The short version is: the news is good. Here's the long version.
Yesterday, I skipped his 5pm pain meds in hopes he would perk up and want to eat something. He did perk up, but food was still of no interest. I was cooking dinner and talking on the phone with a friend who cares about Simba when the Huz called out to me to look at him. There he was, standing up on all four legs, just briefly before he plopped back down. I've noticed before that I left him in one position and came back and found him in another, but I had assumed that he had dragged himself. This was the first time I've let myself hope he might recover from this incident.
Because he hadn't been taking much in the way of liquids, I didn't try to take him out in the cold, wet darkness last night to see if he wanted to potty. I was a little concerned about that, but he's always had a bladder of iron, going incredibly long hours without peeing, and really, he'd had maybe 3 ounces of liquid all day, and all of that under protest.
I got up at 4:30 this morning to give him his anti-inflammatory meds, and noticed that his tummy was very hard and he seemed uncomfortable. When I asked him if he wanted to go outside, he immediately started hauling himself up on his front legs and moving toward the edge of the bed. I had to lunge for him to keep him from falling off the edge. So, up, get on a robe & slippers, and out we went. I carried him over to the edge of the yard because this little guy is very good about not making messes in the yard itself. I put him down & steadied him, thinking he would try to go right there in the grass. Imagine my shock and delight and amazement and tears when he began walking toward the forest! It was a grotesque gait, lots of leaning and adjusting, but didn't he just use both legs to get himself into the leafy forest bottom and proceed to pee for a long, long time! He couldn't keep his leg lifted, but he stood there like a rock till he was done, then turned toward me as tears streamed down my face and walked over to where I stood and sat down at my feet, tired. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I carried him back into the house and decided the Huz needed to hear about this, so carried Simba into the spare bedroom. Poor Huz, he had heard my sobbing and was about to have a heart attack thinking something terrible had happened. So, we both rejoiced and I went upstairs with Simba and had dreams about him moving around almost normally.
This morning he still won't eat, but twice he got up and walked from one spot to another. I spoke to an on-call vet and she said small distances with lots of rest between is OK. She suggested we buy him some canned cat food, a variety of flavors. Turns out cat food has more protein and fat in it than dog food, so he can get more nutrition in small amounts. It also can cause diarrhea, but since he's only 12 pounds normally and probably losing some of that, we need to take the chance. She also told me how to tell if he's getting dehydrated, and I did the tests immediately and he's doing OK with that.
So, it might be weeks or even months before we know to what extent he's going to recover from this, but the outlook appears to be quite positive for at least a partial recovery!
As you can tell by my request for prayers, I do believe in God. Last night as I was thanking him for Simba's gradual healing, I was reminded of how very often He has answered prayers for Simba. Back in the days when I was his dogsitter rather than his owner, and he was new to our property, he would occasionally get so far into the forest that I had no clue where he was. I would worry about him and call him and get no response whatsoever. Looking out the upstairs windows to try to see further up the hill and not seeing him, I would pray that he not be lost or hurt and that God would send him home because I didn't want to have to tell Pete that I'd lost his little dog. And, I'm not exaggerating, with a minute I would see him come bulleting down that hill toward me, happy as can be. And I would say to him, "You don't know it, little guy, but you've been touched by the hand of God." This happened twice, that I can remember.
I think God's touching him again, right where he needs it. (To those of you who are skeptical that God cares about animals, read the book of Jonah closely.)
P.S. We've decided it's safe to travel with him, so I'll be away tonight and tomorrow. I'll post another update as soon as I can. Thank you again for your concern and prayers! It is so wonderful to have friends, both near and far, to share life's important events with.
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