I received this heartfelt message from Holly & Ryan (in Canada) on December 30, 2005 about her guy Bentley:

Dear Rochelle,
Our dear 3 year old male Golden Bentley has partially torn his ACL in his right hind leg. He was extremely sore and unable to go up stairs for just about a week, and now he seems to want to play and is fine on stairs ... plus he is back to sneaking up on our bed!! Although he is still guarding his right leg at different times. Yesterday we took him into the clinic just to make sure he was okay, and the vet gave us this bad news. We don't know what we should do.

My husband & Bentley are also very actively involved in search & rescue training (the photo above was taken of a young Bentley beginning his training) so he is extremely active and wants to work all the time! We did a search the day before we went into the clinic and he worked hard and didn't show any signs of pain during the search (now that we know of his injury we feel terrible for taking him out on the search to put extra strain on his knee). They were scheduled to certify this Spring; but with this injury, sadly this will likely not be possible.

Do we leave him, restrict play for a few weeks and hope he gets better? We have started him on Glucosamine & Condroitin pills once daily. Or will that just make it worse until it eventually completely tears and lead to permanent arthritis? Or should we do the $2200 TPLO surgery right away?

If anyone has any advice or has had the same thing happen to their Golden could they PLEASE contact us as SOON AS POSSIBLE. We LOVE him sooooo much and it's hard to see him sad because we won't let him run & play. Thank you in advance very much for ALL your advice & comments. We just need any kind of advice you can offer so PLEASE let us know. THANK YOU!   Ryan, Holly & Bentley

Follow-up Message Received January 1, 2006
Dear Rochelle.
I am totally shocked and amazed at how quickly I have gotten responses, thanks to you!!!  I was shocked and amazed when I woke up the morning after I emailed you, to find 11 messages already!!!  People are so kind!  I have already had 21 different people email us and we are so thankful for ALL their comments. A few have even sent us outlines for physical therapy routines that they have used (or are using) for their Goldens. When this injury happened we were in the midst of moving, so he was quite stressed out. One person emailed us saying they were in the middle of moving and their Golden hadn't had much exercise, so they took him to play with another dog and that is when he tore his ACL. This is exactly how it happened to Bentley.

We are now FINALLY up at our new home for good, so hopefully he will settle in well. We are restricting him to a small area and building a ramp for him outside. We have moved to Southern Alberta, Canada. Being closer to a large city should help us out with our treatment options. Thank you 100 TIMES OVER for taking the time to send out my original message, especially when you have so much going on in your family life. I hope your husband will continue to improve and sweet Darcy can beat her cancer. Ryan, Holly & Bentley


Wonderful Message Received January 5, 2006
Dear Rochelle,
We have some FANTASTIC new about Bentley! 30 people e-mailed me about Bentley (because of you) and that really helped us understand ACL injuries and what other people have gone through. We wanted to make the most educated decision we could for Bentley's sake. BentleyAnd the common suggestion was to not rely on your regular vet's diagnosis, go to an orthopedic specialist. This we did!!

We found a man in Airdrie, Alberta who comes highly recommended and boy are we ever glad we went to him!! He knows our vets in our "old" home town very well, because he travels to many different clinics performing TPLO surgeries, and he has worked with them for many years. When Bentley and I first arrived he said is trusts that vet, and if she diagnosed a partially torn ACL the he trusts them, but for the next about 25 minutes he had me take Bentley outside and walk around to see how he moves and checked him out. He was great and took his time with Bentley and explaining to me. He said he was not convinced he had ACL problems. So we left Bentley at the clinic for the afternoon to be sedated and x-rays on his spine, hips and knees.

When my husband picked Bentley up, again the doctor took his time explaining. He found that Bentley's knees are actually in perfect condition and he has great muscle tone. But he found his hips never fully developed and they must have popped out when playing with the other dog and that strain is what has been bothering him. So he has given us some medication to give Bentley and suggested that we can start walks, playing and allowing him around the house again. We just need to take it easier than normal, and not go back to full rough playing again. And we can even start search & rescue training again slowly. We will probably take a couple more weeks off, but the good news is we can apply for certification in April now!!

Thank you very much for taking your time to help us with this Rochelle. We appreciate it more than you'll ever know. I was completely blown away when so many people shared their stories with us, after all we are just some strangers. Truly amazing! It took me a few hours, but last night I wrote personalized thank you messages to each person that e-mailed us. And this morning, already, 12 people have replied saying congrats and thanks for letting them know what happened with Bentley. I think anything a Golden touches must turn to gold, because these people have been just wonderful to us!!! I just can't put it into words how much this has meant to us!

Thanks AGAIN Rochelle for your help. And I LOVE your website. I first found it a couple years ago and did the Doggie IQ Test. Bentley's name is on one of your lists there! I did that test before we started SAR, I'd be interested how he'd do now, considering he did so well a couple years ago. Thanks Again! All the best to you & your family in the New Year!
Ryan, Holly & Bentley



Message Received May 21, 2006
Hi Rochelle,
I just wanted to fill you in on our Golden boy Bentley. I wrote in about a possible ACL injury that turned out to be a hip injury instead. The response from you and the 30+ others that gave us advise still amazes us to this day!

Bentley took his RCMP Civilian Search & Rescue test two weeks ago and passed all five areas: large area search, live victim search, ditch search, agility and obedience! Thinking back to his injury in January, we are amazed at how well he has recovered. We have minimized his play with other large dogs and still continue to do some physio activities at home. He continues to please and amaze us.

We had to test in the Region we originally started training in (before we moved), and now that we live up by Calgary, Alberta, Ryan and Bentley will only be called out for searches in the southern region. The RCMP here do not like to use civilian search dogs. They choose to only use their own, which I find very sad. Ryan has gone through two years of training and courses (as well as Bentley), so it's not like this is something we have taken lightly. We are hoping that they will change their minds as more of us are certified up here, and show them that we are serious about working and helping.

The photo was taken after Bentley's approximately three-hour testing! He was sooo exhausted. We had to wake him up to get this photo. Thanks again Rochelle. Holly

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