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!
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?
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!).