Today is my first birthday, and what an amazing day it was. We had cake and hats, and costumes, but the best thing of all was my present. I got a forever family! 

I have a dad and mom and Bulldog brother, Saint. We met yesterday and it was love at first sight. My parents said they had been reading all about me for months and watching my progress in rescue. They both work in the medical field, so they know all about my surgeries and rehab needs.  

I want to thank my foster family and foster fur siblings for loving me and working so hard to get me better. I want to thank everyone at Bright Star, Dr. Lay, HEAL Vet and VEI for everything they did to help me. Thanks to all of you, I am no longer that crippled little puppy no one wanted.

I am so excited for my life and travels ahead. I plan to check in with everyone from time to time. Until then, I am off to begin a new life with my forever family.  Love and kisses, Lilibeth

I joined rescue about a week ago and I have already got to meet Dr. Larsen and sit in her lap.

I explained to her why I joined rescue and that my dad realized that I needed more medical attention for my leg then he could give me. He had been working hard and made some braces to help me walk better, but my leg still needs more help. He contacted rescue because he heard that rescue has the best Bulldog doctors.

I am 6 months old and very small at only 40 pounds. I have double cherry eyes and my left front leg is crooked. Dr. Larsen has looked me over and has also taken X-rays on my leg. She said we will consult with Dr. Lay and see if he can help me with my leg.

I have been going home with Dr. Larsen and have found a new friend in her bulldog Apollo. We like to play together in the puppy pool and then we go to our beds to snooze for a bit. I get along with her other dogs too and I just love kids.

Please follow me on my journey through rescue, I know that I am in the best place and will get lots of love and find my forever family.

8/2/21 Update:  Lilibeth is all puppy and doesn’t realize she is different in any way! She’s a sweetie and very playful. She loves shadowing the older ladies in the house (whether they appreciate it or not). We’re working on potty training and chewing appropriate things! We are waiting to hear from the orthopedic surgeon about the best options for her little leg and her eyes are healing from the double cherry eye surgery last week. She would love another puppy to play with!

8/14/21 Update:  Lilibeth is settling in nicely in our home. She is really bonding well with some of the other dogs. We all know her legs are a mess, especially the left front one. Yet she is surprisingly active. Having another small dog around has really helped motivate her. She has the cutest hop and she tries to chase after another dog. 

She has been itching a lot so we are trying an allergy medicine and some supplements to keep her skin from drying out. She will also get twice weekly medicated baths.To help keep her from scratching herself, we are trying some dresses and shirts.

She is still very much a puppy. She chews your shoes, or your toes, or whatever she can get. She loves to chew on the collars of others dogs which can be rather aggravating. So we have removed all collars. She needs more work on potty training but is getting there. 

We are making sure she stays active and she is getting some pool time for her physical therapy. 

8/16/21 Update:  We have started water therapy with Lilibeth. This is to strengthen her legs, even the bad one prior to surgery. Our orthopedic specialist thinks she severely damaged the growth plate in the leg months ago. This caused everything to develop wrong, causing the foreleg to bow badly. The bow then caused the wrist and foot to slide to the side. All of this has become worse with time. The foot is so offset it barely makes contact with the foreleg. This causes it to turn under when she puts weight on it.

In the next week or two, we will have high definition films made of the entire leg. This will help the surgeon decide the best treatment. We anticipate he will do a total fusion of the joint. This will realign the foot with the leg and give her a more solid foundation. It should also allow her to walk pain-free and to be able to once again actually walk on the pads of her foot. 

We invite you to follow her journey and we will keep you updated on costs and ways to help her. 

In the meantime, we will just keep doing more swimming!

8/24/21 Update:  Lilibeth gets stronger and more active each day. She is walking much more around the house and in the yard, and is even beginning to run a little. 

This week, she discovered what being a puppy is all about. She is learning to wrestle, nip and play chase with one of the other dogs. She is such a hoot to watch. She is also spending 10-15 minutes in the pool every two days. All of this serves to strengthen her legs as she prepares for surgery.

She is getting medicated baths twice a week and we’re beginning to see lots of improvement. Her hair is beginning to thicken, and her sores from scratching are healing. We have been keeping her in shirts and dresses to protect her skin from the scratching.

Monday will be a big day for Lilibeth. She goes to see Dr. Lay. They will do a thorough exam of all her legs and do a hi-definition film of her front legs. He will then use a special computer program to measure the legs, manipulate them at different angles and even simulate different surgical procedures. This will help him arrive at the best procedure and best outcome for Lilibeth to walk stable and pain-free.

8/27/21 Update:  Lilibeth had a big day this week. She had so many pictures taken she thought she was a movie star on the runway.

Dr. Lay did approximately 30 films. He literally examined everything from head to tail. He wanted to see if there were any hidden issues. Everything has been thrown out of alignment because of her left front leg, but everything is still in good shape and pretty stable alignment. 

Dr. Lay will need to review the films a little more and will probably consult with a couple of other ortho specialists. But here is what we think will be done. They will do a wedge cut in the radius and extend it to straighten out the bend. This will be secured with bone chips and steel plates. All of this will eventually grow together. Then the wrist will be realigned and fused with more bone chips and plates. This will give her a rather straight leg and stable joint, making it possible for her to walk near normal. This will stop the progression of the bending of the leg and the sliding of the foot. It will also help make her pain free. 

Since the growth plate in the ulna has not closed, and is still growing, it makes sense to wait a little longer for surgery. That way you can more accurately get the right length of the radius. However, the leg is beginning to put extra pressure on the elbow and you can begin to see a little damage. Because of that, surgery may take place sooner rather than later.

We will keep everyone posted. Lilibeth is back in her foster home and running with the rest of the pack.

9/2/21 Update:  Lilibeth has gone from 10-minute pool sessions to 20-minute sessions. She’s become more relaxed in the pool and her legs are much stronger. A side benefit from the water therapy is that she’s lost 3 pounds. All together, this helps stabilize her walk and helps her walk more upright, instead of half crawling, like she used to do.

9/6/21 Update:  Lilibeth is excited to announce that her leg surgery will be this Thursday, Sept. 9.

Dr. Lay will do an open wedge cut of the radius and spread it 8-10 mm apart. He will place two special steel plates and fill the gap with bone chips and bone marrow. He will place two more plates on her wrist, burr off all the cartilage and put in more bone chips and bone marrow to speed the growth. This will lock the wrist and foot, but enable her to be pain-free and walk close to normal on the pads of her foot. We are wondering if she ever walked on the pads of her foot. This could be a big learning experience for her.

She will be in a soft splint for about two weeks. I will need to use a sling for a while to help her walk. She will also need therapy for 2-3 months. I will be keeping her in a large ring instead of a crate, as this makes it easier to get her in and out.

If all goes well, she should be able to attend the Campisi’s event later this month. I will need to find her a stroller for that. The other big challenge is keeping my boys away from her for a few weeks. They all love to play too much and too rough.

The cost estimate for the surgery is $5,297. This does not include the cost of any needed rehab.

9/12/21 Update:  Lilibeth got in one last swim before her surgery tomorrow. It will be several weeks before she will be able to get back in the pool. She made the most of this time, including wearing her new swim suit.

9/14/21 Update:  Lilibeth’s surgery went extremely well, but it was very long. She made it home today with her bag of meds—especially her pain meds! She ate some breakfast and is drinking well. As you can imagine she sleeps a lot. But that is a good thing. The soft cast bandage must stay dry, and for a puppy who chews everything that may not be easy. It will come off in two weeks. Her total recovery time including therapy is 16 weeks.

She wants to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and donations for her care.

9/17/21 Update:  Lilibeth is now four days post-surgery and continues to do well. She is eating and drinking normally. She was constipated the first two days but is fine now. She is in a 4 foot diameter ring with plenty of padding and toys. She has a good balance between sleeping and being alert and playful. She does like getting out and being a lap dog.

She should get her soft cast off in about 10 days.

9/27/21 Update:  Lilibeth has had the best last few days. She met some of her biggest fans at Campisi’s on Sunday. Then first thing Monday morning she had her soft cast removed to see her leg for the first time in two weeks.

But the most amazing thing was when she stood up on a straight leg with the pads of her foot on the table. She has never done that before!  She has some more healing to do on her incision, and will soon be able to start some water therapy. This surgery will open up a whole new world for her.
Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and donations for her care.

10/6/21 Update:  Lilibeth continues to spend her time in confinement and she is not happy! Each day, she gets more restless. Hopefully, we will start some light therapy in a few day and that will help use up some energy.The incision is healing nicely. We are running warm water on it for 10 minutes, three times a day, to help with swelling and to promote blood flow. We are also doing some stretching, massaging and range of motion exercises.

She loves lap time after therapy and we are giving her plenty of that. If the other dogs are around, she wants to dive onto the floor and play, so you have to keep a good grip. 

Be patient, baby girl… it won’t be much longer.

10/12/21 Update:  Lilibeth had her one month checkup and she is looking great! 

Her incision is healed. She still has a small sore on the bottom of her foot. She has great flexibility in her shoulder and elbow from her recent exercises. 

The best news was from the X-rays. The bone gaps are filling in and the metal braces look great. 

She is beginning to get restless, but still needs to be in her exercise ring most of the time. We do not want her putting too much weight on her leg yet. She goes for her therapy evaluation next week.

Now that it is cooler, she will get to spend more time outside in the ring where she can move around a little more. We will get her cherry eye fixed in the next few weeks. 

10/25/21 Update:  Lilibeth met all the staff at HEAL Veterinary on Friday, and they all treated her like the rockstar she is. 

They did a complete evaluation and went over her treatment plan. She will have weekly sessions for the next six weeks. They will be increasing time on the water treadmill each week. She will also have a sonic stimulation treatment the next four weeks which helps stimulate bone growth in her grafts. 

She remains the sweetest and most precious foster.

11/19/21 Update:  Lilibeth went to see Dr. Warren at the Veterinary Eye Institute. She walked in the door and you would think no one had ever seen a Bulldog before. But she is treated that way everywhere she goes. She got the high dollar tour of the whole facility and hugs and kisses from everyone.

The problem is her eye. She had cherry eye surgery twice, but her right eye still looks awful. But what you see is not the gland normally associated with a cherry eye. It is the pocket which holds the gland and should be below the bottom eyelid. But in her case, some scar tissue and a small cyst have pushed everything up. Dr. Warren is not certain he can permanently fix the problem by removing the scar tissue and cyst. He may need to remove the entire gland. 

Leaving everything alone will not affect her quality of life. She handles that like she handles everything else. But it looks bad. So we have a decision to make in the coming weeks.

12/10/21 Update:  Today was a huge day for Lilibeth. She is 12 weeks post-op and completed her therapy. They all said she graduated with honors! She has worked so hard to improve. To see her walk today and look at her earlier videos is mind-blowing. 

Thanks to Dr. Larsen and her staff, Dr. Lay and his staff, and Lisa and everyone at HEAL Vet for all their help. 

Next week is her final step: to have her eye fixed for the final time. I am not sure how foster dad will do when this is all over.

12/21/21 Update:  Lilibeth’s trip to the ophthalmologist last week was a little disappointing. 

We knew that Lilibeth’s eye was not actually a “cherry eye.” The issue was the pocket that holds the gland. It should normally be below the eyelid. The gland was in the pocket, just like it should be. 

When the eye doc examined her last month, he said a small cyst and some scar tissue were keeping the pocket from staying under the eyelid. He tried hard, but could not completely fix it. He said there was too much scar tissue from her two previous cherry eye surgeries.

He removed what he could and thinks it will be about half as obvious as it was, once all the swelling goes down. In a month, he will look at it again. At that time, if we are not happy with it, he can remove the whole gland and pocket. It will decrease her tear production some, but it doesn’t mean she will have to be on dry eye drops. The gland is only one of the producers of tears. The doc won’t know if she will need them or not until a while after he does the surgery and measures the tear production.

I noticed her other eye was cloudy on Monday, so he looked at it. She has a stromal corneal ulcer, most likely due to trauma. She has two different drops I administer four times a day.

She goes back this week to have both eyes checked. In the meantime, she will just have to chill.