As per usual, it’s been a bit crazy here. Work’s been super busy, I had a hospital visit (I’m fine) and Doug has been doing his rehab and being generally cray (in a joyous way). Also, Bob (the cat) gets spayed next week and will come back here to heal up.
As for Doug, we are now one-month post surgery. It feels like much longer. MUCH. Keeping Doug calm is like trying to stop rain.
On our last physical therapy appointment (guys – we are so in love with all the folks there!) they confirmed a looming suspicion about Doug’s ‘good’ leg. That’s right, I put quotes around ‘good’. His ‘good’ leg is now showing signs of having a luxating patella (only a stage one at this point however I’d prefer a stage zero) and it’s also showing some signs of weakness from being his dominant hind leg for so long. His hock tends to hyperextend. (Again, I may or may not have that right. When someone mentions another problem, my brain goes into shutdown mode and information about any sort of situation is not permitted). For now, we measured him for a custom brace that is on order. Who wants to put money on whether Doug will eat the brace?
His new leg is doing good. So there is that!
He’s still on limited activity. No running. No jumping. No steps. We go on three, 11-minute walks a day. Yep, we added one minutes since last week, look at us go!
Here is Doug, loving so hard on his rehab harem.
We were not able to start water therapy because Doug has a yeast infection. Of course he does!
Neither Melvin or Jake were insurable. When I got them, pet insurance was different. If a dog had a pre-existing condition, the dog was denied. Now, the pre-existing condition isn’t covered but the dog still can be. Let’s be honest, Melvin and Jake were walking pre-existing conditions.
During Jake’s last year of life. With the eye ulcers, the emergency eye surgery, the follow-up eye issues, the MSRP infection, the diaper rash, the cancer, the radiation and all of his medications, ointments and specialists (6) over that 12-month span, I paid out $25,000. This is not a complaint, it’s just a fact.
When I got Doug, I had already investigated pet insurance plans and had decided on Healthy Paws. I pay $30 a month. The annual deductible is $500. Our plan reimburses 90% of accidental issues and illness. Routine care and pre-existing conditions are not covered.
I just got our $5,000 check reimbursement for Doug’s surgery. I cried. Whenever possible, I take a positive approach to life, even when things are dark and heavy, I try to see the light. It’s been a couple of dark years with Melvin and Jake both having cancer and dying. That reimbursement check meant way more to me than money.
I deserved that break.
I have a great job. I have a great family support system. I happily paid Melvin and Jake’s bills and I will happily pay Doug’s. But it felt really good to get something back from a health conundrum.
That said, we pay joy forward. So in honor of yesterday being ten months since Jakey died, we’d like to buy an Eddie’s Wheels Wheelchair for a dog in need. Please share submissions of dogs who could use a cart (their name and story) in the comments below, on this Facebook post or email to email@example.com. I’ll put together a little committee of folks who will help me pick the lucky dog.
Doug could not hate life more right now if he tried. Death stares now include not even bothering to look at me.
We saw the surgeon for our first post surgical follow-up and he said Doug looked great. They took the stitches out and told us we could wave good-bye to the cone. Yay! Then he asked me why I wasn’t using tranquilizers on Doug.
Doug was on tranquilizers at the time.
Welcome to my world.
He sat down and I knew it wasn’t going to be a moment I would cherish later. He said that the TPLO part of the surgery was easy and smooth, however the kneecap repair was far more extensive than they planned. Due to that, Doug was likely be looking at 16-20 weeks of recovery time.
My soul died, just a little. Mostly for Doug but some for me too. In this situation, 16 weeks is 100% in the dog years type of counting. It might as well be forever. Especially with a dog whose body laughs at tranquilizers.
Yesterday, we had our rehab consult. The doctor there also asked me why he was not on tranquilizers. Just stop, people.
Doug was assessed. He was stretched. They pulsated his muscles with some magic wand. He did some cone work and they taught me how to do our ten or so, at home, therapies. We were also granted three, 5-10 minute walks a day! Wooohoooooooooo! The inmate can finally leave the house.
I then posed the 16-20 week question to the rehab doctor. She said ‘at least’. Then she threw in, I’m a little concerned about his good leg too.
I immediately went to vodka.com to up my order. The good news is, therapy zonked Doug out. We will do therapy 1-2 times a week there and will also start water therapy and that should drain some of his energy too.
It’s about time you let me leave prison. You are the worst warden-mother.
Checking his range of motion.
Pulsating his muscles. I honestly might have gotten that wrong.
Forcing him to use his new leg (this is also the point where questions were raised about his good leg).
Laser therapy. Doug is probably the only dog who prefers to stand for laser therapy.
You will recall that there is a feral cat in my neighborhood that I named Bob. I feed Bob and I bought Bob a cat condo. It’s comical, because I’m deathly allergic to cats, but Bob deserves for someone to love him/her and luckily, I am not allergic to love.
There have been several attempts to trap Bob in order to get him/her fixed and vetted. No luck. So I have just continued to put food out every night. About a month ago I noticed that Bob was getting pretty chunky (no judgement) and realized that Bob was probably pregnant (still no judgment). In the past week, Bob has been very demanding about food. S/he will loud meow (this is a very technical term) outside my window. We have a little routine. S/he demands food, I go outside to fill up the bowl while s/he hides, then when I go inside, s/he eats. Whatever Bob wants.
Bob looking ‘plump’.
This weekend, a neighbor found kittens on her deck. Bob was watching them from the woods.
Bob’s a mom!
The theory is that Bob lives in the sewer. She had her kittens there but when the rains picked up here, she moved them to higher ground.
A lot happened in the 24 hours following the kitten discovery. The kittens were taken into rescue. They are about 3-4 weeks old. Bob was trapped and has been reunited with her babies. She will continue to nurse them for a bit longer. Then I will take Bob to our vet to have her vetted and spayed and microchipped to me. We will then introduce her to my backyard and garage (temperature controlled) to see if she would like to call it home. Due to my allergies, that is the best I can offer her. I’ll continue to feed her as long as she continues to come here to eat. If it’s determined that Bob could be a house cat, then we would love to get her adopted out, but that is unlikely. Bob likely prefers to be undomesticated. The kittens will be adopted out.
Also, her name is staying Bob. It’s part of her story.
There is nothing in the world like Mom love, not for me anyway. Every single effort I make or have made for the boys, is because my mom showed me what it felt like to be loved unconditionally.
So to all the moms, you are the glue. You are the icing. You are the love.
Happy Mother’s day to moms of two-legged children. To moms of three and four-legged loves. To moms who have young kids, to moms whose kids have left their beautiful nest.
To the moms who have lost children. To those who have lost moms.
Happy Mother’s day to the male moms. Happy Mother’s day to those who are about to become moms. To the moms with no kids, who help to mother those around them. To the next generation of moms, may they be fierce.
In the spirit of love living on, Mom love lives on too. Whether your mom is with you still, or gone, the mom love in us lives and grows and impacts us in ways we notice and in ways we sometimes overlook.
To my mom, you are all the beautiful moments, all the love that surrounds me. You are my goodness and my strength and my laughter. I’m a good mom because you have been the best mom.
And to my boys, who made me a dog mom, well there is nothing in the world I am more grateful for than you.
Doug is confined to the first floor for at least three months. I slept with him downstairs for a few nights but now I lay with him until he falls asleep, then I go upstairs.
I go upstairs so I can get some real rest. But for some reason (the reason is that I’m cray), I don’t sleep all that much. I watch Doug on camera. I let him sleep in the donut which is about 80% good at keeping him from licking his leg but 100% good at him sleeping more soundly. Still, I watch the camera throughout the night to be sure he does not lick, or get his leg stuck in the pen, or anything else I can make up that will probably never happen. Yet still, I watch.
Last week, I dozed off while watching the camera. I was awoken to the noise of Doug repositioning and having a hard time of it. I lifted my head to see what the noises were about and, I SAW A PERSON WALKING OUT OF THE MUDROOM – AT 3AM!
There are a lot of things that could have happened at this point. I mean until you are faced with an intruder, who knows what the response will be. Here is what I did. (The real F word will be replaced with more family friendly F words for this recap of events):
I leapt from my bed screaming, GET THE FUDGE AWAY FROM MY DOG YOU FORKER! I WILL FRIENDING KILL YOU, YOU MOTHER FINGER! I WILL FROGGING CUT YOUR THROAT! WHERE ARE YOU FRITO-NUT??!
I went tearing down the steps, screaming the above. I could feel veins in my head popping and there was no oxygen.
I would like to add here that I’m against violence. I cannot watch movies with even mild violent content. But if you are a person (or a bug) going towards my dogs with bad intention, I will frosting cut you.
Once I got downstairs, no one was there.
The alarm was still on and all the sensors were good, none of them had been tripped. I checked the security video from the other rooms, nothing. For a brief minute I thought maybe the video from the cameras was on a loop to fool me. WHO THE HELL DID I THINK WAS BREAKING INTO MY HOUSE? JASON BOURNE?
Doug was not sure what was happening but it made him wiggle with delight. Party at 3am!
Exhaustion got the best of me. I imagined I saw someone in the house because the video was rendering when I looked at it. After a quick sit on the couch to allow the heart attack to fully play out, and a few minutes pondering why I didn’t bring as much as a shoe downstairs as a weapon (what was my plan on this one???) I went back up to bed and tried to pretend I was normal. In my defense (who am I kidding), I’m not used to the dogs sleeping downstairs. They have always been upstairs with me. Also, (now I’m really reaching) when we are out in public, some people are a little too interested in Doug. We have been to adoption events where people follow us and I try to explain to them that Doug is not an adoptable. One even asked if I could take their number in case he ever is. (Wait, what??). So at this moment in Crazytown, I assumed someone had followed us home. Even though Doug had not been off our property for over a week.
Signed, Doug’s ninja sleep deprived mom.
Maybe I paid someone to jailbreak me. Ever think of that? You ruin everything, mother.
I had a home visit a few months ago with a rescue group I wanted to be approved for. I had many conversations with the adoption coordinator about Doug and how crazy very exuberant he is. I explained to her how he never really calms down, even when he is still, he’s gearing up for movement. I told her these things during the conversation about how when I add the next dog, I don’t want two Dougs. She assured me she had seen it all, she’d been doing Pit Bull rescue for 20+ years. She came and met us. Her exact quote after the visit was: I never in my life have met a dog as energetic as Doug. He is awesome, but he is by far the most hyper dog I’ve ever met.
Told you so!
Despite only being 12 days out of surgery and having at least 10 weeks of rest to go, he thinks he is fully healed and he now tries to do a modified zoomie in his crate, along the edge of the bed. It’s like tightrope zoomies, IN A DAMN CRATE. When he is in the x-pen, he wild ponies up on his hind legs. To say this is against every thing the doctor said he SHOULD NOT DO, is a grand understatement. I mean HOW do you keep a dog down, literally down, on all fours. Should I put bricks on his back?
After he runs the zoomies in the 4×4 space (and after I plead with him to stop (no, NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT!) he resorts to ramming the crate or pen door. Like a bull. Like a bull with a broken leg who is supposed to be resting. Every time I go in to spend time with him, it’s like an ultimate warrior cage match.
He has been doing all of this, since day 4 post surgery. I mean even superman could be held down by Kryptonite.
I am not a dramatic person. If I say Doug is crazy, he’s crazy. I’m very matter-of-fact. Trying to keep Doug calm has made me drink cry. It’s brought actual tears to my eyes. I legit hid from him at one point because I just couldn’t fight the fight anymore and I needed a break. My hiding, only rev’d him up more. Hide and seek, fun!
I feel like the vet surgical community failed us when they sent us on our way post surgery with a see you in two weeks, keep him calm and off that leg. Pretty sure they threw in a wink and smile for hurtful measure. I had tried to explain that Doug was VERY energetic. That there was no way to keep him calm. And I’m sure they hear that A LOT from owners who don’t really know what true, nuclear energy looks like. I watched as our surgeon’s eyes glossed over when I explained to him that while I was VERY committed to Doug’s recovery, Doug would in no way, shape or form be at all committed to it.
He said to me…Doug will realize his limitations. And then he tried to send me home without tranquilizers. Uh no, nice try.
Sadly, the tranquilizer we were given was no match for Doug. I get it, Excedrin Migraine is as about as powerful as a tic-tac when it comes to my migraines. Some medication just doesn’t stand up to the challenge before it. Doug’s current tranquilizer is one of those things.
I am willing to do the hard work. I kept Jake in a cone for six weeks after his eye surgery. Six weeks in a heavy cone for a dog with a compromised spine could almost be considered abuse (which is why I ordered that ridiculously expensive head mask – remember that???), but saving his eye was important for his well-being. In the end, it was the right decision. Well, it was the right decision before knowing he had terminal cancer. Had I known about the cancer I would have had the eye removed and let him live as struggle-free as possible. Ahhhhh, hindsight, you’re a bastard.
Speaking of hindsight…Jake had it.
Keeping Doug calm is up there with juggling sand. Impossible.
I’m OK with Doug continuing to hate me as I try to get him through this timeframe intact and with 4 healthy legs at the end. This phase in our lives will be all but a blip. We are going to try a new tranquilizer. And if that doesn’t work, we will try something else. If nothing else, all our trying will pass the time. Right?
He is still planning my death. Thankfully, the cone and donut SHOULD come off tomorrow when his sutures come out.
We are starting day 5 post surgey for a grade 4 Luxated Pattella correction (that was difficult) and a surprise TPLO surgery to repair a torn ACL that we didn’t know about.
Doug is doing great. Despite only being able to tippy-toe on his new leg (which is right on track with healing – he had bones broken to do the fix), he is still ready to run. And jump. And run-jump. And run while jumping and jump while running.
He does not understand why he is in jail. Enter me, the enemy.
Here is what Doug knows:
I forgot to feed him breakfast on the same day I dropped him off to a strange place.
He ‘fell asleep’ and when he woke up he couldn’t feel his legs and there were only strangers around.
He cried throughout the night and I never came (I wanted to come, bud!)
The next day some stranger forced him onto his broken leg using a body sling.
Then his mother finally showed up (where the hell had she been?).
He got home and was put into a crate. Wait, when did the crate come back? We got rid of that months ago.
He went for his first bathroom break and his mother had no clue what she was doing and he had no clue what she was doing but there was a band around his belly and his rear legs were not touching the ground and WHY WAS HE ON LEASH IN HIS OWN YARD?
He now lives in jail. Why?
His mother does not want him to get excited or jump so she doesn’t come into his to his jail cell until he is very calm and sitting (when did the love leave?).
He can’t sleep upstairs.
His food bowl is not as full as it usually is.
He looks at me with complete contempt.
This is one of those times, when it wold be nice if we were issued the ability to clearly communicate with our animals. Like if when you get them, you are granted 30 minutes of communication to use (wisely) throughout their lives. I’d spend 1 minutes on hello, save 4 minutes for emergencies (like major surgery) and I’d save the rest for our final goodbye.
But, we don’t get that so we are the enemy until we aren’t the enemy which for Doug and me is about 85 days from now.
He is still on pain medication and a tranquilizer but there will come a time when he is not on those things and I honestly do not know how I will keep him calm. Oh for cripes sake, I won’t keep him calm because Doug does not do calm, I am more concerned with just keeping all four paws on the ground because he loves jumping up on his hind legs and why, why, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
I am happy that he seems to be comfortable. Then again, he was running full speed on a dislocated kneecap and a fully torn ACL so who knows. He could be in agony and no one would be the wiser.
We have a pretty good system. I am much better at getting him out with the sling. He is still on the ‘go out, go potty, back to jail’ schedule but when he gets his staples out (5/9) I’m hoping that we are granted some walk time. We don’t even start therapy until 5/16.
I have set up areas on the first floor for him to be where I am. I have an x-pen in the main room where the TV is and when in that he only wears the donut cone since I can monitor him, and so he can death stare at me while we hang out. I had thought he could be in the office with me but he tried to jump up to look out the window so now I work in the main room so the death staring does not have to travel far. I also have an x-pen set up for him outside, for outdoors death stares. And he sleeps in a crate at night with a giant cone on because if left in the x-pen unsupervised, he and the pen would probably make it upstairs (to kill me in my sleep). When in the crate and wearing the giant cone, he death stares directly into the camera.
I guess this post is my way of saying, so far, so good! It’s odd how the universe works. I do not want the one year anniversary of losing Jake to come because I cannot bring myself to admit he is really gone so I don’t need that day to become another sad reality on the stupid calendar. At the same time, that timeframe is when Doug’s 3-month lockdown will be over. So I really want that time to fly by but I don’t want it to but I do but I don’t.