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$2,340 so far!

You are all awesome!

For those who want to give something, I taked with the clinic manager, and she said while they can't take payments over the phone, they most certainly will accept checks and money orders mailed to them:

Neel's Veterinary Clinic
2700 N. MacArthur Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73127

Both the check and the money order need to have Itzl Brothers' name on them and his account number, which they generated for me to share with you:  22045.

If you send a check, if you would please add your driver's license number and expiration date, they would appreciate it.

Hai, Y'all! I'm sure you've seen Noddy's diaries about Itzl, her darling little service dog. I was upset to read what Noddy had to say in a diary on Friday:

The news from the vet for Itzl was very discouraging last night and more so from his insurance company this morning.

He's moving better only because he's acclimating to walking on three legs instead of four.

His insurance doesn't cover knee surgery on Chihuahuas, even if the needed surgery is a result of injury and not genetics. That's a change I didn't catch, because when I bought this insurance for him 7 years ago, they covered knee injuries for Chihuahuas, but nor knee surgery to correct genetic knee deformities. Sometime in the last year or two, they changed that and I just flat didn't catch the change.  My bad, and Itzl has to suffer for it.

I am exploring avenues for getting him the knee surgery he needs, but so far, the price is hovering around $3,000.00 - more than I can save up in his lifetime, more than I can confidently borrow because I can't guarantee I can pay it back with budget cuts, furloughs, pay cuts, and rising prices of everything.  

Even if he is getting much better and more stable on three legs, it's still just three legs, and not all four.  He doesn't prance anymore.  He hobbles.

There's been no drop in his job performance.  He alerts me to trains, sirens, alarms, high sounds, and more, even if he has to hobble to me to make the alert. He spends a lot more time in his carry bag or in my lap so he doesn't have to travel as far to make his alerts.  He's adapting and adjusting to being three-legged.

I knew he would. he's that anal about doing his job.  He'll do his best to alert even when he's under anesthesia - like when he had that concussion from the air bag hitting him, or when he had dental surgery.  He'll wake from a sleep to alert to sounds.  He'll even try to stop pooping so he can alert if he thinks he needs to. Of course he'll alert on sounds if all he has is three legs.

He doesn't need legs to do his job, just ears and a willing heart.  

That's why I'm going to work hard to get him his knee surgery so he can have all his legs back, and his silly little prancing walk.

Boy, howdy! Soon after that diary posted my email inbox began filling up with people wanting to help get Itzl's surgery paid for. Noddy finally agreed to let us do this for her, and she got to work:

I ended up seeing a total of 7 veterinarians today. I eliminated the high quote and the low quote, the arrogant vet, and the vet whose office was very dirty.  That leaves three who are fairly close in price, cleanliness, expertise, and experience. I'll spend some time comparing them, and see which of the three seems best.
This is Noddy - let me interrupt Nurse Kelley to tell you what's involved.  Itzl, running up some stairs to alert me on a car alarm, fell on the steps, dislocating his left hip and kee.  I scooped him up and we were at the vet 5 minutes later.  His hip popped back in place before the vet saw him, but his knee cap was out of place and a ligament trapped behind it.  The vet fixed that, but his knee didn't get better after a week of anti-inflammatories and pain meds. His Saturday re-examination showed his knee cap so dislocated that she couldn't manually move his kneecap at all.  He's visibly lost muscle mass in his leg, can't bear weight on it, and the vet wants him to get the surgery Monday (tomorrow!!), but with pain meds and bedrest, said he'd still recover as long as we got the surgery done within the week.  The longer I wait for his surgery, the greater the work they will have to do and the less chance he has of regaining the full use of his leg.

This is the leg he prefers to tstand on to pee, and he's so sad-looking when he tries to stand on it and falls, then struggles up and tries his right leg.  

In the surgery, they will move his patella back where it belongs and anchor, grinding out a deeper groove in his leg bones so it doesn't pop back out of place again. The Surgeon I chose uses lazer surgery, which heals faster and causes less trauma.  Since Itzl only weighs 4 pounds, they have to take special measures, warming all the fluids they put in him so he doesn't become too chilled.  His blood type and size means he needs a specialized anesthesia, and they'll have to contact a compounding pharmacist to create a special course of pain meds, muscle relaxants, and antibiotics for after-surgery care.  He will need 6 weeks of physical therapy consisting of a water treadmill (we looked at it and the vet nurse laughed about hos shallow the water would have to be for Itzl - he's only 6.4 inches tall).

After interviewing 7 different canine orthopedic surgeons, I selected Dr. Jeff Hicks of Neel Vet, and his surgical nurse will be either Leslie or Ashley.

I will photo-document all of this, so all of you who are interested can share in his progress.

This is what he looks like now, hobbling on three legs:

On my desk at work last Friday:
Itzl, Limping

And this is how he walks, his knee locked in a bent position:

This is how he should be:

Alerting to a siren, turns out there was a serious fire a couple of blocks over:
Itzl Alerting

Alerting to construction noises, new ones he didn't recognize:
Itzl alerting on back-up beeps

Interrupting his potty break to alert me to a very low-flying helicopter:
Itzl at Fire Hydrant

Now, back to Nurse Kelley:

We need to raise between $1,900.00 (low end, no complications) and $2,300.00 (high end, with complications), and we need to get it done fast, because all of the surgeons agreed delaying is a bad thing in this situation. If you have some spare change, please go to PayPal and make a donation to Noddy will keep us updated and let us know how we're doing. UPDATE: That's the correct PayPal addy - just a real life name.

And one last thing, compliments of this comment elsewhere by grog:

Noddy walks the progressive walk.  She hands out blankets to the homeless.  She works for charitable groups that have a meaningful impact on the day-to-day lives of the downtrodden in our society.  She sets up stalls opposing Tea Party demonstrations, then jumps right in to Occupy OKC.

Such a person deserves a healthy dog.

And, since many of us are good ole Keynesians here, think of this as a multiplier donation because I'm positive any monies going to fix Itz's bum leg will eventually see it's way tenfold to helping the needy and representing what we as progressives stand for.

Update on Itzl's Surgery: Per Noddy, they've scheduled it for Friday, for these reasons:  

One is that the surgeon drew some blood today in case he needs a transfusion during the surgery and he'll need a few days to rebuild his blood supply.

Two is that the surgeon, after examining Itzl for himself and doing an MRI, wants to do a short course of muscle relaxants first, I'm picking up the special meds from the compounding pharmacist in the morning.  The surgeon feels a short course of that will inprove his recovery prospects.

Three is that they can do tests on Wednesday to determine the exact anesthesia he will need, then run his bloodwork on Thursday.  Then Friday, he goes in for his surgery, and he'll have the holiday weeknd to recover before I have to go back to work, and take him with me.

Originally posted to Community Fundraisers on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 07:58 AM PST.

Also republished by J Town, PWB Peeps, KosAbility, Cranky Users, and Street Prophets .

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