This is probably the tenth time I have attempted to write about this particular subject. For the first time in my life I have had no desire to speak. And I really never shut up. I have several drafts and a few that have been discarded. But this is it so here goes.
I am an animal person. Even when I pretend not to be. I like them. I even love them except when I am wearing black or I have stepped in poop. I would absolutely give CPR to a squirrel. I feed strays. I worry when I see a dog running down the street. I have been known to bring home an animal here and there. Usually pregnant cats. I have a sign somewhere on me that only pregnant cats can see.
On the day that Russell had decided to shimmy up the fence to explore the neighborhood it had been just like any other day. I was irritated with my shoe full of children. Dogs were underfoot. I was my crazed tired mom self. I knew Russell could climb the fence. Russell was one of those dogs. You know the kind that will find any way to escape. He didn’t do it all the time just when the mood struck him.
2 minutes was all it took for me to shoo Russell outside, for him to shimmy over the fence, and to be hit by a truck. When our neighbor knocked on our door my first words were “Is he out again?” You can imagine my shock when he replied “He was hit by a car.”
The next fifteen minutes were a complete blur. Someone said they were sorry. Someone asked me if I needed a towel. Someone said they tried to stop her. Someone said poor doggy.
I held him in my arms covered in blood, standing on my patio completely lost on what to do next. I couldn’t let the toddlers see him. Matt was at work. I needed to get him to a vet. I needed help.
Our wonderful neighbors came to our rescue. To his rescue with a ride to the emergency vet hospital. I stayed behind with toddlers and handed over Russell to August. August held him the whole way there. August waited 6 hours in a waiting room hoping to hear good news. August cried herself to sleep that night. In that moment I was so very proud of her. I was also so very heartbroken for her. And for Russell.
Matt and I had discussed prior what we would do if ever one of our pets were injured or sick and if the costs of care were too much. But when the phone calls came in and we went from $300 to $1000 in less than two hours the costs didn’t seem so large. Even when that $1000 tripled over the weekend it was hard to put a limit on the value of Russell’s life.
Russell made it. He was hit by a truck and lived. We were so overjoyed and scared. The vet went over his care instructions. She explained to us that his front leg had been fractured. And his back leg had been degloved. I googled degloving. I suggest you don’t. He had painkillers and antibiotics. He was wrapped up. He looked dazed and broken. We were told to follow up with our vet. It felt so overwhelming but he was alive.
The next morning we were turned away by his regular vet. They would not be able to treat his degloving injury. We were then turned down by several more vets. When finally a nice woman gave me a reference instead of telling me to just call around.
We found what would end up being the most wonderful veterinarian clinic ever. On our first visit I saw Russell’s degloving injury. It will be a memory that I keep with me forever. It was also explained to us Russell would need a costly surgery to place a plate in his leg to ever use it again. That pins probably wouldn’t work and we could attempt splinting it. But for that to work we would have to pray for a miracle. Sadly we had exhausted all of our funds and could only afford the miracle.
Over the course of the next two weeks we spent every other day in that veterinarian clinic having Russell bandaged and x-rayed. My sister suggested a GoFundMe account. I had to google it. And well I said why not it couldn’t hurt. I was holding out hope we could swing that surgery for Russell.
People can be very kind. The support has made my little grinch heart grow and grow. Donations came in from family, friends, and strangers. People can also be cruel. I had an individual put me on blast for my prior spending habits. It made me angry and sad. I also felt guilty for not being able to predict the future. For not having enough money for that surgery. I tried to tell myself that we had already spent more or had done more than most could or would have. But it still hurt.
Russell also likes to shimmy out of things which is what he did on a Friday night of course. He decided that splint sucked and he had enough of it. His x-ray would show that his leg was at a 90 degree angle again. This would be the 3rd time to attempt to straighten it. Which required sedating Russell again. Amputation had already been uttered. We already had the inevitable eating away at us. How do you make that kind of decision? How do you cut off the limb of someone you love? I did a lot of crying. I am still crying.
We were told Russell would keep breaking his leg, that even the plate wasn’t a guarantee. Could we really confine Russell for months, keep his leg splinted, and then risk doing it all over again the minute that splint came off. So we made the decision to amputate his leg. Through the whole process we were so worried about that back paw. We were worried about infection. An infection could mean the loss of his limb. And man that back paw healed beautifully. I still feel blindsided. You break a leg, you wear a silly cast, and it heals right?
We are on day 4 with Russell our spirited tripawd dog. Thanks to the kindness of family, friends, and strangers we almost have enough to cover his amputation surgery. It means so much to us. I can not even express our gratitude enough. Russell’s vet family is amazing. I want to just hug every single one of them there but especially his technician Peter who has gone above and beyond for little Russell. He is a hero to us.
I had no idea how much I loved my little buddy Russell Brand till this nightmare happened. Recently Matt had given a speech to the girls about loving specifically their pets while they are here. To pet them and play with them. To be the best human companions possible. I have not always been the best companion possible. I have been guilty of not petting or playing enough. I have been distracted. I have been irritated. I have been down right mad. And I have learned a hard lesson. Love them while they are here. You will miss them when they are gone.
Russell is a warrior. I know he will rock 3 legs.