Monday, December 17, 2012

Recuperating puppy

As I scientist, I like to pretend that I am so above things like superstition and luck, but it just seemed like bad mojo to post anything about Sammy before he went under the knife and safely returned. He has been gimping around for the past few months, actually starting while we were still in Wisconsin, occasionally showing some lameness on his back right leg. Then it would seem fine for a while, then he'd start limping again after a hike or a rowdy time at the dog park. The vet we took him to here in town gave a resounding, 'Eh, we dunno'.

A few weeks ago though, he started refusing to bear any weight on the leg at all. A series of new vet visits and X-rays ensued, and it was concluded that we would have to make the 2.5 hour drive to Pullman, WA to go to Washington State University's vet hospital (we were spoiled living in Madison with the excellent UW vet hospital right next to my office). He had a torn ligament (cranial cruciate, or CCL) in his knee and needed a delicate orthopedic surgery. It's not from any particular injury, but is a degenerative problem. That's why he'd go lame for a while, then heal up, repeat. Long time blog readers might remember that this is not Sammy's first orthopedic leg surgery rodeo.  We thought that karma would surely not deal him any more bizarro orthopedic medical problems, right? Well, at least this one is a more common problem. 

He was on fairly strict activity restrictions before the surgery, wherein he got a little bored and developed what some might see as a strange obsession.

Of course we knitters totally understand. The only 'toys' he was entertained with before surgery were skeins, balls, and hanks of yarn.  He'd pounce, shake, and throw them up for himself. And of course a little chewing.

We took him for one last (leashed) hurrah in the snow in Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon. They were having an epic powder day, so we got a little skiing in while Sam rested in the car.

Holding up the leg, but LOVING the snow.

Actually, on the way home from Oregon we hit up the alpaca place again, where I got a second skein of alpaca goodness, this one not from their alpacas but dyed by a local resident. I'll have to take some pics for ya'll because the colors are awesome. Once we got home, Sammy kindly took it out of the bag for me and slobbered all over it. I came upstairs to find him snuggling with it.

So this week we drove him over to Pullman on an extremely foggy Monday, scheduled for surgery the following day. I waited on pins and needles only to find that they had gotten too busy and pushed his surgery back yet another day. We returned on a slightly less foggy Thursday to pick up a partially naked, drugged up but relatively happy puppy.

Did they really have to shave like, half of him?
Now he's on very strict activity restriction, not that he wants to do much of anything right now. He's been pretty pathetic for the past couple of days, and his leg looks brutal with a combination of stitches and colorful bruising. We've been totally babying him, icing the swelling and doing some gentle range of motion exercises. I've been trying to get him to cheer up with some yarn but he's not in much of a playful mood yet. Can this be the last leg surgery, please? Give this pup a break!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ski season has begun!

So the area where I live currently looks like this:

But as of a couple weeks ago, one can drive a couple hours eastward and find this:

Hello, White Pass!

Both humans and animals were pretty excited to see the snow for the first time this year.

It's not necessarily safe to backcountry ski with dogs. They don't understand avalanche danger and can be cut by the ski edges, so we snowshoed around for a while so that puppy boy could join us.

Sammy says: You guys are so slow.

But we couldn't resist taking a ski run. The resort wasn't actually open, so hiking up was our method of transport. We used special strips on the bottom of our skis called 'skins' that allows them to only go forward and not backwards, like cross country skis.

I didn't wear my new hat because I was worried about the holey nature of the band, afraid my precious noggin would get too cold. About halfway up the slope I was really wishing that my hat had some ventilation in it. 

 An hour and a half later at the top:

OK, so it cools down pretty quickly once you stop.

First turns of the year! Choose your line carefully...

The spouse shreds.
A little soup and cracker tailgating at the car, and a little playing ball to close out the day:

Throw again, plz.
It was a good enough time that we had to do it again the next weekend. The weather looked a little different though:

But this time I had the good sense to wear my poofball hat.

Although, I had the opposite problem. At first, my head was indeed too cold and I was wishing I'd stitched a fleece liner into it. But then I of course got cooking as we started hefting ourselves and gear uphill and I enjoyed a little ventilation. It's true what they say, you can't have it all.

Hat stays on, facial expression remains goofy.

Clear skies made the scenery a little more interesting....

Hopefully this will be running soon.

More snow, plz!