In the span of two days, without warning us, Pete, our six-year-old adopted cattle dog mutt, lost the use of his hind legs. It started on Sunday evening: a slight limp on the right side, trouble jumping onto furniture. By Tuesday evening, Pete could not walk. By then he had been seen twice by our family vet.
Stumped, obviously distressed, they advised us to call a neurologist(!), Dr. Jay McDonnell. The next morning, Dr. McDonnell and his staff arranged to see Pete as quickly as we could get him to the hospital. On Friday evening, the day after the MRI, Dr. McDonnell performed a hemilaminectomy on Pete. He found and repaired the damage of two ruptured discs in Pete's back.
A month later, Pete started walking again.
Now, three months later, Pete walks, runs, ascends, descends, stretches, fetches, eliminates, and continues (sometimes) to allow physical therapy. Week by week, he restores increments of access to his former strength, coordination, grace, and ambition. He still slips a bit on linoleum. Last week he scratched his own ear.
Everyone thinks the world of their pet. But we cannot imagine a love or fondness or admiration for a dog being greater than ours for Pete. What kept our hearts from unraveling during the days of diagnosis was Dr. McDonnell's patient and precise guidance through the uncertainty of Pete's condition.
This was accompanied by compassion, knowledge, and coordination from Dr. McDonnell's staff. We thank everyone, especially Eric for his tenderness toward Pete (and us), and Gina for urgently responding to our first call.
In the background, in more ways than we know, the staffs of the AAVEC in Annapolis and of the Pet E.R. in Towson gave care and relief to Pete. We are comforted to be near both of these excellent hospitals.
Humans should be as lucky as Pete was to have a doctor like Dr. McDonnell. We are grateful for his talent, his time, his unmistakeable joy at seeing a loved animal repaired.
Pete, Meg, and Vic