That is both the cutest and the saddest thing

When you are carrying a small merle giant dog down the street in your arms with a big neon yellow bandage on his leg, people cannot help but smile, hit each other on the arm and say look, look at that little dog in her ams. Look at her carrying him, she is telling him it’s okay, she’s reassuring him when he gets startled. Oh isn’t it both the very cutest and the very saddest thing!! As he hops along holding the giant bandage up and trying really hard to get comfortable enough to pee, onlookers say awww! Look!!

He doesn’t need their attention, and he’s doing his best. He’s so tired.

Tonight it was very windy and he flinched and curled in close to me, tense and trembling as a metal sign blew over and hit a door, making a loud sound. I held him close and said its okay, its okay, I got you. Passers-by are touched by the spectacle and I know they mean well but he definitely does not want their attention and he is so vulnerable right now, I really don’t want anyone to stress him out. I’m vulnerable too, for that matter. I’m watching him carefully at all times now that we have made it 8 days post-op and the incision is healing and the stitches are starting to interest him. I know he is tempted to lick them and so I supervise at all times. If I need to look away even for a few minutes I put his cone on. I have to do it when I take a shower or make a meal or walk Loba, and I hate doing it because he is sick of it. he is working so hard on recovery and he is really doing great, he is eating well and takes pills beautifully and is okay with me giving him shots. He’s really stepping up figuring out how to be safe, how not to fall, how to pee and poo and be careful on his fragile legs. One is weak and the other 3 are overworked and tired, and he is just such a good boy doing all he can to move around and then coming home to lay down and lick his paws for comfort. I say it’s cool, as long as you leave those sutures alone. I’m sleep deprived and I was sitting quietly with him the other day mid-afternoon and he was so warm cuddled up next to me, that I dozed off for over an hour. When I woke up with my hair all messy on the floor in the living room  he wasn’t there. I got up with a start and looked in the crate, then another, and in the bedroom, then found him in the corner out of sight licking away at the sutures. No matter how vigilant I am he might still get to them and I’m really earnestly counting the hours until our vet visit on Tuesday, when the sutures come out and we start rehab. The muscle atrophy is starting to be noticeable on the surgery leg and his shoulders in front are starting to look burly. I have worked hard to get him leaned down and muscled up, but I want him to be balanced and fit and pain free with full range of motion, flying through the air and running full out. That’s not what is happening now. He’s a strong and lovely little dude but he’s working really hard and needs a lot of care to get through each day.

When the bandage came off it became more obvious to passers-by that his leg was skinny and curled up tight and not bearing any weight. People asked what happened and politely wished us well but I was doing my best to give out social cues that say, please don’t ask, please don’t talk to us. We need some privacy so he can pee and poo and if you interrupt he won’t. This morning I was telling him good boy, take another few steps, that’s it buddy, such a good dude! Look at you go! So proud of you buddy, another few steps, you can do it! I was so focused on him that I didn’t see the old man who had slowed down to watch us with his cloth grocery bags in hand and his kind sweet face. He was gentle and didn’t bother us, but he was visibly moved, he was pouring empathy out of his face and when we made eye contact I just felt a wave of kindness and caring. Is his leg broken, the man asked, is he okay? He had surgery I said, on his knee, knee surgery. I stopped talking and we just looked at each other. There was this really authentic kindness coming from him, and it was hitting me in waves and I really didn’t need to talk and neither did the man. We looked at each other in silence and there was this lovely look on his face that said, I understand, I feel for you, so sorry you are going through this. We hadn’t spoken for a long enough time and then he very softly said, I hope he heals well and feels better soon. I don’t know for sure if I said thank you. I felt so comforted in this really quiet way.

Thank you sir, thank you for connecting with me this morning and stopping to give us your kindness waves while you were on your way to do your shopping. You weren’t overbearing and you didn’t scare my dog or me, you stood out of the way and politely spoke when I was ready, and the best was when we didn’t say anything at all. It’s really cool how that kindness helped me feel strong.

Day 8 post-op is done and tomorrow day 9 begins. Little baby steps.

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