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Burt – A Story Of Rehabilitation

The story below was sent into us by our GAP friend Anthony Hill:

It seems such a long time ago now that we came within a whisker of losing our boy forever.

It was approximately 2 years ago now that I came home from work one night expecting my usual loving greeting from my boy Burty.  I found him unusually quiet and curled up on my bed.  As he went to stand up he collapsed suddenly in obvious pain to the ground. Without a second thought I rushed him straight to my local Vet who after a brief inspection directed me straight to the East Malvern Animal Hospital for what would turn out to be life or death surgery.

At the hospital Dr Chris Preston informed us that Bert had developed a large blood clot on his spinal cord which, without immediate surgery would have seen him our boy pass away that very same night. The surgical option came with the possibility of lifelong paralysis so accordingly I was also offered the unwelcome option of euthanasia. After a quick chat with my amazingly strong Mum, we both agreed that Burty deserved the chance to live and subsequently we informed Dr Preston that we would proceed with the surgery.

Many hours passed by as Mum and I sat in the waiting room, talking, laughing and mainly crying with each other. After what seemed like an eternity Dr Preston informed us that the surgery had been completed and the clot had been removed. He also added that the next few days and weeks would provide us with a clearer understanding of Burt’s long term prognosis.

The next few days visiting Burt in intensive care were some of the hardest times I have ever endured. My wonderful Mum remained positive, constantly providing me with the strength to get through the incredibly tough time.

After several days Dr Preston came to the conclusion that Burt would be better off at home, adding that if he was to regain movement it would just as likely occur in the loving environment of his own home.  With the help of my parents, Burty was placed into my car, complete with Catheter, bandages and absolutely no movement in his back legs. Mum and I committed to do everything in our power to give Burt the best possible chance of recovery over the next few weeks. With my Mums nursing background, she was able to set up a well-equipped mini hospital ward in our lounge room where Burt lived for an extended period.

Over the next few weeks our nights were spent sleeping alongside Burt tending to his recovery needs. Turning our Boy every two hours to prevent bed sores, emptying and changing his Catheter, washing and cleaning him, assisting with toilets needs, feeding, etc, little sleep was achieved as our constant focus remained on caring for our beautiful boy. We enlisted the help of a wonderful animal physio, Paula Davidson who helped guide us through the months of rehabilitation that ultimately saw Burt walk again. Looking back on the experience I can safely say I would do it all over again to ensure the life of my beautiful boy.