Every Step Matters
Ever since we moved up to Santa Barbara, I made some changes in Hudson’s physical therapy. Along with that, he started puppy training which I will write a blog about! Hudson is working with a personal trainer. I am really excited about both places and I can’t wait to share with you in more detail about it all. I have talked a lot about Hudson’s recovery and his progress, but I wanted to touch more on the steps he took to get where he is today. I had a hard time at first showing videos of how he walked and how he was after surgery because everyone is so quick to judge. However, I have learned that even though people may judge I am doing everything I can for Hudson and I have been in contact with my surgeon throughout every step. I never put Hudson in a position he isn't ready for and before he started to walk we got the okay from the surgeon. When he first was learning to walk I would hold his weight for him and then he began to learn on his own. I want to be able to share all of Hudson’s story for people who follow him, people who may relate, or need help.
Since Hudson’s back injury, we have gone through many different stages of his progression and how he walks. Before surgery, it started off very unnoticeable, he walked almost completely normal and here and there his legs would fall out. Progressively over the course of a couple months, as we went from vet to vet, he was getting worse fast. A couple days before surgery, he was almost paralyzed in his back legs. He would run or walk with his front legs and his back legs would just follow behind with no movement. He was always sleeping since moving became extremely difficult for him. After surgery, he had little to no movement for about two weeks. Having no movement was expected, but we all were praying it wouldn’t last. On the two week mark he started to move his back legs slightly which was absolutely amazing. After that, it all started to go up hill, but that didn’t mean we were out of the clear. We still had to remain super careful with his movements. After getting movement, he began to be able to stand on his own for about ten seconds. I was beyond happy that he was able to just hold himself up.
After he stood he began bending his legs forward showing me he was ready to try and walk. I remember the night he took his first steps after surgery like it was my kids first steps. I was at work and my parents were watching him for a few hours. I remember getting the video and immediately starting to cry. I was so happy that all of his hard work was paying off. My heart broke for Hudson going through all of this. He was such an amazing and sweet puppy, it was heartbreaking watching him struggle and the second he took his first steps, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my chest. All I could think was even if that’s as far as he gets, at least he can stand and take a few steps. His first week of walking was one, two, or three steps and then he would fall over but he would look up and try again.
The weeks following, he started to progress immensely. Each day he was just getting better and better. Once he started walking some more, he would run to get momentum which would allow him to keep his balance. He had such little strength in his back legs that he was dragging a lot which caused him to cut open his toes. Poor little guy couldn’t catch a breath. His little toes still have no hair on them. We put him in booties and that seemed to help, but he still managed to scrape his toes up.
Then, all of a sudden, he was no longer dragging. There was no more cuts and no more blood. He was holding himself up a lot better. As the weeks continued, he still was working extra hard to walk but it was getting better and better.
About a week and a half ago, I started walking him on his leash. For the first two days, he wore his toenails down all the way till they bleed. I made sure to watch them closely, but he still managed to do it. However, after just two days of that, he no longer makes his toes bleed. It’s amazing the different things I have caught onto over time and how much it shows in the progress he is making. He is stronger in his right leg then his left and that’s one of our main focuses right now. When he goes to run he can’t get his left leg to keep up. He is doing amazing, he still has a little bit of a different walk but nothing like it was. Hopefully, consistency with physical therapy, it will all progress and he will keep making steps forward. Another big thing we are working on is his front left leg. His front left leg turns out and you can tell he is over compensating for it. We are working on making him strong in all areas so that he is able to keep his legs straight and it the right position.
After surgery and up until about three weeks ago, Hudson sat with his back legs completely straight! I always said he looked like a stuffed animal. Every time he would sit down I would help him bend his legs in and turn his front paw forward. There were many times I thought wow this is never going to work. Now he sits with both his legs bent and never sits with them straight out. His front paw is slowly turning back in and it is something we will be working on over time.
These pictures above show his progress of his sitting from July till the end of August.
When we got the okay from his surgeon three weeks post op we started going to physical therapy next to my parents house. However, they didn’t seem to be too on top of it and something felt off. I didn’t feel it was the right fit for us. We did a few water therapy classes there and then I found him a new class up in Santa Barbara. I just started him in it this week and I instantly fell in love. We have met with many many many different vets, physical therapist, and surgeons. I use to never be picky or know exactly what I wanted, but I have learned it’s important to know who fits you and your dog right. Our new place in Santa Barbara is called Atlas Rehabilitation For Canines. Their whole facility is rehabilitation. They have different lasers, water therapy, balls, tracks, exercises, you name it and they have it. They were so welcoming and cared so much about Hudson from the second we walked in. They measured his thighs, felt his muscles, they took videos of him and numerous other things. This immediately showed me how much they really know what they are doing. The first time we went in I sat down to talk with the vet and physical therapist, they already read everything about him and knew everything down to the tiniest detail about Hudson’s past. They gave us at home exercises, talked to me for a long time, and made Hudson feel comfortable. They gave us a plan and told us how he should be progressing. It is important to me that he gets all of the help he needs but I want to make sure where I’m going is working. We are starting off with two days a week at physical therapy. They said that if we did it any less we would not see the progress we were hoping for. I work hard every day to help Hudson get back to being able to walk normal and I hope that this will help him even more. He is such a crazy little puppy and is such a fighter.
This journey has taught me in so many ways how to look at life in a different way. I never knew I would fall so in love with a dog but here I am. It’s a team effort for Hudson to get better and I would say we are killing it. He is my baby boy and I am learning a lot along this road. I look back at these videos and it reminds me of how different it was just a month, two months, or three months ago. I sit here in tears of joy looking at Hudson today and think wow, he truly is a strong puppy who fought to get where he is today.