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

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!