best thing you can do is get her in the hands of someone you know will continue her training as you'd want it done.


Bless you for being an organ donor.



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I can empathize with how you feel about Kayzie. I lost my Scotty the same week I was diagnosed with lung cancer and it was a rough, rough trip. That dog meant the world to me. I had about a third of my right lung removed about two weeks after Scotty died. Friends had found a breeder with a litter expected in March and before the surgery we went to visit and found each other quite suitable and we put our name in for a puppy, to be born around March 21. Having the expectation of Robin in my life helped to refocus me into a more positive mode about the surgery, my recover from it and the cancer, and life in general. I spent a great deal of my down time researching puppy care, training methods, etc.


I'm wary of making comparisons between the two surgeries - different areas of the body and I was not in all that good shape because it was my second major surgery in 12 weeks and I just celebrated the fifty year milestone. Robin was born about a month after my lung surgery and I couldn't lift him even as a new born pup. I started chemotherapy in April but by the time he came to us in May (three months after the surgery) I was able to give him and Brodie basic care while Ken was working -- potty, a little play then back to the crate several times a day but I still couldn't lift them. He's six months old now with good manners, but realistically, I'd not be able to handle him if I were going through the same surgery right now. For one thing, the amount of exercise he requires would have been beyond my limits.


Just a side note, if you're getting heavy medications, Kayzie might not like the smell -- Robin was wary during the heavy chemo weeks but fine on the others.


Could you have an honest talk with your surgeon about your recovery time and the limits that might be placed on your activities during the recovery. Depending on his answers, as Julie suggested, it's probably a good idea if you find someone that you really can trust to care for your dog for the time immediately after the surgery, hopefully someone who can bring her to see you often. If someone is staying with you, its entirely possible you could keep the dog with you if you had people to help with her needs as well. Something as simple as filling a food dish or a water bowl could be a real adventure in the first few weeks. But there's nothing like a good slurp to lift your spirits.


If you are reassured about her care, your recovery will go much more quickly and you can gradually increase the time you spend with Kayzie until you know that you can care for her....it won't be long.


My prayers are with you, your nephew and your family. All will go very well.

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Where did you get your pup? If a rescue, they might have a good foster situation that would take her if you decide to go that route. If a breeder, would the breeder take her while you recover?


Sending my best wishes for you and your nephew and the whole family. I hope everything goes smoothly for you all.



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