It’s been nine weeks since Calvin @pointandwag underwent amputation surgery to remove his right back leg (“high femur” amputation.) He’s truly a wonder Tripawd! I’ve watched him learn how to do all of the things he did on four legs in record time. I firmly believe that exercise and encouraging him to do the things he loves has sped up his amazing recovery. Exercise does wonders for your pet and fosters pet/human bonding like nothing else (well, except for feeding time, maybe.)
A lot of people ask me why Calvin’s entire leg had to be removed. My husband and I asked the vet more than once. If we pinned his ankle instead of amputating his leg, his leg would be a “peg leg” and he would not be able to use it. It would look normal when he was standing or sitting but when in use would drag and cause a lot of frustration and pain. If we amputated below the knee, he would require a prosthetic that may or may not work too well and he would have more phantom and nerve pain. A lot of high energy dogs like Calvin don’t like having a prosthetic so they pick at it. Many (most) end up requiring amputation in the long run. We chose the option that would allow him to do all of the things he loves: run, jump, swim, dive, and fetch!
How is he doing? He’s doing GREAT! Last week (week 8 post surgery), Calvin ran a half marathon. That’s right, he ran 13.1 miles non-stop at a sub-8-minute mile pace. He’s amazing! He can now swim, dive, jump, and fetch!
Since the moment Calvin walked out of the vet on July 13 we made sure he got exercise every day. Once his cone was removed, we started jogging short distances and then started running. Once his stitches were healed he was able to swim. Amazingly, his doggy-paddle freestyle stroke is picture perfect and super speedy. We tested “dock diving” assuming it may be tricky with three legs but our Wonder Tripawd proved us wrong again. He ran and DOVE halfway across the pool.
The trickiest task for him to tackle was “fetch” which happens to be one of his favorite activities. Fetching requires a lot of pivoting, rapid speed and intense catches. Initially, Calvin would fall and whimper so we decided to keep him on the lawn and do short fetches. I’m happy to report that Calvin has graduated from “short” fetching to “long” fetching in our court. This makes him super happy! This also makes Lenny (our little Scottish Terrier) happy because he likes to play “fetch Calvin” while Calvin plays “fetch the ball.” It is a win/win and hilarious to watch!
I can honestly say that keeping Calvin active and ensuring he gets his daily exercise has helped him heal. When he’s not active he whimpers and fusses. The exercise not only keeps his body in great shape but it also relieves a lot of stress and helps him focus on being a dog versus a dog who just lost a limb. He does occasionally have phantom pain (at least that is what we think causes him to cry at night) but keeping him active lifts his spirits. Now that Calvin only has three legs it is especially important to keep him healthy, active and on the lean side.
Calvin and Hogan are both bird dogs and when you run your hands over a bird dog’s ribs you should be able to feel them. All dog breeds are different and have unique weight requirements. Do a little research to ensure you’re keeping your furry friend at the ideal weight.
Hogan is nearly 10 now and he can’t run the same distances as Calvin, but he still requires exercise and a good diet. I typically start off my runs with Calvin and Hogan together. When Hogan is tired (between 4-6 miles), Calvin and I drop him off at home and then continue our run. Most runs finish off with the boys getting in the pool to swim and cool off. Lenny does not require long runs (he could hardly keep up for a mile), but exercise is important for him too. He LOVES to jog to the park and play fetch. He’s the happiest little guy when he’s out fetching. Lenny also enjoys going to the mailbox every day.
When we don’t have time for a long run we make sure the dogs get exercise in other ways. They play in the backyard (mostly chasing bees and lizards), they go swimming, or they play a game of fetch. Exercise keeps them healthy, keeps them trim, and makes them happy. I believe that exercise has helped Calvin overcome a traumatic experience and it makes him feel “whole” again.
If you want any pointers on running your dogs, the gear I use, or advice on exercising different breed types, feel free to reach out or comment below. If you want to see Calvin in action, check us out on Instagram @pointandwag.
Thanks for the love!
Hi! I’m Nik (short for Nikole) from @pointandwag. I’m a mom of three humans and three furry family members. I have two GSPs, Hogan Sandwich and Calvin T-Bone. I love to run with my German Shorthaired Pointers! Hogan is now considered a ‘senior’ dog, so I’ve had to make some running adjustments. Calvin is 4 and could probably run 100 miles. I also have a Scottish Terrier, Lenny Spaghetti, who’s a just a pup. I’ve never had a little dog but must admit, everything they say about TERRIERS is true. He’s awesome! We’re the @pointandwag crew.