The bionic dog

This summer was an expensive but fun one for us. Kitchen remodel. Month at the beach. New right knee for our yellow lab.

At the dog beach.

Adios, home equity. It was nice knowing you.

But as I said to my wife the other day, “Money, you can’t eat it when you’re dead.”

She said, “that doesn’t make sense.” And she was correct. It doesn’t. Sometimes, the stuff just comes out of my mouth.

Earlier this year, our yellow lab tore her ACL in one knee, and had a partial tear in the other. The vet told us it’s common for the second knee to tear 100 percent after the first surgery. And he was correct. It did. We had hoped it wouldn’t, but last week we noticed Luna limping and keeping it off the ground, a bad sign.

Off to the vet my wife went. Second tear confirmed.

It was less of a decision of whether to do the second surgery – another 5K burned – as it was of when to do the surgery. After a day of discussion, we decided to do it right away. We can’t stand to watch Luna limp around, not to mention that it must hurt. So, in she goes this week for the second bionic knee filled with screws (pretty much what holds my brain together). After that there is a three-month recovery period (the first month is the hardest, because we have to restrict her to the dog bed, except for going out to fertilize the lawn). In four months, she’ll be pulling a sled again. Or should be to earn back the cost of the two surgeries.

To pay for the operation, we’ll be cutting back in 2013. We placed a vase on the dining table and scraps of paper in the mouth of a nutcracker. Each time we save money, we write it down and drop it in. Last night, I lowered our DirecTV subscription. Goodbye, Laker’s games. Hello, $300 saved over the next 12 months.

Oh, that wet dog smell.

My daughter also gave up Little Pony episodes, which she wasn’t thrilled about. She almost got a late-night ass-chewing from my wife when she said: “you aren’t giving up anything, Mama,” not comprehending the money going out the door was also earned by her mother.

We’ll be thinking up other ways to cut out spending in 2013. I gave up Christmas presents from my wife and daughter. And the landline phone may be going – why do we have it and two cell phones?

And, as Luna’s picture made two 2013 dog calendars, we’re thinking of letting people take their pictures with her for 5 bucks a pop. I can tell you exactly how much this plan will make – $15. Five from my wife, my daughter and me.

All of this for the love of a dog we raised from a pup alongside our daughter. What choice did we have?

9 thoughts on “The bionic dog

  1. So sorry to hear Luna messed up her other knee… I bet the recovery is really hard with labs. They are so happy and playful it must be a nightmare to keep them from playing and running. It’s been 11 weeks since Sadie’s knee surgery and we are every so thankful that all she ever wants to do is just lie around and sleep. It made limiting her activity really easy for us. However, I worry about her blowing the other knee. I guess the bright side for Luna is that not only is she a famous calendar girl, but she doesn’t have any more knees to blow out. Best of luck with the surgery and recovery and mega-saving!

    • Dr. Nanos,

      So very good to hear from you. Yes, Luna went and did a dog-thing and messed up the other knee. Tomorrow, she goes under the knife. Luckily, Luna is calm and mellow and the perfect patient. Now if our nutty black lab had this happen, we’d be using a ton of sedative. Glad Sadie is taking it easy. I hope she doesn’t blow out her other knee. If the vet didn’t mention any damage to the other knee, I would think she’d be okay. I hope.

      We’re pretty excited about the calendar. After all of these years of sending in photos.

      Thanks for checking in. And happy holidays to you and Matt, biker extraordinaire.


  2. I hope the op. goes okay for Luna, she is a beautiful dog, and you are beautiful people to go the extra mile for her, when I know there are many others out there who wouldn’t have. I wish you all, including luna the very best, and the vase on the table to add funds is a excellent idea, I have done it before and it really shows you how every penny counts…and adds up!

    • Dear Kirby’s Dawg Blog,

      Thank you so much for sending the good vibes. Much appreciated. You’re exactly on the mark about how the money adds up. We’re going to save that 5K if it takes us all of 2013 and we do it a dollar at a time. We’re excited though that in three or four months, Luna will be back to her old playful self, but with a whole lot of metal in her hind legs. 🙂

      Really appreciate you taking the time to read the post and leave a most excellent comment. My humble thanks.


  3. UC,

    Sorry to hear Luna will be going under the knife yet again and it’s hitting you where it hurts. She’s such a Good Girl. What other option did you have? Seriously though, I really admire you and your family for sacrificing all you can to provide comfort for her. I enjoy the humor you add to the situation and like the idea about having pictures made with her. Better than a kissing booth I suppose.

    I feel lucky that Lucy only has arthritis in her right knee and the monthly shots and Dasaquin seem to be helping.

    Best regards my friend.

    • Larry, my dog friend,

      I appreciate the thoughts about Luna. You’re right. We had no other option. We’re dog people. It was a simple decision. “No,” never came up, though I did wish I had become a vet and could do the surgery myself. 🙂

      Though I’m a dog person, I’ve never enjoyed kissing dogs. My wife is another story loves kissing the dogs. And she kisses me. A dog is probably better now that I think of it that way.

      I’ll look up Dasaquin. The med Luna is on is in short supply. Not sure what we’re going to replace it with.

      Best to you, your pup and family.


  4. Hope that Luna’s surgery went well and she has a speedy recovery. Lucy said she would be glad to share her tennis ball with her and help with rehab play if only she lived closer.
    Probably more sniffing than play though. 🙂

    Stay well..

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