Well, someone’s sense of humor and entitlement is returning!
Samdog has decided that the place to be is in my chair. I got up to encourage him to laydown on the bathmat at my feet. He stepped in behind me and stepped up onto the chair. This was the second incident of chair stealing in one morning.
You are welcome Mr. Dog, sir!
7 days into our new adventure and Samdog has discovered that he can once again step up onto the furniture – where he belongs. It helps that he is so tall, it doesn’t require jumping, just stepping up.
We actually discovered this early this morning in the first chair theft incident, when he stepped up onto my chair, with me still in it. If this is going to become our new normal – we might have to rediscuss boundaries. But today, to have my 80 lb retriever back as a lap dog, I didn’t mind so much.
Happy first week ampuversary, my big, red, shaggy loverboy.
So much has happened in our lives, I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a week.
My velcro dog is coming back – I have actually had to tell him to “stay” numerous times today, while I have been moving from room to room in the house. We had a guy here helping work on our pool problems (when it rains it pours around here), and I was outside the back gate talking to him for a while. I guess I didn’t completely close the door, because when I opened the gate to go back into the yard, well, hello! There was my red dog waiting for me. Mind you the gate is three steps down from the pool deck which had tools and hoses spread all over it. ACK! I was so proud he made it and terrified at the same time as to what would have happened had he tripped. But he didn’t… I’m sure the pool guys thought I was nuts! We hopped back to the house and I remembered to ask him to “stay” before going back outside.
Our morning walkabouts to the chicken yard are becoming routine. As is the necessity for an afternoon nap. He’s still twitching, but I haven’t heard any crying or whimpering today. I’m hoping that yesterday’s pain was an isolated incident.
In all a pretty good day today. Here is to keepin’ on, keepin’ on.
Sorry for swearing, but our great morning has been tempered by bad news and a bad experience.
The post-amp biopsy confirmed Samdog’s tumor was an osteosarcoma. All of his other tests had come back so good, we allowed ourselves to be optimistic that he was one of the lucky few with something other than osteo… but no.
Add that to some increased pain this afternoon. I think the fentanyl is finally out of his system and he made the mistake of taking a nap on his incision side. I didn’t catch it until I noticed he wasn’t sleeping and hadn’t moved in 20 minutes. He is a lazy boy during the day, unless an adventure is to be had… but to not move at all and not be asleep was odd. I got down on the floor with him and encouraged him to try and get back on his belly. He was rigid and seemed afraid to move at all. He finally tried it and made it back to his belly, but screamed so loudly I had tears in my eyes. Game face. I got him back over the mattress and he has been there ever since – but as soon as he stretched out on his good side, he fell asleep. I don’t know how long he had been on the floor, in pain and not telling me… ugh, breaks my heart.
The good news that came from this afternoon is that his lymph node was normal. We can add that test to the arsenal of test results that have all come back clear, normal or perfect. It still allows for some optimism. I’m not letting go of that, even if this afternoon wasn’t great.
I think we are on our way to our new normal. Samdog slept through the night, though at one point I woke up and found he had slid off the dog bed again. I need to come up with a solution to that. I think he likes having the support on his back when he is layed out flat.
He joined me on a walkabout again today. Out to the chickens to collect eggs and then into the backyard where I fed the fish. He loves the grass and plunked himself down and waited for me to be done. But, on my to do was to mow that grass. So, I asked him to move up to the porch, where he sat in the shade and watched me mow the lawn.
Pre-amp, Samdog was one of those velcro dogs. Wherever I went, he followed. “Hey mom, don’t forget me”. It is nice to see a little bit of that coming back. He actually followed me into the bedroom today, but stopped on the last bathmat, near the door, to lay down and watch me from there. He is definitely better at picking the places to stop and understands the value of the now strategically scattered bathmats.
His bruising is much better, still some fluid in his belly, but in all – I see terrific improvement this morning.
Another good night for the Samdog. I’m beginning to wonder when the tide will turn and I’ll find myself at a total loss for how to help. I suspect that might be today. He comes off the fentnyl patch (you’d think I’d learn how to spell these things by now) today. He has little spasms where I think his old leg is “zinging” him, I’m worried without the patch phantom pain will become a real thing today. He has already cried out this morning louder than he ever has, and we are not sure what changed to cause the distress. (deep breath)
We also noticed this morning his incision site is looking pretty good – most of the edema has actually moved down into his belly where it has formed a big pink bruise. I think we will be calling Dr. S. about that. I’m not worried, it just seems odd that the fluid is so far away from the wound.
He is getting better at shifting his weight around and making subtle corrections while he is up. So, his mobility is definitely improving. We also got the paw wax in our mailbox. I can’t tell yet for certain, but I think it is helping. It might also be that when he is not on one of the many bathmats strewn around the house, he keeps his paws tucked under him. Which is okay too.
One of our favorite pack of people sent Sam a care package! Today is gonna be a good day for that chill pill. Sam says the biscuits that came with this new toy were really tastey too. I’ll take his word for it. He also says the chill pill might be for me not him. Okay, I get it… be more dog. (deep breath)
UPDATE: Maybe 20 minutes after this morning’s post, Sam suprised me again. He was on the mattress in the living room, just chillin out. I went out back to feed the fish in the pond and check the garden. Then I came through the house, scratched his ears and made my way to the front door so I could go around to the chicken yard and let the girls out of their coop. As I got to the front door, I heard a “harrumph” so I stopped and poked my head around the corner to make sure he was okay.
He had gotten up, and was making his way down the carpet runway to where I was. Clearly, he wanted to check on the chickies too. We hopped out the door, through the gate, up the step to the coop. I let out the girls (who stopped to say hello to samdog – they are pals) and collected the egg. From there, we hopped down the step, back through the gate over to the door into the house – and then he surprised me again. Instead of heading back to the dog bed, he turned right – off of the carpet and into the office to say hello to dad.
Hooray for feeling well enough to go on a little walkabout, just because he felt like it! It wore him out though. From there he climbed back up on the bed and hasn’t really moved since., but every little bit of progress is good enough for me.
First night home was a good one. I set up a dog bed surrounded by bath mats next to our bed, which is down low enough I can hang my arm over and scratch his ears.
We also figured out how to get a tshirt on him… though this first one is a bit baggy. When it is time to change it, I will do a better job with the next one. He’s not too leaky – just a few drops. So the sutures are holding well. There is some fluid buildup, so we will do some warm compresses this morning to get that circulation flowing around and try to reduce the poochiness of the incision site.
He only had to wake me once last night – which is brilliant, we were expecting to be up every couple of hours. The reason made me giggle a bit once I figured it out. He didn’t hurt. He didn’t need to pee. He was stuck. He told me with little tiny whines of “mom?” “mom?” “mom?” until I was awake and on the floor with him in the dark. Once I ran my hand down his back, I figured it out. He had rolled off the dog bed and wedged himself between his bed and my bed. His good side was down and he couldn’t shift his balance back up onto the bed. He was stuck.
After I giggled with him, I reached down his back and scooted his booty back onto the bed and then slid his shoulder further from the edge of the dog bed. Once he was centered again, he stretched back out and slept until almost 9. At one point, he did get up, turn around and lay back down. That is the first time I saw him get up without us encouraging him.
He ate most of his breakfast, I’m not too worried he didn’t eat it all. He had just come in from the outside where we poo-ed. Which is a huge milestone for us. (Treats for everyone?) He was probably tired from standing and needed to take a break.
Our challenge today is to either convince him to stay on the carpet runners or create a broader network of bathmats in the places he wants to lay down. His biggest struggle by far is our slippery concrete floor. It is cool on his belly, but he can’t get up without help. Instead, I’m getting the little whines “mom?” “mom?” “mom?”…. my response is “figure it out buddy, use your dog brain” as I run to get another bathmat.
We picked Samdog up this morning from the hospital. I knew the house was ready, I had looked at the photos of post-op dogs (thank you for those), what I didn’t know what how we were going to get my big boy in the car. He usually takes two steps, one on the doorframe and one on the seat to get himself up onto the back seat. I didn’t know how I could help him do it in one step – I fixated on this problem up until I saw him come around the corner.
Again, the staff at the hospital are amazing. He was slow, but squeaking as soon as he saw us. (people who know sam know that squeaking means happy). The walk to the car was the furthest he had gone – but he made it with only one short rest break. I opened the car door, turned to help him and he jumped up… but he caught his front foot on the blanket on the back seat and got himself stuck. My heart was in my throat, I was afraid he was going to rip a stitch as he struggled to move forward but was trapped by the blanket. I laid down over him and started to whisper in his ear to “wait” and to take it “easy”. He stopped fighting and crying long enough I could free his foot and he was able to move himself onto the seat. It was exactly what I was fearing… funny thing was – once he was in, I realized… that will be the worst of it. He doesn’t need to get back in the car – getting out will be easier to assist and once we are in the house he already showed me he could get up and move quite a distance, so going outside wouldn’t be a problem. And really, even though it was scary, seemingly no harm was done.
Dad sat in the back with him for the drive home and helped him out of the car, which wasn’t too difficult. I walked and he hopped slowly, through the garage, laundry room, kitchen, diningroom and over to the fireplace in the living room where I had set up a mattress big enough for him and me to snuggle. Which is where we are now.
Sam is sleeping on his leftside, dreaming about something. They suggested we put a t-shirt on him to cover his incision… Honestly, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. It would involve pulling it over his one paw, which would mean I have to lift him up, but how do I do that without pressing on his incision… I think as long as he is resting here comfortably, we will leave well enough alone for now.
He is home – his eyes are the same, his tail wags, he is my sam and we will be fine.
I’ve spoken to the doc in the ICU twice more today. She decided to leave the IV in long enough to do one more local anesthetic (sp?) dose and has only just pulled the catheter. He is still handling the pain meds just fine. He is able to get up on his own, with some encouragment. He made it out to the garden in the hospital, but seems reluctant to go very far.
They want to give him another night under supervised care and make sure he is going to do fine without the local IV drip at the incision site. I want to make sure he is ready to come home. It isn’t worth the risk to me to bring him home early and have him fall, not yet. But I know it is coming and we are gonna have to help each other learn to be a tripaw family.
Meanwhile, we have dropped our bed to nearly the floor, moved another mattress to the living room, are going to purchase a BUNCH of carpet runners to create non-slip “runways” through the house. We have concrete floors and are worried about him slipping. We’ve also ordered some special paw wax that will protect his remaining tootsies and hopefully make them a little more sticky. We have ordered him a harness – it should be here by Monday, but will wait until his incision has healed a bit before introducing it to him.
I’ve also started researching physical therapy ideas for getting his core stronger and to drop some of his weight. He has always been “fluffy”, but now we need to get him skinny and keep him that way.
There isn’t much new to share yet. The hospital called and he is awake and doing fairly well. He ate all of his breakfast which was a surprise to the staff, even if it doesn’t suprise us. He is a chow-hound afterall.
They have started reducing his pain medication, and he seems to be tolerating that reduction – so that is a really good thing.
They did try to get him up this morning to go for a walk and he struggled. They say he kept trying to put weight on his missing paw. That breaks my heart a bit, but considering it had only been about 16 hours and he has been out cold or stoned out of his mind for that entire time, I would imagine waking up and discovering an arm missing might take some time to comprehend.
I plan to call them around lunchtime today to see if he is making progress. If he is getting around, we think we can bring him home tonight. I am worried about bringing my big boy home if we would need to carry him. He is 86 pounds minus the weight of one leg – and I can’t lift that. What does a leg weigh anyway?
All said, I and the hunny did sleep last night, though we kept expecting to see him on the floor or would start to say something to him, only to discover he wasn’t there. I really hope he is catching on, because I want him home.
He is out. Doc says it went really well, he is in ICU and on an IV drip and fentinyl (sp?) patch for the pain. She took out the whole arm including the scapula and took the lymph node(s?) too. She says the lymph node didn’t appear swollen – another red dog miracle. Both the node and the bone are being sent to the lab for conclusive diagnosis.
Meanwhile, he is in good hands overnight in the ICU. Dr. S. will take a look at him in the morning and let us know how he is doing.
Big sigh of relief. He keeps surprising me… I love that about him.
Thank you for all your kind words – I believe they kept me from going crazy today, I want to hug you all!