You’d never know…

What a weekend!

I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ve always dreamed of having a dog that can go places with me.  When the weather is just right she can run errands with me, hang out in the car, and is the happiest dog ever.  She’s just never been that into people.  She had a rough past and bad experiences when I first rescued her.  She has never been thrilled with people or dogs she does not know, and I’ve grown accustomed to this fact.   I keep a good distance and make sure she’s only in situations she’s comfortable with.  Or so I thought.

Since her surgery and being handled so much by strangers, her personality change has just been simply miraculous.  I also think that her classes at Our Companions Animal Rescue have been life changing.  Her ability to adapt and grow comfortable with situations that freak her the heck out has been remarkable.

So this Saturday Beth and I wanted to head up to Treehouse.   For those in the non-beer fan world, it’s kind of like the mecca for craft beer enthusiasts.  All breweries are incredibly dog friendly, and I knew this one in particular had a great outdoor area with trails and a pond.  I was torn because I’ve been reluctant to leave Liza behind for too long on my days off.  Beth and I looked at each other and said, “Should we bring Liza?” thinking, even if it wasn’t going well she loves the car so much, if all else failed, she could hang out in the back seat.  So she came and hung out at the brewery with us.  I asked people at first to stay at a distance and they respected and just asked questions.

And then she received the best compliment ever…

“You wouldn’t even know she had 3 legs.”

Which brings me to my next point.  If you are single and interested in either men or women, I am happy to loan you Liza.  The universal attention she receives is insane.  She’s an incredible conversation starter and I assure you, there is no such thing as walking 10 feet without being stopped.  After a while, I personally have to just look down and ignore peoples “awwww’s” and “look at that dog!” comments, or else I would never get anywhere.  However, if you are looking to meet people, you are welcome to take Liza along.  I assure you, you’ll have a date before you know it.

I digress…

So on our way home from Treehouse we stumbled upon an Earth Day (yay Earth!) block party in Hartford.  Again, it was a nice car day and we didn’t intend to stay long, so we decided to just stop.  We started walking in and left Liza in the car.  We made it about 20 feet before I looked at Beth and asked, “You think we should try it with Liza?” to which she agreed.

And oh.my.goodness.  She was the happiest dog ever.  We weaved through crowds of people and dogs like pros.  People asked to pet her, and despite my warnings (please don’t sue me if she eats you), they proceeded to love all over her.  Now, I think the near free alcohol was making people a little more friendly than typically appropriate.  But Liza doesn’t judge and loved everyone equally.

From what I gather there are a few explanations to this recent friendly behavior.

  1. She has been harboring all of her anger and hostility in her front left leg for all these years.
  2. I’ve projected my own anxiety onto Liza for her entire life.
  3. Between her classes at Our Companions with the wonderful volunteers and her experiences with the amazing surgical team at the vet, her exposure to people has been incredibly helpful.

I’m not too sure explanation #1 is very likely, but am pretty positive it’s been a combination of 2 and 3.   I’ve always known that Liza and I are very in tune with one another after all these years.  We have a very strong connection that allows us to communicate on this other-worldly level.  Perhaps we’ve been so in-tune that we’ve been protecting each other far more than is necessary.

Whatever the reason, we are going to run with it.  She is the living definition of truly embracing this new opportunity at life and embracing it to the fullest.

I’ve never been one to take pictures and always wish I had.  I’m so glad that this experience has inspired me to grab a camera and embrace as many moments in her life as I can.  The impossible part about loving our fur babies so much is that they don’t stick around forever.  Whether this surgery gave Liza 1 more year or 5, I’m going to do everything I can to make it the best of her life and be sure I document it.  She has been there for me at every stage of my adult life to date.  We are so incredibly proud of her it’s hard to put into words.  Which is why there are pictures.

Some from our road trip:

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Celebrity Status

 

I will finally say that Liza is back to 100%.  I swear, I never thought this would happen.  Even less than a week ago, she wasn’t so much reacting to any of her favorite words (eat, chicken, walk, ride, and toy).  She would only respond to “margarita” when Elizabeth and I simply can’t deliver on that one for obvious reasons.

Now…we LOVE walks!  AND eating, AND rides, AND LIFE!

 

I ask that you please ignore the fact that the cat just pooped in the dining room before this video.  It is now clean.  Cats…

But seriously, Liza has become a local neighborhood celebrity!  We can’t go 10 feet without someone stopping us.  They stay at a distance because I’m still not sure she loves strangers as much as her momma does.  They ask questions and look at her in awe when I tell her when her amputation was just 4 weeks ago.  She. loves. it.

She’s seriously living up to her diva status name.

Yesterday she even brought me her toy when I came home from work.  I gladly took that stuffed frog and cherished it for many minutes.  I’m basking in this newfound energy and pizzazz for life.

Next step…we signed up for our next level of classes and begin May 10th!  We are counting down the days until Liza receives her doctorate.

Because, as we know, Liza is just that fabulous.

 

Just another normal day on 3 legs

We have started to learn that while living life with one less leg may seem like a struggle it has some perks. 

1.  The leash doesn’t get tangled under any legs when we go on walks. 

2. The hip motion we have mastered has got to do great things for the core. She’s on her way to a 6 pack for sure. 

3. People give her lots of support and attention. There have been multiple beeps as we walk down our street. I used to think these beeps were for me (💁) but then when I look people are clapping and cheering (🤦‍♀️). They are most certainly for Liza. 

4. We get to educate and hopefully inspire other people and pups to truly recognize what we are capable of. Aside from the cheering the other common reaction we get has been “aww, that poor dog only has 3 legs.” To which my response has been “Yeah, but she doesn’t have cancer and is loving life, so all is good.” 

5. We get great food. Our dinners and have turned into home cooked meals and our breakfasts are leftover Easter eggs. The Easter eggs may not stick around but the home cooking will. We have been doing a lot of research on diets for pups with cancer and it turns out we are in the right track. All along I thought Liza was a diva for only wanting chicken, when all along she just must know it’s good for her. 

All in all, life is looking pretty darn good. All her mommas are also starting to relax a bit knowing that we made the right decision for our little girl. 

Oh, and today we walked a whole mile! Dr. called today to see how she was doing and while I had her on the phone I asked, “how far should we be going on our walks?” And she responded “as long as her heart desires.”  

Today I truly couldn’t keep up! She was going at a jogging pace and I was not at all prepared in my Birkenstock sandals. 


Now it’s dinner time. Please excuse me while I go plate her meal. 

Meanwhile, I have no idea what I’m eating for dinner tonight. 

Vacation time! 

Since I’ve been on vacation this week, we thought it would be a great time to get a ton of stuff done!  Liza, however, is not on board with the productivity. She prefers being her sun bum self while she watches all of us around her work. This is not a recover post surgery phenomenon. This is diva life. 


She has even grown accustomed to having her bed outside while we work around her. Thanks to grandma and grandpa for starting that trend. 

Overall she is doing well. She will be 3 weeks post amputation tomorrow. I can’t tell if it feels like yesterday or if it feels like a lifetime ago. 

I have been told by many to not try and rush this recovery process, but it’s really hard for me to see her just so BLAH all the time. Don’t get me wrong, she was never an active dog on 4 legs, but she got her spurts of energy. She has no interest in playing with me for the 5 minutes a day that used to happen. She’s still not thrilled by food yet but we are getting there. Overall she just does a lot of sleeping. I guess days of sunbathing are tiring. I wouldn’t know…I just keep working around her! 

Two of the things she is most excited about are rides in the car and walks. If I say either of those words, regardless of how loud she is currently snoring with her tongue out, she will hop up. 

So today when we got home from grandma and grandpa’s house I said “Liza if you’re going to just sleep I’m going to at least make sure you do something to warrant you being so tired!” 

Then we walked up and down the street where I took this video. 


I mean, seriously, could this hop be any cuter?! A jog was not my intention in a maxi dress and sandals, but at her pace it’s what we ended up doing. 

Needless to say she is now back to snoring even louder, but tonight I’m a much happier momma. Now if she would only help rake some damn leaves!

Hopping along 

Not the greatest video but I haven’t posted anything of her walking yet! Her walking gets better every day now that her bandage came off. 

She’s still fighting the infection but slowly things are getting back to normal life. 

There were little things for a while that broke my heart and killed my spirits. Things like seeing her tail down or her not coming from wherever she is in the house to greet us when we come home, even if we are going for 5 minutes. 

1 of these things is back. She has been greeting us when we come home. I just have to get used to going slower so she has a chance to fully get to me before I run to her. 

Now we need to get that tail back up! Visitors have helped.  So have the words “ride” and “margarita.”  The margarita thing is another post for another day, but it’s just about her favorite word ever. We don’t know why but swear she has never tasted a margarita. Please don’t call DDF. 

So I think today we will take rides in the car to go run errands and go visit grandma and grandpa. 

Something else we are super excited about is school! I know I just started spring break today, but I just signed Liza up for our next level of school at the amazing Our Companions! (Shout out to her teachers who read this!)  we start again May 10th. 

Have an amazing weekend to all my two, four, and three legged friends! 

Another day

We are having a pretty uphill recovery more comparable to a steep mountain climb, but there is light in this tunnel.

I know that every dog is different, and Liza is certainly a special dog.  This has just been a rough ride for this little girl.

Beginning with the GOOD news, since I haven’t posted in a few days.  (Sorry, it turns out that running an animal rehab is far more work than I imagined.)

Liza’s work came back from the lab.  It is official that we are CANCER FREE! Now, there is a slim chance of metastasis with her grade cancer, but there is no evidence in her x-rays or ultrasounds that there is anything else in her body.  All we can do is stay positive and focus on making the best of every day.

This process has taught me a lot so far, but mostly these two things:

  1.  You can only fix the problems you see in front of you.
  2. There’s no use in worrying about the things you can’t control.

She does, however, have an infection from the incision on her existing front leg.  This has made her feel yucky on top of learning how to live life with 3 legs.  Additionally, the stupid pink bandage is back.  I always hated pink.  She has little to no appetite still, BUT thanks to the doggie care package my Auntie Kate sent, she actually took a treat today!  This has been her first time showing a willing interest in food or treats in 2 weeks.  Needless to say I gave her many.  While we were on an eating roll, we also managed to down a whole bowl of chicken and broth!

On that note, I want to extend an extra huge THANK YOU from Liza and us for peoples’ kindness and gifts.  Liza has received more packages and mail at our house than I think I ever have.  From floor mats to raised bowls and blankets, to treat/toy boxes, it has all been greatly appreciated.  In addition, to everyone who has offered things and ask about our progress on a daily basis, you have all made this a tiny bit easier.  I will do anything under the sun for this little girl as long as it gives her the best life possible, and you have played a big part in that.  THANK YOU!!

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Liza would like me to ask you to disregard her awfully shaved fur.  As a diva, she knows she has an image to uphold, but she cannot be held responsible for doctors who get a little too excited with the clippers.

A few days

We haven’t posted an update in a little while because it’s been a very busy few days!

All in all, she is doing quite well.  Have made some big improvements!

To say that I have been worried would be an understatement.  I have no idea how people with kids do this.  I watch over every move she makes and obsess over “normal.”  But, then again, I like animals more so maybe a kid wouldn’t be so bad!  (Kidding. Kind of.)

One of the things I’ve been worried about is the amount that she just wants to sleep and has minimal interest in moving around.  I get that she had two major surgeries and is on pain medications, but it just makes me crazy to see her like this.  It’s certainly better than seeing her agitated and in pain, but I just have a hard time convincing myself she’s ok.

Then there’s the eating thing.  She still isn’t interested in food unless I puree chicken and hand feed it to her, which has been enough to turn me back into a vegetarian for the time being.

And a primary reason I am concerned is that she suddenly likes people!  Again, it may be the sedatives, but I may take advantage of this and get her used to being around more people.

Last night we had about 30 people at our house for my Dad’s 60th surprise party.  I set her up with her blankets and bed in our sun room with a baby gate up so she can see what is going on.  Typically when we have parties she stays in our bedroom because she doesn’t always play well with others and it’s less stressful for her.

Not last night!  She welcomed visitors and the extra love everyone had to give.  My favorite moment was when she had to go outside and she walked (hopped) across the living room and everyone cheered!  After she came back in she hung out on the couch, that she jumped up to just fine, with all the company and enjoyed all of the extra love.

She’s really milking this…


Moving on to this morning.  When I woke up and went to see her she happily got up on her own and wanted to start the day! I took advantage of this again and we went outside and, WENT FOR A WALK! I decided to let her just guide me but when I said “walk” the ears perked, the tail wagged, and we were off down the driveway!  We ran across the street and had a blast sniffing and walking up and down the sidewalk.  And when I say ran, I really mean ran!  For a while, we were going at a pretty typical pace for our walks.  And then I cried in the middle of the sidewalk when her tail was up and wagging, because it’s what I do these days.

Now if I could only get her to help me with the post party clean-up, we will be golden.