When I saw Curtis, I knew that I was destined to be with him. Having always been a fan of English Bulldogs and their mannerisms, I was certain that he was going to be the perfect dog. I envisioned lazy days spent on the couch, relaxing outside in a hammock in the shade, and enjoying time spent with my non-active bulldog. Let me tell you, Curtis couldn’t be farther from the stereotypical bulldog. He only lies on the couch after a long day of running, jumping, searching for bones, and flopping in every mud puddle he can find.
For a normal bulldog, the unwillingness to stand up after a long nap isn’t a reason for concern. Neither is a small limp after sleeping. “Perhaps he is just sleeping on one side and his leg has fallen asleep” I told myself. A week went by, one day he would limp on his back right leg, and the next day he would limp on his back left leg. At this point, I was certain that it was something to do with sleeping. I figured that whatever side he slept on would simply be sore or weak when he woke up. I felt convinced in my diagnoses. I bought him new beds, put a heating pad on the couch for him to lie on, and massaged his leg hoping it would help alleviate whatever was bothering him.
After a week of watching my once-active boy limp around, things got worse. Being outside was once Curtis’ favorite thing, and now he didn’t even want to get up to go to the bathroom. I’d force him to get up and make his way outside, sensing that something more was wrong. You know the look your pet will give you sometimes, and without saying a word, they let you know something is wrong? He gave me that look. Letting me know that he had tried his best to fight through the pain, but whatever was bothering him was simply too much.
I called St. Charles Animal Hospital (SCAH) to let them know that Curtis wasn’t doing well. Still convinced that it was something to do with sleeping, I told the receptionist what I thought was wrong and she scheduled us for an appointment right away. As I drove to the appointment with Curtis right beside me in the passenger seat, I never once thought that just 30 minutes later Dr. Neuman would tell me that not only had my dog ruptured his ACL, but he had actually ruptured both of them. Talk about a hopeless feeling as a dog owner, being told that your best friend has been hobbling around for the past two weeks on two back legs that are no longer able to support him.
Immediately, Dr. Neuman shifted his focus from finding the problem, to fixing it. He gave me multiple options for surgery. Some of the options were procedures he performed, and he even gave me options that would need to be performed by other doctors. Dr. Neuman wasn’t worried about his practice or making sure I chose SCAH to treat the injury; He wanted me to make the best choice for my pet regardless of how it affected him. He explained to me the ins and outs of each option, taking time with me and making it seem like he had not another responsibility in the world except to make sure I was informed. He drew me diagrams and gave me information regarding all potential treatment options, allowing me to know everything there was to know before I made my decision.
After weighing all of the options, we chose to pursue the TTA surgery. I had no second thoughts about any other type of surgery or seeking a second opinion, even though Dr. Neuman told me that he would be happy to refer me to any specialist or vet I wanted in case a second opinion was something I wanted to pursue. Curtis was scheduled for surgery on the first ACL just a few weeks later. Every time I walk into SCAH, I feel welcome. The employees that work in the office are always welcoming, and give Curtis the attention and belly rubs that he craves. Often times a doctor’s office or veterinarian’s office or any office where treatments are being performed can feel gloomy and depressing, but not SCAH. We arrived for the first surgery and Curtis was immediately given love and attention from all of the staff. They took him back to the operating area, and told me they would call me with all updates. I received a phone call just as they had promised, letting me know that everything went great. The next day, I picked him up. I almost think he was sad to come home, because of all of the love and care he was shown while at the hospital. The technicians even informed me that Curtis wouldn’t eat his food from the bowl; they had to hand feed him while petting him. He really is a diva.
The next 8 weeks of recovery went so smoothly. Any questions I had were answered instantly with a phone call to the office. Dr. Neuman even gave me his personal e-mail so that I could contact him directly with any questions. I have seen how busy Dr. Neuman can get with all of his patients, and he still took time out of his day to answer my questions as fast as he could. A week after he had recovered, Curtis went in for his second surgery. Again, the treatment and care he received was outstanding. While recovering from his first surgery, he had to hobble around on one torn ACL while the newly fixed ACL healed. This time, he was able to use his newly fixed ACL to support him, and you could see that he was starting to realize that his pain was on the way to being gone. Many hours of frozen pea ice packs on his knees, stretches, and belly rubs helped lead him to an excellent recovery.
It has been 6 months since his last surgery, and Curtis not only has returned to his active ways, but he is better than before. Often times I see him running around the house in a circle, for no reason at all. I can’t help but think that his reason for running around aimlessly is because of how great he feels. It’s like when you get a new outfit and want to show it off. Curtis has a new pair of knees and wants the whole world to know how great he feels.
I can’t thank Dr. Neuman and the entire staff at SCAH enough. I recommend SCAH to everyone, because every pet deserves to be treated like they are the most important pet in the world. Curtis is my best friend, and I knew 100% that he could not have been given a better doctor than Dr. Neuman and a better team than SCAH.