Dear Furry Puddin’,
It seems we’ve been here before, but each time it gets a little worse and a little harder to reassure myself that you will get better again. Four months ago, you tore the ACL in your left hind leg, just after my graduation. I didn’t have a job and your papa left for a summer-long internship that weekend. I spent a week alone with you in the house, curled up on a piece of memory foam on the floor. All your activities had been stripped away from you, and you were miserable. And I was miserable, seeing you that way–not just injured, but perpetually bored and afraid that you did something wrong. I slept on the floor with you for a month because I didn’t want to leave you alone, especially not when the thunderstorms kept coming at night and you would wake up shaking.
But you got better. After a month of rest, you started being more mobile again. We finally could take short trips to the park. You were starting to get more confident with stairs. Deacon came home from his internship, and you felt at home again. I bought you a bigger bed and you got used to sleeping on that instead of in the bed with us. It was a slow process, but you were getting better.
Until last month. Your papa and I went out to grab dinner, and when we got back, you couldn’t walk. You had been shifting your weight to your right hind leg as your left one healed, and the added strain on that leg caused you to tear another ligament. And with both hind legs injured, walking was nearly impossible, and just standing up became painful.
Rex, I have loved very few things in the way that I love you. You have bonded our family together over this past year in ways that we would have never imagined. We know that other dogs are less maintenance than you, shed less than you, are more physically able than you, and are more friendly to strangers than you. But they don’t love us the way you do. They don’t understand us the way you do. They don’t make us happy the way you do. When we adopted you, we knew that you had had some rough patches. You had a bite history and you had a clear limp when you walked. But even then, on that first day in the animal shelter, you were you, and there was no other dog for us. We chose you despite what logic might have said, and we have never regretted it.
I could barely eat anything the week you got hurt again. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if we could come back from that, and what it would mean. We drove you to the vet that weekend and I’ve never been more scared in my life. I didn’t know what she would say, and I was afraid to know.
It wasn’t a bad day, though. It was a hopeful day.
Your injury, though really sucky, is quite common, so there are a few options available. We thought your first injury would heal naturally after enough scar tissue had built up, but with two injured hind legs, you need surgery. It will mean more recovery time, but as a result, you’ll eventually be back to yourself again.
That’s why I carried you to the park today. You haven’t been there in a month, and I know you hate pooping in our backyard. The mosquitoes are terrible and it’s no fun to mark the same spot you’ve marked a dozen times before. You’ve gotten pretty good at walking now, and you’ve really been bitter these past few days about me carrying you down the steps to the backyard.
So I let you walk partway to the park, then carried you to the grass to let you pee on everything and kick the dirt up and gawk at runners, then carried you back to the house. Because I know that after this week, you won’t be able to do very much for a very long time, especially if they operate on your other hind leg after your first surgery. I know it’s a long road ahead.
But we’re in this with you, Furry Puddin’. We’re your humans, and we chose you. You’re going to get better again, and we’re staying with you every step of the way.
Sorry in advance for the cone, though.
Rex has an appointment at MU Veterinary Health Center on Thursday, September 8. His surgery will be September 9. On his eight-week checkup, we will decide on when to operate on his other hind leg. Although the procedure is simple, it is expensive. The first surgery will be $2,800. If you are able to help, we have set up a GoFundMe page. Every donation will go to help Rex feel better again.
I would also like to thank everyone who has already donated and everyone who has sent us love and prayers. (Rex even got a care package from his former owner, which made us all weepy.) We love you all and appreciate all the loving thoughts we have received.