Monday, September 30, 2013

How to have your dog be a part of your wedding

My husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary this past weekend.  As we were looking back through our beautiful pictures I thought it would be fun to share with other pet lovers how we incorporated our dogs into the big day.

Now having four dogs like we do it was a bit of a challenge to work them into the plan without things getting ridiculous.  We had a small bridal party consisting of my matron of honor Hilary and his best man Ryan, who happen to be married to each other.  I thought it would be delightful to have all four dogs walk down the aisle in place of a traditional wedding party.  Unfortunately, this brilliant idea was quickly nixed by both my husband and the Church as a bit too much.

So I consented to have one dog, our Labradoodle Frank, meet us after the ceremony for pictures.  Frank was bestowed this honor as Hugh and I got Frank together when he was a puppy in fall of 2010.  It really would have been a bit dicey with all four dogs jumping around my pristine white dress.  It was well worth the effort, the pictures with Frank are by far my favorite from the wedding.

In order to include all of the dogs I did find little ways to incorporate them into the wedding festivities.  I found someone on Etsy to make custom toppers for our cake, this was another one of my favorite parts of the wedding.  I also had a map drawn up for the guest bags and asked that the artist include the dogs in the illustration.

If you do have your dog around for the wedding festivities make sure there is someone who is responsible for him, things can get hectic and you don’t want to be worried about his whereabouts.  Also keep in mind, not all dogs love a party.  If your dog is timid or fearful perhaps it is best to have him stay safely at home.  Even if your pets can’t be physically present for the actual day there are plenty of ways to include them, after all they are a part of the family!

Thank you to our wonderful photographer Ashley O'Dell -

Monday, September 23, 2013

Leah's story

On Friday morning a one year old, eleven-pound Yorkie mix named Leah was rushed to Friendship in shock and near death.  She had been attacked by three large dogs while her owners were walking her in their neighborhood in Northeast DC.  The dogs had broken out of their fenced yard and were savagely attacking Leah as her owners and the dogs’ owner stood by unable to break up the fight.  A passing police officer stopped to help and unfortunately was forced to shoot one of the dogs in order to stop the attack.

Leah presented to us with severe wounds to her chest, abdomen and left rear leg.  Her owners expressed significant financial concerns when they learned how serious her condition was.  We initially thought that the bite wounds penetrated her abdomen and she would need an emergency exploratory surgery.  One of our amazing and generous clients happened to be in the lobby when the owners arrived and offered to donate money to help with Leah’s care.  Friendship stepped in and matched the donation with money from our Brudder-Sullivan fund.

She was started on intravenous fluids to address the shock, pain medication to make her more comfortable and antibiotics to prevent infection.  Luckily after multiple x-rays we determined the wounds did not enter her abdomen and emergency surgery was not needed.  She would need an extensive wound explore of her left leg and belly once she was stable for anesthesia.

Leah responded well to initial treatment and we put her under general anesthesia Friday afternoon to assess the extent of her wounds.  She had a small puncture wound on her abdomen where the left leg meets the belly surrounded by a large dark purple bruise that extended down her left leg.  The puncture was opened up to better allow us to visualize what was going on under the skin.  Underneath there was extensive damage to the muscles of her inner thigh and the surrounding connective tissue.  Additionally the femoral vein, which is the main blood supply to the leg, had a small tear and was leaking. 

 Given how close the femoral artery and vein were to the wounds Leah was a lucky dog indeed.  If either of these important vessels had been torn during the attack she would have died almost instantly.  We cleaned her wound thoroughly and packed them with an antimicrobial dressing.  She will need daily bandages changes done under sedation while we wait to see what tissue is going die before we can move to surgically closing the wound.  This can take up to a few weeks and will be very expensive.

For her bandage changes on Saturday and Sunday we were very happy with how her wounds are looking.  The leak in the femoral vein stopped thanks to a special material we applied called Vetspon that helped to seal over the vessel.  We removed some muscle tissue that had started to die and replaced her bandage.  Her red blood cell count and blood protein levels dropped due to loss through her wounds but she is eating well and seems comfortable on her intravenous pain medications.  It is heartwarming to see her perk up when her owners come to visit.

Monday we removed more dead muscle and switched to a dressing called Calcium Alginate that will stay in the wound for the next 48 hours.  We are trying to wean her off of the IV medications and switch her to oral medications so she can go home.  We will then have her owners bring her back and forth for the bandage changes.  On Wednesday we will reevaluate the health of the tissue and see where we need to go.  Please check back in for more updates and keep sending Leah good thoughts to help with her healing!