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Update 09/25/02: Emmett came through his second surgery just fine and is now at home, resting and being loved by his wonderful family. Even Lucky, Emmett's GR housemate, feels the need to watch over Emmett's progress and has taken up guard duty outside the ex-pen. We suspect that Emmett will emerge from his second recovery totally spoiled (as befits a Golden), and ready to run! Rabbits beware!
Update 09/10/2002: Emmett sent a box of toys for the Gold Haven gang, which they truly enjoy! We also got word that he will be going in for his second hip surgery. It's sooner than his family expected, but he's been showing signs of some pain and Allen, understandably, wants to nip this in the bud. Emmett's scheduled to go in on the 24th of this month, so please keep him in your prayers.
Update 06/11/2002: Allen called today to say that Emmett's second surgery has been postponed. Dr. Jackson examined Emmett, found him to be in prime condition and recommended waiting until the left hip actually gave signs of needing replacement. Apparently, Emmett is doing so well with the one 'bionic' hip that he no longer has any trouble getting around and, in fact, presented Mom Maureen with a rabbit he caught the other day! So, for now Emmett will enjoy full speed runs across the expansive lawn, chasing Bones & Lucky (hopefully no more rabbits), and keep up his swimming until the time comes to replace the other hip. He will be going back for regular exams to keep abreast of any changes in his condition, but we're all very happy this bright, eager boy is doing so well for now!
Update 11/26/2001: Emmett has completed his water therapy and has become quite the swimmer in the process! He has just begun accompanying Allen & Maureen on their nightly walks with Lucky & Bones, and is doing great. It seems as though the second hip will be much easier for Emmett since he has developed a taste for swimming (which Allen said Emmett hated in the beginning), and his good hip should be very strong before the next surgery.
Update 10/08/2001: We have received some wonderful photos from Emmett's new family and have posted them here as links above. Please check them out to see the lovely people who are taking such great care of this adorable boy!
Update 10/03/2001: Emmett underwent surgery on his right hip yesterday and everything went fine! Allen took Emmett home this afternoon and got him settled in. Later that evening Allen sat with Emmett for several hours reading a book and basically just keeping him company. We fully expect Emmett to make a speedy and complete recovery with the first-class care and abundant love he's receiving from his new family! Surgery cost for the hip totaled $3,679.
09/10/2001: Emmett has been adopted by a wonderful couple in Rancho Santa Fe, California! Several weeks ago we were contacted by Allen, who had read Emmett's story on this website. He was interested in helping Emmett, and found an orthopedic specialist in his area that had been trained at UC Davis. While we were thrilled that a private party had come forward willing to finance the remainder of Emmett's surgery, we also wanted to make sure that the people and environment were a match for Emmett. After much discussion back and forth and reviewing Allen's adoption application, we recognized that this was a Godsend for Emmett, and we set a date so that all parties could finally meet. Allen and his daughter, Colleen, drove up to meet Emmett and immediately fell in love. He wowed them with his affectionate nature, quick mind, and clever tricks. They, in turn, doted on him and showed themselves to be true dog people.
We drove Emmett down to his new home on September 10th and found that Allen and his wife, Maureen, had already set up Emmett's rehab area and stocked his new bed with toys galore! Everyone was excited about his arrival, even the current canines in residence, Bones (a Lab-Greyhound mix) and Lucky (a Golden Retriever). Later that evening, Colleen and her husband, Mike, along with their male golden, Bailey, came over to welcome Emmett into the family and the two fur-boys hit it off famously.
We are overjoyed that this wonderful family has offered to provide Emmett not only with a heavenly home, but also that they were able, and willing, to cover the costs that we were unable to raise for his surgery. Emmett will go in for an evaluation with his surgeon in the coming month, and we will keep this site posted as updates arrive.
We would like to send a huge "thank you" to everyone who contributed to Emmett's fund! In our ongoing effort to help goldens in need, we will continue to raise monies for rescue goldens that require more than the average medical care and we hope that you, too, will help as you can. If you would like to send a donation specifically for this purpose, please send your check or money order to Gold Haven and mark "Emmett Fund" in the memo section.
Our original Emmett has found his forever home and is on his way to receiving new hips. We're now on the lookout for the next "Emmett", a golden who needs someone to believe in them and perhaps go that extra mile to make a dog's life a little, or a lot, better.
When we first brought Emmett into our rescue back in March 2000, his coat was very heavy (pictured above left) and his demeanor was one of curiosity with a touch of, what we thought was, aloofness. As we had no previous exposure to hip dysplasia, we did not suspect a thing. He would (and does) romp with the other dogs in residence here, but only for a minute or so. Then, he sits down and watches the others continue.
Upon his initial vet check, however, we were told that the rear of his torso was underdeveloped, or atrophied, and that this usually signified hip dysplasia.
Because of his young age, we postponed x-rays until he was closer to maturity. When the time came, further examination and x-rays confirmed what our vet suspected. This young male had one of the worst cases of hip dysplasia that she had ever seen. If this condition were to go untreated, Emmett would be experiencing escalating pain that would cripple him by the age of 5 years old. He would be a very likely candidate for euthanasia before the age of 6. He wasn't even 2 years old yet!
After discussing the options with our regular veterinarian, Dr. Gay Naiditch of High Desert Animal Hospital, we decided to plan for the femoral head ostectomy or FHO procedure. This involves removal of the entire head of the femur to relieve the pain and allow the connecting tissue and muscle to now support the joint.
The estimated cost for this type of operation was given as $1,500. So, we began the Emmett Fund to help us reach that goal and allow Emmett to live a longer, more natural, life. We have since learned that, while $1,500 was an accurate amount - that cost applied to each hip. Our misunderstanding. That did not stop us and we made plans to provide whatever the difference was between the final cost, what was raised, and whatever amount the performing surgeon might be persuaded to discount. Either way, Emmett's hips would be done - his life would be changed - and that was the entire goal to this effort!
Then, in a search for a reputable surgeon to perform the operation, one of our rescue families got in touch with the veterinarian hospital at UC Davis on Emmett's behalf. UC Davis is recognized as one of the leaders in orthopedic surgery for hip dysplasia. The results were disheartening. They informed our volunteer that a main condition necessary to be a viable candidate for FHO is that the animal be of sound body. Atrophied muscles will not support the necessary physical therapy required after surgery. With Emmett's new, thinner coat (pictured at top right) his lack of muscle tone is now very apparent.
According to their standards, Emmett's weakened muscles make him a better candidate for THR, or total hip replacement surgery. This is where the entire hip joint is replaced with a plastic model, and the animal has total use of that joint after recovery. The post-op therapy requires very strict regulation of use and movement as the animal feels no pain after surgery. The implants are held in place with sutures, requiring that the animal NOT be allowed to fall, bump, jostle, or abuse that area for two months! While the surgery is very successful, it is also cost prohibitive. The amount we were quoted was $3,000 per hip. That's right, we made sure we got the per hip part right this time. A total of $6,000 to buy Emmett new hips!
We requested an application for UC Davis' supplemental funding for these type of surgeries, but rescues are not eligible to receive financial aid. All their aid goes to private party, low income applicants, which is wonderful - but doesn't apply to us.
So, we continued our quest to raise the necessary funds to see this boy through surgery and on to a new life with a new family. As of August 1st, 2001, we had received $2,040 in donations.
We are continuing the "Emmett Fund" to help other rescue Goldens in need of extraordinary medical care. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please send a check or money order to "Gold Haven" at PO Box 781, Littlerock, CA 93543, and write "Emmett Fund" in the memo section.
If you are interested in helping out, but not sure how, please take a moment to fill out our volunteer application. Return it via fax or US mail. We are looking for loving, caring foster homes among a host of other fun and rewarding positions.
Thank you for taking the time to visit, and thank you for your support.