Friday, April 29, 2011

Flying Pig and (almost) Flying Dog

April 29, 2011
Flying pigs and (almost) flying dogs
There have been moments when I doubted that her tail would ever heal, the e-collar ever come off her head, and the road back to becoming a guide team could begin. But healing takes time, and finally, time seems to be on our side.
Four days ago, Monday, we went to the vet with high hopes that she would say the e-collar could come off. Au contraire! Instead, my vet seemed disgusted with me that Flo had once again torn at her bandage and wound and was still not healed. She kept asking me, “How is she getting to her tail?”
I wish I knew.
“Houdini dog?” was my only answer.
She bandaged the tail anew and four hours later, Flo had torn it off.
I was so miserable that I wound up crying in Flo’s cute little lamp-shade framed face, imploring her to “please, please, please leave your tail alone so it can heal.”

Well, either my dog is a genius and understood every word of that plea and decided to cut me some slack – or my daughter is far better at bandaging tails than my vet. Caitlyn bandaged the tail anew Monday night and, today, when we went to the vet four days later, it was still intact. Woo-hoo! An all-time record for sure.
Now, we’re bandage free, but need to wear the e-collar through the weekend to be sure Flo doesn’t chew at her tail now that it’s healing.
Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for walking the 10K in the Flying Pig tomorrow morning. It’s ironic that my motivation for participating in the first place was to give Flo the experience and some exercise, and now, I’ll be going without her. It’s all OK. There will be other walks where she can sparkle! I’ve had so little preparation (a four-mile walk yesterday and another a week ago would be the total of my preparation!) so I mostly hope I can just finish the course.
And maybe by Monday, Flo will be walking with me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Woeful Tale of the Tail

April 17, 2011

It’s been a rough week.
The first two weeks home with Flo weren’t easy, but nothing was a surprise. Flo and I took small walks in the neighborhood every day, with the only real problem being her hyperactive sniffer and exuberance. She settled into our home easily enough. Because a new dog is always on leash or tie-down, she and Tuscan haven’t really played independently together, but already love one another.
Then, Monday, April 11, everything changed. Getting out of the car in our garage, I somehow closed the door on her tail! It was so horrible. She was out of the car and behind me. Then, I turned around to close the door and, somehow, her tail was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ll never forget her scream.
The vet said the good news is no break. But the tail is badly lacerated – all right at the very end. She got four staples and a bandage. It turned out that was just the beginning.
By Tuesday, she had torn off the bandage. We then got an e-collar. I’d never had one of these before, but it looks sort of like an upside-down lampshade on her head. (My editor at the Dispatch called it “the cone of shame” taken from some movie.) That’s exactly what it seems to be, because Flo has been completely depressed since getting it. By Thursday, she had torn the bandage off again – an impressive feat with cone and all – so the vet put six inches of fabric around her neck, thus moving the e-collar forward, so that she can’t get her nose around it.
She has – twice now – and is then in even more pain, crying till it breaks the heart of her human.
Each time the bandage comes off, she then sprays blood with every wag, so that my stairway and kitchen repeatedly look like crime scenes.
Still, 95 percent of the time, she just lies on her rug, dejected, and very un-Flo-like.
The instructors at Guide Dogs assure me that she’ll bounce back, that the first priority is healing the tail which means keeping on the collar. Meanwhile, I worry about her forgetting everything she knows while the healing takes place.