Peanut Butter City.

Doug started therapy in May. That was for his old-new leg. We were rocking all his exercises and moving our way towards graduation.  Then we hit a roadblock known as new-new leg. While we did surgery and recovery on leg #2, therapy had to be put on hold. That meant that leg #1 lost some ground. Double ugh!

A month after his second surgery, Doug was cleared for therapy for both legs. Woooohooooooooo, take us back to Peanut Butter City where the grass is green and girls are pretty!

Doug LOVES Peanut Butter City. That is what we call therapy because they feed him peanut butter to get him to do what they want him to do.

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It’s not just the peanut butter, he LOVES the ladies there too. I mean hard-core, loves them. One of them, Becky, he loves more than he loves peanut butter. Perhaps even more than he loves me. If Becky greets him at the elevator, he explodes with joy. If he’s doing an exercise and Becky walks by, he loses all ability to focus.  If she disappears, he is inconsolable and flips and flops in a furry of a tantrum. Doug has no game.

He. Loves. Her.

This is who he stalks Becky. He’s totally holding in his gut to impress her. IMG_4270

I mean, I’m glad he loves someone. Despite living with him, feeding him, snuggling with him, buying him several jail cells, paying all his bills and DRIVING HIM TO PEANUT BUTTER CITY, all I get are death stares.

You’re not Becky. IMG_6244

I will chew this tie down and set myself free and find Peanut Butter City on my own. IMG_6341IMG_6347

I gotcha, Doug.

Dear Doug,

A year ago I was broken. I was overwhelmed with grief and I was paralyzed under the weight of there being no dogs here. Jakey had not been gone that long and the void in my heart and in the house was crushing me. I’d met dogs and all of them made me have breakdowns. None of them were the dog I wanted.

The dog(s) I wanted had died.

So I gave up. My exact words were: it will just have to be shitty until it isn’t.

Then I saw you. I was scrolling on Facebook and I saw you and went past you and then scrolled back up and then back down and then back up. What was it about you? I didn’t think: you’re not Jake. I didn’t say: it feels too soon. In you, I saw the love-child of my delicious duo. More so, I saw a tomorrow that you could be in. I brought you home (one year ago today) and there were no breakdowns, at least none that were grief driven.

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In the first weeks that followed, my feet bled.  This is not some sort of poetic rhetoric, they literally bled because you were insane and tried to eat my feet with every step I took.  Every step.  I remember running and hiding in the bathroom.  I googled steel toed shoes.  Steel toed footwear in the heat of summer = not cute. During those torturous weeks, you made me miss Jake more.  I won’t lie, I did not love you. I regularly asked myself and you out loud, what was I thinking?

In addition to my bloody stumps, you had more energy than all the dogs combined times infinity. We walked non stop and still you were wound up and running zoomies. Still trying to leave me footless. How was I going to walk you with no feet?

I cried. A lot. About you. You were not at all what I wanted.

But then it was October. Then November. And we’d worked on you chewing toys and not feet and although I was still sad about Jake, I was not as unsure about you. December came and I still cried myself to sleep missing Jake, but I woke up smiling that you were here.

You saw me through almost all the firsts I had to go through without Jake. You were fairly insensitive about my sadness, in fact most times when I would cry you would jump on my back and chew my hair.

In hindsight,  you were everything that I needed.

I didn’t need a hug. That was Melvin’s job. Melvin’s collars were too big for you. I didn’t need you to make me laugh, Jake had that covered.  Jake’s jackets were too small for you. What I needed was a disruption to the structure of grief. I needed to go a little crazy.  Who better to show me that than you? You are my boy in the middle. Sandwiched between your brothers. Sort of like that circle on the top of your head.IMG_1852

You crept slowly into my heart.

I didn’t love all the walks, but the fresh air healed me. I was not excited about how much training you needed, but it helped pass time that would have otherwise been spent wishing Jake was still laying on the couch next to me. I didn’t love that you were such a terror, but every night I went to bed, I was almost too exhausted to be sad.

You were not the dog I wanted at first. But no dog was.  Today, I know with certainty that we were meant to be. Not just because you are addicted to surgery and I love going broke, but because when you look at me, my heart squeals. You are so much like Melvin, and so much like Jake, and nothing like them at all.  Even though you never met them, I still feel like you are brothers, that you are connected to them, and I do not think I would have felt that way with any other dog but you.

Your story is the opposite of mine.  You never had a family to lose. You never had someone committed to your health or well-being. You never had a home, or beds or peanut butter. If there is one thing I know, it’s that the universe will send me the dogs that others would not be able to go the distance with. I will travel this crazy life with you and your wonky Barbie legs, always.

I know you know you’re home.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of joy.  You are a strong force in this army. You bring the joy AND the funk.

You own my heart. Sure, some days I am still worried you will chew it up like one of your beds or swing it around like one of your Jolly Balls, but as all unconditional loves go, I’m willing to take that risk.

Happy Gotcha Day, bud.  I love you.  Forever.

 

 

Frankenlegs.

It feels like Doug has been on lockdown for eternity.  I’m sure it feels even longer for him.  I was looking for a photo yesterday and realized that he had his first surgery back in April. It’s almost September. The earth has not shaken from Doug zoomies in almost five months.

Set me free woman. IMG_5892

This go around is going pretty good.  I think there is just a general depression and acceptance by both of us that it will suck until it doesn’t. The meds combo seems to be helping Doug stay calm.  When I say he stays calm, what I mean is, when in his jail cell he has not yet tried to run zoomies or stand on his two frankenlegs only.  He will stare directly into my soul and bark for a long time, but he does it while sitting so that’s good. But when I go to let him out, trust me, home boy tries to run. In the yard he will let me get a few steps ahead of him (he’s on leash) and then he will run for five steps just because he can.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

The death stares are fewer and have turned into more of a plea to his captor to stop taking him in for surgeries.

A softer side of the death stare. Using only side-eye. IMG_5840

Brothers, why is she addicted to surgery? IMG_5855

No seriously, stop taking me places where I go to sleep and wake up with another frankenleg.IMG_5872

We joined an AMAZING support group on Facebook for dogs with frankenlegs like Doug and it’s been really helpful for perspective and encouragement.  There are a bunch of people and dogs just preparing for or coming home from surgery and there are a bunch who are at the end and have videos of their dogs running free for the first time. A reminder that the end of this will come.

Have a great weekend!  Seek and spread some joy!

 

 

 

Two weeks of deja vu.

It has been two weeks since Doug’s most recent surgery.  It has been 14 weeks since his first surgery. Here are some updates:

  • We resume rehab next week. We are coming up on the original date that rehab should have been done, but now it’s almost like we are starting over.  Well, it’s not almost like we are, it’s more like we actually are. Thankfully, Doug LOVES rehab.  We call it Peanut Butter City.
  • Doug’s sutures came out today. That means NO MORE CONE! The funny part is that this go around, Doug actually loves the cone.  He has mastered sleeping on his back and having his head propped up on the donut cone.
  • Something is going on with his old new leg (the one he had surgery on first, from here on out we will call that leg Franken-leg-one) When he walks, his hock/ankle hyperextends (to an alarming degree).  The surgeon looked at it today and said it was either nothing (just the way he is compensating for Franken-leg-two) or something (I cannot tell you what he said about this part because I passed out from fear it requires surgery).
  • Doug’s current meds are keeping him pretty chill.  I’m not a person who believes in jinxing but I am still cautious to say that too much.  This go around, I have kept him strictly in the crate (not the pen) so I also think that has had something to do with him remaining calmer.  He is going to graduate back to the pen this week so we shall see.
  • Due to the previous bullet point, my vodka consumption has been that of a normal person.
  • Doug has also been super snuggly this go around. Just before he tore his other ACL, and he had been jailed for 12 weeks, he was starting to be stressed.  I get it, he had no idea why he was being held hostage. During that time, he had started barking at me non-stop (which was so fun and rewarding), and growling at the situation  (which I mean, what is better after a long day at work than someone snarling at you?). I am trying to do everything I can to make jail time more positive.
  • In relation to the previous bullet point, I fit in Doug’s crate with him.
  • Doug almost got a sister a few weeks back.  I felt like it would have been a great time since he would have only had a few more weeks of inactivity and by the time he was cleared to play, we’d be through the shutdown period of them being separated.  Then his other ACL snapped…

Here are some recent pictures of my little inmate:

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And here is a photo of how Franken-leg-one hyperextends: IMG_5645

 

Prison life is boring.

I have never been in prison but I imagine its pretty lame. There is probably a lot of boredom mixed in with a bunch of chores, and a lot of anxiety about being shiv’d or raped.  Those last two are tidbits I learned from watching too much Law & Order SVU.

Doug’s prison time is just the boredom part.  He’s bored. I’m bored for him. And we have three to four more months to go.  Even though WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN F’ING DONE BY NOW BUT NO, HE HAD TO BLOW OUT HIS OTHER LEG TOO.

But I digress.

The update is, boredom.  His leg is healing nicely (from what I can tell). The gag factor from looking at it has gone from a 10 to about a 4. We had to put rehab on hold so that sucks. He’s still on pain meds so he is pretty chill. He was chill during this part last time too.  It’s when he comes off of the meds that he is intolerable hyper and hard to implement restricted activity.  That should be at some point next week when his staples come out.

Until then, it’s just a lot of staring at each other and him thinking I’m addicted to dog surgeries.

The day of surgery when he’s like ‘what the? She made me have another surgery? Thanks a lot Mommy Dearest. IMG_5588

Our cone game is strong. Since Doug eats them. IMG_5590

Gag. Gag. Gag. IMG_5601

A PSA from Doug: if you are going to do drugs, wear a donut.

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That day I was at work and watching him on camera and thought the cone strangled Doug because he had not moved in four hours so I yelled BOO into the camera’s mic. IMG_5652

And in this NSFW photo you can see how nicely the other leg (the one closer to the floor) healed up and we are confident this one will too.  He should only be franken legs for a few more weeks!IMG_5669

Here we go again.

Doug is 12 weeks post a complicated luxated patella and TPLO surgery.  Two weeks ago we waved goodbye to our surgeon. As of last week, we probably had about six weeks more to go until he was free to zoom. We had just come off of pen confinement and needing to be leashed in the house.  Our rehab had finally picked up in intensity to really start building his muscle back up. He was sleeping upstairs again.

In other words, we saw the light.

This weekend, Doug tore his other ACL. I’d personally like to live in denial of this.  But Doug can barely walk now and his second surgery is today, so it’s apparently time to take a bite of this reality sandwich.

I sorta wish we had not seen the light or given him more freedom. To have it given, then abruptly taken away, has left him angry. He now sits in the pen and barks at me non stop. Not ideal, for either of us. 

I don’t really have the words to describe how hard it has been to keep Doug’s activity restricted.  I know a lot of people probably say that about their dogs, but the people around us can confirm that Doug is not, most dogs.  He is constantly in motion. When he’s being held back, he goes into destructive mode.  And as much as that drives me nuts, it is way more taxing on him to have to live the life as an inmate. These leg issues keep Doug from being Doug. He should be going in and out of the house into the yard whenever he wants. He should be running zoomies. Instead, he’s been in jail and on tie down and the moment he starts to taste freedom again, the jail bars drop back down.

He holds me responsible for it all, and it definitely impacts our relationship building. 

I am not sure how we will get through round two, but I know we will find a way.  I mean, we have no choice. Hopefully since this one should only be the TPLO surgery and not the luxated patella fix also (please God), it may be a bit easier on him.  Not sure about that but I am holding onto that hope.

If either Melvin or Jake needed this surgery, or even if they both needed it at the same  time, we’d all probably be high-fiving.  Staying still and resting was their goal in life. They probably would have cut their own ACLs if they knew it came with months of inactivity.  This down time for Doug, goes against his DNA.

I have had Doug for almost 11 months. It is estimated he ran stray for about 5 months. I’m hopeful he thinks jail-city is still better than being stray, but I can’t be sure. I’m trying to focus on the positive: we can afford these surgeries, he has good insurance, he’s young so healing is faster. But the truth is, my little family needs a win. 

Last night when I was laying in bed saying no, no, nope, no to this happening, over and over like a crazy person, I had a vision of Doug running stray.  What if he had not been found? What if both of his ACLs blew out and he was dragging his bloody stumps around? What if, God forbid, someone found him and decided he was not worth saving?

He came to me for a reason. One of those reasons is to be mended. We all know he will get that. Another reason could be to test the boundaries of my sanity. This surgery may breach that barrier, but who knows, it might help us get through round two!

Is he going to test my patience?  Yes, absolutely.  Will he pick back up on planning my death? Probably.

Will we make it through? Of course we will.  We are joy warriors.

 

 

The worst.

I had a migraine last week. It was terrible. Doug, was even worse than the migraine.

To recap:

  • Max would lovingly lay over my legs when I had a migraine and was sick.
  • Melvin would climb into the big bed, and want for nothing until I was able to get back up.
  • Jake would lay at Melvin’s butt forever, he had no clue I was even there (although a few times he would come into the bathroom, I’m presuming to be sure the person who could reach the food was still alive).
  • Doug’s pre-game, game-game and end-game is torturing me.

He was a maniac the day of the migraine. On a scale of 1-10 energy wise, he was infinity.  He also reverted back to trying to be my backpack, something he has not done in months (and I had not missed). He also, tried to chew my hair.

But the worst part was, and I was extra stomach sick on this migraine, every time I was crouched over the toilet, he would bark, at the toilet, ferociously. Like foam from his mouth would fly into my ear because he was so close to the toilet and in some weird toilet-attack-mode.

So, I shut the door. But he could still hear me getting sick, so he would just flip out until I opened the door again. When I would get up and walk out, he’d run in and bark at the toilet some more.

During migraines, I often write things down, either things that happen during the migraine that I want to tell my neurologist about, or things I need to remember, as I likely won’t have recollection of them after.

I woke up the next day to find this note:

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Obviously I won’t. But don’t tell him that.

For those of you anticipating the ‘other leg’ update. We see the surgeon tomorrow at 10am.  Until then, I’m in denial.