Quickie update

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.

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We were not able to start water therapy because Doug has a yeast infection.  Of course he does!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  xoxo

Pet Insurance and a Melvin and Jake’s Project Joy giveaway.

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 ohmelvinyojake@gmail.com.  I’ll put together a little committee of folks who will help me pick the lucky dog.

Melvin and Jake love, lives on. Always.

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Inmate update.

Doug could not hate life more right now if he tried. Death stares now include not even bothering to look at me. IMG_4217

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. IMG_4264

Checking his range of motion. IMG_4266

Pulsating his muscles.  I honestly might have gotten that wrong. IMG_4267

Forcing him to use his new leg (this is also the point where questions were raised about his good leg).  IMG_4270

Laser therapy. Doug is probably the only dog who prefers to stand for laser therapy. IMG_4280

We are three weeks down!  13-17 to go!

 

 

Kryptonite.

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. IMG_5422

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. IMG_4149

 

 

Public Enemy #1.

Me. I’m public enemy #1.

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.
  • WTF.

He looks at me with complete contempt.

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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.

Vodka.

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.

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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.

Yep, keeping the crazy alive over here!

Doug’s surgery.

Doug has surgery tomorrow to repair/replace/fix (all of those I guess) his kneecap issue.  All I know is that the kneecap is unable to get back over and they have to carve out some notches in his bones to allow it to get back into place and they will also move around some tissue to accommodate that and hold the kneecap in place.  I’m the 101 of medical speak. The surgery worries me less than the recovery. Well the anesthesia worries me the most, followed by recovery, then surgery.

Doug has to be chill/still for four-weeks.  I’m not even sure it’s four, it might be six, the surgeon said a number and my mind went to the absolute longest time I thought I could possibly survive with a pent-up Doug. That is four weeks. Give or take 3 weeks.

He will spend at least the first night in the hospital. Despite having almost every medical issue known to (wo)man and dog, Melvin never spent a night in a hospital and Jake only spent one, when his eye tried to explode. I know that once he is home, the first few days and nights will be the worst, but in terms of caring for him, I have been training for this since I had Max.

We will figure it all out.

I have a dog pen, I have various sized crates. I have tie down plans so he can be outside but not moving around. I have cones, bed covers and plans to feed him mini meals throughout the day via Kong to keep him busy.  I have bones, and bully sticks and new toys. I have a plan to try to keep his weight in check.

I also have tranquilizers. For him, but if they fail, I may take them.

This is what Doug looks like when he’s on tranquilizers. He is awake. Wide awake. But somewhat still, for like ten minutes. IMG_3980

I’m excited to get this issue fixed although I am a bit worried about one other thing. What if this leg issue has been holding the real Doug back. What if he is even more energetic, more zoomerific, more cray? Since he has been on pain medication, I have noticed that crazy Doug has reemerged.  He is still only using 3 legs but the pain medication is definitely making him feel more, him.  I’m scared people. I mean really, what if…

Yippppeeeeee, I can’t wait to fly through the air again like I was born to do! IMG_3999

I will keep you posted via Facebook and Instagram. If you have any advice for post surgical care or keeping exuberant dogs calm, PLEASE share that with me! Please!

Have a great week!

Well that’s new.

Let me give a quick recap of the health issues I have faced with the dogs. An asterisk indicates multiple dogs and/or flare ups:

  • Giardia ******
  • Mange
  • Severe allergies **************
  • Moderate allergies *****
  • Maybe allergies ***
  • Infected anal glands ***
  • Skin infections **********************
  • MRSP
  • Diaper rash **********
  • Severe diaper rash **********
  • Split nail
  • Cracked tooth
  • Missing teeth
  • Colitis ****
  • Happy tail
  • Infected happy tail ****
  • Tail amputation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye growth that needed removal
  • Eye ulcers ***
  • Hole in eye from eye ulcer
  • Emergency surgery to fix hole in eye
  • Blood clot that formed after eye fix (in eyeball)
  • Severe spinal malformations ********
  • Spinal fluid blockage ***
  • Unidentified tick disease ***
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Wonky gait *****
  • Hind limb paralysis *********
  • Sores from dragging paralyzed legs *********
  • Bleeding of any kind ********************
  • Ear infections *******************
  • Liver disease
  • Nares surgery
  • ER visits to remove feathers from throat **
  • ER visits (non feather related) *********************
  • X-rays *********
  • CT scans **********
  • MRI and Spinal taps (3 and counting)
  • Bladder and bowels that needed manual emptying (my life is so damn glamorous)
  • Severe constipation
  • Extreme diarrhea
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • De-worming
  • Dog attack injuries (Jake from attacking every dog I brought home and other dogs attacking Doug)
  • Aspiration to lung and almost lung lobectomy
  • Liver cysts
  • Liver tumors
  • Lung tumors
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Grief honk crying requiring behaviorist and prozac
  • Nerve sheath tumor
  • Spinal Cancer
  • Radiation

I’m sure I’m leaving out issues that have long ago left my memory. But you get the point.

The surgeon took one look at Doug’s X-rays and said, I know the issue. He then did an extensive inspection of Doug’s leg (Doug did not love this part and I could tell by the movements the doctor was doing that he had for sure narrowed in on the area of pain for Doug). We did a CT to confirm.

I would like to add my recap to the (male) doctor was as follows: every day, it seems more and more that Doug’s leg was put on wrong.  I’m going to guess you didn’t play with Barbie as a child (I wish you could have seen his face at this point), but if you had, you would know that there is a right and wrong way to put Barbie’s leg back on when it falls off. Doug’s Barbie leg is on wrong. 

He nodded (and somehow managed not to laugh since I was coming across as very serious) and told me that in his entire career as a veterinary surgeon, no one had ever used a Barbie analogy.

But then he said, (in a way) I was right.

Doug has a grade 4 luxated patella. While 90% of turned kneecaps go to the inside, Doug’s is of the rarer variety and goes to the outside. Grade 4 is the worst, it means that the kneecap can no longer move back into place without surgical intervention.  It seems as Doug’s leg grew, his bones pushed his kneecap out of the way and continued to grow without it. So the doctors have to go in and shave his bones to make room for the stray kneecap.  (I almost passed out when he said that).  They are building a 3D of Doug’s leg to figure out the best way to repair it.

Doug’s onset of symptoms were right on track. For a few months he would hop at the end of long walks or bursts of intense zoomies. He was limping more over the past few months. Then last week, he went lame on that hind leg.

Doug was supposed to be the dog that showed me what this illusive ‘annual vet visit’ is all about. Doug had other plans and clearly wants to be more like his brothers. So we will rebuild that wonky leg (hence the extra asterisks above) and we will figure out how to keep him still now and after the surgery (I bought more vodka to help strategize on that one). The one thing that Doug has going for him (in addition to me), is extreme body strength.  Doug currently runs on three legs, just as fast as he does on all four.

I saved Jake’s giant stroller and everyone kept asking why are you saving that? Their thinking was that I would likely never have the need for it again.

HAVE THEY NEVER MET MY DOGS????

Here is Doug.  High and drunk from the anesthesia and sedatives and pain meds.  We will keep you posted as the surgery gets scheduled.

So high he does not notice treats. IMG_3847

He 100% thinks I bought these for him. IMG_3882