As I was trying to think of guys to pick for this week’s Hot Guy Friday, I kept being interrupted checking on my German Shepherd Chewie who just had TTA surgery to rebuild his knee from tearing the equivalent of his ACL. Every two hours, he wanted to go out to go potty. When we’d get out there, he’d want to wander around before squatting to pee. He even barked at the moon once. Then back inside we went, took the lease off, and back in the crate so he would settle down and rest.
I’d try to get back to creative thoughts about this week’s theme. Hot Guyz of the Wild. Hot Thinker Guyz. Hot Therapist Guyz. Nope, nothing really inspired so I looked up some past notes I’d taken for a rainy day. Geek guys, short guys, tennis guys…
Then there’s my guy, my buddy, laying quietly in his crate. After weeks of worry and sleeping on the couch to try to minimize him using stairs, I admit, I’m tired. But happy. People who’ve never had pets usually don’t get it. People that don’t have dogs don’t get it. Chewie’s a dog. But he’s also a fully fledged member of my family and has been for four and half years.
Chewie completely tore his cranial cruciate ligament about a month and a half ago. We were doing what he loves: enjoying the water at Marymoor dog park. I didn’t see it happen, only that he came back lame from fetching a ball. After a week, he still wasn’t putting weight on it. A month and two vet visits later, the diagnosis wasn’t good. He’d need surgery if he ever wanted to walk without a limp. And it was likely that he’d tear the other leg too at some point.
Surgery for dogs is always tricky. However, the more people I talked to about Chewie’s injury, the more I heard “Oh, my dog had that too…” The list was long, Deuce, Annie, Ruby, Harley, to name a few. Harley, my friend’s lab, had surgery the same day I got the diagnosis and my friend had already done a ton of research. Harley’s parents were great help for both information and for the referral they gave me for the vet that did Chewie’s surgery.
I took Chewie in on Tues and had his surgery set up for Weds afternoon. Luck, that. Wednesday was nerve-wracking. Chewie would need a clear hip X-ray before they’d operate. And even though Chewie is of European lines, ones not as susceptible to hip dysplaysia as American lines, I was still worried. But the vet called at 12:30pm, saying he’d done the surgery early and that Chewie’s hips looked great. But it was as suspected: Chewie had completely torn the ligament which explained why he couldn’t walk on it. But he was fine and could be picked up this morning.
So I took moral support with me and tried to mentally prepare myself for the sight of the wound on my precious pup. Tried to prepare myself for the drug-stupor he’d likely be coming out of. Tried to prepare myself for containing his exuberance at seeing me again. I listened closely to the prescription information and paid the steep bill and then waited for Chewie to come out.
Out comes the same dog I brought in: bright eyed, sniffing, tentatively testing his new titanium-plated knee. He saw me and was happy but not exuberant, which I was thankful for. I greeted him and then we got him into the car and began the drive home. I couldn’t believe he was so mellow and yet alert. I avoided looking at the wound until I got him home and settled.
Then I looked at his wound and couldn’t even guess what he felt. But he didn’t pay it any mind, didn’t lick at it except to sniff it a few times. And my corgi Didgit who had whined the night before looking for him, sniffed him a few times, was happy he was home, then promptly went out on the deck to sun herself. Things just seemed strangely…normal.
I know we’ve got weeks of rehab ahead of us. Chewie didn’t really want a massage today so I opted to ice his leg a little and stroke his leg, let him know it was going to be ok. Tomorrow, we’ll try again and get some range of motion in. Chewie seems to be managing himself; he takes a few steps, then decides to lay down and rest. Didgit, my corgi, is happy to just sleep nearby.
But he’s Chewie. He’s my co-pilot. He seems to know that he needs to take it easy and let me help him. But he’s not pouting. He’s laying there now in the crate, listening to the TV, chillin. Maybe it’s the meds that were supposed to make him “stoned.” But I think it’s just Chewie. He’s a giant Shepherd, 105 lbs. I call him “My Lil Pony.” But like his film namesake, he’s a gentle giant. And he’s all heart.
And that’s why I’m paying homage to him on this Friday because he’s my buddy, my pal, my family. And he’s a very very good boy!