VSCP Patient of the Month
Loved by: Nadine and Ray Sulier
“Never leave your wingman” is a quote many of you may recognize; a quote made famous by the movie ‘Top Gun’ starring Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise, ‘Maverick’ in the movie, learns that sticking by your teammates is far more important than being the ‘Top Gun’ pilot. Top Gun, was the movie that inspired our Patient of the Month’s name; and aptly so.
Meet Ice Man. Ice Man is a gorgeous, one year old yellow Labrador Retriever owned by Nadine and Ray Sulier. Prior to obtaining Ice Man, they owned a yellow lab named Maverick, which is one reason they chose ‘Ice Man’ to be the name of their new companion. The other reasons are equally compelling.
Unknown to Ray, Nadine began the hunt for Ice Man after she had been diagnosed and treated for bilateral breast cancer. Nadine not only beat the cancer, but she is now a five year survivor! However, during her treatment and recovery, Nadine decided that she needed to find a living, breathing companion for her Ray, just in case the cancer returned and she didn’t survive the recurrence.
Nadine and Ray have been married for 35 years. Three months after they were married, Nadine’s leg was crushed in a freak accident. Crushed. At the hospital the two of them were advised to amputate her crushed leg above the knee. They were told it could not be saved, and even if it could be saved, it would be useless. Ray and Nadine refused to believe this; especially Ray. They researched other surgeons and other choices. They found a surgeon willing to reconstruct the leg and Ray decided that physical therapy in the pool at the apartment complex where they lived was just the ticket, even though they were told physical therapy would do no good. The two of them created and implemented a recovery regimen…..that worked. Nadine has a rebuilt, fully functional leg. These are two people who know how to be each other’s ‘wingmen’, or perhaps we should say, ‘wingpeople’.
Ray is a water fowl guy. A wingman in the literal sense. He loves the outdoors, he loves a good dog. Nadine researched dogs and breeders with this in mind and in July of 2019 they welcomed 6 month old Ice Man into their lives, it was a very good fit.
Ice Man is the epitome of a Labrador Retriever; beautiful, loyal, smart and trainable. He was having an issue though: he would occasionally come in from his retrieving sessions with a slight limp. This gradually worsened until he was no longer bearing weight on his left front leg. When repeated visits for diagnoses and rounds of rehab therapy did not resolve the issue; a fracture in the shoulder area was finally identified.
Ray and Nadine were advised to amputate the leg.
As you may have surmised by now, this was not going to be the final answer. Nadine and Ray had to try to save that leg. On a recommendation from Paws Aquatics Sports and Rehab., Ice Man was brought to VSCP for a consult in January of 2020. On January. 20th, 2020, our orthopedic specialist Dr. John Kiefer, DVM, DACVS, repaired the fracture and did not recommend amputating the leg.
Ice Man is recovering well, and is now weight-bearing on that leg.
Ice Man is a good wingman, and he has wingpeople that never give up.
We don’t either.