On a cold day at the end of January of last year, a client came in with a teeny tiny 3 week old great dane puppy wrapped up in a towel. Dr Cody was his doctor, and the client explained how he has been a ‘poor doer’ and hasn’t been thriving since he was born. He had found him with a wound a few days prior, and brought him in because he was seeming to do worse and worse as each day went on. Dr Cody unwrapped the towel to see the cutest little black and white pup, with a terrible wound on his right front foot that was wrapped with a small amount of human medical tape. The damage to his tiny paw was so severe, that the bones were visible. She swooped the little guy into our treatment area to flush and clean the wound, and grabbed me to ask my advice. We decided to send the owner with cleaning solution and to start the little one on antibiotics, gave him some fluids, and pain medications, and sent him home with his owner with strict instructions on managing the wound and to bring him right back if he was worsening.
Two days later, back he came for a recheck appointment – the wound was much worse, and the end of his poor foot and paw was so damaged and infected, that you could see through his wound, right to the other side. The owner just did not have the means to refer to a specialty hospital to get him the emergency surgery and care that he needed, so he elected to put him to sleep. Here is where Kira stepped in. She had seen him on both occasions, and just knew that we (more specifically Harley’s Haven), could give him a chance. She snagged him and into my office she flew, a fire in her eyes. ‘Beth, we have to save this puppy. He’s going to get put to sleep, and I just know we can help him. I’ll foster him, and we have to give him a chance.’ I said of course, as long as the owner was comfortable to sign him over to the rescue. Thankfully he was, and Geralt of Rivia was born. (We knew he was going to be a big boy, so Kira felt he needed a big name).
The very next day, I performed what is easily the MOST stressful surgery I have ever performed in my life. Surgery, though I am good at it, is not my favorite thing. Surgery on a 3 week old, 2.75lb, sick puppy to amputate part of his foot, was definitely not high on my to do list. Thankfully, we were able to perform it very quickly, and both Kira and Mark monitored his anesthesia and he did awesome. Kira took him home on fluids overnight, and was his 24-7 nurse for the next several days – bottle feeding him, warming him, and giving him supplemental fluids and his antibiotics, as he recovered. The first few days were a little rocky, but he hung in there and slowly started getting stronger and bigger each day. That surgery marked the start of a nearly 10 month saga with this leg.
The infection was so bad, in such a tiny body, that we had a hell of a time getting it under control. He was on and off antibiotics for the next 10 months. Many cultures, laser treatments, acupuncture treatments, and even a custom fit brace later, we just kept losing the battle with the infection that had settled in his bones. He had 2 additional surgeries with our orthopedic surgeon, Dr DeNardo, to shorten the leg and try to cut off the infection, but the wound just kept opening up. Finally in November, we admitted defeat and amputated the leg – which was surgery number four for our brave warrior.
Though his recovery was rough, our boy Geralt made it through yet again, and with his strength and determination he has never looked back. As you may have guessed through this whole process, there was no way Kira was letting him go, and honestly even when she wasn’t ready to admit he was staying yet, we all knew. I took the liberty of announcing his adoption for her, but from the day she burst into my office, I knew that puppy was hers. Though he has been through a lot for his young life, Geralt is the type of dog who just makes you smile. He is happy and joyful, and has a zest for life that being three-legged certainly doesn’t dim. Not one bit. I am so grateful for Kira that day – she stepped in and not only saved a life, but gained herself a giant, doofy, best friend who will bring us all joy for years to come. And honestly, who needs 4 legs?