30 Days of Grizzy’s Post-Operative and our Lessons Learned about Home care – The need to have therapy

As discussed in earlier posts, the need to have rehabilitation available post-op is huge.  If you don’t have that resource coupled with a large breed, you will learn very quickly that you don’t have the tools, skill, and resources to help your furry friend.  This was very frustrating to us and looking hindsight knowing what I know now, our Griz would have never come home post-op in the condition he was in to suffer 4 months of immobility and gone straight to an inpatient rehab facility.  There are few facilities able to take a large breed but thank God I found one in Lathem, NY.  We took Griz to 2 other “rehabilitation” vets and they said they could “treat” a mastiff and they could not.  We went to one in Connecticut that took our intake over the phone, said they could treat and when we got there after renting a van, they said they could not.  Keep in mind with all of these false starts, we had to rent a van, use a human hoist to get Grizzy into the van and moving an already injured dog was very difficult on all of us, particularly Grizzy.  I looked all over the tri state area.  This is a skill and specialty that is not easy to find so you really have to do your homework on the facility that is going to do surgery on your animal and ensure they have post operative treatment and a good reputation.  Our surgical center was a huge very reputable place but they lacked in rehab resource even though they pushed it pre-op we found out the hard way.

I can’t tell you the amount of hoists, harnesses, supplies, and handmade moving gurnies that we used.  Again, I would do it all over again, we certainly have no regrets but I would ensure this important resource was available.  Grizzy is not the only dog that I know now that has come out of this facility and is now getting rehab outside.  Unfortunately I can bet some dogs have been euthanized because of the lack of this resource and the difficulty with home-care.  If I help any family get there animal the correct care through this blog or learn/understand the complexity I will be happy.  That is the reason why I’m doing 30 days of post-op posts.  Attached is a video of a hoist that we purchased by referral from the surgical hospital.  It was roughly $300.00.  You can see it did not work whatsoever and my husband tried to compensate by putting a life jacket on Grizzy to protect his skin, muscles from pulling up dead weight using a hoist, etc.  We were told “get him up,” “touch his feet to the floor so he feels his feet” “do it every day, etc.  I get a headache thinking about it. He was in no condition to attempt to feel his feet and we were trying everything.


Days of Grizzy Post-Operative and our Lessons Learned about Home care – Camping out

Best Brothers

Hanging out watching TV







The main purpose of this blog on homecare is to assist anyone who may be in the same situation.   As I said yesterday, the key is to ask questions of post-op outcomes, check references and ensure there is a rehabilitation program in place.  This was our attempt at home, and we did make some strides, but Grizzy never got up until he met my friends at Shaker Vet. They are now like family to Grizzy and us.  I can never thank them enough.  They saved his life as the suggestion of the surgeon was if he didn’t walk at four months he would not.  Jenn, Kellie and Ken and the other members of the Shaker family proved him wrong.  I continue to hear stories through channels of animals needing rehab and not being pointed in the right direction or understand the needs.  I can be reached at author@memydogandasheep.com if you ever have questions.  We have to share our experiences to help our furry friends as they can’t talk for themselves.


As I look through pictures, I recall many nights of sleeping on the living room floor with Grizzy.  He cried with anxiety, and almost every night like clockwork he used his bowels at 2 am.  Grizzy is such a good boy; if he had a bowel movement, he felt bad.  You could see it in his eyes.  We probably went through 20 beds and comforters in 4 months.  Taking care of him was very similar to a human quadriplegic.  Toileting was constant, and you could not let him lie in it.  There were some occurrences of urine “burn,” and it was painful to him.  I  found an excellent aloe spray wash shared below that is used for humans palliative care.  Once I figured it out, I could manage it pretty well with quickness in clean up and use these products that were very reasonable in the purchase price.  We also used the disposable pads/mats that you get in the hospital.  It protected the beds somewhat, and it saved you on washing sheets and dog bed “life.”  Each night or if I had to leave for a bit I lined his bed with at least 3 of them.  Even if they claim a mattress is water resistant it is not.  We bought $200  beds due to his size and comfort needs, and once they soiled long term, we had to throw them out due to the smell, or we donated them to the local shelter as the cages are outside and some of the dogs do not have beds at all.  One thing I remember well is we could not go out for long periods of time.  It might not be for everyone, but we were and are “Team Grizzy” so we adapted as needed.  Because he could not move I had to roll him on his side, pull out the disposable mat(s), clean him and then flip him on his other side, clean and then re-line his bed with new disposable mat(s) and sometimes a new bed or comforter if it escaped the disposable pads.  We developed quite a trust as you would a person that you care for in this capacity.  He did not fight me, in fact the moment he went, he cried.

The cleaner line is great.  The links are below as well as the disposable pads.  I had a little trial and error, so I’d like to share it because it works great and works for people as well.  🙂 Aloe Vesta Perineal Cleanser.  They also have skin protector cream and foam cleanser.  The cream worked great to sooth any urine burns and prevented the skin from breaking down.




Grizzy cannot move


A boy and his dog


As you can see his canine family was very supportive too. His brother Sozzi (mastiff) and sister Maggie McPuppy (Bernice)