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Sammy’s Story
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18 December 2017 - 9:59 am
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On December 2, 2017 (about 2 weeks ago) my life changed for both me and my dog.

Sammy is a 13 year old Pekingese mix. He’s under 20 pounds, has a charming underbite, and a spunky personality. He was my mom’s dog, but became mine when she passed over 2 years ago. Since then he has moved from NY to NJ with me and become my precious baby boy and whole world. 

On that unordinary Saturday morning, I took Sam to a routine vet visit. I take him every 3 months to get his anal glands expressed because he’s a scooter and has had abscesses. On our way in, Sam did his usual sniffing around the grass by the front entrance and peeing wherever he can. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a lady approach with her American bulldog. I didn’t think twice to hurry Sam along because he’s very friendly with other dogs. Before I knew what was happening, the other dog had slipped out of his collar and was attacking Sam. I tried to get him away, but the much larger dog had a strong grip on Sam and would not let go. After screaming for help as this dog attempted to kill mine, a kind man saw and got help from the vet’s office. The staff came running out and managed to get Sam away from the other dog. By that point, there was blood everywhere and I had seen Sam’s front leg nearly torn off. I waited in an exam room, distraught and traumatized, while they attempted to stabilize Sam. I called my boyfriend to come meet me ASAP. After what felt like for forever, the vet came in and told me that he was stabile, but that he had lost a lot of blood and they were not sure if he was going to make it. They were also almost certain that his leg would not be saved. They handed Sam to me, bloody and wrapped in a towel, with a cone around his head and his tongue hanging out. I held onto his lifeless body while my boyfriend drove us to the nearest animal hospital that was equipped to deal with this sort of emergency trauma. The car ride, although less than 20 minutes, felt unending as I told Sam that I love him and that he was going to be okay. When we got there, staff took him away so the vets could immediately assess the damage. After more waiting, the vet came into the room and told me that Sam was stabile but his leg was only hanging on by the skin. My options were to send him to a specialist to attempt to save his leg (though I was told this would likely not be successful), amputate his leg, or humanely euthanize him. The last option was not even an option for me if there was a chance that Sam would make it. After deliberation with the vet and my boyfriend, we decided to opt for the amputation. I kissed my boy goodbye and returned to the scene to get my car and speak to the prior vets. Once there, I was told that they had filed a police report and called animal control. They had also called an ambulance for the injured other dog owner, but she had left with her dog before it arrived.

Two weeks later, Sammy is undergoing his 3rd surgery. His first one was to amputate his leg from the elbow down. The second was to amputate from the shoulder down. After a couple of days of visiting him at the hospital, I was able to take him home. I thought recovery was going well until his second bandage change. The vet informed me that he had a terrible infection. They had to sedate him and clean out his wounds. I was devastated. After a few more days at the hospital, I took Sam home again. He was on antibiotics and pain medications to clear the infection before they could close his wounds again. After 7 days of going to the hospital for bandage changes, today I had to drop him off once again for his final surgery to stitch him back up. I received a phone call from the surgeon letting me know  that the surgery would be a little mire complicated. He would need a skin graft and staples. If his blood vessels don’t reattach and revitalize, he will need follow up procedures. I’m praying that this is the last of his surgeries. I’m just heartbroken for him and sick with anxiety from these past 2 weeks. 

Sammy has been such a fighter and all of the vet staff tell me how good he is for them. I am so proud of him and want him to be able to live his life again as normally as possible. I’m grateful that I found this website to help navigate me through this extremely difficult experience. Ive already ordered several things to help him transition more comfortably (harness, fleece, raised dog bowls). I would appreciate any other advice for making a senior tripawd happy. I also would appreciate help from anyone that has been through a similar experience (dog attack). I am dealing with animal control to prevent this situation from happening again and to make the other dog owner take responsibility. 

<3 Alyson (and Sammy) 

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18 December 2017 - 11:07 am
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Alyson & Sammy, welcome. We are sooooo sorry about the awful attack, the trauma you both experienced sounds tremendous! On top of that, multiple surgeres? It's enough to put anyone over the edge. But hang in there, you are in good company here, and we will do our best to help make his life on three easier. 

Taking things day by day right now is all you can do to keep sane. Hopefully this will be the last surgery. Sometimes these complications happen (especially when the amputation is the result of an accident) and unfortunately poor Sammy is in that situation. We hope he heals quickly so you can both move on. 

 I would appreciate any other advice for making a senior tripawd happy.

Knowing what kind of activity and exercise is best for a Tripawd is the best thing you can do for him, as well as keeping him slimmer than before. Our Tripawds Gear blog has lots of tips and so does our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs . You'll need to re-think the fun things you do together, such as taking more frequent, shorter walks throughout the day instead of one or two long ones. Also, interactive brain games are another good way to tire him out without putting unnecessary stress on his joints. Finally, a visit to a canine rehab therapist would be extremely beneficial. Sammy will get assessed and you can learn what his strengths and weaknesses are. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit !

I also would appreciate help from anyone that has been through a similar experience (dog attack).

Others here may be able to help but since I haven't been through that I can't really offer many specifics. In general though, what you can do is try to work through the anxiety that happens after something like this, with things like meditation and pawsitive affirmations to rebuild your confidence when you're around other dogs. That way when you and Sammy start going for walks again, he doesn't feel your anxiety at the other end of the leash whenever another dog approaches. Try to remind yourself that our animals reflect our emotions so the stronger you are, the stronger and happier he will be.

I hope this helps. Let us know how today goes and stay tuned for feedback from others. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 December 2017 - 1:49 pm
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Oh wow, I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are a wonderful caregiver, I can tell that from what you said before the attack. I had a close call a couple of years ago, it definitely made Mitch a little more cautious now when animals approach him and he is a big dog. Same thing as you, I was going into the boarding clinic and some idiot had a large dog like mine. Dog tugged the leash away from the owner and all i heard was barking and growling coming at us. So very scary. Your's was worse. I screamed at the top of my lungs at the dog and it slowed him just enough for the owner to grab him. If looks could have killed that person would have been lying at my feet. 

I hope this is the last surgery for your baby. It sounds like they may be having a challenge closing up the incision area. I hope they are able to close him up without complication. When you go through that kind of trauma I don't know if there is a "fix" for it. You will probably take a lot longer to get over it than Sammy. Others may disagree with me on this, and that is ok. Personally, I would keep something on hand like the spray that postal people use. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but it may calm your heart and give you some peace of mind, which will in turn help to keep him calm. I see people walk with sticks, I don't think that looks as enjoyable as just having something handy in your pocket. I know you will probably always be more "on guard" but who can blame you? 

Please let us know how you do, I hope your baby comes out of this all zipped up and ready to recover.

Hugs,

Jackie and Huck heartheart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......pawds.com/

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18 December 2017 - 5:57 pm
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How traumatic for both Sammy and you. Obviously Sammy is a survivor and it sounds like he's getting good care from the surgeon. I also hope this is his last surgery.

You've received some great information already. I'd like to comment that the vicious dog's owner is fully responsible for all expenses and many times its covered by their house insurance. I'm not sure if the incident has to be on their property though. In any case you can bring a personal liability suit against the dog's owner. 

I know having the costs covered doesn't repair the emotional toll but it can help with getting Sammy happily hopping around. You're a good momma - the costs should cover your wine and chocolate therapy too!

Hugs for both of you,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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18 December 2017 - 6:09 pm
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Just checking in, I hope all went ok and Sammy is in recovery now. So much to deal with right now, Kerren is all over it. Whomever owns that dog needs to cover this in full. It's a struggle to not want to rant about the tool that couldn't control their dog. But for now I'm hoping your fur baby is recovering. Please, please let us know how you made out. 

Sending positive healing strength your way.

Jackie and Huck ❤❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......pawds.com/

Virginia
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20 December 2017 - 3:24 pm
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Oh my gosh, my heart was in my throat as I just read through the trauma you and sweet Sammy have been through.

I won't add anymore for now, but please know we are all hoping with all hearts for a positive outcome.  PLEASE KNOW WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU WITH ANYTHING Y OU MAY NEED.

Love and hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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26 December 2017 - 5:52 pm
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Thank you so much for the warm welcome and helpful information. It means a lot to know that other people out there have gone through something similar and have come out stronger. As far as Sam’s health goes, I think we are finally out of the woods. His checkup at the vet went well and his healing looks good now. Further complications would be rare, but I’m still cautious and hoping for the best. He has a broken jaw as well, but I’m hoping that will heal on its own. Sam has been amazing with how he is dealing with the changes and coping. He is a lot stronger than me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety since the attack and struggle to think about anything else. It’s been extremely difficult for me to leave my dog alone in the house or even in another room. I’ve rarely left the house or let him out of my site since. I guess I’m scared of him being alone and needing help. I’ve also had anxiety around other dogs, but I think that is slowly improving and I’m getting more comfortable again. Sammy was around other dogs for the first time on Christmas and he loved It. I was so impressed that he wasn’t scared or nervous. He was just happy to be with friends. This has been a tough month but its slowly getting better and I’m finally confident that Sam will be ok. Thanks again for your reply and happy holidays to your family and pups. 

jerry said
Alyson & Sammy, welcome. We are sooooo sorry about the awful attack, the trauma you both experienced sounds tremendous! On top of that, multiple surgeres? It's enough to put anyone over the edge. But hang in there, you are in good company here, and we will do our best to help make his life on three easier. 

Taking things day by day right now is all you can do to keep sane. Hopefully this will be the last surgery. Sometimes these complications happen (especially when the amputation is the result of an accident) and unfortunately poor Sammy is in that situation. We hope he heals quickly so you can both move on. 

 I would appreciate any other advice for making a senior tripawd happy.

Knowing what kind of activity and exercise is best for a Tripawd is the best thing you can do for him, as well as keeping him slimmer than before. Our Tripawds Gear blog has lots of tips and so does our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs . You'll need to re-think the fun things you do together, such as taking more frequent, shorter walks throughout the day instead of one or two long ones. Also, interactive brain games are another good way to tire him out without putting unnecessary stress on his joints. Finally, a visit to a canine rehab therapist would be extremely beneficial. Sammy will get assessed and you can learn what his strengths and weaknesses are. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit !

I also would appreciate help from anyone that has been through a similar experience (dog attack).

Others here may be able to help but since I haven't been through that I can't really offer many specifics. In general though, what you can do is try to work through the anxiety that happens after something like this, with things like meditation and pawsitive affirmations to rebuild your confidence when you're around other dogs. That way when you and Sammy start going for walks again, he doesn't feel your anxiety at the other end of the leash whenever another dog approaches. Try to remind yourself that our animals reflect our emotions so the stronger you are, the stronger and happier he will be.

I hope this helps. Let us know how today goes and stay tuned for feedback from others.   

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26 December 2017 - 8:07 pm
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benny55 said
Oh my gosh, my heart was in my throat as I just read through the trauma you and sweet Sammy have been through.

I won't add anymore for now, but please know we are all hoping with all hearts for a positive outcome.  PLEASE KNOW WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU WITH ANYTHING Y OU MAY NEED.

Love and hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!  

benny55 said
Oh my gosh, my heart was in my throat as I just read through the trauma you and sweet Sammy have been through.

I won't add anymore for now, but please know we are all hoping with all hearts for a positive outcome.  PLEASE KNOW WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU WITH ANYTHING Y OU MAY NEED.

Love and hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!  

Thank you so much. It means a lot! 

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26 December 2017 - 8:15 pm
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I appreciate your support! Sammy is finally recovering after his 3rd surgery. Today the vet examined him and says I.t is very unlikely that he will have further complications. I think the worst is over for him. Thank god. Unfortunately I still haven’t heard back from animal control regarding the other owner and dog. Hopefully after the holidays I will get some answers. In the mean time I’m just glad my boy is doing okay. Thank you so much for your kind words!

paws120 said
Just checking in, I hope all went ok and Sammy is in recovery now. So much to deal with right now, Kerren is all over it. Whomever owns that dog needs to cover this in full. It's a struggle to not want to rant about the tool that couldn't control their dog. But for now I'm hoping your fur baby is recovering. Please, please let us know how you made out. 

Sending positive healing strength your way.

Jackie and Huck ❤❤  

paws120 said
Just checking in, I hope all went ok and Sammy is in recovery now. So much to deal with right now, Kerren is all over it. Whomever owns that dog needs to cover this in full. It's a struggle to not want to rant about the tool that couldn't control their dog. But for now I'm hoping your fur baby is recovering. Please, please let us know how you made out. 

Sending positive healing strength your way.

Jackie and Huck ❤❤  

kazann said
How traumatic for both Sammy and you. Obviously Sammy is a survivor and it sounds like he's getting good care from the surgeon. I also hope this is his last surgery.

You've received some great information already. I'd like to comment that the vicious dog's owner is fully responsible for all expenses and many times its covered by their house insurance. I'm not sure if the incident has to be on their property though. In any case you can bring a personal liability suit against the dog's owner. 

I know having the costs covered doesn't repair the emotional toll but it can help with getting Sammy happily hopping around. You're a good momma - the costs should cover your wine and chocolate therapy too!

Hugs for both of you,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona  

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26 December 2017 - 9:15 pm
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Thank you so much. I feel much less anxious now that Sammy is all stitched up and healing. Now I just have to keep him from licking and scratching at his stitches. I’ve been keeping soft tee shirts on him that I ordered from chewy.com and putting neosporin on his wounds to stop the itching. So far so good. Thanks for the spray idea. That would definitely be good to have and to put me at ease! I still get nervous when other dogs are out around mine even on leashes so I end up picking him up until they leave. Even though my dog doesn’t seem to mind other dogs still. I’m having a harder time getting over it than he is and he wasn’t even injured in the attack. Anyway, hoping you and your furry family have a happy new year. 

paws120 said
Oh wow, I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are a wonderful caregiver, I can tell that from what you said before the attack. I had a close call a couple of years ago, it definitely made Mitch a little more cautious now when animals approach him and he is a big dog. Same thing as you, I was going into the boarding clinic and some idiot had a large dog like mine. Dog tugged the leash away from the owner and all i heard was barking and growling coming at us. So very scary. Your's was worse. I screamed at the top of my lungs at the dog and it slowed him just enough for the owner to grab him. If looks could have killed that person would have been lying at my feet. 

I hope this is the last surgery for your baby. It sounds like they may be having a challenge closing up the incision area. I hope they are able to close him up without complication. When you go through that kind of trauma I don't know if there is a "fix" for it. You will probably take a lot longer to get over it than Sammy. Others may disagree with me on this, and that is ok. Personally, I would keep something on hand like the spray that postal people use. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but it may calm your heart and give you some peace of mind, which will in turn help to keep him calm. I see people walk with sticks, I don't think that looks as enjoyable as just having something handy in your pocket. I know you will probably always be more "on guard" but who can blame you? 

Please let us know how you do, I hope your baby comes out of this all zipped up and ready to recover.

Hugs,

Jackie and Huck heartheart  

paws120 said
Oh wow, I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are a wonderful caregiver, I can tell that from what you said before the attack. I had a close call a couple of years ago, it definitely made Mitch a little more cautious now when animals approach him and he is a big dog. Same thing as you, I was going into the boarding clinic and some idiot had a large dog like mine. Dog tugged the leash away from the owner and all i heard was barking and growling coming at us. So very scary. Your's was worse. I screamed at the top of my lungs at the dog and it slowed him just enough for the owner to grab him. If looks could have killed that person would have been lying at my feet. 

I hope this is the last surgery for your baby. It sounds like they may be having a challenge closing up the incision area. I hope they are able to close him up without complication. When you go through that kind of trauma I don't know if there is a "fix" for it. You will probably take a lot longer to get over it than Sammy. Others may disagree with me on this, and that is ok. Personally, I would keep something on hand like the spray that postal people use. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but it may calm your heart and give you some peace of mind, which will in turn help to keep him calm. I see people walk with sticks, I don't think that looks as enjoyable as just having something handy in your pocket. I know you will probably always be more "on guard" but who can blame you? 

Please let us know how you do, I hope your baby comes out of this all zipped up and ready to recover.

Hugs,

Jackie and Huck heartheart  

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26 December 2017 - 9:26 pm
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I never knew how tough Sammy was until now! He’s been incredible through everything. His animal hospital has been amazing too. I’m pretty sure he won’t need any more surgeries if everything keeps on track. Today the vet said his healing is finally looking good. I’m so relieved. I ended up meeting with a lawyer to get information on the other dog owner’s responsibilities because my bills are now up to $8000 and I don’t have pet insurance. He told me too that the person’s home owners insurance should cover it. I hope so because the woman is not willing to help. If only there was a way to repay for the emotional trauma this has caused and the heartbreak I feel every time I see my poor boy stumble or cry out in pain 🙁  You are so right about the wine and chocolate therapy. Honestly those are my two favorite indulgences!! Luckily I have awesome friends that new just how to cheer me up! I just felt bad I couldn’t share them with my pup. But he’s been getting lots of toys from friends and family. Hopefully once he feels better he will be back to his squeaky loving self.  Thanks for the support and happy holidays to you and your kitty! 

 said How traumatic for both Sammy and you. Obviously Sammy is a survivor and it sounds like he's getting good care from the surgeon. I also hope this is his last surgery.

You've received some great information already. I'd like to comment that the vicious dog's owner is fully responsible for all expenses and many times its covered by their house insurance. I'm not sure if the incident has to be on their property though. In any case you can bring a personal liability suit against the dog's owner. 

I know having the costs covered doesn't repair the emotional toll but it can help with getting Sammy happily hopping around. You're a good momma - the costs should cover your wine and chocolate therapy too!

Hugs for both of you,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona  

kazann said
How traumatic for both Sammy and you. Obviously Sammy is a survivor and it sounds like he's getting good care from the surgeon. I also hope this is his last surgery.

You've received some great information already. I'd like to comment that the vicious dog's owner is fully responsible for all expenses and many times its covered by their house insurance. I'm not sure if the incident has to be on their property though. In any case you can bring a personal liability suit against the dog's owner. 

I know having the costs covered doesn't repair the emotional toll but it can help with getting Sammy happily hopping around. You're a good momma - the costs should cover your wine and chocolate therapy too!

Hugs for both of you,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona  

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26 December 2017 - 9:47 pm
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Sammy sounds like he just wants to live life and play! I'm happy to hear his recovery is going well. Since Sammy is tiny, baby onsies might also fit him so he doesn't mess with his stitches.

I'd like to add a concern about Neosporin. I understand that some vets advise against it for major incisions, such as one due to amputation. You could check this out with your vet. One thing I did for Mona (my cat) was to distract her from the itchiness by putting warm and cool damp facecloths over her amputation site. She didn't fuss over the stitches any longer. I think they get itchy when dry and then when the fur starts growing back.

Phew what a relief... It's good you enjoy wine and chocolate.

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Virginia
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27 December 2017 - 9:35 pm
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SOOOOOO GLAD SAMMY IS DOING WELL!!!   YAAAAAAAAAY FOR SAMMY!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thanks for taking time to check in.  We've all been holding our collective breath hoping for the best for Sammy.  Sounds like that tough fella' is ready to get back to BEING SAMMY!!!  Follow his lead.  He's a good Life Coach! 🙂

And remember your Mom is a Guardian Angel for Sammy and for you!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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28 December 2017 - 1:21 pm
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Sammy is slowly getting back to his normal self. He’s wagging his tail again and barking at me when he wants attention. He’s happy to go for walks and wishes they could be longer. He’s also started showing interest in his toys again. He’s not sleeping the whole day away anymore which is probably due to his decrease in pain meds. The vet said he doesn’t need them anymore but I feel like it’s too soon to remove them entirely. His appetite still isn’t 100% but that is most likely because of his broken jaw and extracted teeth (the other dog really did a number on him). His poop isn’t back to normal yet either but I’ve started him on probiotics to counteract the antibiotics he has been on. Thanks for the onesie and damp cloth ideas! So far sam’s small shirts that I ordered have been working but once his amputation site gets itchier he might figure out how to get his hind legs under the shirt. I’m not sure if I can put anything wet on his incision yet because he still has stitches but I’ll ask the vet. He told me neosporin with cortisone is okay in small amounts. One thing that Sam has been struggling with is sleeping at night. I don’t think he’s in pain. I think his schedule is just off and he gets restless. The vet told me to try giving him Benadryl at night but it only seems to work for s few hours before he is hopping around and barking at me to get up in the

middle of the night. It’s been tiring but I’m glad he’s feeling better. Im

nervous to get back to work after the holidays since I’ve taken most of the month off to be with him. I’ve thought about maybe getting a pet cam to watch him while I’m out of the house. Thanks again for checking in and hugs to you and kitty! 

kazann said
Sammy sounds like he just wants to live life and play! I'm happy to hear his recovery is going well. Since Sammy is tiny, baby onsies might also fit him so he doesn't mess with his stitches.

I'd like to add a concern about Neosporin. I understand that some vets advise against it for major incisions, such as one due to amputation. You could check this out with your vet. One thing I did for Mona (my cat) was to distract her from the itchiness by putting warm and cool damp facecloths over her amputation site. She didn't fuss over the stitches any longer. I think they get itchy when dry and then when the fur starts growing back.

Phew what a relief... It's good you enjoy wine and chocolate.

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona  

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28 December 2017 - 1:27 pm
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Thanks for checking in! It took me awhile to get back on here because I was worried sick when he developed an infection. I’m also wondering if there is a way to be notified of a reply on here? I’m thinking of starting one of the blog pages for Sammy to keep updates and pics outside of the forums. I’ve been having a little trouble working this page on my phone so I think I’ll try to update when I get a chance to be on my computer.  Sammy is such a tough little cookie, especially for a 13 year old who has been through a lot in his life. He’s taught me so much and has kept me going through it all. Thank you for the guardian angel reminder. It means a lot. Sammy was my mom’s entire world, so having him with me is like having a piece of her. I know that she must be devastated for what happened to him, but I think she’s definitely been looking out for both of us and making miracles happen. 🙂 

benny55 said
SOOOOOO GLAD SAMMY IS DOING WELL!!!   YAAAAAAAAAY FOR SAMMY!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thanks for taking time to check in.  We've all been holding our collective breath hoping for the best for Sammy.  Sounds like that tough fella' is ready to get back to BEING SAMMY!!!  Follow his lead.  He's a good Life Coach! 🙂

And remember your Mom is a Guardian Angel for Sammy and for you!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!  

benny55 said
SOOOOOO GLAD SAMMY IS DOING WELL!!!   YAAAAAAAAAY FOR SAMMY!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thanks for taking time to check in.  We've all been holding our collective breath hoping for the best for Sammy.  Sounds like that tough fella' is ready to get back to BEING SAMMY!!!  Follow his lead.  He's a good Life Coach! 🙂

And remember your Mom is a Guardian Angel for Sammy and for you!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!  

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