A Love Affair with a Dog

28 Feb

The greatest love in my life is my 14-year-old Labrador Retriever mix, Molly.  For my entire adult life, Molly has been by my side, or slightly ahead of me, with a wag and lick.  She’s my everything.  And my everything just had surgery.  Again.

Back in August of 2011, Molly tore her ACL and had to have knee surgery to repair the damage.  I was a mess; she was on painkillers.  It was right before the beginning of a new school year, and I was devastated at the thought of having to leave her alone.  The only good thing that came out of Hurricane Irene was that I got to spend an extra week at home with Molly (I, thankfully, had power.).  She recovered, and things were going well up until a few weeks ago.

She started to hop around on three legs, and I was convinced that she had hurt her knee again, or something like that.  It turns out that she’s old.  And old ladies have arthritis (as do some young ones), and in the case of her breeding, hip dysplasia.  A visit to the vet confirmed that she needed another surgery to remove part of her hip bone so that she would walk again.  Sounds like the opposite would happen, right?  Remove bone so she can walk?  Apparently, a false joint is created by the body, reducing pressure and making things work like they did in the days of being a pup.  Or at least close to it.

Last week Molly went in for her femoral head and neck ostectomy, in which they remove the ball part of the bone.  The surgeon assured me that she’ll be walking again in no time.  She came home in relatively good spirits; much more aware than she was when she had her knee done.  And right off the bat, she tried to walk, putting her leg down and limping along while I held her up with a fancy sling.  But then she started shaking, and I got scared.

Molly is definitely an anxious dog (she most assuredly takes after me), and when she gets super excited or super scared, she’ll shake.  Teeth chattering shake.  And when it started this time, I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know why she was shaking, or if she was in pain, or what.  Countless phone calls to the vet led to my upping her pain meds and increasing the time she spent with a heating pad on her backside.  Quite the sight if you’ve never seen a dog with a heating pad on before.

But last night was the worst.  She woke me up at 1am, shaking and visibly uncomfortable.  I actually slept on the floor with her for hours; she had to have her paw on me or else she freaked out.  Today, though, she’s doing much better.  I think being alone today while I was at school helped her.  She slept all day, and was ready to play when I got home.  Hopefully the shaking will stop and she’ll start feeling better.  Can’t wait to get back to our walks.

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