As many of you know, our dog Beatrix tore her ACL last week and will soon be having surgery.
For those of you who do not know, the ACL is very important; it holds the knee bones together. Without it, each application of pressure on the knee, such as that which comes from taking a step, forces the top part of the knee to slide off to one side. Needless to say, this is very uncomfortable.
Apparently in dogs that are Beatrix’s size/age/breed, if they are at all active, this is an incredibly common injury. In fact, our surgeon told us that statics show 6 out of 10 dogs who receive this surgery on one leg will blow out the other within the next 4 years. At least we have something to look forward to.
So what does this mean for Beatrix (and myself)? Every time Beatrix wants to go up or down the stairs, either Brett or I have to carry her. She weighs 85 pounds, and Brett is not home during the day, leaving all of the heavy lifting to me. She has a raised ottoman in the living room so that she can look out the window to the street beyond – her favorite indoor activity is people-watching – which she cannot climb onto alone anymore, so one of us has to lift her. She can no longer go for her long walks, though she desperately still wants to, and it is up to me to tell her “No,” over and over while she stares at me pitifully.
She also is prohibited from playing by the stream – her favorite thing to do outside, except for walks – as that is where she got injured. She also can’t hang out in the back yard anymore, and has to be on leash at all times. She can’t see other dogs, and we have to be very careful about other people coming in, because she cannot jump up, or even wag her tail aggressively (as she is prone to do), as this could cause her to fall on her bad leg.
I also cannot work in my basement studio. The stairs leading into the basement are far more narrow than those leading to the second floor of our home, which are difficult enough to carry Bea up and down; she is not a small lady. I’m not supposed to leave her alone upstairs while I go down to work, either. For one thing, she sits at the top of the stairs and whines something terrible, but for another she cannot be trusted alone. She will undoubtedly try to climb the stairs or jump on the furniture. We are currently in the process of puppy-proofing the house, but it will take a few days to get everything in order.
It is hard not to be frustrated by this situation for many reasons, but I also feel lucky. We are lucky that I just recently left a job that required me to commute over an hour in each direction, and which required her to be in daycare all day. Now that I am home, we don’t have to worry about her in the care of others, or her interacting with other dogs. We have the luxury to make sure that she receives the best possible care during the day.
I have the living room painting to keep me occupied while she rests peacefully nearby. The living room is the first room I am tackling, but we plan to repaint the entire house eventually. I will be working my way through slowly, leaving all furniture in place. We don’t have enough space to close one entire room off at once. After the living room I’ll be moving on to the sunroom, which used to be my office. A friend of ours will be moving back to Portland at the end of this month and will stay with us for several weeks; the sunroom will be hers while she is here.