What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dogs of HELP FIDO: Louie's Story

Louis (a.k.a. Lou, Louie, Louis Bean, Sir Louis of Beansworth, Louieboy, Stinkyface, Momma's Boy, and "what did you do??!!") became a part of my furry family in July of 2004. He was about 6 months old.
I first saw this precious pup when he was about 8 weeks old. He had no name and was only called "Puppy" on his chart. I was in my 4th year of veterinary school and working my way through clinical rotations. My classmate was carrying him like a baby through the main hallway to the x-ray ward. You could hear all of the "oohs and aahs" as she walked him down, as students and professors alike were stopping to give him a little belly tickle or to marvel at his absolute cuteness.
His reason for evaluation at OSU Veterinary Hospital was his inability to walk correctly. He hobbled on his back legs and could barely get around. After being seen by the Orthopedic veterinary specialists and being x-rayed, he was found to have a condition called Grade 4 bilateral medial patellar luxation. In simpler terms, his kneecaps were fixed into an abnormal position on inside surface of each of his back legs at the area of the knee. Each time he tried to walk, malformed ligaments would pull tightly and cause him pain and discomfort. This is a common condition of small dogs and usually causes very minimal problems. However, Louie was a larger breed dog and he was one of the unfortunate few that had the condition to such a serious degree that he would require orthopedic surgery to correct the defect.
When Louie's owners were informed of his diagnosis and the surgery required to make him walk normally, their response was this, and I quote: "If he's not going to be an athletic dog then we just want to put him to sleep." My classmate and the residents on the case were, needless to say, horrified at the owner's unemotional and seemingly final decision. They immediately pleaded with the powers that be, and the orthopedic surgeon to take pity on this pup. They managed to persuade Louie's owners to sign ownership over to the OSU Vet Hospital. Louis was scheduled to have surgery under the "good samaritan" sanctions of the hospital, meaning that his care would be paid for from a fund established for just such cases.
Surgery included shaving down some bone, cutting and repositioning ligaments and inserting 2 pins into the bone of each of his back legs. He had a long road to recovery. He spent several months under strict cage rest with physical therapy. Along the way he had this really funny walk where he had his knees turned out and walked on his toes...he looked like a little frog.
So, how did I come to take in this lucky boy? Needless to say I immediately fell in love with him the first time I saw him. And so did everyone else in the vet hospital. I visited him every day, and he frequently spent time in the surgery office, main office, reception area and radiology ward with the technicians. Everyone wanted to spend time with little Louie. I came forward, initially to adopt him for my parents in NY who had very recently lost one of their dogs. The adoption was approved and shortly thereafter Louie (who my parents called "Tre" because he was their 3rd dog) was driven across 600 miles to become a new yorker. Unfortunately, one of my parents other dogs did not approve of Louis and after a period of trying to make things work, my parents did not think they could keep him.
Here is where I come in. Accepting the plight of all veterinarians and vet students of taking in every down and out creature, I adopted "Tre" and changed his name to Louis. The rest is history.
Louis is now about 4 and a half years old. He is the sweetest pup you could ever know and is a real momma's boy. He gets along famously with my 2 other dogs and 5 cats. He is always ready to snuggle, give a wet slobbery kiss (seriously...he gives the BEST puppy kisses!!), or a really great hug. He does have an occasional problem with separation anxiety (its no wonder with all of the time he spent in a cage), but is very happy with his new digs here in Ohio. As far as his activity level and ability to get around, it's like he never had a disability at all. He is EXTREMELY active! Along with loving to play ball and fetch a stick, his other favorite activity is jumping about 4-5 feet straight up into the air.
Although his front paws stick out to the side a bit and his front legs are "bow-legged" because of all of the pressure he put on his front end while he was recovering from surgery, his only real reminder of his ordeal are the small scars on each of his knees. The bowed legs and turned out toes give him character, and I wouldn't want him any other way.
He has gotten me through so much over the last few years, and I couldn't ever imagine my life without him. He is a true inspiration to me. He is my Louie.

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These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...