Walk carefully with a new puppy.

There are several reasons for that, but the main thing is that your new puppy wants to be right with you.  It’s pretty easy to step on him.   When we picked Anna (our first family dog together), her breeders said, "Remember to do the Puppy Shuffle".   Is that some kind of dance?  No, it means to shuffle along, not actually lifting your feet from the floor.  As long as you’re just sliding along, you can’t step on the puppy.

Anna_6_mo_2 Well do I remember racing across the yard with 4-months old (and forty pounds) Anna, when we collided and down I went.  I don’t know whether I stepped on her foot and tripped, or she knocked me down and I landed on her.  In any event, when we got up, her foot was broken: two of the four metacarpals (those long bones in your hand, that go from the wrist to the knuckles).  She’s six months old in this picture, and none the worse for the wear.

Splints_carpal_2 Young puppies heal fast while they are still in their rapid growth phase.  Two weeks in a splint like this was enough to put her right.  These splints look like a big plastic spoon with some padding inside, and a recess for the carpal pad on the back of the dog’s wrist joint.  Sometimes they are called metasplints, spoon splints, or carpal splints.  You just add some padding and apply them with stretchy tape.  They are pretty good for foot fractures.

Bandages_2 Even the "toy-size" splint pictured above was way too big for Missy, here.  She only weighs about 2&1/2 pounds.  Since she was unsupervised with a couple of pre-schoolers, we don’t know exactly what occurred.  Mom had given the kids such a dressing-down before they got here that they weren’t talking much.  Since seven out of eight metacarpals were broken, I’m guessing she got stepped on.  Probably everybody was having a great time right before that happened.  Could have been worse — I’ve seen little dogs who had their heads stepped on.  Hard to un-mush them.

With some padding and some tongue depressors (and some pain meds, and a couple of weeks), I think this kid will soon be getting underfoot again.  Maybe everyone will have learned the Puppy Shuffle by then.  Maybe Missy will learn to walk on her hind legs… and dodge.

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