Our Sunny was born and raised in the USA and transplanted to the Netherlands in September 1994 when he was already 4 years old. He was a wonderful little Sheltie. Very lovable, tolerant and with an extreme will to please. He was like my shadow, cause he followed me everywhere. When I had to leave him home he'd let me know he was very disappointed. And when I returned, he greeted me like I had been away for months. I'm glad we got the opportunity to take care of this little guy and I hope he liked it here!
Femoral head and neck excision or ostectomy (FHO)
After an accident at a very young age, he was not able to use all 4 legs. X rays showed problems in the hip joint. This is a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the femur (thigh bone) which is the ball, was forcefully pushed through the pelvic bone which forms the socket. Needless to say he was in pain. He needed a salvage procedure to remove the source of his pain. The only option was surgical treatment: femoral head and neck excision or ostectomy (FHO). In this procedure, a veterinarian removes the ball part of the hip joint. Removing the head of the femur actually removes the source of pain, because there is no longer bone rubbing against bone. Though the leg appeared shorter and he had abnormalities of the gait (he walked like a rabbit), muscles continued to hold the leg in proper position, and he recovered almost to full function.
The FHO was done in the States and when he came to Holland we had him checked by our own vet. Unfortunately, a hip replacement was not an option, cause the pelvis had too much damage. When he got older his hip problem caused arthritis and spondilosis in his knees and lower back and he was on homeopathic medicines to relief pain for a long time. His wellbeing depended on good muscle mass and minimal obesity, so he got regular exercise and a strict diet. Nevertheless the probems became worse slowly but surely. And when he was 15 we had no choice than to relieve his pain and help him to the rainbow bridge.
Sunny transplanted to Europe when he was 4 years old. Of course he felt very insecure in his new environment (see 2nd-hand-dog in the menu on the left). After only 4 days in our care, my mother-in-law scared him away and he ran off. Needless to say we did not sleep at all that night. We had search parties, neighbors and family, looking for him all night! Luckily I had put Leo's dogtag on his collar and he got stuck in somebodies back yard, so he was returned to us the next day. Later on he would not dream of running away. He was one spoiled rotten dog and he knew it!
When he came to us he wasn't housebroken, didn't know a single command and hated cats. So we went to a doggy-school. It turned out to be money well spent! Within 3 and a half weeks (which were 10 lessons) we had an obedient dog. He knew all relevant commands and we were able to pass a cat with Sunny off the lead without problems!! He looked at them, but he knew they were off limits.
As Sunny had a killer-breath (really breathtaking!), we had his teeth cleaned twice. His teeth had a tendency to form scale within no time. I brushed his teeth now and then, but he didn't let me brush his molars. He'd bite me if I tried. I was able to brush the front and fortunately that was in good condition, but his back teeth were a big problem. Two molars had to be pulled out.
Sunny was the kind of dog that could get lost because he would follow the wrong pair of jeans! We always had to keep an eye on him. He loved attention by whomever gave it. He was everybody's friend, which is not very common amongst Shelties. That made him one of a kind!