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.