Goose. That’s the main reason why we help. Once in a lifetime, a dog comes into your world and turns it upside down in the best way possible. Goose was that dog for us. A beyond loveable and excitable Chocolate Lab, Goose graced us and all with his presence for 7.5 glorious years. My daily partner in crime, Goose and I spent every day together from the moment he joined our family at 8 weeks old. Transitioning from shared office space to a home office, I became a stay-at-home dog parent and never looked back.
Immediately I dove headfirst into all things dog. I researched everything I could. And I mean everything. My entire life revolved around making every day for Goose a bucket list day. Every single day was an adventure, every trip outdoors a training session, every encounter with a stranger an opportunity to bring a smile to their face or a laugh to their day. After only a few short months with Goose, we created Daily Dogs, a dog blog that reviewed dog products of all kinds from quality companies. We partnered and worked with almost every dog company in North America testing out products and writing reviews. We donated almost all of the products we received after testing to dogs in need.
In November of 2020 Goose suffered a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear and meniscus tear that required Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery. He was the perfect candidate for surgery as he was still young and in perfect health other than his knee issue. For the month of December we kept things pretty relaxed in preparation for surgery in early January 2021. Pre-surgery we completely converted our living room into what we called the “recovery room” and adapted our home to be the most accessible for Goose throughout his recovery by building ramps, installing barriers, and completely covering all potential “slip zones” with rubber-backed floor mats.
The day after he arrived home from surgery he walked perfectly, no limp whatsoever which was incredible considering he never put weight on his leg from November 28th until the day of surgery. His healing was exceptional for the first week to 10 days post-op, but then, we ran into issues. He started to develop an infection due to his body rejecting the TPLO plate hardware. We had no choice but to stay the course until his bone healed enough to have the hardware removed as it becomes obsolete once the bone has fused. After several weeks of dealing with an infection, open wound management, several attempts to stitch and numerous rounds of antibiotics, we were finally able to have his hardware removed on April 23, 2021. Keep in mind, however, throughout all of this, Goose was totally himself. A happy-go-lucky lab that was still very healthy apart from his hardware rejection.
On Monday, April 26, 2 days post-op, Goose refused food. We knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know how wrong. That day we immediately took him to the vet and they did a full examination of the surgical site and him as a whole, blood work, urine test, full-body exam, no signs of anything odd. He even ate some treats. However, during the early hours of Tuesday, April 27 things went from 0 to 100 in a matter of hours. It was the worst few hours of my life. By supper time that day we had to make the very difficult decision to put him to sleep as his chances of surviving the surgeries they suspected would need to be performed were extremely low. I had also promised him on Friday that all he had to do was make it through the plate removal surgery and I wouldn’t let him get cut open and stitched anymore. We owed him that.
From the last surgical step of recovery, plate removal, to sudden and advanced heart failure and sepsis due to the infection spreading to his heart and other organs, it was something we, including his vets, techs, and surgeon, did not see coming.
Goose’s story is one of extremely bad luck. Sometimes you can go above and beyond, do everything by the book, do far more than what’s expected, and still the outcome can be completely out of your control. We were able to finance all of his surgeries and post-op complications as well as his recovery needs and would have continued to do so if his quality of life was still going to be reasonable, but Goose had other plans and we’re at peace with that.
Throughout Goose’s recovery and passing, I’ve become much more compassionate and empathetic and I’ve also grieved more than I ever could have imagined. The ability to protect Goose and help him in his time of need is all we ever tried to do, and although at times it feels like we failed, I know that we did not. I refer to the group that helped Goose and me throughout the entire process as my “dream team” and think of them all daily, even now. The amount of times I leaned on them all for advice, guidance, reassurance within and outside of office hours is something I’ll be forever grateful for. One conversation that stands out for me the most is what our surgeon said one day. “Dogs don’t feel sorry for themselves.” They adapt and just figure it out. There’s a lot to be said about that fact – they don’t waste energy on what’s not important, what could have been. A lesson I’ll carry with me forever.