The Dresden Files

These boots are made for walking….

Of all the many names that we have adopted for Dresden my favorite one has been “booty paws.” We call him this because all four of his legs are white almost up to his knees. And oh man, did that dog love to run. After being diagnosed with two torn back ACLs on January 2016 Dresden wasn’t much for running, on bad days he couldn’t even walk. We moved our whole lives downstairs. Put a queen size blow up bed in the living room and that is where we slept with Dresden. We found a great doctor at Lakewood Animal Hospital, Dr. Soda Gray, who gave us our first glimmer of hope while saving $7,000 for surgery. We got Dresden a custom stifle brace from GO Hero. It was cutting edge, new, and practically unheard of, but Dr. Gray was willing and able to do the brace and send off the casting.

For months Dresden wore this brace on his worst leg, the left leg. Allowing him more mobility than he ever had. Then one day, without his brace, he decided to go up the stairs. From there the rest is history. We took Dresden on his first walk to the park, his first walk in over 6 months since his diagnosis. We’re hopeful. We’re still saving and plan on getting a new set of X-Rays, but for Dresden things are getting better.

Bullymake No More

I was very excited when I found Bullymake.  Finally, a dog subscription box designed for “aggressive chewers.” My February Review of their product was pretty good and Dresden still has all the toys from that month’s box. In April I noticed that my box for March still hadn’t arrived and I contact the company. Two days later they responded with an apology and two days after that I received a shipping notification for my past due box.  I thought that would be the end of it.  This is a new company and everyone makes mistakes.  I really didn’t give it much more thought than that.  Then the box arrived…  Looking at the products I discovered that the Smokehouse Beef sticks were opened and busted from the bottom.



The sticks were really dry and brittle.  I wasn’t sure if that was how they were supposed to be or if they had been in the box long enough opened and rolling around that they just dried out.  I contacted the company two days ago and I have heard nothing back.

I decided today to go ahead and cancel my subscription with Bullymake. I still have one month left before my renewal, so hopefully they still send me my April box.  I really don’t want to have to contact them again regarding their product.  I’m not giving up on them forever, either.  They are still a relatively new company and if they are still around in a year I’ll probably give them another shot, everyone deserves a second chance.

If We Could Be Heroes…..

Brace FaceDresden’s custom stifle brace for his torn ACL from GoHero has so far not been the solution we were hoping for.  In fact, after 3 days of usage, Dresden does nothing but cry when it’s on.  His feet were also rolling under him when he walked on, or applied any pressure to the brace.  I contacted GoHero and sent them pictures of what was going on.  Thankfully, they got back to me and told me this is a fairly common fitting issue known as “knuckling.”  All I needed to do was send the brace back for a few adjustments.  I have to say that I am very pleased with this company and even though I am disappointed, I’m still very hopeful that this brace will buy us the time we need to save and pay for his ACL surgery.

Here’s to hoping that these new set of adjustments do the trick for our hobgoblin.

Sedation Elation

Dresden went under sedation yesterday to be cast for a custom brace for his torn ACLs in both back legs.
As always Lakewood Animal Clinic was amazing and I still cannot say enough wonderful things about Pamela Soda Gray, DVM.
(She even took pictures while in the procedure room of the casting process so I could put them on here for everyone to see)

Right Leg Being Cast

Right Leg Being Cast

Left Leg Being Cast

Left Leg Being Cast

Dresden did great and I was truly elated to hear he did well.  The first thing he did while coming out of anesthesia was wag his tail.
She she said the whole room was filled with “awwwwwww’s”
He is such a lady magnet.

When we got him home he was pretty out of it and drugged up….
Drugged Up

….but he settled in to sleep with his Daddy downstairs.
Sleepy Time w/ Daddy

This AM I packed up the castings to be shipped back to ACE ORTHO to get Dresden’s Stifle Knee Brace made.







I’ve been told that it takes a few weeks for the brace to be made and shipped back to the vet.
So now, we’re back to waiting.

That’s all for now!

Meet and Greet at Lakewood Animal Hospital

A few days ago we got to meet Dr. Pamela Soda Gray, DVM at Lakewood Animal Hospital.  She was positively awesome!  I mean, just, WOW!  Dresden loved her (though I have never seen this dog dislike anyone), I loved her and she was the first doctor I have met who hasn’t treated me like I am an insane person for trying a custom brace over doing thousands of dollars worth of surgery.  Seriously, for anyone out there who has been given the devastating news of a torn ACL in your dog’s leg I am sure you know how those vets’ talk – as if this is your only option in the entire world and if you do not do it right this second you’re a terrible person.  It’s a pretty crappy feeling and no one should make you feel like you’re not doing enough for the pet that you love – SHAME ON YOU for not having $7,000 – $10,000 laying around….

Anyhow, Dresden goes under sedation next Wednesday (March 9th 2016) at 6:20 PM. Both back legs are being cast, but at this time we’re only paying for his left back leg.  If he does well, and takes to the brace, we’ll pay to have the second custom brace made.  It takes about two weeks for the brace to be made and then a few days or so for shipping. After that we’ll learn how to fit the brace and see if he adapts to it.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high as this tech is so new and Dresden is so young, audacious and chews everything!

Updates will follow regardless of outcome and progress.

The Hivemaster

Back in 1994 TSR released The Complete Druid’s Handbook supplement guide. The guide offered new character “kits” for players and introduced my favorite, albeit most underrated kit, The Hivemaster. Hivemasters appear somewhat enigmatic. Many attempt to instill insectoid virtues in their followers, such as patience, hard work, and close cooperation. Some higher-level Hivemasters even attempt to influence human societies to adopt a communal pattern modeled on that of hive insects. Others–often styling themselves Webmasters–take on the patient, deadly personas of predator arachnids or insects such as dragonflies or spiders, ruthlessly hunting down (or lying in wait to trap) the enemies of the druidic order. A Hivemaster’s grove usually centers on the dwelling place of the creature for which the druid has the greatest affinity–a forest covered with spider webs, a field with beehives, etc…

Uhhh – Okay, but where am I going with this? What does this have to do Dresden? Well, the answer is pretty simple. In a fantasy world being a Hivemaster is eccentric and cool. You can walk through spider webs and not get stuck! When you’re a dog allergic to either your glucosamine supplements or Rimadyl being a Hivemaster is totally not fun, cool, or eccentric. It’s miserable. For the last 3 days we have been playing the game – what makes Dresden break out into gigantic huge raised itchy bumps all over his body? The answer is – we have no damn clue. We started giving him 75mg of Benadryl which alleviated all symptoms, but did not address the problem. All it did was make a lethargic, constipated puppy that lost his appetite. Stage two has been the discontinuation of all drugs as we patiently wait for our Hivemaster to recover. Then we will start ONE treatment and see if it causes his visceral allergic reaction.   Nothing like experimenting on your dog to resolve problems…. while this is going on we have belayed the casting and sedation for his custom ACL braces. I mean, c’mon, one issue at a time.

Long story short, being a Hivemaster is only cool when dealing with fantasy roleplaying games – in real life it totally sucks!

No Such thing as Coincidence

After a few referrals for Dresden, almost all the doctors have said he needs TPLO surgery on both back legs.  Cost for surgery, depending on area, has been estimated at $7,000 – $10,000.  Some of these costs include his physical therapy, others do not.  Even though we have a great dog insurance plan with PetPlan the upfront cost are just not within reach at this time.  However, we’re still working diligently on conservative treatment and we’ve decided to go ahead with a custom Stifle Brace by GoHero. Dresden’s current vet from West Park Animal Hospital, Dr. Scott wasn’t keen on doing the casting for the brace as he hasn’t seen one that works on ACLs. Though he was opened minded and was willing to offer this service as an alternative to surgery depending on how Dresden took to the brace and X-Rays later to review the legs. Dr. Scott was also more than willing to allow me to transfer Dresden’s records to a fabulous doctor at Lakewood Animal Hospital, Dr. Konecny who has in fact done this brace before.  However, since our hobgoblin is a hyper tyrant, he would need to be put under sedation which means another fellow would have to do Dresden’s cast.  Interesting enough, those doctors were all currently out of town in Columbus attending a channel conference and convention, and guess who was in attendance? Go Hero.  The only reason I even knew this was from a phone conversation with Dr. Ben Blecha, founder of Go Hero. He wanted to make sure I ordered my casting kit so that he could send it before attending the channel conference in Columbus – he didn’t want me to be stuck waiting a week for his return. When I told Dr. Konency over the phone that Go Hero was at the conference she seemed pretty excited stating that she would let her colleagues know so they could meet them and learn firsthand about their custom brace and casting procedure.

Long story short, Dresden is scheduled to go under and get his casting next week at Lakewood Animal Hospital.

Cost Breakdown:
$275.00 – For casting procedure (this includes office visit and exam, sedation, half day stay)
$834.00 – Casting mold stuff, and custom brace w/ shipping cost included (once brace is ready in 2 weeks)

I know that sounds like a lot of money for something that may not work at all, but I’m willing to try. I mean, look at this face…
Sitting Pretty




I’ll continue to document Dresden’s adventure with videos and blog updates as the days go by.

Robot Legs

Dresden has been recently diagnosed with a torn ACL on his left back leg.  From the X-Rays it appears that the weight he has been putting on his right back leg to compensate for his lack of motion (and pain) in his left has exacerbated, and begun to tear, his right back leg as well .  It has been recommended by our vet that he get a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery on both back legs.  The surgery comes at a hefty price tag – $7,000+.  Excluding the cost, there are also some pretty serious risks involved as well (per

— Cracking and splintering of the bones where the metal plates are attached to bone with screws;
— Persistent infections in the bones;
— Failure of the patellar ligament due to increased stress on that ligament caused by altered joint geometry.
— Failure to heal of the saw-cut re-positioned bone segments.
— Damage to the joint’s meniscus following the ‘meniscus-release’ often done in association with TPLOs.
— Loosening of the metal plates caused by backing-out of the screws after surgery or failure of the screws’ attachment from crumbling bone or other causes.
— Tibial tuberosity fracturing;
— Spinal alignment problems resulting from the altered bone structure having changed stress vectors ;
— Increased cancer rates associated with the metal implants.
— Peroneal nerve damage
— Popliteal artery trauma
— And more.

Downstairs BedDresden is only 1.2 years old and his bone plates are still growing.  While I am not opposed to surgery, I’m also not 100% sold on it either.  Currently, we’re looking into more conservative approaches to his therapy until we can address a surgical procedure…

We started by creating a sleeping space for ourselves downstairs to limit Dresden’s desire to go upstairs and play with the cats.  He’s also receiving Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM as a daily supplement and is currently taking 75 MG of Rimadyl 2x a day.

I’ve also been contacting all of our local vets in regards to getting him fitted and cast with a custom Stifle Knee Brace, by Hero. I haven’t heard back from any vets yet, but I only recently learned about this brace from a few days of research.

It’s been a very stressful exhausting last few days, but we’re making due for our little hobgoblin.
Sleepy Time

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