Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh he's walking, yes indeed, he's walkin'

It was five weeks ago today I set off at 5 am to bring Bugsy to Charlottesville for his surgery.
In some ways time has moved fast and in other ways it feels slow but regardless of how it feels, day by day we are healing and moving towards a leash-free existence.

He's been adding distance consistently to his walks but honestly the last 1/2 mile or so has been consistently slow.
I can see the change in his gait over that last 1/2 mile which includes two long uphills. That front leg gets weak and tired.

Until today.
Today he did 2.3 miles in just over 32 minutes - which includes loads of sniffing and several poop stops.
The average pace was just under 12 minutes/mile and a fastest pace of 9.5 minutes/mile.
And the very best part?
He never slowed - we were trotting along all the way to the water bowl!

He didn't even seem overly tired once home. I thought he'd flop but no he was following me all over, up and down the stairs, I left for errands and was greeted by a lively, happy boy.

I'm kind of feeling we've turned a corner here folks.
I understand that I now need to up zoomie control as he isn't OK to be as crazy as he's going to try to be but I'm OK with that.
The Beast is healing. I keep saying this, but its true, he amazes me!

Before you know it he'll be back to this:

Monday, April 29, 2013

the question was always when, not if

Well we got through darn near 5 weeks of recovery before the inevitable happened.
Bugsy went cwazee and ran zoomies.

This afternoon he had a modest attempt at them after meeting the neighbor's new foster pup, saying hey to another neighbor's young golden and getting to greet his dad who'd been out walking. He managed to get free from me and attempted to go insane but we were able to stop him.
He did get to blow off a bit of steam.

Then about an hour later, while I was on a client call I heard this thundering gallop heading my way.
Sure enough he came leaping up the steps, flying into my office space with legs going in every direction.
The tail was tucked and the eyes filled with cwazee!

I have two PVC hurdles set up to do exercises called cavaletti's which help retrain his gait. The hurdles are set at about 4 inches high. He was leaping over both of them clearly imagining they were four FEET high.
He grabbed a horizontal pole and ran around with that, then flung it aside to continue jumping over and around the hurdles.
I was pretty stuck just watching as I was on a call.
He continued being ridiculous for about 5 full minutes then came over to me and flopped and was asleep.

And so it was.
Nearly five full zoomie-less weeks came to a crashing end.

Happily no harm was done.
To the hurdles.
To the wall.
To me.
And most importantly,
to the dog.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

If only two brain cells would connect

You all know I love Bugsy. And by and large he is bright canine but there are somethings he just can't seem to get or accept.
One of the things he really struggles with is not being a complete lunatic when going up or down stairs.
So although we would love to not have to gate off the stairs we have no choice.
We've resorted to walking down/up in front of him holding the gate between us and him to prevent him from attempting to charge up the steps launching over two at a time or diving down them only to leap off the 3rd or 4th step, crash landing at the front door.

I mean seriously he cannot seem to do a step at a time unless we dictate it without exception.

Its also quite perplexing why the rickety broken baby gate that he could step over, prevents him from going up or down stairs and keeps him contained in a room. The only thing he fears more than this baby gate is a black snake skin and at least with the snake skin he overcomes his fear and attacks and eats it. (Really, likely the grossest thing outside of cat poop he eats).

Ah well the baby gate works and bless his heart he still has no idea how to walk on stairs or down the block at a normal pace.
One would think after knee, elbow and shoulder surgery he'd think, "perhaps I should take life a bit easier"
Clearly not going to happen, even as he heads into his 8th birthday which unfortunately as an XL 100+lb dog is way, way senior, I struggle to keep up with him as 'I' take him for a walk.

Bugsy, the truth is, I love your style. I still say "slow" and "careful" and you attempt to heed my directions , however, we both know that just ain't the way you live your life.

The day I put the dreaded gate away declaring you able to live life the way you do will be a happy day for both of us. Its only week 3 though Bud.
Five to go :(

Hang in there with me. I am doing all I can to let you do your normal things but I can't let you do the normal nutty things. Trust me. Together we'll get you back to your standard of insanity.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

$35 and we've made it!!

In December of 2005 we stopped at the SPCA of Wake County and came home with a baby Beast we called Bugsy.
In May of 2006, at about 8 months old, Bugsy experienced the best day of his life.
It was the annual Dog Walk to benefit the SPCA of Wake County.
He is an extremely sociable Beast and he found the tables of free treats, hundreds of dogs and thousands of humans exhilarating. He was so incredibly happy.
Every year since he has taken part in the annual Dog Walk and every year he just loves it.
He sticks his nose in every dog's butt he can, licks as many humans as possible and ignores any snarky behavior from any dogs.
He eats loads of treats and then he lines up at the very beginning of the enormous pack and he races to the finish.
There is a female GSP who has the same mentality about being at the front and staying there and I bet we've 'raced' them for 4 or 5 years now.
That would be Daisy the GSP :)
Its quite funny that amongst thousands of owners and likely over a thousand dogs - these two can always be found in the front. 

Here's a pic of another year showing a bit of the 'other' walkers

Sadly after dealing with a bad shoulder since August, a failed surgery and an unhelpful steroid shot in the shoulder, he only had surgery 2.5 weeks ago.
He is doing really well with his rehab, which is mostly moving forward but he has some bad days and even on his best days he has only been able to walk about 3/4 of a mile at a time.

Therefore, this year's walk, which is on Saturday April 20th, I have decided that we will attend the event but we'll only complete the senior walk which is 1/2 mile.
I know that Bugsy will love it just the same, and he'll line up at the front and take off so he can 'win'.

We set a goal of $300 this year. All the money we raise goes directly to the animals. The SPCA of Wake County is a top rated charity; I have the luxury of knowing several key staff and can say this is the way all animal shelters should be run. They do it right.

So for Bugsy, for the homeless animals of Wake County, for the low cost spay/neuter clinic, for the funds to keep shutting down puppy mills, will you help us reach our goal?

All we need as of today 4/13/13 is $35, can you spare $5?
Or if you are available will you walk with us?
Here's the link if you can help
Bugsy's Page

Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Leash burned hands

Sigh, if you want to know how strong the Beast is I can only provide this tidbit; I have leash-burned hands. Really.
My shoulders and back are sore from his constant tugging and tonight in his excitement he pulled on the leash so hard it sped through my hands as I tried to hold on, causing that rope burn sensation and effect. Marvelous.
He is so full of tight muscles and knots one can only imagine how sore his body is but he doesn't care, he just drags you to where he wants to go.
We don't want to be tugging and pulling on him so we kind of use a half nelson around his head and chest to stop his forward motion and attempt to talk sense into his pea brain.
He will stand there for a moment but as soon as you return to upright he's taking you along to where he wants to go.
I have no solutions for this. He's nearly 8. Been through two orthopedic surgeries and recovery.
He doesn't give a shit that you want him to go slow. The more contained he is the more he fights against it.
If only he could realize how much further we could walk AND with less pain if he just did as I asked.
He won't get it though and he won't stop doing what he wants to do. His version of stubborn isn't to be believed without seeing it.
Love you lots Bugsy but damn give my body a break, if you did you might realize you'd feel a lot better too!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring has sprung as has Bugsy

Last night Bugsy was very unhappy about being left downstairs for the night, so I assessed how he was moving and decided he was OK to do the flight of stairs and we would find a way to get him down in the morning.
He was SOOOO happy.
And I can't lie - I was too.
Best part is I suited him up with his harness this morning and he was fine going down. So from here on out he can sleep upstairs. Great.

I can't be sure but I am now wondering if he decided that if he could sleep upstairs this must mean that he is healed.
He has been a challenge all.  freaking.  day.

I knew it was going to be a long day when we went out for the paper - you know to the end of the drive - and somehow this took nearly 30 minutes.
Then he took Steve out and bolted to a spot on the lawn and uncovered an underground mouse nest. It was a mighty battle to get him back in.
See even with three legs he can make like a donkey and you can't move him.

Steve wound up taking him for a walk with the hopes that he'd settle as he did yesterday.
Despite being setup in the sunroom with the window open and being able to watch me work in the yard, he whined and paced and sang.
I tried to tether him to the porch, no way he just pulled on the line, straining to be free.
I won't go into the details but it went on all day.
I thought I'd give him a frozen lamb shank to munch on for his dinner as it would take some time. As a guess it took about 5 minutes. More than kibble but not what I hoped.
He did enjoy it though

He saw people outside and flung himself against the back door. Oh and then he saw someone else and did it again.

He dashed around the area he was in over and over and over.
I took him for another walk.
He was tired and hot and working hard but he didn't want to go up the driveway.

Finally a bit ago - Steve went to watch a movie, I came upstairs to watch the basketball and he was left alone.
I honestly don't know if he's still pacing and whining but I do hope he's sleeping comfortably

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Getting frustrating

Bugsy seemed another bit better today - he is completely obsessed with digging for moles - my guess he's dug up 10-12 holes today all while onleash and with either myself or Steve doing our best to keep him from digging!
If we get him away from the mole hunting he quickly shifts to diving into the rabbit den area.
I literally had back spasms after our morning wander.

This is how he looked on our second trip around the yard

He also was able to enjoy sitting outside for a bit with Steve
So why am I frustrated??
Well for some reason the range of motion exercises hurt him badly and he will do anything to not do them. Its awful and I can't understand why. I watch him use the leg in ways that put his leg into the same position and he does that without pain yet if either of us try to do the range of motion stuff he acts like we are killing him.
I figure I am going to have to go see someone to do them and get it off my back.
I really don't want him to lose range in his elbow and shoulder because we couldn't get these done

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Celebrate we made it through week #1

Although he is still very wonky as he walks around, it is clear that he is feeling better and getting a bit rambunctious.
This morning our walk down the drive for the paper turned into a walk down the drive, around the cul-de-sac, up a neighbor's drive and a complete tour of his majesty's lands.
If there is one thing about Bugsy that I presume won't ever change it is that you nor I will ever 'make' him do anything. So you may hold the leash but beyond that he's in control.
What are your options?  Drag him by the collar? Yank on the leash? Stand still and be dragged or have your shredded rotator cuffs further damaged? I mean he is still a powerful dog so if he isn't going in, he isn't.

Anyway about an hour later he wanted to do the same, sigh.

Which brings me to our continuing struggle to do the passive range of motion (PROM) work. He is not complying. I've tried treats, massage, warm compresses, containment, surprise, doing it while he is standing, sitting, & lying down. I am pretty much out of ideas now. I keep trying and can get 2 in here or there but that isn't anything like the 20 three times a day, now is it??

He was still desperate to walk today so I took him up the road. I suppose it was a third of a mile in total or a bit less. But it was plenty. On its own he would have been OK but after the two long jaunts this morning (each was probably at least .25-.3 of a mile too) he was darn tired by the time he got back.
In a weak moment I was able to get the frozen peas on his elbow and he laid his head on my lap while I held it there.
I had five minutes of knowing what someone with a normal (affectionate) dog feels like. It felt great to hold him and to feel like I was comforting him. Then he popped up and dashed off as if he snapped to and was like YIKES I can't be seen doing this!!
Ah Bugsy I know it felt good. Hopefully you'll let me do it again sometime.

So that's week one.
I keep praying that the next day he's going to let me do the PROM and that he puts more and more weight on that side.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Keeping the journal

I like to keep track of Bugsy's progress on things and his recovery is no different so I'll keep it here.

Yesterday (Day 5) he seemed to have much better energy and less discomfort. He had a dream-filled sleep in the afternoon which is the first time I've heard him dreaming since before the op.
I chose to not even try to do the ROM exercises with the intent that we would start again today and it should be slightly less uncomfortable.
He is happy to walk around, or I should say limp around.
He gave me a stress test when he was crazy excited after I came home from a walk. There really isn't much like watching your dog - who has one surgically repaired knee, and now a surgically repaired elbow and shoulder- slide, slip, wiggle, hop, jump, repeat as he runs around the area he is contained in.  Add in that its a lot of weight he has flying around and he wound up getting yelled at LOL.

I feel terrible 'yelling' at him but he doesn't listen otherwise, heck he only just considers slowing down once yelled at :)

So that was yesterday.

He seems OK walking up stairs but going down is something else and we only navigate 3 steps on our way outdoors. This doesn't deter him from desperately wanting to come upstairs to be with us in the evening. Watching him descend the 3 steps from the porch its clear he can't do an entire flight so he won't get his wish but I find it the toughest part so far. He looks confused and upset that he can't go upstairs so I spent time with him  downstairs until he was ready to sleep for the night.

One thing he is fairly pleased about is having loads of beds to relax on - I keep trying to keep him on something soft so I put a bed in one of his favorite spots