Hip hip hooray! Puppy gets life-changing surgery

Reba Schnyder and Elliot Tolkin holding Cricket the puppy, outside on a lawn
A total hip replacement would allow Cricket to run, jump, and play like any other dog. But she had to heal first.
By Christina London

Puppies are known for their exuberant energy. They play hard, sleep hard, then play hard again. Cricket — an adorable black-and-white pup with a speckly nose — was no different. But Cricket and her caregivers had a big challenge ahead: She needed to stay calm to protect her future mobility.

A treatment plan for Cricket

Cricket came to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City after a Utah shelter asked for help with her veterinary care.

Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill by 2025, and that means working together with other animal welfare organizations to save pets’ lives, giving each one the time and care they need to move out of the shelter and into a loving home.

Cricket wasn’t using her hind leg, and X-rays revealed that she had a chronic fracture where her left femur met the hip socket.

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“She just couldn’t use that hip normally at all,” says Dr. Megan McCarthy, Best Friends veterinarian.

The Best Friends medical staff arranged for Cricket to receive a consultation with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Jones of Bark City Veterinary Specialists. He recommended a total hip replacement.

“We got her there just in the nick of time,” says Dr. Megan. “Dr. Jones said if he would have seen her in three months’ time, she wouldn’t have been a great (surgery) candidate.”

The surgery would save Cricket’s leg and allow her to move and function normally. So the procedure was scheduled right away.

Healing at home

After a smooth surgery, Cricket went to recover in a foster home — with some strict guidelines. For the next two months, she was on limited activity. That meant no fetch, no wrestling, no zoomies (a tough ask for this playful pup and her foster caregivers). She had to wear a cone at all times because just one lick or broken suture could lead to infection or setbacks in her healing.

[First-time dog foster volunteer helps puppy heal]

Her foster volunteers found safe ways to keep Cricket engaged. They took her on walks in the backyard on a short leash and provided stuffy toys for gentle play inside the house. Of course, she also received plenty of cuddles and belly rubs.

Cricket went to a second foster home for the remainder of her recovery. When it came time for her to go up for adoption, the family just couldn’t part with her. Today, Cricket’s life is filled with love, adventure, and all the playtime a dog could want.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

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