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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013...8:32 PM

March 6-March 11 Summary: The First 6 Days

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So, I got a late start on the blog, but wanted to give some daily updates. Here they are, in condensed format!

O3.06.13 (Wednesday)–diagnosis, decision to amputate.

For us, the decision to amputate was not a hard one at all. Animals are VERY resilient creatures. SAM doesn’t care that he only has three legs. Life is what it is for him. There’s pain, and it’s a bad day (I want to sleep leave me alone I hurt and nothing is fun). And then, there’s no pain, and it’s a good one (LIFE IS GOOD! LET’S EAT POOP! YAY!) Animals are remarkably adaptable b/c they don’t give two sh1tz about regret or how other people see them or what they CAN’T do anymore.

He had no (apparent) lung mets, and although he is older, he was otherwise happy and healthy. Taking the leg off gives him a few more pain-free months. Maybe it’s two, maybe it’s six. Maybe we’ll REALLY beat the odds and get 12. Had he had mets, it would have been a harder decision…but in this case, it was a relatively inexpensive thing to do for him, and it took away his pain.

03.07.13 (Thursday)–Surgery

A couple of pre op videos here:

He came through the surgery just fine–no issues at all (always a concern when you have a geriatric dog with a heart murmur undergoing anesthesia). They did have to give him morphine, which like many of the spitz/arctic breeds, he always has a poor reaction to and we generally avoid. I stopped in to see him on my way home last night, and he was super doped, and howling like a maniac. If you’ve ever had a dog who gets morphine crazies (or a person, for that matter), it’s a disturbing sight. Very wild-eyed, confused, and terrible, terrible yowling/howling/yelping. Add to it he couldn’t get up, and didn’t seem to understand why, and all the other dogs in the kennels weer going insane… eh, it was hard to see.

BUT–he had just gotten a sedative, and would be asleep soon. Plus, morphine crazies, while painful for US…don’t really stick in their minds, so he’ll be fine, once that wears off and we can scale him back to less potent painkillers.

03.o8.13/03.09.13 (Friday night/Saturday AM)–homecoming!

First few minutes home:

After the first hour of having him home, I was ready to pull my hair out, cry, yell, or all of the above. It was hard. Frustrating watching him struggle. Frustrating he won’t listen and is SO not tractable (typical akita behavior…”I do what *I* want. I don’t CARE if it’s painful to sit face down in the snow. YOU don’t tell me to come inside. *I* tell me.” ). Frustrating I have to try and wrangle my other dog who wants to tear his throat out (dominance issues, much?). Frustrating b/c it hurts me to have him hurt, and b/c he IS old, and he IS only going to have a few, six, 12, more months with us b/c of the cancer so of course I worry I cocked up with this decision. And that’s all in an hour. :p

ANYWAY: We have no drains or no bandages, so that makes it a bit easier than some folks have it. I slept on the floor in the living room with him last night–not that anyone actually slept. He just whimpered and shook ALL. NIGHT. By 5-6 AM, he was crying out loud again. He finally drifted off at like 7 AM or so for a bit. The only time he calmed a bit was when I’d put a hand on him, which is why I KNOW he was freaked, b/c he’s just not a touchy-touchy sort of dog (again, with the akita personality–loves his people, loves being NEAR you, just not a snuggler. NO TOUCHING!). He got his piroxicam this AM  at like 8:30 with his breakfast, and went out to pee, and is sleeping now.

And I know from what everyone has said the phases we”ll go through, and I know it’s not unusual…but it’s a lot easier to think about IN THEORY than it is to see in practice. We are at that stage where he just looks miserable and is shuffling about…and even though I KNOW I did the right thing, it sure doesn’t seem like it right now.

BUT he is home, and this will pass. It will be several long days…but it will pass. Like I found out with my own major surgeries, and those of people I am close to…the minutes and hours are long, but the days and weeks are short. It will pass.

(I WILL however, make a friendly, helpful suggestion: if you ever find yourself having to have someone amputate the front limb of an elderly dog and then bring him home (the amputee, not the amputor)…might I suggest summer as the more optimal time? You know, not when there is 18 inches of wet, gross snow on the ground with ice underneath? :D)

Here are pics picture from when he was sleeping when he came home (see, I TOLD you he is bald! He only has some of those coarse guard hairs left. But he is still pretty on the inside ;-))

03.09.13 (Saturday EVENING; 48 hours post-op)

We did our first lap around the back yard (well, except we stayed out of the woods/underbrush) Cool The snow/ice is bad on the deck and steps, but in the yard, it actually makes a nice side support No slippage on the hills…and a soft landing when we accidentally faceplant. Er, I mean…look underneath the top of the snow for small woodland creatures. Tongue out

The yard’s about an acre, and filled with wet, 12-18-inch deep snow, so it wasn’t an easy hop…but Sam seemed to enjoy “patrolling” his territory, despite it being a slow and tiring trip (and chilly, for us humans Wink ). And, true to form, he got stubborn on me when I decided it was time to go back in (he was shivering and panting pretty hard). We got in, though. And actually made it up the deck steps w/out taking a digger.

Here he is, “sharing” his bed with Momo, our CRF kitty:

03.11.13 (Sunday)

During his first stretch of “unsupervised time,” we had a minor scare when he knocked down the baby gates and decide to go up two flights of stairs while I was in the basement riding my bike. So then he was upstairs, and couldn’t/wouldn’t come down… and I needed to finish my ride. Eventually, I just locked him in the bedroom, finished my ride, and then when Pat (DH) came home, we sort of helped him down the stairs together. Lesson: Sam is okay going UP. Down is still a problem.

Minor victory: tonight night, Sam got up and walked into the front hall and got a toy out of the toy box. First time he’s initiated any sort of activity on his own. It WAS kind of funny/sad  to watch him try and chew up his cardboard (yes, I know, fabulous toy…cardboard Tongue out) with only one paw instead of two (he normally holds it between his paws). You could see him pushing down with his right leg, and his little stump was moving like he was using his left leg to push it down, too… and then he’d get this look on his face like, “Huh. WTF. This left leg is TOTALLY not doing anything…”

03.12.13 (Monday)

Since today I had to go to work, and he obviously will not stand for baby gates when left unattended…we had to come up with something to trap him on the main level (of course, this also means that they ALL are trapped here, the four cats and teh other dog…but they’ll figure it out. And if the cats weren’t so lazy, they’d figure out how to get over the barricade.).

Here was our engineering project this AM:

Tonight was one of those nights where you take a few steps back for all the ones you have taken forward. He was sullen and crabby, didn’t want food or water, and despite the fact that he could barely stand, REFUSED to come inside. And then he paid for it. Swollen amp site, about 10% back leg function, crying all night. And while I know how he feels…I want to bitchslap him. 😀

This is what it got us (stumpy, lumpy, and drippy…like three of the 7 dwarves, but grosser):

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  • OMG stop it with that banner pic. I can’t stand it. Thats the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I love you Sampson, Doom-Ahs already and I’m just gettin’ to know ya! You rock!!!

  • @rica55…
    That was New Year’s Day, ca. 2003. One of my all time favorite pics <3

    The Doom-Ahs was smarter tonight…so it was a good day!

  •   fetchon3
    March 12th, 2013 at 9:37 PM    Reply

    Thank you! It reads really well and I love following along – both his emotions and yours! I’d say his incision looks great! I hope everyone had a better day today with lots of water and food…finally, you silly guy! Hang in there. You’ll get there! Doing good!

  •   fourminipups
    March 12th, 2013 at 10:49 PM    Reply

    His personality comes shining through in all you say about him and he is so precious in his pictures. What awesome attitudes! You go Sam!

  • Oh Sam you are such a spunky old boy! Listen to your Momma, she knows best ya hear?

    Hey I’m so glad you started a blog, your story will always be here to help others when they need inspawaration. You are amazing!

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