Friday, December 29, 2006

update, day 7

This is an update on the health of our courageous little dog who suffered a spinal cord injury. If you'd like to follow the story sequentially, start here. To see beautiful photos of him before the incident, go here.

Perhaps the most challenging thing about having Simba on the injured list, beyond the wistfulness of watching him as he is now and remembering him as he was, is that he doesn't know what he's not supposed to do.

This morning, I had to warn him to stop as he made as if to jump off the bed again. I took him outside to do his "business" and had to hurry to catch him before he attempted jumping up on the deck, which is higher than his head. The one time he beat me to it, a few days ago, he got his top half onto the deck and hung there, looking at me like, "Why aren't my legs working?" while I hurried to him and worried about what that posture was doing to his spinal cord.

Before I went down to the basement to put some wood on the fire in our wood/oil combination furnace (fabulous invention, that), I tried to Simba-proof the ground floor. I blocked the way to the upstairs stairs with cardboard boxes, turned all the couch cushions up diagonally so he wouldn't try to jump up there, and shut the door to the basement nearly all the way, just leaving it open a crack so he would be able to hear that I wasn't going out into the garage and leaving him. A few minutes later, I heard him coming down the stairs. Aargh! I ran to try to stop him, and he was frightened and started back up the stairs. Double aargh! "It's OK, Simba, it's OK, stay, buddy."

How many times in his life have I wished that he understood English, so I could just say, "If you run out in the street you could be killed, and it's not necessary to guard me from the Huz when he hugs me, and in winter only go about half as far as you want to because you still need to get yourself back before you freeze, and of COURSE if you eat snow while you're out there you're going to end up shivering like a maniac, and not all buzzy insects are bees so you can just ignore them, and please just give a bark when you get to the back door so I'll notice you're there," not to mention all the mundane things I could tell him, like, "I'll be back in fifteen minutes, just have a nap and you'll never even notice I'm gone."

How much more do I wish I could tell him that he's going to continue to improve, but he needs to avoid motions that put a lot of torque on his back for a couple of more weeks. Just a couple more weeks, buddy. I won't be carrying you like a baby forever. And if you take it easy now, you just may be able to chase squirrels again someday.

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ilsa said...

maybe you could build a little ramp on the back deck that he could use instead of the step? actually they do sell those come to think of it.

when my family dog got old we built a ramp off the back porch so she didn't have to climb three steps. it worked out great!

Faith-in-Capitalism said...

Thanks for the updates! We're still thinking of you all!

Anonymous said...

You know, even if he were able to understand English, I'm not sure such an eager little dog would let himself sit around and take it easy in order to heal. You can't even get some humans to do that!

Hope to see you tomorrow, PatL!

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

We got a set of doggie steps from my mom (After her dog refused to use them). Sophie hurt her back last winter after she hurled herself down the stairs to get the mailman. An x-ray revealed she has two vertebrae that are too close together and are pinching the disc. So jumping and hurling herself down the stairs isn't a good thing.

But the doggie steps are great! We have them up against the couch and she uses them all the time. We also put an old ottoman up against the bed so she could get up and down with out putting too much strain on her back.

We're still keeping Simba in our thoughts. And Sophie recommends the doggie steps.

Jennifer said...

Just mosied on over and saw your posts about your pup. I'm so glad to read he's improving every day. Warm thoughts and prayers that he'll continue to progress. He is a cutie!