Londonderry dog wins ribbons just months after major knee surgery

When Jenny Best saw her six-year-old Newfoundland dog lying on the floor in pain she was afraid the dog might have a life-altering injury. Four and a half months later, thanks to TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) surgery, the dog took part in two-day rally obedience trials, placing second in her class both days.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine she’d perform so well,” said Best. “It was just wonderful to see her do so well.”

It was June 11 when Viva’s knee was injured while she was playing with the other Newfoundland dogs in the family.

“I was terrified,” said Best. “When we took her in to emergency I was afraid it was something worse, she was in such great discomfort. I could feel her bones grinding.”

Best was relieved to hear Viva’s cruciate ligament had been damaged, because she knew there was surgery available for the condition. Dr. Ed Macmillan, of Central Nova Animal Hospital, performed TTA surgery on Viva. This involved realigning the ligament and inserting a bone space, plate and screws.

For a while there were a lot of restrictions on Viva’s activity. She could only go out on a leash, couldn’t play with the other dogs and had to be on foam matting. Best had to help her with special exercises.

Viva, who joined Best’s family when she was 10 weeks old, had competed in obedience and rally in the past so as she healed it was felt that getting involved with intermediate level rally would be a good way to exercise.

“She’s a social butterfly so she loves to be out at things,” said Best. “She scored 97 on Saturday and 95 on Sunday. I didn’t expect those scores.”

Best has had Newfoundlands for about 10 years and considers them a fabulous family dog.

“There’s just something special about them. They’re happy go lucky, love work and love to please, but they’re not too active or high-strung. They’re very kind and gentle, although sometimes they forget how big they are.”