Earlier this week, North Melbourne footballers Liam Anthony and Shaun Atley hung up their boots for the day, teaming up with Leela and Penny to share notes on their experiences and promote The Lost Dogs’ Home Foster Care Program as a great way to recover from surgery.
Footballers know all too well the challenges and discomfort associated with corrective knee surgery. Post-surgery recovery can take quite some time and patients require close attention. Canine sufferers go through a similar experience. They too require a period of post-operative medication and need to take a break while they regain full health and movement of the knee.
The three-year-old Pomeranian mix Leela and one-year-old Pug mix Penny both found themselves straying on the streets, before they were collected and brought to The Lost Dogs’ Home. Once they were not claimed and it was decided they would be placed on adoption, the canines were examined by the Home’s vet for a routine check-up. Both Leela and Penny showed problems with their left knees and it was revealed they needed medial luxating patella surgery.
The dogs received corrective surgery and were placed in the Foster Care Program, with their carers receiving strict exercise and confinement guidelines. While Leela continues to be looked after in foster care, Penny has just finished her program and been adopted into a new, loving home.
So, what exactly is a luxating patella, I hear you cry?
The patella, commonly referred to as the knee cap, is usually located in the centre of the knee joint. As the name suggests, a luxating patella is a knee cap that moves out of its normal location, often causing a great deal of pain. Dogs of varying breeds, ages and sizes can experience this and usually have to undergo medial luxating patella surgery. These dogs are usually advised to be placed on a strict recovery schedule following surgery.
The Homes’ resident Vet Alan Bolton said the recovery period for luxating patella patients was usually a long one, “Following surgery dogs spend five days in the hospital while they receive regular medication. Once they have finished their medication they need to be kept confined in a small area or kept on a lead for around 4 weeks until the tissues have healed.”
Dr Bolton maintained that controlled exercise was key aspect of the rehabilitation process, “Their skin sutures are removed at about 10 days and after this depending on their progress they may start going for short controlled walks. It is most important that they don’t jump up or chase things as this may place too much stress on the healing joint,” he said.
“The foster program is important in rehabilitation as it allows their exercise to be controlled and the animal to be managed in a way which prevents it becoming bored and developing issues which might cause problems later on when rehomed. It maximises the chance of a successful recovery because the animal is receiving one on one attention in a more normal home environment than is possible in a shelter environment,” he added.
Kangaroos’ Liam Anthony empathises with Penny and Leela and believes the benefits of gentle, moderate exercise when recovering from surgery is crucial. While the midfielder has not had surgery to the knee, he said he could understand given he had recently received a shoulder reconstruction,
“My life came to a standstill- I had to spend a great deal of time on a rehabilitation program swimming and doing exercise that would help me recover,”
Four of our younger recruits Leroy, Blue, Misty and Popeye also made an appearance with the footballers.
Small in size but showing a great gusto, the Blue Heeler and Staffie mix litter has warmed the footballer’s hearts.
In an article published in the Herald Sun today, Kangaroos Shaun Atley expressed enthusiasm for volunteering and said he would be “heading down there (The Lost Dogs’ Home) for sure.”
“Some of the guys are looking at doing some volunteering during their spare time because the Dogs’ Home is just a block away from our training,” he added.
The Home has already received a fair few adoption enquiries following the publication of the article.
So does this sound like something you would like to do? If so, simply follow these four steps to become a much valued Foster Carer:
1. See if you meet the selection criteria: This can be done by logging onto The Lost Dogs’ Home website to our Foster Care page or simply contact our Foster Care Coordinator on 9321 8778.
2. Apply: This can be done via The Lost Dogs’ Home website, or by simply making an appointment with the Foster Care Coordinator.
3. Train: If your application is successful, you will be called in for training.
4. You are now ready to become a Foster Carer!
See photos and read what footballers from the North Melbourne Football Club said about the Home’s Foster Care Program.