The Chronicles of Sam: Week Two – Milestones

I know you’ve been waiting around all week hoping for the latest Sam update and you’re in luck. I know! How exciting! (We all know “shut up about the dog already” is actually just a thinly veiled plea for more beagle news. It’s “code”. I have it on the best authority. Mine.)

This week Sam lost the cone, lost her stitches and went for a walk on an underwater treadmill. Of course, for Sam the most important thing she got to do after cone (AC) was scratch every little bit of itchy face and ear that she could convince one beat up leg to scratch. This occasionally involved pitifully just waving the beat up leg past the spot, but it counted. See, her humans completely failed to properly address certain itches appropriately over the last couple of weeks and she grew a little frustrated because she hasn’t quite figured out how to vocalize, “ok, just a little to the left, no there, there, OMG THERE! SHEESH you lame monkeys with your opposable thumbs think you’re soooo smart and you can’t even figure out LEFT” (she can really hurt a person’s feelings when she puts her mind to it – like I would hold the whole opposable thing over her head or hover it over a door handle or a food container latch – I try to keep the opposable thumb thing eye level – I mean, she’s short, to do otherwise would be cruel). The next thing she did – dig up all of her crate blankets (four of them), throw them over her head and sit there looking at me with the blanket at a rakish angle across her face. This is the “I have BLANKETS! How cute am I?” trick and let’s face it, she looked terribly cute. It doesn’t score food, which is always her fondest hope, but hey, it was worth a shot.

The report from the vet is that she’s looking good – her knee is “crunchy” due some arthritis in her knees, but in this case “crunchy” isn’t necessarily bad. Her rehab gal measured her and declared she has skinny back legs, but they’re mostly the same size and while she’s not at an ideal weight, she’s not as out of control as one snarky surgical tech would have you believe. The rehab gal then walked us through strengthening Sam’s legs using a balance board (we’re now the proud owners of our very own) and ended the first rehab session by placing Sam on a smiley face bouncy ball and bouncing her. Let’s just say watching Sam dangle her paws over a gigantic yellow smiley face with her eyes half closed and panting almost made me laugh. This particular “exercise” allowed Sam to loosen up her back (after getting around on three legs and torqueing your spine, you need a way to just let go) and as a bonus each bounce comes with a back rub. The “exercise” also seemed to make Sam exceptionally happy; you could practically see the hearts pulsating from her eyes for the rehab gal. Our goal this weekend is to get our very own bouncy ball (may it be a smiley face) so she can adore her jailers just as much (“sure, we don’t let you run around, but hey we have a bouncy ball! LOVE US!”)

Sam is now a pro at “go to your room” and willingly bounds (err… more like gently hobbles, but you get the idea) into her crate. I really think having a mobile crate that allows us to haul her around from room to room makes all the difference to her being ok with the lengthy stays in there. We leave the top of the crate off for easy access to petting and puppy head kisses (I’m sure she’s mortified – I even do this in public in front of her friends) and again, I think that helps things be ok for her. Not having the crate top on hasn’t presented a problem since she can’t leap out and quite frankly she hasn’t shown any interest in trying that. She’s even gotten so that she’ll prep for zooming around the house by facing forward and sitting very still. I swear she tries encourage me to run over the cats who love to act as feline obstacles in the hallways. (This worked so well for them when she was ambulatory and now they’re not quite sure how to impede her now that Sam has wheels.)

As week three begins, my hope is that the rest of the weeks normalize to the point I can comfortably come back and report that eight uneventful weeks have passed and our dog is reasonably normal and roaming the house. This, of course, means that I will have to find a new topic. Gads!

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