This too shall pass.

I am part of a support group on FB for folks who have dogs going through the same surgeries as Doug. A lot of times people will post that they feel bad for their dogs, day after day, every day, to have to go through any of this, and that is the moment where I have to ask myself: why I don’t feel this way? Do I not care about Doug? Am I dead inside?

The reality is, despite what Doug is going through, it is nothing even close to what Jake (or even Melvin had to go through).  And that is not to say that Doug’s life is a comparison to theirs, not at all.  It’s just…I never looked at Jake and thought, you poor thing. I felt for his struggle but our entire lives were built around overcoming and opportunity. Sure, that last year I screamed to the universe ENOUGH already! But Jake and I moved forward, even on his last day.

Doug is going to have a great life. I have a lot of faith that his legs will be better than ever (and sure, a little worry here and there that they will not be able to keep up with him at all). Whatever will be, will be. We will figure it out.

Our plans for this summer got squashed. No doubt about it. Unlike Melvin and Jake, Doug loves to be outside, even by himself. I have screens that allow him to go in and out on his own while I’m home.  The back yard is built for him to enjoy and run zoomies  There will not be a single day during spring, summer or most of fall that Doug isn’t outside on leash, with me. No opening the door to let him run, I must go out with him. No lingering on the patio furniture, he is not allowed to jump up or down. No pool time, he’d 100% break another part of his body.

As sad as that is, Doug is fine. There is no way he will remember this phase. The first chance he has at a full outside zoomie session, he will transition from inmate to superhero. He will live in every moment and continue to have everything he needs. If and when the next challenge comes along, he’ll get through that too. Doug is powered by joy. Trust me on this, I live it every day.

Here are some positives that have come out of Doug being in jail:

  • He’s had to work on impulse control, and he’s doing great.
  • If I am not in the room with him, he will chill all day in the jail cell if necessary.  This is a great tool for us to have when people come over who are not dog/Doug enthusiasts.
  • Despite the death stares, he knows I’m in this with him. He and I have bonded, even during the barking and snarling.  (I bark and snarl also).
  • Walks are less stressful now because he is so excited to be out and about that he doesn’t chew the leash or dart left and right and backwards the entire time.
  • We have MASTERED all his commands.

One of my favorite sayings/quotes is: Where you’re at is not who you are. I have applied that to just about every struggle I have ever had. Those low moments, they don’t define you. This legs phase, will pass. And I have no doubt that one day Doug will break something else in his attempt to be the most insanely crazy dog on earth!

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And with that, I give you my little graduate.  I wrote this blog post last week and this week Doug was cleared to be off leash in the house. I am 100% panicked he will break his entire body but here we go anyway!

Where are the chains that usally hold me down?IMG_6483.JPG

The jail cell comes down:

 

 

 

Doug’s first moments of freedom are spent next to me. Can anyone say Stockholm Syndrome?

 

 

 

He’s clearly not familiar with freedom yet.  All those lovely industrial rugs and mats are to prevent slipping (and surgery!).

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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

Graduation (of sorts).

Doug had surgery nine weeks ago.  Nine LONG weeks ago.  We had a setback at week 4 and he has been on limited-limited activity since then.  To be honest, I’m not even sure what that means. But today, 9 weeks in, we had our 8 week check-up (calendar math is not the boss of us) with the surgeon including a 2nd round of x-rays.  The good news is: Doug’s bones are fully healed!  Wooohoooooo!  Does this mean he can resume zoomies? Uh, no. He still needs rehab to build up the muscle mass that he lost (and in some ways never had). But it does mean that we can go into full-rehab-beast-mode!

Doug starting water therapy (finally)!

You guys know the struggles I have had to keep Doug calm. He’s been on the tranquilizer Ace for some time now and either I’m going more insane or it is having an opposite effect on him.  I have been reading up on it and in fact, I think that is what is happening to Doug.  It is actually making him more hyper.  All of the stories I hear of animals on Ace where it is working are along the lines of: the dog was immobile, drooling, very lethargic. The words I would use to describe Doug on Ace are: uncontrollable, crazy, hyper. Now that we are coming off of restricted-restricted activity and will likely just be on singular restricted activity, I can probable stop giving him the Ace.  Or I can stop since IT FAILED US.

Examples of Doug on Ace – as you can see, he is as subdued as a pumpkin.

 

I am sad to report that Doug, like many who find themselves in the prison system at one time or another, has found himself incarcerated once again. He is just not a dog that does well on a tie down, mostly because necks break and he does not seem to care about that risk.  I however love his fat neck so, the jail cell is back out in the center of the room where it can haunt my decorating soul full-time again.

No seriously, his neck is deliciously giant. IMG_5307

Hello old friend. Neither of us missed you. IMG_5267

The other leg.

Doug is a lot like Melvin (the early days Melvin) ethusiastically.  But his hind legs are 100% Jake.

We have the ongoing saga of his newly rebuilt leg. That one takes us down the inmate path where Doug is jailed and I take his tranquilizers.

We also have the other leg. It now has a stage one luxating patella. It also, likely from several months of compensating for the other leg, hyperextends in the hock area.  The best way for me to describe this to you in a way we all understand is that his ankle area on the good leg, pops forward when he uses it.  Ankles probably should not do that.

Enter in the new brace.  When I tell people about the new brace they just assume its for the newly rebuilt leg and even when I try to explain it’s for the not new leg, they still say ‘yeah, it’s for his surgery leg’ and I say no, it’s for his non-surgery leg and then we all just agree to disagree but still agree that both legs are problematic. Then I get the vodka back out.

Here is Doug, and his new leg brace. He’s tried to eat it 4,672 times (we just got it on Friday) (bottom two videos). I break into a full sweat getting it on him. But look how nicely it accentuates his juicy thigh!

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Super Kindergarten.

It’s the end of the school year, kids are gearing up for no more school, summer break and graduations.

Not my kid though, Doug is being held back. He’s going into Super Kindergarten/summer school.

Doug’s healing is slow going. In fact, we have had a bit of a setback. His knee has a lot of swelling and it’s pushing his kneecap back out. To be clear, back out is the wrong direction. Also, on a separate issue, one of his TPLO pins is cutting into his bone a little.

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Awesome, right!?

At our appointment last Friday they called me into a room.  Nothing good comes out of being called into a room. The surgeon said that we should cut back on activity for four weeks. Cut back on activity? What activity? Please explain yourself. What he was saying, as my soul was screaming NOOOOOOOO, is that Doug should not progress right now. We should not increase or change anything for four weeks. That adds four weeks to our total recovery time.

That would take us to 20-24 weeks.  Otherwise calculated as five to six months.

We are at six weeks now. My guess is, that come two months, Doug will be strategizing how to make wind chimes out of my bones.

He is a prisoner in a world that won’t let him run. Or jump. Or do stairs. Or run. Or run some more.

He’s most definitely planning my death.

We followed up our surgeon appointment with a therapy session.  We were hoping to start water therapy but with the activity setback, therapy will need to be low-key for the next four weeks.  They put some numbing gel on his knee and did some laser work.  I wish there was numbing gel for my hopes and dreams for Doug’s summer.

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He’s still super adorable though!  And trust me, there is a death stare under the doggles. IMG_4496

Be sure to join us over on Instagram to see the photo journal of Doug’s time in jail. We can be found @Dougholupka.for.president

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