This is an update on the health of our courageous little dog who has 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.
It's quite amazing, hard to believe, more than I could allow myself to hope for, but Simba continues to improve. I've seen such heartening evidence of healing, and "heart"ening is exactly the word; it does my heart such good!
Yesterday, he jumped off the couch when I wasn't looking. I often leave him for a moment and tell him to stay, and I don't think he's disobedient, he just has a short memory (is that an indulgent mommy talking?) Usually I remember to turn around and give him the "stay" hand motion or say it to him from time to time when I'm away from him, but this time I was busy getting something in the kitchen and I heard him jump down onto the wood floor. I turned around, saw he was fine, but wondered if he'd done any slipping & sliding as he hit the floor. (Slipping and sliding probably also mean abruptly twisting his back.) So later, when we were on the couch and I had put a bath rug on the floor in front of the couch (because they have that nice sticky rubber backing and don't slide), I watched him jump down. It was absolutely no.big.deal. for him. Isn't that cool?
In the past couple of days, I haven't tried to stop him when he wanted to jump up onto the deck himself. It's about a 12-inch jump, which seems pretty high to me for such a little dog with a bad back, but he gets a bit of a running start and jumps right up. Slides just a bit on landing. He looks so pleased with himself, I swear if he could dust his hands and put them on his hips he'd do it. He's really enjoying gaining a bit of independence.
This morning when we went outside together, several red and gray squirrels scattered in different directions. When squirrels are in the neighborhood, I always wait to put him down until after they've gotten away because I don't want him putting full stress on his back as he gets up to speed chasing them. In past days he's just looked in the direction that they headed and then shrugged and gone about his business. But not today. Today he trotted off, even did a bit of a canter if that term isn't strictly restricted to horses, and clambered over things in the forest on his way off to more independence, sniffing around and seeking prey. He stopped to look back at me once, and I didn't ask him to come back, so he spent probably about 5 minutes off in the forest by himself, as I muttered prayers for his safety. I actually went back in the house without him. First time since December 22. In a couple of minutes, there he was at the back door, so DOGGONE HAPPY it brought tears to my eyes.
Today marked the end of the two-week period during which he needed to be restrained from taking stairs, standing on his hind legs, and jumping off furniture. We went to the vet to have him evaluated, because I'm a nervous nellie when it comes to re-injuring him and I don't want to take it too fast.
And, ta-daaa! He's got the Good Dogkeeping Seal of good health! No more meds needed, and no more restraining needed, although it wouldn't hurt if I still gave him an assist on slippery stairs. It's OK to take him on walks, as long as I keep an eye on him to make sure he isn't showing signs of strain. My little guy can even go outside by himself again! Hallelujah! And yes, there's an element of selfishness in that little "hallelujah," because it means no more bundling up with coats and boots over pajamas for me, no more shivering while I wait for him to be finished. But it's also just pure happiness on his behalf. He is so going to love being just let out the door again, going exploring, taking his time, and asking to be let back in. He's ready. He is SO ready for this.
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