One year ago: Charlie’s Cranial Cruciate Repair 6


Exactly one year ago today, Charlie was heading into surgery for his left hind cranial cruciate to be repaired (fancy word for knee, basically) and just for fun, they planed down his meniscus a bit as it was partially torn.  If you’d like to read about his journey and healing process, click here

Charlie the Bichon Frise

I went into the surgery that apprehensive, worried and very nervous, thinking that it was going to be a rough, rough road ahead of us but in the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

For the first few days, my mom took him into her home (because she’s retired) and she was able to keep him crated and quiet.  He really did not like being in his crate, in a cone and he expressed his dislike very much so by chirping, squawking or woofing.  At times it was annoying and other times, it was really funny (sorry Charlie!).

Charlie and Mommy

The night before surgery and just before I was taking him to my mom’s – our last photo before surgery.

Charlie post-op

This was taken just after he was picked up from the hospital.

Charlie had his surgery immediately after his bestie and lady friend, Lily.  As luck would have it, they both had the exact same surgery, she was first and Charlie followed.  What was nice about the pair of them going for surgery the same day was that they were placed side by side in the emergency recovery so that they could smell each other and hopefully know that they were both okay.  At the very least, they could commiserate their misery together.  Charlie stayed overnight for observation and was able to come home the following afternoon.

The next day after surgery and night he came home, we knew wanted to keep Charlie quiet but we also wanted to take Baxter over to see Charlie so that he knew that he was okay.  Charlie went to my mom’s the night before surgery so she could take him in (while I went to work) and Baxter was just LOST without his buddy.  The concerned look on his face and his eyes, it made you want to cry.  So the night he had surgery, we went home to Baxter, who was all by himself and wondering just what the hell was going on.  We grabbed him and headed over to my mom’s place and as soon as Baxter saw his brother, everything made sense.  I think he was just relieved to know that his brother was okay, he just had a boo-boo that needed healing.

Baxter protecting Charlie

As you can see, Baxter didn’t leave my side when I had Charlie in my arms.


In terms of his healing, I believe that Charlie was the exception.  He bounced back remarkably quick, from the grody stitches that made his leg look like a busted chicken wing (see below), all the way to his progress at hydrotherapy.  He was a star!  It helped that we followed his healing plan to a T, did his daily exercises and we also did hydrotherapy twice a week for 8 months.  He lost about 2 lbs after the surgery and the atrophy in the muscle was very noticeable, but with the hydrotherapy and building back his strength, he gained it all back.

Charlie Post Op - Day 3Charlie Post Op
Charlie Post Op 

Bichon Frise Post-Op Charlie

Hydrotherapy charlie hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy for dogs Hydrotherapy for dogs

Hydrotherapy for dogs Bichon in Hydrotherapy Tank

Charlie’s first hydro session, 16 days post op and about a week after having stitches removed.

 Charlie’s 25th hydro session, 13 weeks post-op.

Charlie at 6 months post-op.

Charlie loved hydrotherapy.  Not only was it great for his healing, but also his joints and arthritis, he enjoyed it and it was great time bonding with him.  He loved going twice a week and every time he’d enter the building, everyone would exclaim, “Charlie’s here!”.  He was a model hydro dog, showing all the newbs that it wasn’t so bad.  Often times he had an audience at the window into the pool area with people watching, smiling and pointing.  But that’s our Charlie, everyone cannot help but fall in love with this little boy.

Today, Charlie is doing magnificent.  And he thanks you for all your love and support during the last 12 months.  He had a squad rooting for his health and wellbeing and I’m so grateful that things turned out far better than I imagine.

XOCranial cruciate

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  • Mary Kalpos

    I’m so happy to see Charlie all well and back on his feet again. He looks great! It is so sweet that Baxter missed his brother. They really are remarkable and we can stand to learn a lot of lessons from dogs. Thanks for sharing Lindsay.

  • Heather Hammel

    It’s so great to read these happy updates on Charlie.

    Baxter being lost without Charlie reminds me of when Gemma had to go in for her first grid keratotomy (I don’t know if that’s how you spell it and it’s too early for me to feel like looking it up). He was so upset and when I took them potty after I brought her home, he peed on her head. I think it was his way of saying that she was his sister and she wasn’t allowed to leave him lol.

  • Me too. He’s a resilient little boy. It’s amazing to me the lessons we can learn from animals. Some species can be completely unrelated but yet they bond and to me, that speaks volumes. If they can look past all the physical differences, can’t we too? Look past beneath the surface and see what’s inside of people, that we are all alike even if we look different…
    I hope you have a great weekend Mary. xo

  • LMAO! That’s too funny. I love having multiples of dogs, they really do bond and it’s nice for them to have company you know?
    It’ll be interesting to see what your crew is going to think of the baby when he or she arrives. You are going to be one busy momma. Wedding planning, the pups AND a baby. You’ll be Superwoman. 😉

  • It was so interesting to read about Charlie, especially since Haley’s still recovering from her CCL this spring. Her therapy schedule made it sound like she would be finished and back to normal at 12 weeks, but that seemed pretty optimistic. I’m thinking more like 6-8 months like Charlie. I’m so happy he’s feeling wonderful after the 1 year mark. Fantastic! 😊

  • I think every dog is different, Elaine, just like us humans. I think we all heal differently and I think that was primarily why I was so worried going into surgery. We were told that really it would be 6 months to a year before we’d see Charlie fully healed. We only started hydrotherapy I think at the 4 week mark and at that point, if I add up how many sessions he would’ve had to bring him to 12 weeks, he would’ve had 16 sessions, which still isn’t much and 12 weeks post surgery is still really early days…….
    If you’re concerned though, take her back in to get the surgeon to look at her, if it will bring you some peace of mind. Good luck, I’m thinking of Haley and wishing her all the very best.
    Thank you so much, I’ll pass that along to Charlie and give him kisses as congrats. 🙂
    Have a great day Elaine!