|Yoki the she-wolf: Don't get me wrong, her theorems on gravitational singularities aren't bad, but they could use work.|
It was about 2 weeks ago, on the snowiest night of the whole year. It was 1 in the morning, with almost 2 feet of snow on the ground, and the wife and I were getting ready for bed. Suddenly Yoki (just one of our four dogs) started squealing in pain and dragging her back legs behind her like she couldn't feel them.
I dug out the car (30 minutes), and drove her to the vet in 2 feet of un-plowed snow that I was sure would swallow up my little car. Somehow we made it.
The vet ran some tests and found that Yoki had ruptured a disc in her back as an after effect of an injury she had sustained well over a year ago. Tiny bits of stress had slowly been working at her spine until it was aggravated to the point of rupturing, which caused swelling in her spinal cord and cut off all motor function to her back legs. The vet then gave us 2 options. Either we could pay $5500 for a surgery that wouldn't guarantee anything, or we could get some medications, take her home, and with a lot of patience and physical therapy, try to get her to walk again ourselves.
I think it's pretty clear what I chose.
Now, that isn't to say she isn't getting proper care. Being unemployed (just this one time) has been useful, because it's given me all the time I need to care for her. And trust me, it's a lot of work.
First off, I have to force her to take 3 gigantic pills... 3 times a day. This is no picnic.
Also, since she has a spinal injury and can't bend over without being in pain, I have to feed her every bite of food by hand.
I also have to give her physical therapy at least 3 times a day, and help work her legs out, not only so her muscles don't atrophy, but so she doesn't risk losing the use of them forever.
Okay, so that last cartoon may be a bit exaggerated, but if my dog has taught me anything over the past 2 weeks, it's that she's a badass. Plain and simple. A few days ago she regained the use of one of her back legs, and has been trying to walk. It's a little heartbreaking, watching her fall over constantly, but still she tries it. No matter how tired the pills make her, or how much she falls down, she gets up again. And she does it with a tail wag and the doggy equivalent of a smile. She's just as happy as she ever was. This, a mere inconvenience at best, has done nothing to dampen her mood.
To me, that's incredible. If I lost the use of my legs, I'd probably tuck myself up into the fetal position and sob brokenly while I shat myself (don't worry, there's not a cartoon for that one).
In the meanwhile, I've been mulling over worst case scenarios. You know, in case she doesn't get the use of both legs again. Things I can do to make her life more comfortable. Like build her a wheelchair.
Okay, so maybe not the Stephen Hawking wheelchair. But something like a doggy wheelchair. Which could be modified with jet packs to increase mobility.
But then she wouldn't be able to climb anything... and she loves to climb and to jump. So maybe I could turn her into a tank. Those metal treads can climb anything!
But really, who needs a dog that can blast him with an eye laser? I sure don't. So I guess until we know for certain what's going to happen, I'll just go back to hoping and praying that she'll walk again.
And if she doesn't... well, fuck it. Not only is it reassuring, but it's also pretty fucking cool to know that even if she never uses both legs again, she'll still be fine. She'll still be happy. She won't let anything stop her from living her life, that little badass dog of mine.
Stay classy, friends,
Bryan (and Brandon)
Beer: Fat Tire
Music: The Boxer Rebellion