Doggone Dog Bones

We are SO tired today. I remember spending many nights grabbing a few hours of sleep here and there on those nights when little Patric was a tiny fussy person (as opposed to the large fussy person he is now). I swore then, and Paul agrees completely, to never ever under any circumstance whatsoever cross-my-heart please-let-me-die-now do that again. I was an only child. Paul was an only child. Patric will be just fine being one too.

But then there was last night. Our sweet precious baby puppy who’s not even 3 yet has been hurting and limping and whining for over a week now. The visit to the vet wasn’t so good. Fluffy didn’t whine no matter where the doctor touched him, but the x-ray showed us all that he was just being brave.

Where his right hip should be, well, there’s not really a hip. It has to be hurting almost all the time. He may be used to it, but it’s only going to get worse the older he gets. We talked about options. We could go for a full hip replacement or the less radical technique of shaving off bone so that his hip will be free-floating instead of rubbing the way it is now. Since the most active thing Fluffy ever does is to crawl onto the couch, we all agreed that the free-floating option would work for him.

We psyched ourselves up. We planned. We budgeted. We snuggled our baby. And then, yesterday, we went to have the surgery done.

Except… He started limping Wednesday. And instead of limping on his right leg with the bad hip, it was his left leg that seemed to have something wrong. Further inspection of the x-rays and more feeling around showed that his left leg has issues every bit as serious as his right. Instead of a straight shin that would help a knee-cap stay in place, Fluffy’s goes off at a slant. And his knee-cap had rubbed a groove that had it moving in ways that it shouldn’t. That changed everything.

As the doctor pointed out, he needs to have one stable leg while the other is out of commission. And even though his right hip is bad, he can still put weight on it. He can’t put weight on his left.

So instead of hip surgery, we got to have knee surgery yesterday. We worried about him all day, but he came through it fine. We went to the office to bring him home and then the fun started.

Fluffy is not a small dog. At all. So that left us wondering how you get a large dog who can’t walk in and out of a car and up the steps that you have to get up to get into our house. Yeah. You’re seeing the problem now, right?

We learned the towel technique. Basically, a big beach towel goes under his belly to hold up the back end of the dog so that he doesn’t have to put his full weight on his back legs and can still navigate with his front legs. It makes good sense. We managed to get in the car with a demo from the vet and headed home with me in the back seat holding my baby.

We got home. We made it out of the car. We were on the sidewalk. And then we stopped. 100 pounds of tea-cup chihuahua wouldn’t move another step. I pulled with the leash while Paul lifted the rear. Nothing. I knelt in front of him and tried begging. Nothing. We thought we were getting traction, but then we just laid down. And so, Paul made a truly heroic effort and carried a whole lot of dog down the sidewalk, up the steps, and into the room where his bed had been situated between our chaises so that we could both love on him at the same time. And so he slept.

We had been warned that we were in for a bad night. We thought we were prepared. We found out that he needed to be touched. Constantly. Seriously. If you were petting him and you stopped, he cried. If you didn’t start right back, he tried to stand up and cried worse because it hurt. We worked in shifts because obviously this dog is not spoiled at all.

We knew then that we were not going to be spending the night in our bed. Paul made a pallet on one end of the room. I decided to make the best of sleeping on the chaise even if it would mean that my feet would be hanging off. We gave him his pain meds and hoped he would fall asleep. With my hand resting on him the same way it had to rest on baby Patric when he was cranky in his crib, he finally did. For about 30 minutes. We spent the whole night rubbing the most pitiful dog in the world. We tried the “just ignore him and he’ll fall back asleep” method. No.

But today, he is better. Mostly. He’s been up on 3 feet. He went outside and came back in without being completely carried. So there is hope. Maybe tonight we will sleep. A little. Maybe.

Christy Jordan's Southern Plate
Monday Marinara