Saturday, May 25, 2013

When Hope is Elusive

I was feeling pretty low about Honeybun- some days she could walk ok, and then she would be limping again. At the last visit, the vet said he really hated to put her through surgery and asked that we do a couple more laser treatments and then reassess. He decided she must have loose ligaments around her hip joint, so the socket is loose and the hip wobbly. He said it was hard to know exactly what was going on with soft tissue, until you go in with surgery. But he was hoping we could "manage" her problem and avoid surgery. He seems to feel she is a good bit older than we thought. He could be right- deaf, lame, greying. Sounds like old age in all its fun and delight! Since we found her, her age was a guess- but she was probably more like 5 or 6 as opposed to just 2, as the vet who first saw her suggested.

I looked online to try to understand what the vet had described. He never labeled it hip dysplasia, but that is exactly the description of hip dysplasia. Anyway, having considered his description, I thought the obvious solution would be a device that straps on the dog and compresses the hip to give external support to the loose joint. In no time, I found a little company a mere 2 hours from us that sells just such a device...for $79! This is a whole lot less than the $2,000-$3000 surgery and a whole lot less traumatic. And...if it doesn't work, I get my money back.

Since I had nothing to lose, I ordered it. It arrived yesterday, only two days later. I strapped it on. It is soft material, so comfortable for her to wear, and can be left on all day. She didn't seem to mind it at all. However, I didn't have it adjusted well, or couldn't figure it out and finally took it off, knowing I had wasted $10 postage. It slipped down every time she sat and then she couldn't stand up, and even when it was on the hips, it was too loose to be of any help. I called the company to find out the return procedure. They weren't there so I left a despairing message. I wanted to weep. I had been so hopeful.

But then I decided I would try it again. I didn't have much hope but really hadn't fiddled with it very long. I had given up thinking it was obvious it wasn't going to work. However, this time, I realized I had strapped the leg strap incorrectly. This time it seemed to fit, and she instantly perked up and wanted to go for a walk.

"OK," I agreed, "Let's test it." I snapped on her leash.
She pranced out the door. Yes, pranced! And trotted on her walk, wagging her tail. We walked about a quarter mile, much further than any walk she has done in three weeks. She would gladly have kept going, but I felt I better take it slow. So after just one usage, I was very encouraged and hopeful. (The company is, and the hip dysplasia brace is called "Hip Hound.") Later that evening, she begged to go for a walk. She stood hopefully at the door, looking very hip in her Hip Hound brace.
"OK," I agreed, "Let's REALLY test it!"
We started around the block. At the 1/4 mile mark, she was still trotting along, looking like her old self. I noticed that the bad leg that had toed in and dragged every few steps now turned out. Her whole gait and attitude was different. It was clear that with the brace on, she didn't hurt anymore. We went all the way around the block. A whole mile. She would've gone further!
As advised by the company, I removed the brace for the evening for her to sleep more comfortably.

I was wondering how she would be this morning. If she was lame again, I would cut back on the distance of our walks, perhaps forever. If she wasn't lame, I was keeping the brace and buying stock in the new company.
She was fast asleep in her "den" in my closet. I flicked on the light. She lifted her head, stretched while wagging her tail, and then stood up. And trotted out without limping to her food bowl.

Isn't that the way God so often works? When you feel right on the edge of giving up, you just know nothing will ever work desperation, you give it one more shot. And sometimes, God grants success just when you are certain it will never come.

I called Orthodog back, and again got the answering machine. "Disregard my last message," I said, "It looks like it just might work!"

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. (Psalms 43:5 NASB)

-save a dog-


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Vicky! I needed the encouragement as I feel much the same way with my back pain and issues. Seems to get better only to feel worse again. But I'm keeping at it and hope that I'll soon be trotting around like Honeybun!

  2. Dianne, you are one of the folks I thought of as I wrote this. I pray for you all the time- hang in there!!!!!!

  3. I like this. It reminds me (one again) to not give up. My husband and I have a saying that we tell each other when one or both of us feels like giving up...."5 more miles". This came from a sermon we heard many years ago about the wondering Israelites complaining about being thirtsy. They finally stopped and drank water from the bitter wells of Marah. If they had gone about 5 more miles, they would have been able to enjoy delicious water from the springs of Elim. I'm glad you tried that device again and that it worked.