Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sam's Recovery Day 44: 10 February 2007

We got to sleep in this morning, which is nice. Today is Sam’s non-Ace day because he has swim this afternoon. I’m camped downstairs for a bit with him to give him more and more out of crate time. He’s getting stronger in the back end, this morning during his morning outside backyard walk, I totally let him walk on his own, and there is less leaning toward the left when he walks. He did stumble once when he tried to climb on something, but that’s understandable, and he did right himself quickly, which is a good sign to me.

He’s also showing a lot more interest in outside things. He kept trying to run to the fence when the neighbors dog was walking nearby on the other side. I had to leash him in to keep him from running. He’s sniffing things and being more of a normal dog, which is good to see.

He downed his gruel hungrily, and is now chewing on his stinky bully stick right under me. Dang those things stink.

We have to break the news to the swim people that he can’t get any of his boosters until a month after he’s weaned off the pred, so I hope they’ll allow him to continue to swim without the bordatella. If not, then we won’t take him. I’m tempted to not just say anything to them, out of sight, out of mind, don’t ask don’t tell. We’ll play it by ear.

One thing to take into consideration in the recovery, is transferring the “patient” mentality to “dog” mentality. We’ve been treating him with kid gloves, letting him get away with things we normally wouldn’t allow, not making him do normal training types of things. Its time we switch to a more structured puppy behavior with him, to retrain him that he needs to go into his crate when we tell him, he needs to signal when he needs to go out (with the understanding that he’s still on pred and his bladder is still under a lot of pee stress), that he needs to listen to us when we say “no” or “sit”. We’ll have to integrate him back into the pack, so we don’t want his behaviors to rub off on the other dogs, and we want him to realize that he’s under the same rules as they are. This integration may be coming as soon as a week, as his 8 week recheck is coming up on the 19th.

I’m pretty sure that his stair climbing and going down won’t be coming as soon as next week. I’m pretty sure that he’ll be able to be leash walked without the sling, he’ll probably be able to go up the three stairs outside with the sling on initially, and everything will be done at super, super slow speed, but it is both exciting and scary to integrate him back into the pack, and getting back to semi normal once again.

Sammy has spent all day out of his crate, as I’ve sat up the laptop down here to give him a one day pass on the day’s crating. Meeshka and Loki are pouting and refuse to leave the landing, even though we’re both in the other computer room and out of site. I will definitely have to go out and play with them later, but I’m sure they’ll still be very mad at my silent treatment of them and will refuse to play (even though they really want to).

Sam has been doing good, not being too rambunctious or evil being out. He’s mostly lay around, taken naps, chewed on his bully sticks or walked around snorfling for scraps and treats. He’s supervised my laundry runs, and has very helpful trying to finish my tuna sandwich because he thought perhaps it was too much for me to handle. He didn’t get any, much to his disappointment. Its actually been a sorta productive day for me, getting the laundry done and concentrating on Web work that I’ve been procrastinating on, also cartooning for a friend. Oddly enough, the Sammy recovery experience has allowed me to realize that slowing down, not piling too much into a weekend, and just spending some quality time with all of the pups is much more relaxing than what our old routine had been.

I’m also finally getting over this rancid flu thing. I didn’t take any medicine last night and survived, and today I’ve only taken a Sudafed PE for some congestion. My brain doesn’t feel like oatmeal anymore, so that’s always a good thing, that whole thinking clearly thing.

Sammy went for his swim, he was very eager to get out of the house, eager to get into the swim building, not so eager to get into the swim area, and really not so eager to get into the pool. He did well again, three sets of laps with rests in between sets, but was more than willing to get out and go get rinsed and dried off. I got to experience the rinse and dry session, which pretty much means you end up getting more wet than Sam does.

Unfortunately the swim place can’t let Sam back until after he’s had his bordatella shot. I certainly understand their position and their reason for having such a rule, as they can’t have Sam potentially giving their clients bordatella and all, but since Sam can’t have any shots of any kind until after he’s been weaned off the pred for a month, that means that today was Sammy’s last swim until he can get his boosters. I’m fine with that really. I don’t want to compromise his immune system, he has Lyme, so he just can’t so swim there. We’ll find other ways to help him gain back his strength until he can get his boosters and return to the pool, if he even needs to return to the pool.

While his once a week swim sessions were no doubt good for him, I can imagine that he would actually require something more along the lines of twice or three times a week to be any beneficial to him anyways. So, it was fun while it lasted... well, maybe not to Sam, who still has that same terrified look in the water that he did the first times, but I’d rather err on the side of safety when it comes to him immune system and health, than risk it for a once a week exercise session.

Without any Ace, poor Sam has been zonked out from his swim for most of the night. He was really cute and hopeful earlier when he thought he was going to get some of my chicken casserole, but I resisted those cute brown eyes and didn’t give him any. He want over and sulked on his big cushy pillow. Pretty soon we’ll be waking him up and taking him outside for his final out for the night. He’s had a rough day of being out of the crate all day, then going for a swim. I hope he’s enjoyed his freedom. I’ll be spending some more time with him tomorrow so he’s not locked up all the time, but also have to give the other dogs some quality play time as well. I’m sure they’ll be claiming abuse and neglect because I’ve spent all day with Sam, but they’ll just have to get over it.