Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peg-leg Pete, the Pirate

Last Thursday afternoon I took Theodore to the local vet again. His leg was looking so bad that, in spite of the vet's previous assurances that everything would be fine, I wanted him to take a look at it. And look is just what he did.

He took a look at it, said that it was self-amputating and would fall off on its own. I had no trouble believing it was about to fall off, but I was skeptical that the bone wouldn't pose a problem once it did. The Plentywood vet seems to be a strong believer in letting nature take its course. Nothing left to do but take Theo home for what would turn out to be his last 8 hours as a 4-legged individual.

Friday morning Theo was acting a little funny, but I didn't think much of it. He voluntarily went and sat on his pillow o' pain where I always cleaned his wound. Not his favorite place in the world! A few minutes later, Laura walked into the room.


Turns out it was sitting nicely on his pillow o' pain, right where he'd left it. Now he tripped blithely along with an inch of naked bone sticking down from his open wound. Did that slow him down? Not hardly, though he did become a little more sensitive to having it raked with the claws of psycho Snickers when they were wrestling.

I left his leg alone over the weekend, hoping that the vet's confidence would not prove misplaced. One day his leg would look like it was improving, the next it would start weeping and look awful. On Wednesday of this week, I gave up on nature and took him down to Williston to the vet there. Somehow sensing what was in store for him, Theo was very tense on the trip down.

The Williston vet took a look at it, said it would be a constant infectious source, and the only thing to do would be to amputate higher up and close the wound. And all it would cost was $300! I suppose that is a very reasonable price when you consider all the highly-skilled labor involved, but its not what I was planning to do with that $300, let me tell you. Gulp.

I left young Theo for what would turn out to be his last 8 hours as an individual with 3 legs and the stub of a 4th. Friday morning when I came to pick him up, I found that they had removed the entire leg and all he had left was a little bald butt with one leg sort of tripodded underneath the middle of it.

But, not to be defeeted (that's a bad pun right there...) by that small detail, he spent the evening galloping around with his buddies, making up for all the time he'd lost at the vet. The next day he was a little sorer after the pain meds wore off, but he still doesn't behave with the propriety one would expect from a full amputee.

About the only way to get a picture of Theodore in action is by video, since he is either running around like crazy, coming too close to you in order to get attention, or curled up with his stubby parts underneath.

I'm glad that I went ahead and did the surgery. Maybe given lots of time, the wound would have closed over after a fashion, but I didn't have the stomach to wait for it. Now he's neat, clean, happy, and no longer smells like a carcass. These are all, as Martha Stewart is fond of saying, good things!

Theo can do just about everything with three legs that he could do with four, tree climbing included, though he is a little rough on tree UN-climbing!


  1. Theo is adorable, and bless you for doing what you had to do to save his life! We had a similar situation a few months ago with one of our older cats who needed either about $350 worth of surgery or about $30 worth of euthanasia. She is eleven years old, we have five other cats, and we had had no income for several months due to the terrible economy, so it made no sense financially to save this cat's life. But she's part of the family, and we love her, and I decided that even though it meant taking money out of savings, she would have the surgery. Some things are more important than money. :-)

  2. Well Aunty, I bet Some people in North Dakota could use a few arms or legs if you still want to sell them.
    Also what about that Bake sale?