As the person who approves the adoption applications for our rescue, sets up and often does the meet and greets, I have a confession to make. I get annoyed with fosters who get so attached that they make it harder for a dog to transition. Granted, it doesn’t happen every time but often enough that I’ve rolled my eyes a time or two. Other than Margeaux, my longest foster(s) were the Sugar family; Sugar Marie and her litter of seven puppies. As much as I loved the puppies, by the time they were ready for adoption I was ready for them to go. They lived in our finished basement which meant each time they needed to go outside we were transporting baskets of puppies up stairs, through the house and out to the back. And then back to the basement. Other than that, we’ve had guests for a night or two, but not much more.
I pulled Margeaux on a Wednesday knowing we had an adoption event on Saturday so I assumed she would be a three-day foster. Here we are now seven weeks later and with no open applications on her accompanied by lots of pressure from her Facebook fans for us to adopt her. Believe me, we’ve talked non-stop about the pros and cons of officially adopting Miss Piggy and while she is welcome to stay here as long as it takes for her to find a home and we haven’t completely ruled out being that home, we truly believe there is a better situation out there for her.
So the Great Debate regarding Margeaux first and foremost begins with Ray. Nearly two years ago Ray underwent a TTA surgery on his rear left leg and he will likely need a double surgery on his rear right leg this year. Not only might he need a TTA surgery, but we’ve always known he may need to have a luxating patella repaired as well. Margeaux requires very little time and attention but to decrease the availability of that wouldn’t be fair to her. Furthermore, Ray is not a good patient. His extreme anxiety dictates so much of how we live our lives that if Margeaux wasn’t completely integrated by then I fear she would suffer the lack of companionship and while she and Ray have parallel walked, they have not physically met yet.
Then there is Julius. Because Julius and Margeaux had such a successful meeting I became convinced that Margeaux was super dog friendly which has proven to not be the case. Julius and Margeaux walked then proceeded to the back yard for pictures. After the pictures were done, Julius in his Joe-cool-chicks-dig-me way, walked away from Margeaux and she has spent the following six and a half weeks trying to gain Juli’s attention. To say he’s fairly noncommittal about her would be an understatement. He likes being in the yard with her as long as she doesn’t actually try to interact with him. When I was in my teens, my sister who is six years younger than I, used to sit outside my closed bedroom door hoping to hang out with me. Sometimes I’d magnanimously allow her to enter as long as she followed the rules. The rules were that she could sit in one small designated spot with her hands folded in her lap, not touch anything and not speak. I see a lot of these rules in play as they apply to Julius and his little adoring foster sister.
As much as we love her and as the debate rages on, we steadfastly tell ourselves that we are her foster family and as such we are doing our best to prepare her to transition her forever home.
The saga of Ray’s legs continues. As you may remember, last July after the Sugar family was adopted, Ray went in for his TTA surgery to help repair his ACL. Due to his high anxiety levels and my anxiety over his anxiety, I waited longer than I should have to schedule this surgery and going into it we knew that he had advanced levels of arthritis is both legs for a dog as young as he is. Fortunately the surgery was a success which was doubly confirmed in March when Ray went in for his annual vaccinations and exam.For a dog like Ray I’ve just learned to do a lot of this medical in one fell swoop. At annual exam time, Ray has a dental cleaning, is vaccinated, has his nails trimmed and this year had his leg x-rayed –all while he was anesthetized. This most certainly is not ideal. Who wants to have their dog anesthetized every year? Not this gal, but I also don’t want him thrashing around screaming and injuring himself or staff at all either.
After Ray got the all clear in March we loosened the reigns a bit and allowed him to romp more around the yard. He’s pretty reasonable when trying to chase squirrels or
the world’s fastest dog Julius around the yard so we haven’t worried too much. Besides walking has really helped with not only strengthening his leg but with is overall mental happiness. A lot of what he does is he bounces about like a happy cow and pretends to chase Julius as Juli zips by only to stop and wait for the next pass.
Then about a week and a half ago, I let the boys out for their last potty break, and after a very short time heard the worst sound I could imagine coming from our back yard. For a split second my world stopped as it sounded like the boys were in an all out fight. Screaming and guttural growling filled the night air as I ran outside fearing the worst only to find that they had crossed either over or under the temporary fencing we had put up across the side (the whole yard has a privacy fence) where Kevin is trying to grow some grass-a temporary fence they had never before challenged-and were leaping at an opossum that was balanced atop the fence hissing at them. Julius and Ray were both leaping in the air with varying degrees of height (Juli can reach the top, so I’m thankful he didn’t this time) and screeching at this poor creature who finally departed to the neighbor’s yard. I got the boys back into the house and we all retired to bed after my heart finally stopped its frantic racing.
Sometime during the night Ray left the bed to lie on his mat and when we all got up in the morning, he did not want to get up for his morning potty break. I let Juli out and encouraged Ray to come when I finally saw that he wasn’t putting any weight at all on his leg and didn’t want to walk, so I helped him back to his mat, gave him some Rimadyl with his breakfast and left to help man the Pit Bull Coalition booth at Pet Expo. Ray has extraordinary holding powers so I knew he’d be alright until I returned, and he was. I helped him go outside in the afternoon, and kept him mostly immobile for the remainder of the weekend. He’s been relegated again to sleeping on his mat on the floor and had seemed to be healing just as we hoped. Until the following Friday. Last Friday I was sitting on the patio with the boys when Ray heard Kevin pull into the drive. We went inside to greet him after having been gone the week and all was normal yet again until about an hour or two later when Ray again wouldn’t put any weight on his foot.
Kevin and I have agonized over this since Friday. We hate to put him under just for x-rays again but in reality we can’t not do it because we need to know the extend of any damage, but do we subject him to another TTA? Do we try TPLO? How acutely does the arthritis factor into the equation? Can his pain be managed medically? Lots of questions right now and no answers…but he knows we’re talking about him.
Well we had a super full weekend and I know Julius has lots to talk about but today I have an update on Ray’s leg. The short version is that he is mending well and the surgery looks to have been quite successful. What that really means for Ray is that since we don’t really have stairs in the house he was cleared by Dr. Harry to not be in his little area all day but he will need to remain leashed when outside for the next eight weeks or so.
Ray’s visit to the vet went well, but took an awful lot out of him with the amped up nervous energy and all. This was the first time he’s been in a vehicle since the surgery so even the jumping in and out of the Pittie Van is more than he’s used to. When we returned home, he walked in the door like usual and went right to his ex-pen like usual. I went ahead and let him stay in there but with the gate open and walked away. Just a few minutes later as Kevin and I were chatting in the dining room, Ray slinked by…I swear he was tip toeing…as if he was trying to get away with something. He studiously didn’t look at us, because you know, if he doesn’t see us he obviously can’t hear us as he walked from room to room lying on all of the various mats while Julius began lying on all of Ray’s (obviously special) mats.
After the afternoon he had, he seemed to be favoring the leg we worked so hard to get better so we opted to return him to his rest area for the evening. Although he was cleared, we will be working him back into the swing of things slowly. Full house privileges will be doled out slowly and in moderation and in the meantime we will be searching for a suitable set of stairs for him to use to get into bed, when he’s ready.
I guess I was thinking that today would be the magical day when all of his rehab shackles would be shed and he could romp puppy-like to his heart’s content but this plan, while not as much fun will be better in the long run.