You ever feel like it’s never-ending? Like it’s one thing after another and it just doesn’t stop? Such is our life. This summer it has been one thing after another. Just when we get one dog healed, the other decides she wants equal attention. Just when we pay off the first vet’s bill, we rack up another. Just when we think things are calming down, it’s safe to stick our heads out of the hole, life throws us another whammy.
Earlier this summer, Amore flipped her stomach. The vet gave us a choice of emergency surgery or to euthanize her. Amore breezed through her ordeal and Malcolm and I both thought we had dodged the bullet. Two days later you would never have known anything was wrong other than a shaved belly.
A month later Dolce pulled up with the same symptoms. Again, we thought we had dodged the bullet when we were reassured her stomach was stable, but the vet thought we needed to check out her back leg. In layman’s terms, it looked like she had torn her ACL in her left hind elbow. We brought her home and made an appointment with the surgeon.
Malcolm and I are big proponents of ensuring quality of life for our dogs. When we took on the responsibility of caring for the girls, we accepted this. We took a big gulp, sucked it up big time, and headed into repairing her leg. July 24th. It was a Friday. The vet planned on keeping her a good, solid week to keep the leg protected and give it a good start to heal before she would be able to come home. Once home, she would need to be crated for six weeks. Yikes! We knew she wouldn’t like that, not one bit. We dragged out the crate from the garage, dusted it off and made room in our bedroom for the unsightly, huge thing in anticipation for her home-coming.
Our vet, Dr. Gruda, called late that night to give us an update. Dolce came through just fine. She had a few pins in her to stabilize the leg and she was groggy from the drugs but over all she was doing good. We planned to pick her up the following week. The next Friday, Malcolm hadn’t even made it all the way home with Dolce in the car when he had to turn around and bring her back to the vets. Halfway home he noticed some bleeding from her incision. Dolce was going back to the vets.
Nine days later, we were able to bring our baby home. Yep, she had to wear the collar of shame. Yep, she had to be crated at all times. And, yep, our life was hell. Dolce hated the crate, just as we suspected she would. She whined, she barked, she whimpered.
When Malcolm brought her in for her two-week check up, x-rays showed the pins had slipped and her little bone was broken. She was going back under the knife. We have no idea what happened, just that her six weeks of crating had just been extended and another surgery was needed. By this time, a month had passed. Scar tissue and healing had occurred hiding the pins. Dr. Gruda was working blind as he plated the break, repinned the joint and sewed her up. X-rays revealed she still had one pin in her joint and it had to be removed. A third operation was needed just days after the second one. They say the third time’s the charm and this time it was. With Dr. Gruda’s blessing, we kept Dolce at the vets for two weeks, almost three, just so she would heal.
September 11th, late in the afternoon, both Malcolm and I went bring Dolce home. I sat in the back seat to keep her calm in her excitement to see us. This time, her incarceration had been 18 days and she was done with the vets. She was stick a fork in it done. She wanted home, she wanted us. Even though we had visited her on weekends, even though there were other dogs to bark with, even though she had vet techs she favored, she wanted outta’ there.
Straight into the crate she went, only to be released to be fed and to do her duty outside. Always leashed, always under control. We could walk her for about 10 minutes for a little exercise but other than that, she was in her padded cell. For two days, all was well. The third day, hell broke out.
Malcolm and I had to run into town late afternoon that Sunday. Dolce had her brief walk, she was fed and watered and back in her crate. We quickly took our leave. We were only gone two hours, when I opened the back door upon our return and was greeted by two happy dogs. WTF? Dolce wasn’t suppose to be out. Son of a bitch! I checked the crate and found it still latched but the front gate was bent. The little shit had squirmed through the bottom of the gate to freedom. Immediately we grabbed some strip ties to re-enforce the seams and bottom. That worked for one more day. Twice more she escaped.
There was no way we were going to be able to keep Dolce in her crate. She was not going back in. She was outta’ there.
I texted Dr. Gruda: We have a situation. Dolce has broken out 3x’s from crate. Please advise.
Dr. Gruda: Bring her back. We’ll keep her for another two weeks until her leg has healed well enough.
Me: On our way.
We are on day four, ten more and she’s outta’ there!