Age: 4 Months
Adoption Fee: $700
Special Needs: yes
My name is Angie Diane and I am only 4 months old. I was born with a problem with my legs and I cannot walk. I scoot around on my belly and use my legs like flippers. I look like a sea turtle on land. That is why they call me a “swimmer puppy.” You would be surprised how fast I can move. But it has also caused me to develop callouses and sores where my legs rub against the carpet.
I wish I had been given therapy when I was younger. I guess this makes me a late bloomer. But now that I am in rescue they have told me they will spare no time and expense to help me walk and hopefully play like a puppy should.
I already have my very own special foster mom, and she already loves me. She is a rehab vet tech so she knows all the things I need to help me get better. I will be having lots of tests and exams the next week or two so everyone can make a plan that is perfect just for me.
I am so thankful to rescue and their donors and volunteers for giving me this chance. I promise you I will work hard and do everything I can to be the playful puppy I was meant to be.
1/25/22 Update: Get a mop. This girl will turn your heart into a puddle of goo!
It feels like this little turtle dove has been with me for weeks even though it’s only been a few days.
I’ve worked with one other swimmer puppy in my career. That puppy was much younger and while his case was complicated, it was not nearly as challenging as this one. To see a puppy with this condition at this age is rare. The cold truth is that uneducated breeders euthanize these dogs very early on. To see a puppy like Angie Diane is incredible. At least for me, it is.
Angie is incredible. She has no idea that there is anything wrong with her. She is curious, playful and 100% puppy! She is so happy to be amongst other dogs and people. She can hold her own when playing.
I’m amazed at how she’s adapted to her condition and her ability to thrive. She can wrestle, roll herself over and chew on her foster siblings ears, like any other puppy.
She’s eating and drinking very well. Surprisingly, she doesn’t have a megaesophagus and she has independent bladder and bowel functions, as well.
Her face and ears are so expressive. You can’t help but melt when you look into her eyes.
Dr. Barton and Dr. Gaines examined Angie Diane the day she was dropped off. We have started a very unique rehab plan for her. Both doctors, our other rehab nurses and myself will be working with her.
There are overwhelming obstacles for her to overcome and her prognosis is uncertain. Her greatest chance for improvement is very intense daily, almost around-the-clock rehabilitation.
We are positioning Angie Diane with her limbs as close to a natural position as possible. This helps keep weight off her chest, abdomen and joints, but still allows her to push off with her pelvic limbs. As she spends longer rest periods in this position, the idea is that this will help retrain the bones to grow into a more correct position.
Because Angie Diane has a limited six-month window to correct her growth as much as we can and the level of rehabilitation work involved, HEAL is going to offset much of the expense. It’s still going to be very costly, but I know that with the support and love of Lone Star Bulldog Club Rescue volunteers, supporters and the whole team at HEAL animal rehabilitation hospital who are invested in her recovery, she will get EVERY chance possible!
2/2/22 Update: The gifts and donations that have been arriving for Angie Diane have made this little girl feel like a princess. She is so grateful to every single one of you.
It’s still quite sloppy, but she’s holding her front limbs a little bit closer to her body. She’s really trying to pick herself up and walk. I’m so excited, I’m going to cry!
2/5/22 Update: The hardest part now is keeping her positioned. She’s VERY comfortable and her personality is showing. She is a princess and she’s the boss! LOL
She is so stubborn. If she doesn’t want to do something, no amount of coaxing or positive reinforcement will work. She’s a crazy, happy puppy.
Also, her future adopter MUST want a lap dog. She has been on my lap almost every moment of the day getting therapy. Now, she crawls right back into my lap after playtime/potty etc. A lap is where she’s happiest.
2/10/22 Update: After a week of Foster Mom kneading me like bread dough, I’m finally limber enough to party in a sling. I know this is going to be a long process, but I’m hitting little goals every day. I’m such a good girl for Foster Mom. I don’t struggle when she puts me in the sling. I play with the toys in the puppy pen. I also like to pout at rehab. Everyone has to stop and dote on me, so that’s a win for me. I’m also a snuggle fan when I’m at home and enjoy playing hide-and-seek.
2/17/22 Update: Angie has been working hard these past few weeks. We’ve hit big goals and found new obstacles to overcome.
After constant use of thermo therapy, massage, modified stretching and passive range of motion exercises, Angie D. has enough flexibility to allow us to hobble her limbs and get her into a sling!
I’m sure many of the Lone Star Bulldog Club Rescue supporters (we freaking LOVE you!) and animal lovers everywhere have heard of “swimmers puppy” or flat chest syndrome. If not, I’m sure you’ve talked to your veterinarian or researched the subject online.
While challenging, if caught very early on and therapy is started immediately at approximately two to four weeks, the puppy has a exceedingly high chance of recovery.
Therapy at this stage has a fairly straight forward protocol. I say this very lightly because, as we all know, nothing in the animal field, or life for that matter, is straight forward.
Angie’s case is a bit different. She has spent the first 16 weeks of her life growing into a puppy pancake.
Time has not been her friend. Her muscles, ligaments and fascia have grown prohibitively rigid. Especially so in her rear limbs. This makes improving her range of motion and muscle flexibility difficult. She has some joint and bone growth deformities, as well.
We were able to get decent X-rays yesterday. From laying flat for so long, her rear legs started growing twisted. To try to describe it: imagine your knee cap was on the outside of your leg and your shins are trying to grow sideways, causing your feet to splay out like a duck (or Charlie Chaplin), but to the degree that your toes almost point behind you.
The most prominent bone in her left elbow (in humans, we may refer to ours as our Funny Bone) is turned out so far that it points skyward. It could be a genetic deformity or it could be that she tends to place most of her weight on her left arm when trying to push herself up because it’s much weaker than her right.
While I work with her at home and with my doctors and coworkers at HEAL, we will be sending her to Dr. Lay, the orthopedic surgeon who performed former rescue girl Lilibeth’s surgery, as well as current foster girl Coco Carol’s surgery.
Dr. Lay looked at Angie’s X-rays and recommended a 3D CT scan of her left elbow. I’ll be setting that up soon. I’m also working on getting a consultation with one of the orthopedic surgeons at Texas A&M. Hopefully, I can arrange a phone consult between their surgeon and Dr. Barton to discuss Angie’s case and what options or ideas they may have, as well as Dr. Lay’s suggestions.
We’re trying to be proactive and work quickly with Angie. While we are working toward rehabilitation of all her limbs, she may not get full function of her pelvic limbs. She is now able to pull her thighs underneath her enough that she can lay on her side and fit comfortably in the girdle of her wheelchair.
Here’s the tricky part: Her hamstrings have so much contracture going on… They feel like concrete. She can’t extend her legs. She can’t stand on them. She’s mostly immobile from the knees down. Dr. Barton nor I are giving up on them. But, if she can’t gain full function of those back limbs, she’s going to NEED full function of her front limbs to have any kind of quality of life.
Her left elbow is hindering her chances. She can’t get good range of motion or build strength with the way her elbow sits. It pops, clicks and crunches and is painful when she tries to extend it in front of her. It’s also caused a 1/2 inch shortening of that limb. I’m assuming it’s going to need some type of surgical intervention. The sooner the better.
Start raising funds because I will fight, scratch and sell a kidney if needed, but this baby is going to get the least restrictive and happiest life she can.
Angie D. has been incredible through all this. She never whines or cries during her long sessions in the sling. Everyone in the hospital keeps her entertained and smothers her in affection. She’s become so comfortable with all her handling. You could toss her across the room like a bag of oranges and it wouldn’t phase her (not that this would ever happen!).
She loves to play and wrestle with the other dogs. She’s feisty, always happy and seldom timid.
She’s very smart, as well. The other morning after breakfast, she pulled herself out of her therapy box, slithered across the room and onto her potty pad because she didn’t want to wait for me to take her to the bathroom. I was worried because she figured out how to escape, but I was proud that she knew where she’s supposed to use the bathroom!
3/30/22 Update: When she’s not in rehab, she’s playing with her foster sister. They never stop. It goes on for hours.
She’s grown a bit. Twenty-two pounds and awkwardly long limbs. She is vivacious and knows how to use her good looks to get anything she wants.
Angie was in one of her cheeky moods yesterday when I took her out to go the bathroom. I wasn’t trying to engage her in any type of exercise, just annoying her to show you how adorable she is when in true bulldog nature she says, “ Nope, I don’t wanna!”
4/13/22 Update: Update from volunteer Ronnie on Angie Diane’s visit to Texas A&M: Doctor confirmed she basically has one normal leg.
The congenital elbow luxation in the left needs to be fixed. They did a CT and more X-rays to map everything. It will require surgery later to realign everything and temporarily immobilize it.
Every joint in her back legs is a mess and the tightness has started warping the bones. They will address all that after the elbow is healed. Need to get the patellas back in place too.
The amazing 3D pics of her legs made everything so clear – her ulna is very displaced.
They will have a full report to us in a day or two. They will work up a plan, schedule and discuss therapy. Her growth plates are almost closed.
Their specialists narrowed and raised her cart, as well as suggested some stronger hobbles.
A big day and it’s a lot to take in… but through it all, she’s still a very happy girl.
Long term, her front legs should be fine. Her back legs can have some improvement, but will most likely never be normal. She may have to use a set of wheels for her back legs.
4/28/22 Update: I was able to take Angie to Colorado for my second canine rehabilitation module last week. What an adventure for both of us!
Angie did fantastic for the 12-hour drive. She slept most of the trip, waking up to look out the window or ensure she wasn’t missing out on any driver-side snacking.
She loved the hotel room. I had to make two trips to unload her gear. This pup rolls with more luggage than Lady Gaga!
When I came back to the room with the first round of luggage, Angie had crawled out of her bed and had made her way across the suite into the other bedroom. She thoroughly enjoyed the pillow-smothered bed. She was either curled up under them or bouncing through them like a little deer.
She charmed everyone in class. It was awesome to be surrounded by so many like-minded people. Watching everyone interact with her and all the great suggestions to help her mobility was wonderful.
She is so strong and feisty. These past few weeks, she’s been trying so hard to pull herself up and walk independently, even with the limited range of motion in her left elbow. I can’t wait to see what she can do after corrective surgery.
5/12/22 Update: We all need a little miracle to help us make it through Monday.
Foster girl Angie Diane, our swimmer pup, has been doing this all weekend, even with her bad elbow. She can’t turn on that limb, but she’s trying so hard to walk! You have to love her tenacity.
We just confirmed with Texas A&M that her left leg surgery is scheduled for the morning of June 20. They will work her in sooner if there is a cancellation.
6/13/22 Update: Angie Diane has her first corrective surgery on her elbow next Monday. This foster mom is a nervous wreck. She’s a tough little thing, so I know she’ll pull through. For now, we’ll keep doing our exercises to stay as strong as possible. Keep this little girl in your thoughts.
6/19/22 Update: Just dropped Angie Diane off at her pre-surgery slumber party at Ronnie’s house. She doesn’t have a care in the world. I’m a nervous mess of a foster mama.
Ronnie and Angie Diane are scheduled to leave for Texas A&M at 6:45 a.m. Please send good vibes for a safe journey and successful surgery.
6/21/22 Update: After more exams and tests on Monday, the staff decided to keep her overnight. Depending on what is already on the schedule, she’ll have surgery Wednesday or Thursday.
The elbow joint will never be “normal,” but will be much better aligned and function better after the surgery. However, when they align the elbow, it will cause the paw to rotate outward. They don’t think it will be enough to require correction.
They plan to use several pins to hold everything in place. She will have a cast on ~ maybe all the way to her shoulder. They are not sure yet if it will be hard or soft.
She may need additional surgery on this leg in the future. It just depends on the success of this one.
The pins will come out in six to eight weeks. She’ll have to be restricted to leash walking; no playing with the others. The bandage will need to be changed in a week. They’ll give us more complete orders after surgery, but it will be mainly crate rest and minimal activity until she comes back.
The estimated cost for this is $4,000 to $6,000.
6/28/22 Update: The doctor described the surgery day as “challenging.”
The surgery was expected to last around three hours, so we were expecting a call by 3 p.m. They did what they could in surgery, and then did post-op radiographs. They didn’t like the alignment so they went back and redid everything. The call came at 6:45 when all was finished. We were nervous wrecks!
There has been some remodeling since they made the 3D image and things didn’t align as expected. They had to cut the ulna to twist it in the proper position. They also had to leave a larger space than desired in the elbow joint. They basically rebuilt much of her front leg. But they are much happier now, after the second surgery.
The spreading of the elbow may cause her to walk with a stiffer than normal leg. There may still be a need to go back and do an arthrodesis. They don’t think this will be her final surgery on that leg.
She has a spica splint down her leg and across her chest. They want to see her at Texas A&M every two weeks. They will need HEAL Veterinary Hospital in Dallas to monitor things in between and change bandages.
Angie Diane had a good night and was resting comfortably. She has her very own vet student to take care of her every need! They even took her outside from some sunshine. She will be released Sunday at the earliest, but we’ll see how she is Saturday. She has done so well through all this. She tolerated the anesthesia very well. She is well-loved.
The latest estimate for this hospital visit is $7,000, so any donations would be greatly appreciated. There will most likely be additional surgeries in the coming weeks on her hind legs. Please root for her and send her your well wishes!
7/14/22 Update: Foster girl Angie Diane went back to Texas A&M yesterday for her two week post-op checkup. To say we are devastated with her results is an understatement.
Her surgery failed.
The pins did not hold the bones in place as we had hoped. The doctors told us there was a risk this would happen, but we felt the chance of success was worth the risk.
Lisa (foster mom) worked so hard with her, strengthening and stretching her legs. In spite of all the work, the congenital luxation and malformation in her elbow was too strong and pulled the repair apart.
The staff assured us we did nothing wrong in her care and that we could not have done anything differently.
Several people in the ortho department gathered today to discuss her case and radiographs. It was decided it was time to move on to Plan B, which we had discussed in the beginning, if the surgery failed.
This morning, she will have an arthrodesis of the elbow. It will be frozen in a straightened position with a steel plate and bone grafts.
She should remain in the hospital 2-3 days after surgery. The estimate for this surgery is $7,500. We will do another update following surgery. There will be a 12-week recovery period. Then, they will move on to fixing her rear legs.
On a positive note: Angie remains a rock star around the Aggie clinic. She will not suffer for attention. They even personalized her bandaging for her with her initial. Or maybe the “A” is her grade as a patient!
She deserves so much more out of life. She is the sweetest girl and remains unfazed by it all.
7/19/22 Update: Angie Diane wants everyone to know she’s sorry she missed Saturday’s Bulldog Bonanza.
Last week’s unexpected revision surgery was a little harder for her than the first one. She’s not in pain, but she’s tired. I thought it better for her to rest. I want the little flame in her heart back from the slow burn it seems to be at today. So, as Angie has so vocally requested, she rested the day away on my lap. She’s got a long road ahead. She needs all your love and support.