Life sometimes happens to you and around you in ways you aren’t expecting, and it changes you in such a deep way, it becomes a hard story to tell. Well, without sounding hokey and overwrought.
When Anya (my little French Bulldog) went down and was paralyzed in her back half, I thought it was just another flare-up. It was not. I took her to the emergency vet center on a Sunday night, and she had surgery overnight. They told me it was grave and it was a 50/50 coin flip if she would walk again.
You know, at that moment, I didn’t care. I could deal with a paralyzed dog on wheels or with a drag bag, I decided, as long as she was happy, and my knowledge of how dogs live right in the now – as long as you do with them – they don’t care one bit now many working legs they have. They have no regret, no thought that they are missing out on something. So I’d take the risk as long as we could stop her pain and get her to a place where she could be stable.
She couldn’t walk when she got out of surgery, and I learned to diaper and express her bladder and change her and get her on a pooping schedule, and gave her time to heal, and her little back feet had nothing going on at all. For weeks. Anything I saw there was just a reaction.
Then an Aussie told me to start using an electric toothbrush on her little feetsies, start training the nerves to form new pathways. In a few days, there were small jolts of reaction, not sure if they were real, and that grew day by day into definite real feels in the feet! Now she will jerk her feet away from me, look at me, then lift them up and lick them.
She’s not walking yet, but she stands firmly, and lifts her legs when I prompt her to, and she sorta knuckles her feet over when she tries to move them forward in a walk and then topples to the side. We go for her final vet post-surgery check today, and they will set up her water therapy schedule, which everyone tells me is the game changer – they just leap ahead in getting foot coordination back once they do this.
Caring for her 24/7, taking care of her every need, keeping her happy, keeping her company so she doesn’t feel isolated on pen rest, loving her, taking her for acupuncture and laser treatments, changing her diapers while she takes her one shot at licking me on the lips when I’m bent over her (I hate being licked on the mouth by a dog, she ONLY wants to lick me on the mouth), I watch her get just a little back, then a little more, and every single tiny movement she gets in her back legs makes me cheer.
And it changed me.
I’ve never had to take care of a person or animal that needed this level of care and rehab. I suspect many of you have done that and do know. When the day comes – and I know it will – when she takes those first steps on her own, it will be everything. Not because she is walking again – I can live happily if she never walks again – but because we did it together, and we have developed this ridiculously crazy dog/person communication in the process that I didn’t know was possible.
Despite being crazy for dogs, I really don’t anthropomorphize them. They are dogs, they aren’t human, despite being cute as can be. What I did learn is how they look at the world, we could all use a dose of. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday or what they have lost or are missing. Just give them something tasty to chew on or please just scratch me in those places I haven’t been able to because my darn back feet aren’t working. All she wants is me, for me to pull for her and be with her and love her. Those back legs are something she doesn’t even miss, and it has been a surprise for her as they start tingling to find them again. she sorta forgot she had them.
Don’t worry, there will be pictures from her first water therapy session.
Not really much of a perfume post, except I am still drowning myself in those Maison Lancome things, they are pure comfort, and I fell in love with the Sunday thing March talked about from Arielle – that is just gorgeous. Sampling several new things I love like the new one from Puredistance, which is lovely! But more on those. The demand on my time, now that we are exiting the post-surgery close care phase, that, combined with my busy, busy fall/early winter work schedule has kept me crazy busy, and I”m hoping to have time to go through some of them and talk about them!
So dogs or cats?