Sunday, October 12, 2014

Driving with Miss Daisy - An Update

Lots of people have been waiting for a Daisy Mae update.  We recently took a trip to North Carolina to visit family, and do a few other things I either can't or am waiting to talk about.  Don't you love intrigue?  Since Daisy's issues might be a little much for a kennel to appreciate - and that is IF there actually were a kennel available here we decided to take "the girls" with us.  Uh, Trudy and Daisy.  Trudy loves the car - she's an experienced traveler.  She loves, loves, loves her super huge padded bed and we throw it in the back of the SUV and she sleeps.  Daisy, oh crap, that's a dog of a different flavor. 
Trudy and Daisy behind my makeshift barrier in the car.  Ready for the trip!
We prepared well for this trip.  Since we were staying with the kids on the farm we went to the vet - we got super dooper tic and flea stuff (NC has more tics than Michigan) and in Daisy's case because she is still in "puppy mode" we decided that she was going to need more, just plain more.  Remember when I cancelled dog obedience when she splayed her legs and we found out about the major hip dysplasia?  Well, we still haven't had that course and she is a spaz when she's out of the yard.  I thought we'd be fine the other day and I let her out of the yard - yup, you guessed it - me, hubby, and several neighbors were out coaxing her back down the block and home again.  Thank goodness for a rural area and no traffic.  That was the incident that tilted me in the direction of an implanted electronic identity marker.  What if she got away and I couldn't catch her?

So, I bought a new harness - she had outgrown her other one and we're off to the vet for the super tic stuff, nails clipped, electronic identification, and to talk about our hip progress.   And, LOL, I had taken a video of her in the car.  Don't get me wrong - she loves the car.....but...  There is Trudy all curled up and happy and then there is Daisy trying to get into the front seat - jumping on Trudy, licking windows, nibbling my husbands ear (and getting air swatted - "Get back there &*%5#!!!.").  I video taped it for the vet.   At  the vets we get out of the car.  Trudy jumps down after she gets her leash on - and out flies the adorable spaz - I thought I had a grip on her - oh hell no - she had chewed through her harness and was FREE.  Out run the vet techs, we're hysterically calling her, and she is oblivious to the traffic (we are now on busy road and not in our neighborhood).  Trudy sensing the panic sits dutifully while we wrangle Daisy.  I am forever thankful that our Daisy is sublimely happy, good natured, and can seem to sense when I'm about to have a heartastroke and gives in to whatever it is that I need from her.  Into the vets we go and the techs give us a room immediately.  No waiting room for who they lovingly call "Crazy Daisy".  She well known there and well loved.

Trudy goes in the back for her spa treatment - cookies and nails.  And then they take Daisy - who strains at her leash - we also had on a collar besides the harness...she's excited to go with her friends while Mom and Dad talk to the vet.  In a few quick moments the vet is called to the back - I sense Ms. Daisy is being a slight handful and they'd like some "guy" arms to assist.  Ah, sweet youth.  Back comes our wonderful vet with our baby girl - who is pulling him all the way and we are cleared to go to NC.  He laughs at the video and decides that Daisy needs the equivalent of Xanax or Valium for her ride. Nothing that will knock her out.  She will be able to get out and pee and drink and so on but she will be sleepy and we are so down with it.  If we found someone to take care of her while we were gone they might not understand how bad that leg actually is (her current musculature hides it pretty darn well) and they might think encouraging her to chase the ball is a good idea (NOT!) - so it's this or stay home.   Staying home was not an option - we've put this trip off for a year to get to this point.  Drugs it is - but we decide not to give her the recommended dosage.  We know we can handle some of Daisy's enthusiasm for being in the car.  We just can't do two seven hour days of it.

Despite the drugs she decided she had to be touching her humans.  Okay, I removed the barrier and she went to sleep.
Off we go to NC on Daisy and Trudy's excellent adventure.  And boy was it.  The kids have three horses, seven cats, and a dog.  They also have 23 blissful acres so we decided we'd try and teach Daisy to come.  Uh, we've improved - but we are definitely not there yet. 

The horses and "the girls" - introductions and carrots all the way around.

The fur babies had thee best time.  Daisy thinks cats are a great invention.  She became part of the clowder (a term I just learned from my friend Mallory) and carefully chased after a laser light with them every evening.  She took her turn and no cats were damaged in the games of laser tag.  I've never seen a dog that will chase a laser light - have you?  Daisy and seven cats cheerfully scooting across the front room trying to trap that light.
The horses were great fun - Daisy pounced at them until they'd get too close and she's duck back under the fence.  Trudy, well she took up grass chewing along side the oldest of the horses - Sienna (my DIL's therapy horse).  There is even a beautiful creek running through the property and in the heat Daisy decided that trotting up and down the stream and picking up rocks off the bottom was just divine.  She was soaked from stem to stern.  Trudy, she likes water but doesn't really appreciate a good soak without bubbles.  She waded in and found the only hole in the creek...she spent a few quick seconds in a dog paddle and then the "stink eye" commenced, as if we'd pushed her into the hole. 
And tug-o-war was a favorite pass time for the three dogs - as they'd trade identical toys they'd just de-stuffed.

Kianja playing tug with Trudy and Daisy

It was a great time for all concerned. 
As to the vets impression of her hip.  No, there has been no miracle but there has been incredible improvement.  She is not toe-stepping and she gives the leg and foot full unadulterated normal pressure.  We only have been using her scrips on an "as needed" basis and not frequently.  Since she had the exuberant outburst at the vets and pulled him no matter where she went with him he had a cautionary tale to tell us.  Our plan, take her into Michigan State University and have the hip replaced this fall.  His plan - "not so soon".  I was floored - completed taken off guard.  Jean Wells helped me think this through because my  head was truly wrapped around finishing this quest to make sure Daisy had her hip in place by this winter.  After all she's full size and wasn't that what we were waiting for?  Apparently not all of it.  I guess I should have known this - after having my own knees replaced.  It's not all that easy and requires down time.  In Daisy's case it is going to take 6 weeks on a leash - even with a backyard that is fenced.  Out on the leash even for bathroom duty.  She can not stress the limb in any way, shape, or form while the muscles are adapting to the new instrumentation.  Okay, or so we thought.  NO, says the vet.  Oh shoot me please runs through my head, as we have this bank account with her money in it from all of these generous people who want to help this puppy become and stay "normal".   I relay this to the vet - uh, we've saved and many many people have given of their hard earned money to make this a reality.  He rolls his eyes and says, and I can't quote it exactly because my ears were ringing from a sudden rise in my blood pressure and a panic attack at having my well laid plan disintegrate before my eyes, "She's not ready", he says. 
And here comes his reasoning.  My reasoning being, "Why not, she's full grown now.  Isn't that what you told me?" "Yes, it is - but, look at her," he says. Uh, duh, what?  And here we go - - - "You can take her to MSU and ask the surgeon if she's now ready for surgery and he is going to say - absolutely - We've got a bad hip here - let's do it."  "Sharon, It's their job to 'cut and cure'.  It's what they do.  It's what all surgeons, human and animal do - but it's not the whole picture."  "Okay," say I, "then what is the whole picture to you - because this dog needs a hip or she's going to grind those bones to dust and get arthritis and be crippled and you said so."  See, I'm livid, panicked, and so many things are running amuck in my brain I'm pretty sure he senses I'm about to melt down...on him.  "That hasn't changed - but you've done what we asked - you carefully worked those back leg muscles into great shape.  She's off her meds, she's not in any chronic pain, she's not toe-stepping, limping or favoring that leg what-so-ever."  I'm like red in the face.  "Thanks, but, what does that have to do with the fact she's GOT to have this hip replaced."  "Well, she's not ready - I just took her in the back and we wrangled her for the implant and walked her and watched her."  "OK, so?..."  "She's a baby, and a spazzy baby - she pulls at a leash like a sled dog or a tractor in a tractor pull."  "OK, yeah?"  "Well, she can't do that - not in a harness or a collar - she's got to be emotionally old enough to just walk on leash because if she doesn't she will pull the hip right out of the joint on the first tug - and she can really tug....she LIKES to tug."  I'm like, really?  Come on now, really?
Oh excuse me but all I can think is WTF.  I'm telling you my head was wrapped around a plan - Take the trip to North Carolina - come back to an appointment at MSU and a surgery date.  My apple cart tipped over, they're rolling everywhere and I can't gather the buggers up fast enough to prevent them from being squished by the horses. 
So there we are.  Daisy's jumping around the room.  Trudy is calmly sitting between Brian's legs.  And I am struck dumb.  We get in the car and I keep mumbling, "Well, now what?"  Jean and I were in contact and she really helped to talk me through it a bit.  My apples were being squished at an alarming rate but Jean gave it some perspective for me.  Thank goodness.  The money is in the account - the hip will get done - maybe not until spring - maybe not in Michigan (probably, but maybe not).  It's like the army or state civil service - hurry up and wait. 
And how is Daisy?  Well, you just heard about her excellent trip.  Did she tug and pull at her leash at every single stop on the way to NC and back.  YUP!  We've got a lot of work to do.

1 comment:

Lela said...

Good grief. No wonder your head was about to explode. At least it sounds like she's not in pain so that's VERY good. :) All in good time, Sharon...all in good time.