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Sydney will be staying in her foster home permanently.   After 1 1/2 years in foster care, she has become too attached and it would be too traumatic for her to be rehomed.

Sydney had been picked up as a stray in Newark with 5 puppies and was taken to a shelter at the beginning of February 2005. Once her puppies were weaned they were separated from her. Sadly, they all contracted parvo and died. Sydney does not know her babies are gone. The last she saw them they were fine so as far as she knows, they have gone on to happy homes. The shelter staff said she was the best dog mom they had ever had.

At about 6 years of age with not having had even minimal care in her previous life, Sydney needed some work to bring her to adoptable status. She had lived for years with a broken hip, all the while cranking out litters of puppies. Sydney had femoral head excision surgery to fix her hip and underwent pysical therapy for 3 months. She now walks perfectly with no limp at all, for the first time in years. Sydney had root canals done on all 4 canine teeth which had been fractured years before. She was also spayed and had a mammary tumor removed which was cancerous but had not spread so further treatment for that was not necessary. After 3 surgeries in 6 weeks and completing physical therapy, Sydney is now good as new.

Sydney is a very sweet girl who loves belly rubs. She walks very nicely on a leash and it is important that she be walked frequently to maintain the muscle tone she now has in her leg which was atrophied before her hip surgery. Sydney weighs about 45 pounds. Sydney is meticulously housetrained. She will not go out in the rain but will hold it for as long as it takes for the rain to stop. She is trustworthy when left home alone.

Sydney's Surgeries

Sydney underwent surgery to repair her hip on Sunday, April 10. The surgery went well but the surgeon highly recommends physical therapy due to the amount of scarring in Sydney's hip. This was an old injury that Sydney had lived with for a very long time. Physical therapy will enable her to fully use her left leg again. Each session costs $50. Would you like to sponsor a session (or any portion thereof) for Sydney? Your donation is tax-deductible and we will promptly send a receipt. Please indicate on your check that the donation is for Sydney's physical therapy. Thank you!
Companion Critters, Inc.
P. O. Box 5883
Clark, New Jersey 07066

Sydney started physical therapy on Thursday, April 14.  Sydney's left leg has severe muscle atrophy from not being used properly due to her hip injury.  Since surgery, she can walk and gets around very well but she is not using her leg to the extent she should be.  The physical therapy veterinarian is sure we will be able to build Sydney up and give her full use of her leg.  The surgery has eliminated the pain in her hip that she lived with for a very long time.  Now Sydney needs to learn that the movements she avoids because they caused her pain in the past, will no longer cause her pain.  But she needs muscles to do that.  For now, Sydney will have three therapy sessions a week and eventually decrease to two a week.  Once her surgery and spay incisions are healed, she will start on the underwater treadmill.  Sydney's homework consists of a couple of slow 10 minute walks a day (She walks BEAUTIFULLY on a leash!) in addition to heat/massage/flexing/ice once or twice a day.  Sydney has been a very good girl at physical therapy.  Although it sometimes hurts, she holds no grudges and always has kisses for the vet and her assistant.

Sydney at physical therapy:
massage and flexing

weight shifting exercises

This exercise makes Sydney put weight on her bad leg in order to lift her good leg over the pole.  She likes doing this but insists that her foster mom does it with her.  What is she trying to say, that her foster mom needs a thigh workout?

And Sydney's most favorite (NOT!) -  the underwater treadmill.  She pouts, won't look at any of us, and refuses treats while the tank fills with water.  After all, why would one want to make nice with people who are forcing one into a reenactment of "The Titanic" and then have the audacity to laugh???  (We are really sorry, but the look on her face IS too funny and we just can't help ourselves!)  But she does seem to realize that our laughing means she has nothing to worry about, she walks the treadmill nicely and when the tank drains and she comes out, she wags her tail happily and forgives everyone.  (As of Monday, May 16, Sydney walks the treadmill all by herself without someone being in the tank with her.)

Sponsors to date:
Thursday, April 14 - sponsored by former adoptee "Shelby" - Thank You!
Monday, April 18 - sponsored by Frank and Jackie - Thank You!
Wednesday, April 20 - sponsored by Frank and Jackie - Thank You!
Friday, April 22 - sponsored by Lu-Ann - Thank You!
Monday, April 25 - sponsored by Lu-Ann - Thank You!
Wednesday, April 27 - sponsored by Linda; sponsored by Lori - Thank You!
Friday, April 29 - sponsored by Sydney's donation jar at the 4/23 adoption day - Thank You!
Monday, May 2 - no PT - Sydney will be in the hospital having a mammary tumor removed
Wednesday, May 4 - sponsored by "Broken Tails" - Thank You!
Friday, May 6 - sponsored by "Broken Tails" - Thank You!
Monday, May 9 - sponsored by "Broken Tails" - Thank You!
Wednesday, May 11 - sponsored by "Broken Tails" - Thank You!
Friday, May 13 - sponsored by Agnes;  sponsored by Lisa - Thank You!
Monday, May 16 - sponsored by the 5/15 Microchip Clinic Donation Jar - Thank you!
Wednesday, May 18 - sponsored by Lu-Ann - Thank You!
Friday, May 20 - sponsored by Carolyn - Thank You!  (SEE UPDATE BELOW!)
Monday, May 23 - sponsored by Dorothy; sponsored by Patty - Thank You!
Wednesday, May 25 - no PT - Sydney will finally be getting her dental work done.
Friday, May 27 - sponsored by Patty - Thank You!
Wednesday, June 1 - sponsored by Sue - Thank You!
Sunday, June 5 - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Wednesday, June 8  - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Sunday June 12  - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Thursday, June 16  - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Sunday, June 19  - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Wednesday, June 22 - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Sunday, June 26 - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Wednesday, June 29 - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!
Sunday, July 3 - grant from Rio Vista Products - Thank You!


APRIL 4, 2005:
Sydney was seen by a cardiologist at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Her heart checks out fine. There were no problems caused by the heartworm. The cardiologist recommends not putting her through heartworm treatment but she is a candidate for merely starting her on heartworm preventative as treatment. Additionally, a surgeon was consulted regarding her hip. The ball of her femur is out of the hip socket. It is recommended she undergo femoral head excision surgery . This surgery involves removing the head of the femur. Fibrous tissue will form in the area of the hip joint which will prevent bone rubbing on bone. She should have total use of her leg once recovered from surgery, will have no restrictions after recovery (in fact, daily exercise will be encouraged), and should never have a problem with that hip again. The femoral head excision surgery and spaying will be done in about a week. After a couple of weeks of recovery, Sydney's dental work will be done. We are putting the poor pup through a lot but she will be a whole new dog once everything is done.

APRIL 25, 2005:
Sydney went for her post-surgical recheck.  Her hip is healing nicely but another problem was discovered - a mammary tumor that was not present at the time of surgery.  There is some concern in that this tumor grew very quickly, so it will be removed and biopsied on Sunday, May 1.  Another surgery for Sydney and her dental work remains on hold pending the results of the biopsy.  It's a surgery that could have been completely prevented had Sydney been spayed early in life.  The longer a dog goes through life unspayed, the greater the risk is of developing mammary tumors.

MAY 6, 2005
Sydney's biopsy results came back and the tumor was cancerous but it is considered a low grade mammary adenocarcinoma with no lymphatic invasion and the margins are clean, meaning they got it all and the tumor did not spread. It appears that chemotherapy will NOT be necessary, so that is really good news and we are so happy we caught this tumor early.   And, for the first time today, Sydney ran using ALL FOUR LEGS!  She had been walking using her bad leg but was still holding up her bad leg while running.  This is a major milestone for her and shows that physical therapy is paying off!  We can actually feel muscle in her leg now while massaging her.  

MAY 20, 2005
The numbers are in!  Sydney was initially measured at her first physical therapy session.  Now, 5 weeks later, Sydney was measured again and wow, look at the difference:
Girth (circumference of atrophied thigh)
* see below
23.5 cm
26.5 cm
30.0 cm
Girth (circumference of good thigh)
* see below
26.0 cm
33.0 cm
Hip Flex
50 degrees
50 degrees
50 degrees
50 degrees
Hip Extension
162 degrees
100 degrees
150 degrees
162 degrees
* The normal girth would be that of Sydney's good leg, however, that leg was also not in the best of shape.  The girth of the good leg was 26 cm on April 14 so Sydney has surpassed that with her bad leg.  Now that the "good" leg is also being exercised, it has bulked up to a whopping 33 cm.  The goal is to also bring the bad leg to about the same as the good leg.  

Because Sydney is doing so well, her PT will be reduced to twice a week.  Sydney's saggy tummy is retracting nicely as she works towards 6-pack abs :-)  Watch out Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition!

MAY 25, 2005
Sydney went for her dental appointment.  The dentist wanted to try to save her canines so the plan was to do 2 root canals that day and 2 more later.  But Sydney did so well under anesthesia for the amount of time it took to do all 4, that she had 4 root canals in one day.  Her canines had been fractured quite some time ago according to the x-rays.  Where there was once pulp, they found lots of black crud and hair compacted into her teeth.  That has all been cleaned out and filled in and has stopped the risk of infection spreading to the bone.  This was the last of Sydney's surgeries and she knew it.  Where Sydney never pulls on the leash, when picked up after her dental work, Sydney pulled her foster mom out the door of the hospital, down the walk, and through the parking lot straight to the car.  (She actually picked out the right car!)  There was no stopping for a potty break, she just wanted to get in the car and go home.

JULY 3, 2005
Sydney was measured again in physical therapy and because she is doing so well and because her measurements are now normal, she was graduated from physical therapy.  All she needs now to maintain and further improve her muscle tone is daily walks and chasing after squirrels in the yard as much as she wants to.