Charlie, Achilles and Hope

If you want to get good at something, do it. Whether it’s hitting a baseball, reviewing financial statements or fixing a broken cat, don’t talk about it, be about it. We’ve let our vets fix (and not euthanize) so many scuffed up little ones that their reaction now is not, “I don’t know…”, it’s “Here’s how we do it…” As a result, when we see a nauseating estimate from another vet or video of a limping kitten, we’re confident we can figure out the most cost-effective path to better health for the little one.
Take Charlie, a young ginger with a severe hernia from an unexpected run-in with a car. Another vet suggested “Leave it alone” and when it morphed into a serious problem, insisted surgery would be fatal and euthanasia was the only path. Charlie’s mom came to us stressed for options, and our guys agreed it was complicated—the hernia was impeding the bladder function and the delay resulted in adhesions—but felt it nonetheless fixable. After delicate surgery and a few days of observation, this fine purrer went home Friday to grins and hugs, and while we’ll need to monitor his recovery, we like his prospects from here.
Or Achilles, another handsome ginger with what an out-of-area vet opined was a rear leg break for which amputation or expensive surgery were the only choices. We’re not vets, but in reviewing the X-rays, we weren’t seeing it, and asked the docs what we were missing. The response? “It’s not a break. It’s a dislocation. We splint it and keep him from jumping.” Achilles was in for follow-up Friday, and when the vets cut off the soft splint, he stretched the leg and walked around the exam room like we’d freed him from the middle seat after a long flight. His mom? “OMG…OMG…”
And then there’s Hope. After tagging us Friday morning in a post about a calico kitten limping around a colony in Sanger, NeNa Tovar arranged for Susan McCowan to transport to our vets. The prognosis was sickening. Front leg broken, necrotic and life-threatening, compound fracture to the rear leg and a broken hip. To be candid, we considered euthanasia but facing Mama Su over a FIV/FELV- kitten that had suffered, survived and found her way to us for help had real downside, so we greenlit the fix in stages—amputate the front leg, pin the rear leg and we’ll deal with the hip in a week or so.
This morning we texted the vets. “Little calico…survived the night?” The response? “Alive and well. Good appetite.” Yoda was right. “You must unlearn what you’ve learned.” Charlie, Achilles and Hope.
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