The Chronicles of Sam: Week 1

This first week has been about establishing new routines and I’m very glad to be on the end of that week and not back at the beginning. Taking a dog that used to have the use of four legs and free range of the house and forcing her to become one who lives with a gigantic and encumbering cone who gets to live in a mobile crate (lovingly referred to as “your room”) was not exactly an easy or fun transition. We’re slowly catching up on many missed hours of sleep (I think I worked all of mine in on Saturday) and discovering muscles we had no idea existed.

Our celebratory milestones have been simple:

  • Bodily functions – oh sure, you think this isn’t a cause to clap and shout “good girl”, but when you’re rounding 12 hours and you’re 100% positive they lobotomized your dog as a freebie to her leg surgery, this is quite exciting. I’m ok that the neighbors think I’m crazier than before after I cheered at Sam in the front yard. TMI WARNING: For the record, if you’ve ever had surgery where you’ve been lucky enough to undergo general anaesthesia you may have discovered that muscles that used to know how to work are on holiday and are basically giving the finger to all of your brain signals that are demanding “PEE!!!!!! Can’t you hear those pressure receptors in your bladder screaming? They’re not screaming a friendly hello, moron.” (Ok, my brain signals may be ruder than yours.) If you’re lucky, someone has taught you the water trick – that running water some how makes the whole body have that “ah hah, that’s how we do it” moment. Well, I’m here to tell you, that works on dogs. Jay had his doubts as we stood with a pitcher in the front yard, but lo and behold “GOOOOOOD GIRL!!!!!!” (For the record, I’m pretty sure Sam looked us up and down and said disdainfully “freaks” in our general direction.)
  • Putting weight on the bionic leg – Sam has avoided using this leg for a good while, making all the instructions on how to ease her into walkiing with the leg rather pointless – none of them included what to do for days on end when your dog only hops on the three good legs. Of course, I’ve found a lot of encouragement on various Googled websites – namely, “your little dog hopper is going to tear her other CCL. Enjoy!” I made a call to the surgeon’s and I was informed, “well, she’s fat – she doesn’t want to put weight on it, but in 7 more days if she hasn’t, we’ll address it”. I sat stunned, because I was torn between “am I getting mad because they just insulted my dog or am I mad because they seem a little flip” (I can’t take “flip” – it’s up there among my pet peeves with “sass”). During all of this, I had contacted Ang, my DVM friend, and after many emails where she had to play counselor while reviewing photos of the Franken-leg that she had requested for my own sanity (further proof to Sam that I am a freak as I took various shots of her leg). Ang had me gently flex her foot and encouraged me to call the surgeon (where I got the “fat” news) and then I contacted the pet rehab place. Of course, Sam who works on her own schedule finally started placing some weight on it – gently tip-toeing on the very top of her pad and occasionally (but rather gingerly) putting it completely down.
  • Week two promises even more fun. Sam goes to rehab, gets her cone removed (YAY) and then gets to enjoy the fun of the underwater treadmill. You know beagles, they’re all about the water… or is that labs.

    … and speaking of beagle traits – Sam would like me to add a general complaint about her cone. Beagles, as you know, are hounds and hounds really adore their sense of smell. A great day for Sam would be to stuff her nose down on the ground and snort every square inch of wherever she happens to be. Well, it turns out that cones are not exactly hound friendly. Sure, you can get the cone completely down on the ground and that’s great if you just want to sniff that one spot, but pushing the cone forward with you is a bit of a pain in the snout for hounds. When we’re outside, Sam treats us to the sound of plastic being pitifully dragged along the cement as she tries to make the whole thing work while promising that if we would take it off for a minute she wouldn’t set about ripping out every stitch in her leg – honest – look at the eyes. Also, for the record, cones completely take away the joy of scratching your head and face – humans are great, but they don’t quite get that perfect spot – and stills there’s the matter of that paw that desperately needs to be licked – your humans never offer to lick the paws. If it weren’t for the magic bowl of food that occasioanlly appears (though never enough), humans would be completely worthless.

    Seven more weeks to go.

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