Oh Brother.. so much for willpower. Well Christmas was the beginning of my downfall.
I think for about another day or so I kept Freia in her Xpen, but probably daily have given her more and more freedoms. It started with letting her watch me prepare dinner with her lying down on the rug nearby. Then she got a case of the zoomies one day and tore around the house like a 4 month old puppy. She survived that just fine, though I thought I would keel over. I kept watching her for a limp, but nothing. So then one night I let her have the whole bedroom, instead of only access to her sleeping area. Another time I let her hang out outside the pen in the livingroom, but kept the stairs blocked off.. you see where this is going, right?
The one thing that I did notice, and this was a big giveaway that she was feeling good, is that her behaviour went completely down the tubes this week. She was very snappy to other dogs, becoming extra territorial and bitchy. Watch out, Freia’s back in town.. Well. Not if I have any say in it. I realised that I’d completely slipped in the training/reminding of good behaviour since her injury in May. I let it slide. Not so good. So this was also a crackdown week in the training dept. Lots of kibble rewards for ignoring other dogs on our walks. By day 3 she got it, now she’s back to signalling me when she sees another dog, not by growling at them, but by turning to me for a treat.. Good girl! This isn’t going to make her an angel overnight, but will act as a reminder of what is and is not acceptable behaviour.
What I love about this is that now, a week into it, she’s no longer the dog freaking out, she’s the good dog ignoring the other dog (who’s barking it’s head off) As far as she’s concerned, she has more important things to do than worry about other dogs on our walks. Dogs to her mean something good might come from me to her, if, and only if, she’s good and ignores that dog. You gotta love the trainer that came up with this, it’s so simple and works like a charm. I almost want to tell the other people with the crazy barking dogs, but I’m still getting too much satisfaction out of having the ‘good’ dog! 🙂
New Year’s Eve. Some doggy parents came over for a glass of champagne. Freia had not seen one of the parents, the owner of her best friend, Rufus, (the dog who sadly was killed in a car hit & run earlier last summer) since her injury back in May. She was sooo excited to see him – she brought him her bones, gave him lots of smoochy kisses and tail waggles and finally just curled up as close to his lap as an 80lb dog can get and contentedly gnawed another bone. Well, since that night I just decided to continue letting her run free in the house. A little bit of guilt and concern for getting into trouble with the surgeon at my appointment this week, but then I would look at her thick, bony, grown-in rock-hard knee and it just seemed OK. She occasionally had a bit of limping which would quickly pass and I chalked it up more to a muscle ache than anything else.
So, today was the big day. Day 56. It’s been 8 weeks since the surgery. The first two were hell. Trapped downstairs with spiders crawling over us at night, uncomfortable, sleepless nights for the both of us. Lots of medication for her, multiple times a day. By Day 5 we’d cut back one of the three meds, by Day 10 we were done with the antibiotics, after 30 days, the antinflammatories were tapered to one pill every other day, till finally two weeks ago, no more pills. It started to feel like we were getting somewhere. I’m so glad to have found the ortho that I did. He encouraged exercise within limits which helped keep us all sane. Somehow in the beginning 5 minutes was all she wanted, and at week 3, 10 minutes was just right. Having an adaptive dog has certainly been very helpful for me. She’s been a most excellent patient.
She’s definately a little frightened of the ortho, though she doesn’t hold it against any individual there, she looked at me when I led her in as if to say “what?? again? how many times do we have to do this? Is this gonna hurt????” poor thing. I dropped her off at 8am, and came to pick her up and meet with Dr. Sams at 11:30. He said that “she looked like a million bucks” and proceeded to run through her freedoms and restrictions. Basically it ain’t bad, she can do almost anything on leash, her main restriction is no full out crazy play at the dog park. She can hike, swim, walk, play gently – all within the limits of her not-as-fit-as-she-was body. As she rebuilds muscle, my concerns to watch for are her achilles tendon and patellar tendonitis. Since it’s been such a gradual, yet consistent, increase in her activity, she has so far not shown any signs of soft tissue injury. He did also caution me that someday she will probably tweak her knee and may need rest and NSAIDS for a couple of days – along the lines of how my own knees are after 30+ years of skiing. If the tweaking lasts more than a couple of days then to call him for a check up. But that’s all she wrote!
In another 4 weeks he wants me to come in for one more Xray, she still has some bone growth to come in yet, but overall she’s done great. He expects her to be toe-touching for another 6 weeks or so, but that also six weeks from now, she can.. wait for it… wait for it.. be OFF LEASH at the dog park again!! woo hoo! That will be one happy day for this not-so-little dog!