Tuesday, March 14, 2006


When You're the Healthiest One in the House

Taking care of my dog over the last two weeks after she had her leg amputated has presented alot of challenges. She needed almost 24 hour care the first week. She needed medication, compresses, and help eating. Sometimes she just wanted someone to sit with her. She'd howl for hours on end if you weren't petting her.

The challenges increased when my father fell off a ladder a week before Sierra's surgery. He sprained his ankle and could not get himself around very well. This meant that her recovery fell on me entirely.

As a disabled person, I have trouble getting through the day myself. I found myself in the strange position of being the healthiest person in the house. I had to ignore my usual aches and pains and help Sierra.

This wasn't always easy. My size and disability created some problems. She's a 70 lb Lab and I'm an 80 lb human. Sierra needed physical support for things like getting in and out of the car and going to the bathroom. It's probably a good thing that she trusts me implicitly because I wasn't always sure that I had a good grip or was carrying her correctly. I have to admit something. I didn't really known if I was up to the task. In fact, the first day we brought her home, I panicked. Here was this suffering creature and her recovery depended on me. Yes, the same person who sometimes doesn't get out of bed on time because she dreads having to put on her braces and shoes.

I think seeing her struggle with her three legs helped me forget my own woes. I've seen people who have had only a minor injury--and they use it to opt out of life. I have used a swollen finger or a sore foot as a reason not to do things. But, Sierra lost a limb. She has had to relearn almost everything she does without really understand why her leg is gone.

I've found her will to survive humbling and inspirational. When I think of my own ailments, I can at least say I have all my limbs even if they don't work very well. The whole situation taught me a little about myself. When the going gets tough, we're able to put aside our own distractions and draw on that inner strength sitting deep inside of us. I'm glad that inner strength was there when I needed it.

Monday, March 06, 2006


A note about my absence

I apologize for not blogging this past week. My dog was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor three weeks ago. We saw a specialist who laid out the treatment plans. The options were so extreme! Choice one was surgery to remove the tumor, skin graphs, and then radiation treatment. Choice two was to amputate her leg.

They lead us to believe we had several weeks to decide on how to handle the situation. However, within the short two week period she went from happy go lucky to losing blood. She was bleeding through bandages twice a day by last Monday. It was horrible to see her suffer.

On Tuesday 2/28, we arranged to go to our regular veterinarian to see if there was any hope. We had talked to several people including another vet about amputation. After talking to our vet, we decided this was her only chance. She would not survive another month bleeding the way she was.

To make a long story short, Sierra went into surgery that day and is now a week into recovery. It takes all of my time as she needs round the clock care. She can walk already (in fact, she walked 7 hours after the surgery) but must be watched so she doesn't hurt herself.

The vet bills are mounting up. If anyone would like to make a donation, we would appreciate in very much. I've set up a page for donation and also updates on her recovery.Here's the link: http://www.islandroutes.com/donation.shtml

She is doing amazingly well. She is such a great dog with an incredible spirit.

I hope to be back blogging next week.

Thanks for your support and patience!

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