Victor’s Insider Scoop on The Things We’ll Do for Our Dogs.
May 5th, 2013 | top of page
If you’re a “dog person” you’ll get this completely.
If you’re not, your reaction is likely to be “You did
what and paid how much for an 11 year old dog??!!”
My twelve year old Yellow Labrador Retreiver,
Trudeau, leads a charmed life.
His luck started when I drove 8 hours round-trip to St.
John’s, Arizona to visit his pregnant Dam, Sher-Mi
Stellar Sweetheart. I wanted to check her out and see
what she and her life looked like. That was after I visited
with his Sire, CH Cherry Oaks Luck Strike, here in
Then, there was a second 215 mile one-way trip to
St. John’s to select which pup out of a litter of 13 I’d
eventually bring home. I had second pick of the males.
Although I’d read a a bit of the literature on “how to
pick a puppy” I ultimately settled on “a good looking pup that had some spunk and seemed to take to me”.
My last trip to St. John’s occurred 8 weeks after he’d
been whelped on January 1, 2002. I was accompanied
by my then 4 year old son Elliot who sat strapped in
to his car seat. His job was to comfort our new, scared
pup on the ride back to Phoenix.
I don’t remember if I’d picked his name before or after
we brought him home but its genesis was simple …
Pierre Elliot Trudeau, arguably Canada’s most famous
and flamboyant Prime Minister, had died in September
of 2000. Since I’m Canadian picking the name Trudeau
was pretty much a no-brainer.
Fast forward 11 years …
I was walking Trudeau on the golf course behind our
house. Being a Lab and a perpetual puppy he was doing
one of his most favorite things: fetching a stick in
one of the two lakes on the course. It was time to head
back home so I called to him to come out of the water.
As you can imagine he wanted little to do with that.
I ultimately bribed him to come out with a golf ball that
he saw me throw into the fairway. He hopped up the 18
inch embankment and took off running after the golf
ball. Four or five strides into his run he let out a painful
sounding yelp and came up lame holding his left, rear
leg off the ground.
He hobbled back to our yard on three legs and proceeded
to enjoy his breakfast after which he began his
Labs are incredibly stoic dogs. Wimpy is just not
in their genes. Hence, I really didn’t give too much thought to the fact that he might have really hurt himself.
I figured he just “walk it off” as he’d done often in
It was mid-afternoon when I noticed him hobbling out
in the back yard. He was unwilling to put any weight
on his back leg. It was time to call his vet. I was able to
get him in later that afternoon.
The preliminary diagnosis came pretty swiftly. The vet
told me he’d seen many dogs with Trudeau’s symptoms
before. He was hoping he was wrong but it would take
a quick test to confirm his diagnosis. The only problem
was that Trudeau had to be anesthetized to perform the
test. Ka-ching #1. I authorized the procedure and was
told to come back in a couple of hours.
Two hours later my wife Catherine and I were in the
vet’s office and were given the bad news. Trudeau had
torn his cranial cruciate ligament—think ACL tear in
a human. Without prompt surgical intervention he’d
appear to get better over the next few weeks but would
eventually develop severe and painful arthritis.
The good news was that the x-rays that were part of his
diagnosis showed his hips and knees to be relatively
arthritis free which is unusual for an 11 year old, large
The next step was to make an appointment with a specialist
and set up the surgery.
Pre-Op Trudeau in Surgeon’s Office
We showed up at the surgeon’s office on Saturday
morning at 10 am. He quickly confirmed the vet’s diagnosis
and laid out the three (really, two) options for
the remedy. The optimal procedure was an orthopedic
re-shaping of the knee and installing a metal plate to hold it all together.
The procedure would require an overnight stay in the
hospital. And, a 12 week rehabilitation period where
activity was restricted. For a Lab, that was going to be
the hardest part!!
By mid-afternoon the next day we had our good boy
back home. Although groggy from the anesthesia
and pain meds and with his leg and hind quarters all
shaved, he was clearly happy to be back in familiar surroundings.
Having had a plate in my leg for nine months I can attest
to the fact that orthopedic surgery is painful. Even
with his pain pills dulling the ache it was hard to listen
to my wimpering dog telling me he hurt!
Fast forward a month. Trudeau’s been off his pain medication
for a few weeks and he’s now able to put some
weight on his injured leg and walk around. Except for
still being somewhat infirmed with a slight limp he’s
back to being his old self. Sadly, his previously daily
routine of a long walk and swim are still curtailed. But
time will cure that.
Although I have never heard of it prior to Trudeau’s
mishap, a cranial cruciate tear in a dog is actually fairly
common. The surgeon told me he does this surgery
at least 6 times per week! Given that his fee for the
surgery and follow up exams was more than a couple
of mortgage payments I’m betting he probably has a
pretty nice boat or private plane.
But, if you’re a dog person like me, you’ll agree that
the cost factor had nothing to do with the decision to
do whatever had to be done to fix the problem.
The things we’ll do for our dogs!
Dedicated To Multiplying Your Income
PS – If you are ready to begin to thrive again by getting off the sidelines and putting your money to work give me a call at 602-320-6200. I see lots of deals and may have just what you are looking for.