Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 34: 31 January 2007

Sam is doing great, but I have caught some awful plague and am running a temperature, so forgive the lack of descriptive update for today.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 33: 30 January 2007

I have to admit that I’m so incredibly tired and brain dead today due to the Sammy schedule. We have a good routine going, its almost a clock-work type thing now where we are able to give Sam his quality time out of the crate, spend some time with Meeshka and Loki, and do some of the normal household things.

I use to let Loki and Meeshka out when I got home, then let them back in to take care of Sam, but since he’s being very good in his crate, and since we’ve got his Pred down to a smaller does, I don’t feel the need to rush down there to get him before the Sammy pee dam bursts. This allows me to come home, let Meeshka and Loki out, and actually go outside with them, give them some quality play time before coming back in and spending Sammy quality time. This has quelled some of the Meeshka temper tantrums, and has appeased the playful Loki’s urge to race around the yard like a loon.

At lunch today, Sam was very cute. He dutifully ate his gruel and kibble and followed me into the other room to see what I was doing. He seemed pleased that he was allowed into another room, as I’m sure the downstairs living room is becoming boring to him. Since he was being good, I left him down in the other room to make their post-lunch kongs of peanut butter, and a tasty dog cookie. When I came back downstairs with his kong and cookie, he did a little happy dance and skittered into his crate all excited. It was so cute.

Tonight he’s being a crate brat, and I have to admit that its probably my fault. Normally we let him eat, then lay around for a half hour before pilling him. Tonight he looked so comfy that I didn’t want to wake him, so he got his pills much later than normal. When I crated him and went up to cook dinner, he threw a fit. At one point, he warbled a woo so pathetic that hubby felt that was a potty ER woo, so we took him out. He did have a loooong pee, so it was worth the unscheduled out.

Earlier I had given him his nightly massage, and he just ooooozes and rolls his eyes when he gets the massage. I must be hitting some sensitive spots, because in some places during the massage, his tail twitches slightly. I find it odd that after his massages, he’s really hungry. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why that is?

Well, since its getting late, and since I am already tired and brain dead, just wanted to say that Day 33 went fine and Sammy continues to show his true husky spirit.

Sam's Recovery Day 33: 30 January 2007

I have to admit that I’m so incredibly tired and brain dead today due to the Sammy schedule. We have a good routine going, its almost a clock-work type thing now where we are able to give Sam his quality time out of the crate, spend some time with Meeshka and Loki, and do some of the normal household things.

I use to let Loki and Meeshka out when I got home, then let them back in to take care of Sam, but since he’s being very good in his crate, and since we’ve got his Pred down to a smaller does, I don’t feel the need to rush down there to get him before the Sammy pee dam bursts. This allows me to come home, let Meeshka and Loki out, and actually go outside with them, give them some quality play time before coming back in and spending Sammy quality time. This has quelled some of the Meeshka temper tantrums, and has appeased the playful Loki’s urge to race around the yard like a loon.

At lunch today, Sam was very cute. He dutifully ate his gruel and kibble and followed me into the other room to see what I was doing. He seemed pleased that he was allowed into another room, as I’m sure the downstairs living room is becoming boring to him. Since he was being good, I left him down in the other room to make their post-lunch kongs of peanut butter, and a tasty dog cookie. When I came back downstairs with his kong and cookie, he did a little happy dance and skittered into his crate all excited. It was so cute.

Tonight he’s being a crate brat, and I have to admit that its probably my fault. Normally we let him eat, then lay around for a half hour before pilling him. Tonight he looked so comfy that I didn’t want to wake him, so he got his pills much later than normal. When I crated him and went up to cook dinner, he threw a fit. At one point, he warbled a woo so pathetic that hubby felt that was a potty ER woo, so we took him out. He did have a loooong pee, so it was worth the unscheduled out.

Earlier I had given him his nightly massage, and he just ooooozes and rolls his eyes when he gets the massage. I must be hitting some sensitive spots, because in some places during the massage, his tail twitches slightly. I find it odd that after his massages, he’s really hungry. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why that is?

Well, since its getting late, and since I am already tired and brain dead, just wanted to say that Day 33 went fine and Sammy continues to show his true husky spirit.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 32: 29 January 2007

Usual morning, with the ready to go Sammy-winks. His appetite continues to be good, everything working as normal, he is experiencing a bit more of a spastic right back leg, but that could be from the swim, and muscles not use to exercise, so we’re keeping an eye on that.

We got to decrease his pred down to 10mg twice a day, so that’s cool, and he has another swim appointment for Saturday, so things are going really well with his recovery.

Now, dealing with outside sources has been frustrating. There was some sort of fiasco with the pharmacy. Not only did they lose hubby’s prescription, but they claim that the surgeon hasn’t called in Sam’s prescription. I’ll give them until tomorrow before I start yelling at them. Luckily we have enough pred to go with the reducing dosage for a day or two until that gets cleared up.

Its now 7:30pm and I haven’t been able to do much of anything, let alone fix dinner (leftovers). This is the life of recovery. Everything takes a back seat to the care of Sam, which takes a lot of time. It also causes so much stress over the things not done that when things don’t go as planned, it tends to make you want to reach out and strangle someone. Typically, you tend to lash out at those closest to you, which is why its important to make the recovery pact early on: anything said during recovery should not be taken seriously.

Another thing to deal with is brain melt. We are constantly repeating each other. 10mg twice a day? Yes, 10mg twice a day. Do you have the leash? Yes, I have the leash? Are we taking him out now? Yes, we are taking him out now. Its like a demented kid’s show. Its also common to get so wrapped up in what you are doing for the recovering dog, that you forget to take care of yourself. Case in point, hubby has forgotten on a daily basis to take his medication. He will tell me: remind me to take my medication. Ok, I will remind you to take your medication. Five minutes later, we’ve both forgotten about him taking his medication, but Sam got his!

Today I only managed to eat 2 croissants (at work), and I heated up some leftover roast (and gave two small pieces to Loki and Meeshka). As I said before, recovery is a great weight loss routine. Between carting a 50lb dog up and down the stairs, running up and down the stairs for food, medicines, treats, and whatever else it was I was going to bring up or down the stairs and forgot in the three seconds it took me to run up or down the stairs, you get plenty of exercise. No time to cook, therefore quick meals, eaten on the fly usually.

For those of you that need to keep control over a lot of things in your life, you might as well just have yourself committed, because the house will be a mess, you’ll be lucky to do laundry once a week, easy things will become difficult if not impossible due to trying to tip toe around the house so you don’t wake the patient (kiss that vacuum cleaner good bye), and take advantage of every little moment of peace and quiet you get to do the essentials, such as pay the bills (making sure they go to the right accounts and are the right amounts in your frazzled brain), take out the over-flowing trash. Clean freak? Welcome to the world of rinsing out a nasty coffee cup with who knows what in it just to get that first brew of coffee in the morning. Watching tv is reserved for Sammy time, and usually he doesn’t like to watch the stuff you like to watch, except he is as mesmerized by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as hubby and I were. I swear, its a train wreck.

Sleep brings really strange dreams. This weekend I woke up to the end of a dream where the wind was blowing so hard that a passenger jet did a loop. Why? Probably from that european windstorm a while back, but why? Who knows. I tried taking a nap on friday and found myself dreaming that I was laying in bed wide awake. Did I really sleep, or was I really wide awake... regardless, I “woke up” more exhausted than when I threw myself into bed.

Do yourself a favor if you are a stickler for keeping “to do” lists: don’t. You’ll never accomplish everything you think you will, and its just too depressing to keep replanning your entire day, every day, when you get one thing of the 20 done on your list.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 31: 28 January 2007

Last night we came downstairs to take Sam out for his final pee before bed, and the poor sleepy boy refused to leave the crate. He was so zonked out from his swim session that he barely woke up, and certainly was NOT moving out of that crate. We figured that if he had to go to the bathroom, he would wake me up in the middle of the night and let me know he needed to go out, but by 8:30am when I woke up, he was just laying in the crate patiently waiting for me to wake up.

When we did let him out, he seemed much stronger and had more control over his back legs. He did his usual morning pee, and wanted back inside for food. He ate some kibble and his usual Blue Buffalo gruel. I only gave him half of his pre-surgery bowl of food, I didn’t want him to over eat like he did yesterday and then throw up again. He licked the bowl clean and then settle down for a post breakfast nap. I don’t have the heart to wake him up for his Pred and Doxy. I’m not going to Ace him today because I think he’s still a bit zonked from the swim.

We almost forgot about Sam, he’s been so quiet in his crate today, still totally worn out from the swim. We went down and he was ready to go out, but probably didn’t feel the need or energy to tell us he needed to go out. He had a good walk, and I’m still making him do all of the walking, only using the sling to catch him if he loses balance, so he was pretty worn out again after 2 circles of the yard.

Back in for lunch and he really went to town on the gruel, and even ate a whole small bowl of kibble. I filled the kong with the gruel he didn’t eat and put it in his crate, and he was more than happy to follow it inside and plop down again. He’s been quiet ever since. He did squeek a few times when I left and then brought some groceries into the house, but settled right down again. Now I have to think (and worry, and fret) was the 8 laps too much for him? Did we do more harm than good? Is this what he’s suppose to go through? I don’t recall him being this mellow after the first one, even though it wasn’t as much as the second one, but still.... These are the thoughts that ramble through your head during recovery and drive you insane and wear you down.

In a half hour it’ll be his normal out time, so we’ll see how active he is then. If he continues to be worn out, I’m not going to give him the Ace. I don’t want him to be so zonked that he doesn’t remember he needs to pee when he has to. I’m just glad to see him with an appetite.

Yep, like an alarm clock, Sam is awake and demanding his attention. We took him out for a good pee and poo, and back in he came, went through one small bowl of kibble, then the gruel. His appetite is so good now. As usual, I let him lounge on the cushy pillow and watch tv with me for a while, then because our dinner was almost ready, and the things I had been procrastinating on all day needed done, I filled his kong with some treats and put him in his crate. He has apparently rested up from his swim day and not happy at all to be in the crate again. I didn’t give him Ace, so I’m hoping he won’t be a butthead tonight as hubby will be sleeping down there on Sammy duty. I get the comfy bed tonight ahhhhh! For some reason I woke up with a sore back this morning. I don’t know if it was the bed, or my leaning over and typing on the computer down there while watching Sam. Either way, my sleepnumber slumber should be really nice tonight.

Ok, off to try to finish up the last of the housework and then go spend some more Sammy time, since we have to work tomorrow and he’ll be locked up a lot. I want to give him some quality time out of the crate and massages and stuff.

I let Sam out of his crate for a bit because he was frantic. Apparently he’s all rested from his swim now and not happy to be in his crate. I did give him an Ace because he was VERY rambunctious, to the point where I could barely keep him from trying to jump on the couch, climb up the stairs, or even run around. That’s the most active I’ve seen him. Loki was barking at him and I wouldn’t have been shocked to see him play bow, which is probably on that big list of things NOT to do.

So, he got Aced tonight, and after he ate a bowl of kibble and drank some water, for his safety and my sanity, I put him back in his crate with a brand new bully stick and fled the scene. He yipped a few times, but I think the lure of the bully stick caught his attention.

I’m guessing that we’re into the next step of his recovery. Before it was making sure he was comfortable, that his incision didn’t get infected, that he didn’t twist funky and make him rest so that his spine would heal. Now we’re getting into the feeling better, still needs rest and not a lot of activity, but since he’s feeling better we need to keep him from doing things that will still hinder his recovery process and make sure he doesn’t overdo it. I’m just guessing that more and more he’s not going to want to be in his crate for as long as he has been, and that’s fine because I’ll spend the time down there with him so he has out of crate time, but I’m also guessing that it’ll be harder and harder for us to keep him settled down while he’s out of the crate. So, its another catch 22 situation in the road to recovery.

He’s done so well this far, and except for the stress and juggling, the sleeping on the aero bed, the disruption of the routine, it hasn’t been all that bad. of course, I need to read through the daily events and relive the stress and fear to realize that it has been very stressful, and scary. There are still unknowns to face, like whether he’ll ever be able to do stairs, or play with the other pups, or run as fast, or be his goofy self.

So, as we turn this slight corner to better days, and more active Sammy, we still have to be careful. He’s only half way, so we can’t let our guard down, we can’t lift his restrictions until the surgeon says to, and we have to look toward a future of being careful with him.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 30: 27 January 2007

Sam let us sleep in until 7:30am! He was also very hungry and ate three of the little Cesar tin food. I’m hoping he doesn’t get addicted to that stuff and I’ll end up having to buy that... at 89 cents per little tin for a 50lb husky, that will get a tad bit expensive I think.

Today will be a no-Ace day for Sammy because of his swim appointment, so we’ll see what the real Sammy activity level will be for him. Currently he’s sprawled on the floor after his eating frenzy. I still have to give him his pred and Doxy, but I wanted him to digest a bit and rest before the traumatic pilling. I joke, its not that bad, but he hates being pilled, so I’ll give him a bit of a break between eating and drinking before I pill him.

Since I’m down here on Sammy watch, I’m taking advantage of the close proximity of the washer and dryer to do the ton of laundry that built up through the week. Seems like a good trade off, giving Sam some out of crate time, and getting some laundry done while I’m down here.

Sammy just threw up all of his food, the poor little dear. That also probably means he threw up his pills, but I’m not pilling him again until tonight. I’m guessing, since he threw up all of his food, that he ate too much all at once. It was strange that he ate three containers of that stuff, where normally he would eat one, then snack on some in a kong, so I’m thinking it was just a food overload for him. I took him out afterwards, and he had a good poop, then came back inside and went right into his crate, where he’s looking a bit punk and depressed, but he could just have an upset stomach and be tired from the poop. I’ll keep an eye on him for the rest of the afternoon, see how he is at lunch and if he’s still mopey, I’ll cancel his swim appointment.

I’m also going to wean him off the Cesar stuff and get him back onto the canned blue buffalo stuff, which is his normal food. I’m thinking that although he needs the nutrients of the puppy food, if he’s getting back to eating normal quantities, it may just be too rich for him. I’d prefer he eat a good food that will give him the nutrients he needs and not that grocery store stuff anyway. I’ll do a half and half mix at lunch to see if he’ll eat a small amount, limit his portions so he doesn’t gorge himself and make himself sick again, and go from there.

He’s apparently now well enough to yap non-stop for the past hour. I took him down a blue buffalo canned food kong, which appeased him for all of 5 minutes before he started up the pathetic yapping and whining. Apparently the Ace does mellow him out enough. It could also be that he knows that its the weekend, and that he should be outside playing with the other pups, and taking naps on his cushy, and not locked in his crate while we’re all home. He has an uncanny sense of time, and day of the week. They all do actually, so it shouldn’t surprise me that he’s being a butthead today. As I need to go down there and do more laundry, I’ll let him out for a bit while I’m down there, but only after he shuts up. I don’t want him to think that yapping gets him loose.

Its been non-stop yap fest for Sam, who is feeling much better after his yack this morning apparently. He is now eating the blue buffalo from the kongs to limit his bolting the food down in large quantities, but he’s not liking having to eat them in the crate. He insists on dragging the kong out of the crate and eating it on the cushy pillow, so he was quite angry when I threw the kong toward the back of the crate and locked him in. He’s been complaining ever since and we’re probably glad we don’t know husky speak, as I’m sure he’s cursing us.

Hubby heard some strange noise that he thought Sam made, sort of a screech. Off he runs downstairs... only to find that it was Loki, pawing at the glass door to come inside. This, of course, riled Sam up more so the angry “let me out” continues.

Of course I didn’t get pictures of Sam’s swim, as I was too busy freaking out and worrying about him.

We got to the swim place and they fitted him with a nice life jacket, very stylish (of course no pictures), we filled out the paperwork and stuff, and then took him back to the pool area. They are very nice there. Hooked his life jacket up to a long lead, and hubby helped get Sam onto the ramp. Sam wanted nothing to do with the water, so the pool guy just stood there with him and petting him and told him what a good boy he was to get him use to just standing on the ramp. When it came time to get off the ramp, Sam wasn’t too keen about that idea at all, and tried to swim back to the side immediately. Another pool person hooked a long lead to him and that way they were able to get him out to the middle of the pool, support him better, and make him swim. When the pup got to the middle of the pool, he actually swam pretty darn good, although he didn’t look too thrilled about it. He swam 4 laps and then they let him get out for a rest. Then back in again (once again, not thrilled at all about that) for another 4 laps and then we let him out for good.

He seemed very energized from the swim, and very happy to be on dry land, but I think he liked it, or at least liked that it was over. Since he helped out the most, hubby was sopping wet from the swim, getting Sam in and out of the pool, holding him so he wouldn’t try to escape, etc. They all went into the back room to get rinsed, and then blow dried. Although it didn’t get him completely dry, he was pretty dry and raring to move. Totally energized from the swim, he was a pup on a mission, full of energy. I liked seeing that in him, that spark in his eyes.

We walked him to a grassy area and let him pee before putting him back in the truck crate. He zonked out pretty fast once the truck got moving. Got him home and back to his recovery area, he was hungry, but I only made him a small amount of blue buffalo gruel, which he licked the bowl clean, and then ate some kibble. We pilled him, took him out for a good poo, and then told him to go into his crate, which he did willingly. We’re hoping that the exercise will help him sleep good tonight, and do expect a bit of soreness in him tomorrow from the exercise.

I think it went very well. Its really hard not freaking out. He did inhale a bit of water at first and gacked it out, he doesn’t look at all pleased to be in there, his eyes all worried, but that could be us misinterpreting his facial expression. I mean, he looked incredibly happy after the fact, so who knows? I think it would be better if he would willingly go into the water and swim around, not seemingly need to be dragged around the pool, but according to the pool people, he did very well for his swim. They’ve seen some dogs that were terrified of the water, or were poor swimmers, but once he got moving, he did amazingly well.

So, we’re going to see how he is tomorrow, and discuss further swimming at that place. Its close by, we can be in the pool area with him in case something happens, and if it helps him... maybe he’ll learn to like it once he does it a few times. Oh who am I kidding... he’s a husky.

Not a peep out of him yet. I expect that he’ll be very sleepy all night, and hopefully will let us sleep in again tomorrow.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 29: 26 January 2007

Its OH SO VERY cold outside, making getting up and taking Sam out even harder for us... just because we don’t like cold. We’ve been very spoiled with our fence, just opening the door and letting the pups run out, staying in the nice warm house while they go out and do their business. They had such a great routine, out, back in for breakfast, out for a bit again, then into their crates for their goodies, nap until lunch, out, lunch, out, back in for more crate treats and then at night they’d spend an hour or so out and playing, in for dinner, out for more play, then bed.

This routine freed us up to do the stuff we needed to do, go out and play with them for a while. They had their schedule, we had our schedule, and each day worked out great for everyone.

Add carrying Sammy out and slinging him to the mix, keeping the pups separate, trying to juggle play time with the healthy pups with supervision time downstairs with Sam when he’s out of his crate, and not a whole lot gets done during the week because of this.

Ok, so stuff like vacuuming, laundry and all that can wait for the weekends when we’re home, so that’s not important, but to us (and this is the big kicker as far as the exhaustion level goes) it seems as though we get home at night, give Sam and the pups their quality time, then there’s very little sit down and veg time for us before its time for bed. Its like we’re going, going, going, from the morning until we fall down in bed, so that’s what takes most of the toll.

So, we sorta rushed poor Sammy in his morning pee/poo run this morning out of our selfish need to get back in the warm house and drink coffee. That was a mistake, because Sammy needed to poo, which meant an hour later, he was pacing, whining, trying to get on the couch, and generally being a pest. That means he has to poo. Hubby was up getting ready for work, so I took him out by myself and sure enough... we had poo. He’s now plopped on the floor resting after his horrible pilling experience... well, he thinks its torture. In a bit, I’ll lure him into the crate for his nap, and then be very very quiet upstairs and hope that I can have a day off without screaming for attention.

Last night Meeshka and Loki were just sponges for attention, very angry at their lack of usual “me” time. It was very frustrating because I had a busy, and bad day at work because I had a migraine most of it. I wanted to come home and just have a half hour of quiet time, but the healthy pups also wanted some attention and love. Juggling a multiple dog household when you have a recovery dog is difficult, especially when you aren’t sleeping well, you’re stressed about the recovery process, and your household routine gets thrown for a loop. Its important to give yourself some quiet time, but you also have to take into consideration that the other four leggers are confused about the change in routine and you need to make some time for them, even if it means that you give up your quiet time to give them some normal activity.

Sammy has been so good in his crate today its amazing! I’m sure he probably thinks that we’ve been at work all day, since I’ve been sneaking around trying not to make a lot of noise, but even so, he’s only complained around lunch time, when its his normal time out. He complained a bit after lunch, but not for long. He’s all bright eye and bushy tailed and ready to take on the world today. I’ve noticed that he’s much stronger in walking, and taking some corners better, less stumbling and losing balance. I hope that our letting him have some out of crate time during the mornings and at night is helping him strengthen. He’s also eating a lot more, which is very good.

We forgot (in the rush of the week) to try to get him in for a swim appointment at the do it yourself place this saturday. We don’t know if its possible to try to get him in or not at this point, but I guess we could try. All they can say is no. I’d like to get him out and see if he’ll tolerate the swim on his own at that place and get him some exercise.

OOOH, so sweet! I called and they were booked, they normally stop taking appointments at 5pm, but they said we can come in at 5:30pm since its his initial appointment to see how well he’ll do, that’s is just sooo cool! Sammy gets to go swimming! I’m sure that will be a whole blog entry in itself. This is the place that is just an exercise pool type place, but they have done therapy for surgical patients before. You can’t go in the pool, but they do have life jackets and they’ll start him out slow and easy for the first one. I hope we can be in the room with him as he does it, just in case I need to jump in and save him from sinking. I’ll take a camera, just in case we can take pictures and stuff. OOH, this is so exciting, I hope he likes it, and I hope he does well. He was really flailing and didn’t look too keen on his first one, but that was only 2 weeks after his surgery. I guess this means no Ace for him tomorrow. I’d like him to have all of his faculties while in the pool.

So far, Sammy is having a very good day today. He’s behaving (for a husky), he’s walking pretty good, he’s eating very well, and now he’s relaxing out of his crate after walking around for a bit down here. I’m giving him some out of crate time by sitting down here before we go to bed. Meeshka, is of course, pouting on the top of the stairs. I’m very pleased with his behavior today, keeping a standard routine is good for him, and he’s less stressed in the bigger crate. He’s had fewer accidents in there, probably because of the reducing dosage of the Pred, but he’s got plenty of spirit and energy. Sure he tires easily, but with no exercise, little food, and major surgery, I think he’s doing very well on the road to recovery.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 28: 25 January 2007 (half way)

Hubby reminded me today that we’re half way there! Ugh, seems like forever.

Today has been “dogs gone wild”, I have no idea why.

Sam is obviously feeling much better, and is now trying to jump on the couch downstairs, requires constant supervision so he doesn’t try to snake his way under the railing to get upstairs, and is actually squatting for a poo without that much help from the sling. All very good signs... but more work for us.

Meeshka is throwing temper tantrums, Loki being a butthead, calgon take me away.

The feeding seems to be going better, he’s finally getting an appetite, its just a strange appetite. It comes and goes. Shoving food in his kong works well, he thinks its a treat, especially if I put it in his crate. He’ll drag it out and eat under the coffee table. When we come home to let him out, the kongs are always cleaned out. We’ve started keeping food in the bowl for him, he eats when the mood hits him, so if its there, he’ll just go over, pig out, we fill the bowl, etc.

His poo schedule is a bit off now. I think he’s figured out that if he doesn’t poo at 5pm, then he gets an extra out around 7:30 or 8pm, then another out around 9pm. His poo is firming up very nicely, and as I mentioned before, he’s supporting himself more on the squat. He’s also getting better at balance. When he drinks or eats, before he’d tilt to the left and sometimes lose his balance. He seems better able to stand and balance when he’s eating and drinking.

Tonight he was bright eyed and bushy tailed when we came home from work. He was REALLY interested in Meeshka (who spent half the night glaring at him from the railing, mad that he was getting all sorts of food and treats), and kept trying to figure a way up the stairs to her. I figured that part of his pacing was due to a poo, and sure enough, as we were waiting for a pizza to get delivered, he had to go out, so we raced out back, I walked him for his poo, then called for hubby to drag him back in when he was done, all while trying to listen for the pizza guy.

Since I’ve had hardly 5 minutes to do anything today, Sam’s update will be short. He’s doing good, I hope he sleeps a lot tomorrow because I’m off and I plan on catching a nap somewhere during the day, and will post more tomorrow... but for now, we’re both so brain dead that we’re going to go to bed.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 27: 24 January 2007

I swear, someone keeps moving the clock and waking me earlier and earlier, even though it says its 5:30am, it seems as though I JUST fell asleep!

We’re getting in a Sammy groove now with the routine. His eating is still not what I want it to be. He hasn’t shown an interest in the Cesar food since that initial bolting of two tins, but he is consistently eating it... I just have to trick him into eating it. Disgusted with throwing away all of that food, I decided this morning to shove it all into a kong and tossed it into his crate when we left for work in the morning.

At noon, I had solo puppy duty and managed to juggle dogs, feed dogs, and make a sandwich. I noticed when I got Sam out that:
1.) He hadn’t peed in the crate while we were gone. I’m hoping that lowering his Pred is making him less pee-ful.
2.) his kong was empty. Hmmm.

At lunch, once again, no interest in his food, but he was very interested in my sandwich, so I gave him the crust, I don’t like the crust anyway. I gave some to Meeshka too, because she was sulking. I shoved his Cesar food into his kong, gave him a peanut butter kong and a cookie and went back to work.

Came home tonight and did the usual juggling, and when Sam came back in... I noticed that his food kong was empty. Hmmm. Ok, so instead of putting the food in his bowl where he’d just snub it, I shoved it into his kong and put it into his crate. He went into the crate, got the kong, dove under the coffee table and ate the whole thing out of the kong. Cool. I shoved more in there, put it in the crate, same thing, except he only ate half of it, but hey, that’s more than he was eating.

He got his body massage. He just oozes around when he gets his massage, just loves it. I’m letting him lounge around a bit before I torture him with the pills. I want to give him some digest food time, relax time, then I’ll burst his little bubble and pill him.

Since we’re out of towels, I’m staying down here so I can do laundry. This is making Meeshka angry, so she’s bugging hubby. Hehe, better him than me. I have no idea what oven food I’ll throw in tonight. Note to self: dog recovery is a great way to lose weight.... but I wouldn’t recommend it as a method to just lose weight.

Ok, the pup has been pilled and is lounging now. I’m letting him nap for a bit before I bribe him into the crate and go up to throw something in the oven.

After tossing Sam into his crate, I was able to microwave some pretty disgusting food (Lesson learned: banquet beef and noodles is less appealing than dog food, and probably has the same consistency). Just as we finished choking that down, Sam emitted a horrible high pitch scream that said “I HAVE TO GO OUT RIGHT NOW!” This was much different than his “LET ME OUT OF THIS CRATE RIGHT NOW FOR NO REASON!” scream, it was much more urgent sounding. We ran downstairs and got him leashed, slung and out the door in record time. We’ve gotten to be like a pit crew at Indy with getting him out the door.

Sure enough, he quickly found a pee spot, and I’ve just now figured out a way to have the sling in such a position that he’s not peeing on it, or directing his urine flow into his face. He’s got quite a pee psi going on with the pred. Once that was done, he stomped right over to his favorite poo spot. Just to give you an idea of Sam’s neurosis, before we brought him home from the surgeon, I went out and raked up all of the leaves in the yard, and made little piles of leaves in his favorite poo areas. Sam insists on pooping on things, and he LOVES pooping on leaf piles. He also loves pooping on big sticks that make it impossible to scoop his poo. He’s pick one specific small leaf pile to be his daily poo spot, even though the pile of leaves is now flat, he insists on pooing there.

I don’t really have to support him at all when he walks anymore. He doesn’t handle cornering very well, so the sling is just there to keep him from toppling over, but he still needs help with the poo stance. I do a lot of supporting during the poo stance, and have to do a little dance to make sure that when he’s getting into the poo stance, which requires quick turning and shuffling, that I don’t break his poo concentration. He gets mad when I interfere, glares at me, then has to walk back and forth on his poo “route” a few times before attempting the stance again. We also found that we can’t talk during the poo stance. He gets all bent out of shape if there isn’t total silence for him to concentrate on the task of pooing.

For the first time really since the surgery, he had a normal (although smelly) poo consistency. We did the happy normal poo dance, and so did he. When we brought him inside, and I went out to collect the perfect poo and toss it over the fence in a baggie (so the other dogs won’t eat it... since he’s on medication... and yes, Loki and Meeshka have been known to poo graze as disgusting as it sounds), he apparently dove into the bowl of leftover Cesar stuff and licked it clean. Hubby made the mistake of putting more in the bowl... I’ve learned that lesson... he won’t eat it... and he didn’t. I’ll shove it in a kong for after his final outside time tonight and he’ll finish that off.

Using the kong feeding method is actually getting him to eat more. He’s also nuts for those bully sticks. He had his first one down to a nub tonight after a week of chewing, so I took it away. He looked at me in horror as I tossed it into the trash. I thought he was going to cry. I went up and got him a new one, and it was like he just won the lotto. He stumbled into his crate and just looked so happy! I love how it keeps him occupied so he can get the crate rests he needs, and allows us some quiet time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 26: 23 January 2007

I won’t complain about the morning getting here too soon... ok, I will complain! Since when did 6 hours of sleep feel like about 2 hours??? HUH???

Ok, normal morning routine for the recovery. Sam is starting to dash under the coffee table after he snubs the morning food selection so he can avoid taking his pills. We let him hide under there for a while, pushing kibble bits at him until he eats something, then bribe him to come out with a goody and shove pills down his throat. He looks at us like we’ve betrayed him.

I left work early at lunch and drove to the grocery store and bought 59 tins of Cesar food for him. Since he went nuts over the puppy food I got a lot of that, and then a mixture of the other adult foods they had there. I’m in the self check-out lane swiping the tins 89 cents, 89 cents, 89 cents (59 times) and I started to notice that people were looking at me weird.

Dashed home, let Meeshka and Loki out, waiting for hubby to arrive and giggling because FINALLY Sam would get a good meal. We took Sam out, brought him in, I made a HUGE deal of opening the tin of puppy food that he gulped down with relish yesterday, and he licked the container... and turned away. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!! He “managed” to eat about 3 pieces of the stuff, then dashed under the coffee table. I swear....

We got word from the surgeon today to start weaning him off the Pred, so I picked up a new prescription for him for 5mg Pred because its easier to wean with smaller doses. He’s now to take 15mg twice a day (3 itty bitty pills), and we’re to call next week and get his next reducing dosage, which will probably be 10mg twice a day, then down to 5 twice a day, the 5 once a day, then 5 every other day (if he reduces like most vets). Hopefully this will reduce the pee factory that he’s become.

Came home for the 5pm Sam out and he peed a storm and poo’d, came in and sat waiting for his foot. Meeshka and Loki are in hog heaven right now because they’re getting the Nutro pouch food that he now hates in their food. I’m guessing they’ve bribed him to snug the Cesar stuff so they get it. Tonight instead of the puppy food, I attempted a tin of Filet Mignon. Who can resist Filet Mignon... well, Sammy can resist filet mignon, that’s for sure. He loves licking it, ate about 2 chunks, then dashed for under the coffee table. I’m going to try feeding him under the coffee table, hell I’ll even let him take the plastic container under the coffee table if he’ll just eat something!

We let him go into our other computer room downstairs for a change of scenery and he took that opportunity to pee on the rug in there. Hubby has now suggested that we cover everything with pee pads EXCEPT for the spot we want him to pee on, as this seems to be the only way he’ll pee where we want him to. As hubby was using a pee pad to sop up this latest “spill” he commented on how foul the pee smelled. I couldn’t smell it, I had no idea what he was talking about... well, it smelled foul because while outside, hubby had stepped in poo... so off he went to clean his shoe off.

In an attempt to get some things done in our house and lives, we enticed Sam into his cage with his beloved Bully stick, and a kong filled with dog treats and the Cesar stuff he didn’t eat for dinner. He’s been VERY quiet... too quiet. I’m paranoid now. Why is he quiet? Why isn’t he screaming and clawing on his crate, what is wrong with him??? Hubby tells me to let him be, but I really want to go and check on him... of course that will wake him up if he’s sleeping and will get him screaming so I guess I just have to trust that he likes his new crate, he’s fed, peed, got some treats, and his pills and he’s happy in the crate finally... worry, worry, worry.

He’s screaming, so everything is normal now! Ok, just so people don’t freak out, he actually doesn’t SCREAM like he’s in pain or freaking out totally or anything. Its more like a “LET ME OUT OF THIS CRATE I DEMAND OF YOU” sort of bark/wooo thing.

Time for his final out, and time for us to fall into bed... where 7 hours will pass as though it were 2 hours.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 25: 22 January 2007

Once again, morning comes way to early. The ice rain we were suppose to get, thankfully, wasn’t as bad as they predicted, so we didn’t have to worry about sliding around the yard with Sam. He was not very keen on eating this morning. When I went up to get ready for work, hubby managed to feed him some kibble, even feed him more than one piece at a time, so that was good. He got his pills and stuff, and after a little nap, he drank some water and voluntarily went into his crate, which allowed me to sneak off and get ready for work.

At lunch, hubby got a last minute call to go to a meeting, so that left me alone to juggle pups. Here’s the routine that seemed to work well:

Meeshka and Loki out,
Fix everyone’s lunch while they were out.
Let Meeshka and Loki back in
Feed Meeshka and Loki
Take Sam’s food down to him
Let Sam out, carry him outside
Bring Sam back inside, guide him to his food bowl, which he snubs
Run up and let Meeshka and Loki back out
Run back down to make sure Sam isn’t being devious
Run back up to grab some instant oatmeal for lunch
Back down and get Sam to eat some kibble
Back up to let Meeshka and Loki in and prep their kongs
Back down to entice Sam out from under the coffee table and into his crate
Back up to give Meeshka and Loki their kongs in their crates
Leave, collapse in a pool of goo once back at work.

Since my cooking time is severely limited lately, I went to the grocery store after work and stocked up on the banquet and stouffers family meals that you can toss in the oven and leave until they’re heated. On a whim, I picked up two plastic “tins” of Little Ceasar puppy food. Sam’s lack of appetite and loss of muscle is alarming me, and I want him to eat something, but knowing his track record on food, didn’t hold out much hope.

Got home and hubby was already there, Sam was being very good and not complaining too much. We took him out and he did have an accident in the crate, but thanks to the size, he wasn’t too much covered in pee when we took him out.

Got him back inside and I ran up to feed Meeshka and Loki while hubby stayed with Sam. I brought down the “tins” of Little Ceasar, plopped his bowl down and made a big deal of peeling off the foil lid. Even before I got the foil lid half off, he was ravenously licking the food. I plopped half of it in the bowl and he nabbed the big glop of it and went to town on it. I managed to cut up the rest of the glob and he downed that in no time flat. Same thing with the second “tin”. I feel horrible because this is the first food that he’s actually gone bonkers for. I tried to fool him by stuffing some Blue Buffalo canned food in the empty tin, but he was not fooled at all.

Now we all know what this means... I’ll go out tomorrow and buy a case of the stuff and he’ll refuse to eat it. Yep, I know it’ll happen, I just know it, but if I don’t... So I’ll be wiping all sorts of varieties of the stuff off the shelf and into the cart hoping to recreate the food frenzy of tonight. Luckily I also bought some Blue Dog soft peanut butter treats that they had, and he ate about 5 of those as well, so that’s a lot of food for the poor guy. Maybe its a good thing we only had 2 “tins” of the stuff, because he may very well have overstuffed himself on it. I was almost ready to run out and buy more, I had put dinner in the oven and all, so I’ll leave work early at lunch and stop at the store and buy them out of the stuff.

After I ate, and Sam had a few hours out of the crate napping, I enticed him into the crate with the soft peanut butter treats, and he went in somewhat willingly. Another friend mention to me in an e-mail that Ace is a type of sedative where the dog (or animal) can shake its effects and have almost the opposite affect as a tranquilizer. This could have been why he was not acting sedated when we’d pill him and put him back in the crate. He’d get all worked up over being in the crate, and make a lot of noise, as if he wasn’t even sedated. Now that we started giving him some out of crate relax time after he eats, and allow him a pee after that, he’s been much calmer in the crate and sleeping too. Thanks for the tip Peg!

We also put his water bottle back on the crate. He’s a bit dense, and I don’t know if he’ll figure out how to use it, but its there if he gives it a shot. Now that he’s got a lot more room to move around, we don’t have to worry about his scraping up against the nozzle or impaling himself on it. Its out of the way, but easy to use for his size. All he needs in there is a jacuzzi and he’s all set.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 24: 21 January 2007

Got to sleep in until 7:30 am before Sam woke up. That’s quite a sleep in compared to our normal 5:00 am wake up time, but still.

Since hubby has school work to do and some other things to do, I’ve decided to plant myself downstairs with Sam for most of the day to keep him quiet, and to give him some out of crate time.

We’re contemplating on putting together the bigger crate for him. While we don’t want him to get use to peeing in the crate, we realize that with the Pred, he has to go a lot. The bigger crate would give him more room to pee in there, but not have to lay in it (while we’re at work for instance). It would give him more room to move around, but not enough room to get all rambunctious. Its a conundrum.

This morning he had his breakfast and massage and pills, and now he’s all comfy on the floor fast asleep. He did have to pee before he fell asleep, and of course, he avoided all of the pee pads that I had put down and managed to find a non-pee pad covered area. I really, REALLY appreciate the ease of use and good suckage of the little green clean machine. It sure does make those “spills” easy to clean up.

Ok, I hate the pin drop crates. I put up the palatial pin drop crate for Sam and put his cushy sheepskin in there and a towel for him. He obliviously slept through the whole painful process of putting it together, blissfully unaware of the danger he could have been in what with me putting the stupid crate together. Kudos to the Midwest crate people for having the instructions on putting together their crates easily accessible on their Web site.

Of course, after his nap (complete with puppy dreams and flailing legs) he got up, got a drink, peed next to a pee pad (sigh) and then sniffed the new crate. He didn’t seem impressed and went over to the smaller crate and sniffed that. Great... so I tossed a goody into the new crate and he went in, checked it out, got the treat, crawled under the coffee table, ate it, now he’s asleep again.

While Heather’s joke about putting the coffee table on his crate, I’m also wondering if he feels safer under something, and whether we need to try to revisit a crate cover again. of course, we run the risk of the great sheet sucking incidents if we just drape something on the crate (and we’re out of sheets), but I have to wonder if there’s something out there that we can use to safely cover his crate and make him feel safer in there.

Ok, so sitting here doing really nothing, I’ve had time to ponder the crate cover thing. The new palatial crate is very tall, so he won’t be able to reach up and grab anything, so I put a table cloth on the top (yes, I know... tempting fate there), and then I saw the cardboard box that his old crate came in, so I took it apart and it fits perfectly on the one side of it. Now he has a little den that’s blocked on three sides, leaving the front and the left side open. I’d like to block the left side to give him a total den look, but I don’t have anything to lean up there. If he somehow gets ahold of the box, its only cardboard, so he’ll just rip that up, and that won’t be a bad thing. We’ll be going to Petsmart in a bit for more sheepskin beds and bully sticks, so maybe we can find one of their old cardboard boxes and bring it home.

We’re back from petsmart and Starbucks. Hey, gotta treat ourselves as well when we’re out. We got two more sheepskin beds for Sam, a ton of different treats for the dogs, and some bully sticks. Sam was very quiet in the crate when we came home and waited patiently for us to come down and let him out for a pee. Its snowing, so he liked standing in the snow as it fell. Back into the crate he went after a drink and I gave him one of the bully sticks, which he attacked the moment I handed it to him.

Since it is snowing and the deck stairs get slick, we gated off his area and let Meeshka and Loki outside from down there. Sam was too busy chewing to notice them, but on their way back in, he noticed them and yipped a few times. He seems to have calmed down quickly though, which is very good. I don’t know if its the covered crate or the bully stick that is making him feel more comfortable down there, but whichever it is, I’m happy!

The snow is getting deeper, and Sam went out and did his business, came in and actually ate some A/D gruel this time, along with some treats. He took his pills well, the as usual, slithered under the coffee table for a nap. I find that if I stay down there with him for about an hour (enough time for the Ace to kick in) he’s almost willing to go into his crate and be quiet. Of course, luring him in with the bully stick (his new favorite treat) also helps. He’s still a pee monster, but with the green machine at the ready, that’s not a problem (well, it will be when he’s better, but we’ll just deal with one problem at a time).

I just went out to play in the snow with Meeshka and Loki and its starting to freezing rain a bit. That will be wonderful, having a glare of ice to deal with in the morning, keeping our feet and making sure Sam keeps his. Sam is currently digging in his crate, trying to bury the bully stick, I’m sure. He’s neurotic like that.

Well, Loki is all in a playful mood and is barking, which got Sam all in an uproar and the fun begins.
Apparently, no matter what crate we get him, he’s not going to be happy while we’re home and he’s crated. I can’t blame the poor boy, he is a pack animal and just wants to be with someone.

Tomorrow hubby has to call and find out if we need to start weaning Sam from the Pred. I hope they tell us to give a reducing dose of that stuff, then off it completely within the end of the week so he’s not peeing as much. Same with the antibiotic. He’s taken so many pills lately, the poor thing. He’s now learned when its pill time and he tries to hide under the coffee table. He also won’t eat a specific treat anymore because I would give him one after I pilled him. I think he now equates the treat to icky medicine.

He’s now very angry because we went downstairs and didn’t let him out. We did catch him just sitting there in the crate howling mournfully. Its funny how you imagine him being so incredibly miserable and in pain or something, then go down and catch him in the act, and he’s just sitting there, making a ruckus, wagging his tail.

We’ll be taking him out for his final pee, then hubby takes up the Sammy night watch tonight. And so ends day 24... only a zillion more to go.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 23: 20 January 2007

Its the weekend, so what better time to sleep in... except if you are on Sammy watch!

He decided that he needed to pee at 1am. I let him out of his crate and directed him to the pee pads. I’m sorry, but at 1am in the freezing cold, no way am I carrying out a 50lb dog half asleep into the yard. We’ll house train him when he’s better, a small price to pay for not freezing to death, or falling on top of him while trying to climb up concrete steps.

For those of you facing recovery, you really need to run out to a store and get the Bissell Little Green Steam Machine... the one that will heat the water. It will be your carpet saver or savior, especially if recovery includes giving your pup Prednisone. He’s on a 4 hour pee schedule, which we’re trying to accommodate as much as possible for him. We don’t want him to try to hold it and get a urinary tract infection (UTI) or pee in the crate, so pretty much, the 4 times a day rule goes out the door.

He let me sleep in until 5:30am, at which time I woke up hubby and we took him out. He didn’t want to do anything, so back inside he went, back into the crate, and I told him I wanted to sleep in... which he let me do until 7:30am. Ugh, fine.

He’s been pretty good about hanging out downstairs without too much trouble, so I gated him down there and took his bowl up to get him his breakfast. As I’m rinsing out his bowl, I hear the distinct sound of the baby gate falling over downstairs. EEEE! I dash to the stairs, move the upstairs baby gate and replace it, and there is Sam on the landing. Poor spine dog had managed just fine to get up about 6 stairs to the landing. Ugh, carried him back down the stairs, put the gate back up, shoved him in his crate, locked him in safely and went back up to get his food, and feed Meeshka and Loki.

I was so mad at him when I came back down that I just plopped his gruel bowl on the floor, let him out of his crate and sat on the couch. He proceeded to eat all of his gruel, and then the handfuls of kibble I plopped on the bowl when he didn’t seem to be full enough. Maybe our hovering over him while he ate was making him not want to eat, maybe his little stair climb got his appetite going, who knows. I’m sure he’ll be pickier at lunch.

He got plopped back in his crate with a kong bone and cookie, but started on the yip WOOOOO thing, which I let him do for a while before coming down to let him out. He’s currently chewing on the kong bone getting the peanut butter out under the coffee table and using my foot as a place for his bony elbow, all happy.

Mr. Spoiled Brat was just fine gnawing on his kong bone under the coffee table, but since I had things to take care of, and since he’s no longer trusted alone after the gate fest this morning, I enticed him into his crate with the kong bone. He’s been quiet for a few minutes, but is now clearly not happy again.

Feeding time at the zoo, and just as I suspected... Sam didn’t want his food, even though I prepared it the same was as before. Maybe his lack of exercise makes him less hungry, and he did have a lot for breakfast, so I’ll go with that excuse. He did eat about 10 Meaty treats though... he’s playing me for a sucker, that’s for sure. Expecting the worst, after steam cleaning up the pee spots, I lay down pee pads in that area, and sure enough, he sauntered over... and peed next to the pee pads. I was ready for immediate clean up, having just filled the little green with fluids, so that was an easy clean up.

He’s now downstairs asleep on his little cushy with hubby, who has been sucked up in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I got sucked up in it a few days ago while doing Sam duty. Its like a train wreck, that movie.

In my now free time from Sam, I’ve managed to take out the garbage, do some laundry, pay the bills, and try to catch up on all of the fun things I’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t had time. Lesson learned: hire a cleaning company during recovery. Oh, and a chef!

I felt compelled to write now because we’ve had almost three hours of silence! OOOOH! I almost don’t know what to do with it! I should have napped, or ... something! I did manage to take a shower earlier, which has made me feel somewhat human again. Managed to do some catch up work on web sites and blogs and stuff. Its been gloriously quiet around here, and that’s really odd! Could this be a turning point? Could this be the beginning of more quiet? I doubt it. I’m sure Sam is saving up some good screaming for after dinner or something. Speaking of dinner, I guess I should have taken something out to thaw for dinner, but frankly thinking has gone along the lines of “what time is it and how long do I have between Sammy time”, so everything in between is pretty vague.

Of course, our blissful quiet was broken by Sam, who can tell time and wanted out and his dinner. We dutifully let him out for his usual walk around the yard, then back inside where he snubbed the gruel and everything else. For some odd reason I brought down the beef log slices, and sure enough, he stole one and crawled under the coffee table with it. Got up, stole another, etc. After his massage, which he REALLY loves now, he decided that he would have some kibble, but only three pieces at a time, thank you, and nearly ate a whole bowl of that. If he stops eating, I’ll do his massage again, then he’ll eat some more... I swear he’s just playing me....

I spent an hour down there with him while he napped, and he was so tired, I could barely get him up to go into the crate so I could fix dinner... and then he was wide and awake and MAD. The pathetic wooing and screaming. Poor guy. He peed in his crate again, so we’ll need to go out and buy more sheepskin crate liners for him, as the two we’re currently using aren’t enough for Mr. Pred Pee Pants. I’ll also see if there’s something there that will entertain him a bit more that will last. On another list, someone talked about bully sticks (if you didn’t know, its dried cow penis) and I see that Petsmart has them... so I’ll give one of those a shot.

Took him, pee and poo, back inside, bribed him into the crate with a goody, and its been non-stop very angry puppy down there.

OOOH its quiet. I have no doubt that if I go look, he’ll be staring up at me in his crate, ready to start complaining again the moment he sees me.

I had to laugh at a (joking) suggestion a friend sent to me. She said "well, if he sleeps well under the coffee table, how about putting the coffee table on top of the crate..." had to cartoon that.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 22: 19 January 2007

Hubby called in sick, he’s been battling a chest thing that I suspect may have turned into pneumonia. He’ll be calling for a doctor’s appointment as soon as the office opens.

Sammy was very vocal in asking to go out this morning. He’s a bit mopey today, I’m thinking that all of the walking and the drive to the clinic wore him out or made him sore, but he didn’t manage a poo, and he ate his kibble (bit by bit). He also went to town on a peanut butter dog cookie, loves the croissant too.

Since we’re both home today, I decided not to Ace him to see how he is. We just put him back in his crate (although he was more than happy on his big cushy pillow) and he seems to have settled down quickly, which is odd. I’m guessing that he’s not feeling good today.

I have to wash both of his sheepy crate beds as he’s had accidents on them. Right now he’s got a towel in there, and under that a pee pad in case he has an accident. The pred really REALLY makes him drink and pee a lot. We’re fine with that, making sure we clean him off with the baby wipes so the urine doesn’t irritate his skin and he doesn’t smell nasty. Lesson learned: for dogs, they don’t like the flowery smelling baby wipes, so try to get some that don’t smell.

Sammy started fussing, so we took him out for a massive flood. He willingly went back into his crate, but has now decided that it was a mistake, and he wants out again. And so begins the non-stop shrieking. We’ are currently ignoring him, because we don’t want to teach him that shrieking gets him out of the crate.

While hubby went to the doctor, I went down and let shrieking banshee out of his crate, it took him a bit to settle down, but he finally lounged on the floor. Since he was lounging, I went up and fed the pups, then prepared him: a bowl of blue buffalo gruel, a tupperware bowl of blue buffalo kibble, a tupperware bowl of W/D kibble, and a handful of the dog food roll slices. Hey, something was sure to work.

Came downstairs and he was really interested in the gruel, and ate half of that, with minor bowl/nose bumping. Then he moved onto the W/D kibble, and started eating that out of the tupperware bowl. Ok, fine, I just let him dine on that. Then he decided that he wanted the dog food roll slices... fine. He ate half of everything, then decided he was full. It was the best meal he’s eaten in a while. That must have tired him out because he plopped down and napped on the floor.

Hubby got home, and we took him out after a half hour, then put him in his crate, which he was not happy about. He proceeded to shriek for quite some time after that.

The surgeon’s office called and the great news is that his platelet count has more than doubled! That’s a very, very good thing! Now they want to send off his blood work to get a tick titer, to see if that was because of a tick-borne disease, and they also want to send his blood off to check his clotting factors. Cha Ching $400 bucks in testing. BUT, at least we can narrow down the cause, and treat accordingly. Of course, we won’t get results for 2 weeks, which means he’ll be done with his meds... so whatever.

I’m just relieved that his platelet count more than doubled! Finally a bit of good news.

We konged the pups and went to run errands and pick up hubby’s prescriptions. Came back and Sammy REALLY wanted out of his crate to pee a river. He’s currently under the coffee table guarding his kong. Hey, he’s not screaming, so I don’t care. Oh, and lesson learned: don’t get the big mondo sushi assortment from Costco, hubby reports that its nasty. (duh).

Feeding Sam tonight was impossible. He didn’t want ANYTHING... except to like the nutrical bottle. I’m almost out of that, need to get some more, as he seems to love it. He turned his nose up at croissant, didn’t want the beef stick, the W/D kibble, the Blue Buffalo Kibble, the package puppy food, the gruel, beef chunks... nothing. He was a non-eating pup tonight. We pilled him (gave him some Ace because he’s been awake for most of the day and acting a bit stiff), and I gave him a really nice massage. He just melts when you massage him. On last ditch effort, I had hubby bring down a peanut butter dog cookie and he did crawl under the coffee table and eat that... then promptly fell asleep under there with his head resting next to a kong. What a sweetie. I didn’t have the heart to move him, so I just stayed down there with him. The other pups are pretty mellow tonight for some reason. I did manage to go out and play with them for a bit (ok, I scooped poo out of the yard, they whizzed around me chasing each other).

He’s still asleep under the coffee table. I came up, cooked dinner, tip toed around and he’s still fast asleep. As long as he stays fast asleep, he can just stay fast asleep. He’s so cute.

Don’t know if it was Loki barking to go out, Meeshka wooing and stomping to go out after Loki, or hubby sneezing loudly that woke Sam up, but he’s out from under the coffee table now, looking up at us. I’m all for testing his boundaries and seeing what he does down there. Hubby is a bit more conservative than I am, and mentioned not leaving him down there alone for very long, and either crating him, or go down and be with him. Ok, any volunteers?

Lesson learned from today (other than the vital don’t buy Costco sushi) is that we need to give him Ace at LEAST in the morning. He did spend an awful lot of time pitching a fit in his crate today, and even when he was out of the crate, he was way too rambunctious for our liking, trying to dash around and look for a place to get up the stairs. He was also trying to zoom around outside when he went out, literally almost pulling me along with him, and at one point nearly jumping out of the sling. We do have a small leash on him, but if he got it into his head to try running, I doubt it would do very much to make him stop if he found a way to lose the sling.

He’s still asleep downstairs, after having moved out from under the coffee table. We’ll be taking him out for his final in a bit. I’ll be curling up on that wonderful Aero bed tonight to give sickly hubby some regular bed time sleep.

So, its been a relatively good day. I didn’t get as much done as I wanted due to his crate temper tantrums, and our schedule, but we got to spend some good quality time together, he had that husky gleam in his eye, and the blood results were encouraging.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 21: 18 January 2007

I can’t believe its been 21 days since he hurt his back. Time flies when you’re going insane.

Today was his check up to see if his platelets were going up. We got up at the usual time, did the usual routine, which is becoming so commonplace that I hope he’s not going to expect to be carried everywhere once he’s taken off crate restriction... of course our biggest fear is that he’ll never be able to do stairs again and we’ll HAVE to carry him up and down the stairs... heaving sigh.

He ate, we pilled, we konged Meeshka and Loki, and carried him to the truck. I must say that the trip this time was much quieter, and he was able to keep his balance much better as we drove. He even settled down a few times and lay down... until the urge to pee was just too great and he peed in the crate. That pred really makes them pee.

We got to the clinic right at 9am, just in time for his recheck. The tech took a history, and we went into great detail about his now very picky eating habits. The surgeon came in and remarked about how wonderfully he’s come along. He couldn’t believe how mobile he was doing, and was really amazed when I told him that Sam had actually managed to pee like a male dog before coming into the clinic. He said that it took a lot of good balance for them to do the one legged pee, and was surely a good sign of his progress.

They took Sam back to draw blood and we talked to the surgeon about the swim thing and our concerns. He told us that we should try the “do it yourself” place at least once to see how he did. Swim therapy would be helpful for getting muscle mass and helping him get better coordination, but since it wasn’t an exact science, and since some dogs took to it, others didn’t, it helped some dogs, other dogs it didn’t, and since there were pros and cons to it, we should take him to the do it yourself place for 10 minutes, if he flailed and freaked, or turned up stiff and sore the next day, then swimming probably wasn’t for him.

Apparently he was not a happy camper about getting blood drawn. We’ll get the results tomorrow to find out whether his platelet count has gotten higher. If so, the surgeon mentioned wanting to send some blood off to see if it was a tick borne virus or not. If it was, then we could wean him off the pred and continue the antibiotics. If it wasn’t tick borne, then we’d still wean him off the pred and get another blood work up to see if it continued to go up. Fingers crossed on the whole levels going up thing please.

We weren’t able to swim him there, they were concerned that with the platelet count, and the fact that he just had a needle stick that it might not be good for him at that time. Sam was pretty worn out anyway from all of the excitement, so he pretty much slept the whole way home.

We got him in, fed him, took him out and he pooped, he’s getting pretty regular with that, so unless something strange happens, just assume that all bodily functions are performing normally (well, the pee thing more normally since he goes quite a bit now).

He seemed pretty ok in the crate when we left him with a kong and cookie, even without the pred. We went to work.

I got home before hubby, so healthy pups out, then in, Sammy out. He’s got a spring to his step, and sorta boinks on the back legs kinda funny when he’s in a hurry. I’m hoping that resolves itself, but he seems to get around just fine with little slinging, so maybe that’s his new dorky walk.

Got him back inside for his usual chugging of water, then put down a cushy bed for him where my jacket use to be. He was very pleased with having a new cushy bed in his favorite nappy spot. What he doesn’t know is that a very kind person (Hi Heather) sent him his very own water bed today in the mail. I’ll be setting that up for him tomorrow while I’m home to see if that makes him happier lounging on that. It looks pretty sturdy, but it definitely won’t be something that can go in his crate, as Sammy is the destroyer of all things in his crate. It also has a very nice fitted sheet that came with it, which is suckable for the Sammy monster. I can just see the water carnage now!

Hubby got home and stayed down there with him while he lounged on the cushy bed. I escaped for a bit to spend some quality time with Meeshka and Loki and for cooking some steaks. Its been a while since we’ve had a good meal and we really needed something substantial. Once the steaks were done cooking, hubby bribed him into the crate with a big cookie, and once that was finished, the yelling began. He’s getting so spoiled. We didn’t Ace him this morning, but we did tonight. I’m tempted to try him one day without it when I’m home to see just how he does. He throws a tantrum in the crate anyway, why drug him up for a tantrum, so we’ll see.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 20: 17 January 2006

This morning it was almost impossible to wake up. Morning came to quickly, that’s for sure.

We somehow managed to get up, take Sam out, care of the other pups, get him to eat, pill him, and get out the door and not be late for work. Sam’s appetite seems to be better, even though we have to “prime the pump” so to speak by giving him some human food. After he’s had his “treat”, he’ll eat his kibble... one kibble at a time, placed specifically where he can reach it, or get rejected by his very high standards.

Lunch was pretty uneventful as well, other than he took a very good poo. Pooping is starting to become more normal, than an event now. He’s actually able to squat normally, I just use the sling to steady him and make sure he doesn’t fall over. Once again... the one kibble bit at a time lunch was had.

When I got home after work, he was pretty patient while I took the other pups out, and hubby was delayed on the way home, so I took him out. Yet another poo, which is pretty good for a dog that doesn’t seem to be eating a whole lot.

We’re both getting pretty good with coordinating his in, out, feeding, feeding the other pups, giving everyone attention, eating for ourselves, and juggling all of the stuff we have to do. Its no longer crisis mode, but its still pretty time and labor intensive to make sure everything goes right.

Once again, after his eating and pilling, Mr. Sammy pranced over to the door... gave me a husky look, and peed on the area rug in front of the door... for a long... LONG time. He was very excited about that again. Made an attempt to escape up the stairs, but was thwarted by the gate. He’s now sprawled out on the floor, while Meeshka is demanding both attention, and hubby’s fish filets. She’s being more of a brat than Sam at the moment. Sam’s totally zonked out on the floor.

I spent the rest of the night down there with him, giving him a full 4 hours of crate freedom. He did very well, choosing to lay and nap under the coffee table for most of the time. We took him out for his usually nightly final outing and got another poo out of him. He’s becoming very regular now, which is good, but once again, it doesn’t seem as though he eats enough to create that amount of poo!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 19: 16 January 2007

Well, this morning we got up a little late, so I didn’t have time to chronicle the adventures of Sam. We had our usual morning out, peed, back in and finally got him to eat something. His taste changes at each feeding, so I now bring down whatever we have in the pantry and give it a shot with him. He wasn’t thrilled about the pilling, but took them well.

While hubby went up to shower and change, I stayed down with Sam, then we swapped, then we put him in his crate and he was a total brat about that. He seemed to know that we were leaving, as I bought him his usual crate kong, then we left.

At lunch, I didn’t hear any shrieking when I pulled up and listened at the door. We went out for the usual walk, and for lunch he ate a lot of Blue Buffalo gruel with shredded cheese, then ate some treats too.

Once again, the lunch kong treat, with peanut butter and a big peanut butter dog cookie and he didn’t even glance at us when we left.

Came home and once again he was quiet in his crate until I let the other pups out, then in, and came and got him. He peed a river, then refused to walk anymore. Hubby hadn’t made it home from work yet, and he follows hubby around the yard. Once hubby did get home (after I stood and froze my butt off), he did walk around, but then insisted we go inside. He actually ate some canned dog food and canned chicken chunks, then most of a small bowl of kibble, and proceeded to hide under the coffee table because he knew the pills were next. We tricked him to come out with a squirt of the Nutrical stuff, which he really loves. This time, I’d pill, give him a lick of nutrical, pill, nutrical. He seemed to tolerate that better.

So, I’m down here with him to give him some out of crate time. For the most part he’s lounged under the coffee table, eating treats when I had them down to him. Then suddenly he got up and literally pranced over to the door. When I told him to get back over to me, he squatted and took a very, very long and happy pee. I just let him. He had that sort of “lock me in a crate all the time” look, and a look of utter happiness after that pee. No way was I going to yell at him for peeing in the house. After he was done, he was very happy, and I simply sopped up the carpet with a pee pad, which aren’t very water proof, as my socks will tell you.

After he got a little too rambunctious, I decided it was time for some crate action, and he’s none to pleased with that. Meeshka and Loki had a play fit on the deck, then came in and got playful and that made him mad that he couldn’t join in, so he’s down there whining and wanting to play now. I have no doubt that if I let him play, he would play, oblivious to the missing discs in his back. Huskies are such dorks.

We just finished eating, things seem to get done later or later or not at all. I had this big optimistic list of things that I would do when I got home... and managed to do one thing: take out the kitchen trash bag. Hey, it was something off my list! I also managed to put Sam’s spare sheepskin in the wash, but haven’t made it down there to put it in the dryer. I was going to vacuum... not happening. Was going to move the box of last years files down into the back room... maybe I’ll remember to do that when I go put the sheepskin in the dryer, but I doubt it. I’ve walked by the box, that’s sitting on my kitchen table (so it’ll be right there and I won’t forget to take it down) for three days now. (Note to self: writing it down, or putting things where you’ll bump into it doesn’t work, you’ll still forget it). Another important lesson to learn that goes right along with buying microwave meals is to buy paper plates while you’re at the store. There’s just no interest, or strength to put dishes in the dishwasher. That’s an all time pathetic low if you ask me. Stock up on plastic ware, paper plates and cups, because little things like a sink full of dirty dishes just sucks the life blood from you.

I have no idea where the day went. I’ve accomplished so little today, except given Sam some outside the crate time, got to watch him enjoy a very long pee on the carpet, watched him eat his food, and got some tail wagging. He’s not a big “kisser”, so just looking into his sweet brown eyes and getting a tail wag is just as good. Even though I have a sink full of dishes, and a box of files on my kitchen table, just watching Sam do husky things, and catching Meeshka and Loki playing on the deck... that’s about all I need.

Oh, we do keep the tv on 24 hours a day for him. He seems to fall asleep during Star Trek episodes (we need to find a marathon of those), doesn’t like music videos, and thought that Billy Madison was stupid. He also wasn’t that impressed with the Golden Globe awards and thinks that white dresses, although “in” don’t look very good on the majority of the people wearing them. He’s very fashion conscious.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 18: 15 January 2007

The fun never ends, does it?

Sam woke up at midnight, but I convinced him that it would be best that he went back to sleep... and he did. I actually had to wake him up at 8:30am this morning (and nearly freaked because he was sleeping so soundly). Went up to let the other pups out and found that hubby had been throwing up all night and was sick. Oh... great! I’m solo with Sammy today.

Let the pups in, managed to carry Sammy up the three back stairs with no problem and we had a good walk and a very, very, long good pee. Well, we didn’t have a long pee, but Sam did. He was very happy and chipper this morning. He wasn’t very chipper going back into his crate while I went back upstairs and made the pups their morning food, then chopped up his beef log thing. Came back downstairs and let him out again. He seemed hesitant to come out, thinking it was a trick of some kind. I finally enticed him out of the crate with the beef stick chunks, which he ate a good portion of, then let him lounge for a bit before attempting the great pilling by myself. Initially he wouldn’t cooperate, but I managed, then gave him some kibble bits, which he ate about a half a cup full, 2 kibbles at a time.

Although I would have liked to let him lay around on my jacket for an hour or so, I just had too many things to take care of this morning before leaving to do work stuff (like other work stuff), so I had to put him back in the crate. He was NOT happy about that at all.

Hubby has no voice, so I called and left a message for the surgeon, they called back almost immediately and I ran through the laundry list of questions that we had for the surgeon. They will call us back later once he’s out of rechecks, and rounds. Sammy continues to yap, yip, and howl from his crate. I gave him a big cookie. Big cookies allow us 5 minutes of non-howl time (I timed it). The other pups are on the deck lounging. I shared a croissant with Meeshka, since she was in a snit this morning and refused to go out without croissant.

I have to leave here around 12:30pm to go do work stuff... I feel bad, but I’m REALLY looking forward to escaping the asylum right now.

The vet tech called back and said that we do have to come in for the recheck. Sigh. Hubby will find out tomorrow if he’s able to go, and if not, then I guess I’ll be taking the morning off to haul the screaming banshee in for a recheck. Not like the pred is doing much to settle him down (and once again... if it is... I’d hate to see what he’s like off of it). We were given the ok, to give him his heartworm pill, and we were told not to worry about his back feeling colder toward the back. No word on the swim therapy place. I’ll have to ask when we get there.

After a few hours of non-stop complaining and screaming, its almost time for Sam’s out. He’s been especially bratty today, which could be from the new medication, or it could be that he’s feeling typical husky and wants to make our lives as miserable as huskily possible... and he’s doing a good job of it too.

I’m hoping that its because we’ve been home for the weekend that’s caused this crate howling thing, and that tomorrow when we go to work, he settles down and sleeps with the rest of the pups. I have this horrible fear that his mournful wailing can be heard by the neighbors, and that their patience will wear thin and we’ll get the animal police called on us. They’re ones to talk though, as their yappy dogs are known for yapping at all hours of the morning, so we’ll see what happens. We at least have a good excuse for the ruckus. This all could just be the paranoia of lack of sleep and stress. Lesson learned: recovery drives you insane.

After a nice walk around the yard, then inside for a LOT of water, and his food (which he finally started eating after a lot of coaxing), then his pills (which he hates) hubby stayed down there with him so he could lounge on the jacket (which if I put in the crate would become a sucking item and would be destroyed and we’re more concerned about him ingesting coat and getting a blockage than I care about the coat, thanks for the suggestion anyway) for 2 hours and then he went into the crate. When I looked down at him, he was staring at the wall, and has been pretty quiet so far. I’m hoping that the all day catterwalling wore him out and he’ll sleep good tonight.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 17: 14 January 2007

I didn’t have the heart to wake anyone up, and even Sam just looked at me when I came downstairs and went right back to sleep, so when in Rome... I dozed off on the aero bed.

Mr. Sam had to pee, so up to get hubby, let the other pups out, let them in, got Sam and out we went for a river of pee. He was very happy. Hubby was incoherent. Sam got a drink of water, and then went to his crate and went right back to sleep.

Sammy woke up, and wanted to go out, so back out we all go after rousting hubby, pups, etc, etc. I’m getting pretty good at coordinating the comings and goings of dogs and humans without help from coffee. After a good pee, a very thorough sniffing of the ground, and some walking, we came back in. I opted for the A/D gruel today, and he actually ate almost all of it with minimum food bowl bonking with his nose. Meds down his throat and some quality time, then back in the crate for his usual morning complaining. I gave him 2 regular sized cookies, and then the big mondo peanut butter bone cookie, and he ate those right down. I figure the pred is working its magic. He’s very angry, and will calm down when I’m laying on the aero bed, but gets all bent out of shape when I leave. As much as I would like to spend the next 6 weeks on the aero bed, its just not possible with that whole job thing. I’m also trying to finish up the piles and piles of laundry that has piled and piled up since this whole thing started, so he gets angry when I go down there to move stuff from washer to dryer.

Loki gets very angry when Sam paws at his crate liner and starts barking, which is annoying on frayed nerves.

Sam refuses to settle down. I did give him Ace didn’t I? I just have to assume that the little brat is feeling way much better after the new pills, and is now turning back into holy husky terror pup.

While massaging him this morning, I can feel how much weight and muscle mass the poor thing has lost. I don’t mind that he’s eaten three big cookies, two small cookies and the A/D this morning. I’ll feed him whatever he wants to eat, which is what we were advised to do. I just feel bad that he’s now so miserable in his crate.

I’m now downstairs with my powerbook with him, hoping that just being close to him will settle him down. He’s scraped his sheepskin cushy all over the crate and is panting really hard, all upset over what is going on. He’s now eating the cookies, he tried to cover with the sheepskin.

After him continuing to scream for a bit, I finally let him out of the crate. He drank a lot of water, then quickly settled down and fell asleep on the floor. He just wanted out, and some company. Its the weekend, so I’ll give him all the company he needs for now.

Hubby came down to watch his college class video for an assignment. Meeshka and Loki were not thrilled that they were left out of the family gathering though. Sam curled up on our stack of coats in a corner and was fast asleep for the two hours that I was down there. Hubby fell asleep through most of the boring college course video.

I managed to go upstairs and sneak a croissant. Costco croissants in our house are coveted by the dogs. They sit ever so pretty for a few bites, and I end up eating half of one, giving the rest to the dogs and wondering why I’m still hungry. I managed to get one out of the kitchen and downstairs without Meeshka or Loki finding out. Sam, on the other hand, was drooling, so I shared it with him. Since he ate that so readily, I figured why not try some kibble. He went through half a bowl of kibble (5 pieces at a time from the floor), then about a handful more when I went up to replenish. Today is probably the most he’s eaten since he’s gotten back, what with three large dog cookies, 2 small dog cookies, gruel, now a bunch of croissant and kibble.

Even though he was all comfy on the pile of jackets, we took him out. He peed a river and rewarded us with another massive poo. It doesn’t seem like he’s eating a whole lot, but the boy sure can poo a lot. We figure that’s probably why he was so anxious in the crate, as we brought him back in, let him drink some water, then he tried to curl up back on the coats again (poor thing), and we felt like schmucks for making him go into his crate. He complained a bit, and scratched, but Loki barked at him to shut up (that’s what it sounds like to me), and now he seems to be asleep.

The massive pile of laundry is almost done, folded and ready to be put away. I managed to do some other housework things, and ate the sesame chicken that we didn’t eat on friday when we got the call about the bloodwork being wonky.

There may be a crisis brewing... Sam is awake, but both of his slings are in the dryer. Ok, not too much of a crisis, since he’s not suppose to go out for a half hour, they should be dry by then. Since he’s doing very well today, had a poo, slept some, got some comfy time out of the crate, just thought I’d make a crisis, since I didn’t want any other type of crisis.

Sam went out and did his usual walk. He’s getting better at walking except when he tries to walk too fast, then the right leg goes a little spastic. We came in, and he actually wanted food. I made the usual gruel mix, but also cut circles of the beef/rice roll. When I brought the food down, he went right for a slice of the beef/rice and took it to eat under the coffee table. Apparently he doesn’t like the little pieces, but prefers the larger pieces to chew on. He ate three circles of the stuff, which is pretty substantial. While he was lounging on a jacket, I pilled him, and actually having him laying down, he took the pills much easier, hardly any trouble at all. He’s now sleeping with his head under the coffee table. We thought we’d give him more out of crate time as long as he just layed and slept. He seems much more comfortable out of the crate, and as long as he’s not trying to climb on the couch or wander around, we figured why not. Thank goodness for wireless internet.

One note for recovery humans is that you need to stock up on easy to make foods. Your routine will be totally filled with either paying attention to your other animals or family, doing your normal chores, and quadruple your time with the recovering dog. This means very little time for slapping together a quick meal, except for those you can slap into an oven and just wait for it to cook. Tonight we’re having Pepperidge Farm pot pies. We’ve spent quite a few bucks on delivery food, which really adds up fast (especially if you have a whopping huge vet bill to deal with later on).

Hubby has tomorrow off, I will be working from home in the morning and have to go out in the afternoon. We’ll continue doing our normal routine with him to make sure that he’s fine while we’re gone.

Sam was sleeping so peacefully and happy under the coffee table with me. Hubby announced that the pot pies were ready and we woke him up and gave him a drink of water. He knew what was coming next and tried to make a dive for the comfy jacket again, but we helped him walk over to the crate. He is certainly not one happy camper at the moment. Am I spoiling him for letting him sleep outside the crate while I’m there. Does he think he did something wrong to be locked up in there all the time (even though we NEVER use crates as punishment, he’s got to be wondering). This is what sucks the life blood from you, being strong, knowing that what you are doing is for his own good, but hating yourself for doing it.

We're calling it an early night, taking out poor Sam and going to bed semi early. I hope he sleeps well tonight having me down there. I'd like to let him sleep outside of the crate if I knew he would just sleep, but knowing Sam, I'd wake up, he'd be sitting on the couch with the remote control and snacking on chips or something. Its for his own good. Its for his own good... sigh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 16: 13 January 2007

Like an alarm clock, Sam wakes up. I had spent the night waking up every hour it seemed to make sure he was ok. He was always fast asleep.

Get up, go upstairs, let Meeshka and Loki out, then wake hubby up. By the time we’re both semi-conscious, we let the pups in, go downstairs and take Sam out. He pees a river. I walk around the yard with him while hubby sits on the deck steps, still trying to get his bearings and wake up. After his 10 minutes are up, we take him back inside, and let him stay out of the crate with hubby while I went up and fixed breakfast for the pups, and put the A/D into a bowl for Sam. I also carried down a food pouch for him just in case.

He wanted nothing. No interest in the foods at all. Ok, fine. Let him stand around, he really wants to go up the stairs, but there’s no way that’s happening. At one point he showed interest in the A/D and started licking it, but he’s been maddenly pushing the bowl away with his nose. We don’t want him to break his nose (he hits it with a lot of force, we don’t know why, he’s never done this before when he ate, just started after he came back from the vet), we also don’t want him to rub his nose raw again, so we try to stop that. We realized that we were yelling at him for it, what if he took that yelling as “don’t eat”. We hold the bowl and move it away when he starts that behavior then bring it back. Its like a moving target with him. He loses interest in the food.

Remember, we’re stressed, its now 6:00am, we’re tired, and he’s driving us insane because he not only has to eat in order to get well, but we need to have food in his stomach or the Doxy will make him sick. We’re now harping on each other for no reason. Hold him, don’t hold him, watch him, do you have him, try this food, try that food. It gets ugly. Good thing we made the “nothing said during recovery gets taken personally” vow, but still, we’re getting on each others’ nerves at this point.

Fine, I go back up and make him a bowl of his normal food, like we normally made it before the incident. Bring it down. He drinks the gruel of it, then starts bonking it with his nose and spills a bunch. So much for the chem-dry steam cleaning we had done down there.

We hope that he’s gotten enough food where the pills won’t make him sick. We pill him, managing to get the pills all the way down where he isn’t gacking or shaking his head. We watch him for a few minutes to make sure he’s not just hiding the pills and will spew them back up when we aren’t looking. He’s very good at that. “No, I’ve swallowed those pills, really... ptooey”.

Now exhausted and frustrated, we put him back in his crate, where he starts his yarp, yarp, where are you going stay with me, I want out of the crate so I can jump on the couch and run up the stairs thing. I go up and put some canned Blue Buffalo in a kong a take it down to him. He starts licking it, so I leave him alone. Ten minutes later, he yarps. I go back down with some cookie treats and get the kong which is now half full and refill it. Sam has never been one to really TRY to get the stuff out of kongs. He’ll lick what he can and then leave it, which Meeshka really likes because she’ll do clean up once they’re out of their crates.

He’s now into the mournful wooing stage. He’s had his Ace, but lately that hasn’t been doing a whole lot to calm him down, or he’s calm, but not as calm as we’d like, who knows at this point.

The water therapy place called back. They have what we think he needs, what we need as far as hours (pricey, but whatever it takes), but the problem is that they only do evaluations on fridays and they’re booked up until mid-February. We can’t take him in until he’s evaluated. We found another place toward Annapolis, but it appears to be more of a do-it-yourself thing, more geared toward healthy or nearly recovered dogs that need exercise or muscle building. I guess we’ll need to discuss our options with the surgeon and find out what we can do, both for the follow up, and for the water therapy.

After sleeping quite soundly for a few hours, Sam woke up on cue for his noon out and feeding. He peed a river and we made him walk around for the full 10 minutes to get his exercise. While he decided whether or not he wanted to eat, we massaged his little leg muscles until he grumbled and said that was enough. He did lap up some gruel food that I made for him. Tonight I’m making A/D gruel and Blue Buffalo gruel (separate bowls) to see what he goes for.

We decided to get out of the house for a bit and ventured off to this do-it-yourself swim place. They have two small pools heated to 80 degrees (the therapy pool at the surgeon’s place was 100 degrees), its geared more toward healthy dogs that like water and need exercise, or for dogs that need to build up muscle. Nobody is allowed in the pool, they would put him in a life jacket, hook a leash to it and walk around the pool with him. We’re not at all crazy about that idea. They said they got a lot of dogs that do come in after surgery, but we’re not too sure we want to risk that with Sam. He’s demonstrated that he really sucks at swimming on his first attempt in the water. Plus he’s a spaz.

We picked up some essentials, one of the essentials being a water bottle that you hang on a crate. We’re not crazy about the wing nut that attaches to the bottle that will be on the inside of the crate (is it just us? Are we just totally out of control on the too cautious thing? Who designs this crap anyway), but we bought it feeling we could use the spring that had attached the other bottle and see if that worked. Got our lattes too, hopefully that’ll wake us up a bit.

Came home and let the other pups out, and currently Sam is very upset and howling in his crate. Its only 3:44pm, and don’t want to ruin the whole routine, but we wonder, with the pred and all... but then again, we have to make him wait while we’re at work. This is the torture part of the whole recovery thing, the guilt.

We’ve had a lot of friends and complete strangers offer us advice and help. They’ve offered to take Meeshka and Loki out for play dates with their huskies, and people offering us advice on how to make Sam’s crate stay more enjoyable to him. Even offer to stay and sit with him and we do appreciate all of the offers, really we do. If there was a way for you to take away the guilt of trying to keep a regular routine for him, even when we’re home, or make him happy in the crate when he’s not a toy chewer, or a bone chewer, or a kong chewer. He’s not the type of dog that likes to sit and chew on a bone when he’s home, he’s more of a husky that just wants to lounge on the bed, or come in for the occasional “throw this ball thing for me three times and I’m happy” type of guy. He wants to lay near us, follow us, just be around us. It sucks that he’s locked up downstairs and can’t even enjoy a simply nap in the computer room with us.

We do sit and lay downstairs with him during his “Sam” times, but he wants to come upstairs, he wants to run around and play, he probably wants to lay on the foot of the bed. None of those things he can do. If we sit with him while he’s in the crate, he wants to snuggle with us out of the crate, but then gets a wild hair and goes for the couch, or the stairs (gate of course) or just do things he’s not suppose to do. That’s the hard part of this whole thing. The pilling and taking out are the easy enjoyable things, the trying to get him to eat is challenging, frustrating, but its Sam time. Its the keeping him on a schedule because we know when we’re at work, he won’t have someone around to let him out (and he’s only allowed out 4 times a day anyway), that’s the suck part. That’s the part the drains you, the guilt.

Sammy out time. Peed another river, came in and drank a lot of water. The pred is making him thirsty and having to pee. His appetite is improving somewhat, as I prepared the infamous Blue Buffalo gruel, which he lapped some up, then tried to concuss his nose on the bowl trying to push it away. I tried the ol throw a kibble on the floor routine, but he ignored it for a while. Finally he decided to eat the kibble bit. Threw another, ate it, threw another, ate it, dropped two by mistake and I thought for sure he would snub them both and stop eating... but he ate both. So I dropped three, he ate those, dropped about 5, ate those. Feeding took a lot less time once he started eating more than one kibble per throw.

He got his pred, doxy, and Ace and then we lay down there with him and watched tv. Apparently Science Fiction shows put him to sleep, and he lay down and dozed off to Stargate Atlantis. Well, who can blame him, that puts me to sleep too. Meeshka, very not happy that we were spending time with him down there in the place SHE can’t go, screeched a bit to tell us she was not pleased at all.

We finally rousted the sleepy Sam and got him into his crate. I lay on the aero bed until he settled down quickly and snuck off to do more laundry. He was asleep until Loki came in from outside and yapped. Now he’s just sitting in his crate, whining once in a while. Poor thing.

Meeshka, Loki, Sam, and even hubby are fast asleep... what am I doing awake? Hubby went in to watch some tv and relax on the bed, next thing you know, he’s totally zonked. I feel bad because in an hour, I have to wake him up so we can take Sam out. I’m wide awake, of course, but tired, no more brain dead than anything else. I could be doing something constructive, but only have the motivation to just sit here for now. Sitting in a quiet house is a good thing.