Snickers was such a good puppy. She slept all night, right from the start. She was crate trained, so there was never a worry about her chewing furniture or having accidents. During the day, Snickers would play catch and watch Buddy, my parakeet. I was, and still am, concerned about the two of them getting "too familiar" with each other. Snickers seems to be a very good hunter; her nose is always sniffing at something.
I called the local vet and explained that we had just rescued a Rat Terrier puppy and could I get her in for a check up? They were very accommodating, and set the appointment up for the following week. The initial check up was free because she was a rescue. Many veterinarians will offer free first exams for rescue animals, so it pays to ask. I didn't know this and didn't ask. It was put on the bill as a $0 charge for "Rescue Animal First Exam". There were charges for medication, and x-rays, but this is still a nice incentive to rescue an animal.
Snickers and I went in and met Dr. W. They got along from the very first sniff. Dr. W. is a lover of Rat Terriers and had two of her own. Because I didn't really know Snickers yet, I asked Dr. W. to muzzle her for the exam. Snickers did growl a little when she had her temperature taken, but otherwise was okay. Snickers had a little bit of a temperature, but there didn't seem to be a reason for it. She was only two weeks post-spay, and had just been transported across state, so I think I would have had a temperature, too!
I told Dr. W. I was worried about Snickers' limp. I asked her to check that knee. It seemed to have a bump and I was worried that it had been "broken" and not treated in the "door accident". Dr. W. let Snickers walk around the room, and then took her to do an x-ray. She came back with the x-rays and asked if either Bob or I knew how to read one. We both have read chest films, so asked her to go ahead with it.
Snickers' leg bones were curved in the shape of an "S". Her knee cap was fused on to the side of the head of the femur. She did not have an accident with a door. Snickers had a very bad birth defect, a patellar luxation. Dr. W. was very apologetic. She seemed to take it personally that this little dog had such a big problem. We were given the name of a top canine orthopedic surgeon and told we needed to go see him to learn our options. We were told this dog was in pain and needed treatment as soon as possible. We received a supply of pain medications as well as instructions on living with a new dog as well as sites for puppy training.
You'd think this would be a big downer, but Snickers did not seem to be down. She was happier each day that we had her and so were we. It is amazing how much an animal in need can bring to your life. I think we needed her as much as she needed us. I made the appointment with the orthopod, but we continued to go for walks and to play. Snickers was still a terrier, bad leg or not. She could play and hunt and run and love with the best of them. What a little inspiration she is!
Next is our visit to the orthopod.