So You Slept With Your Dog

Despite my many years in veterinary school, I was unaware dogs had an ACL (or CCL, cranial cruciate ligament, if you want to get pedantic). You know who was also unaware dogs had an ACL? Our dog. Six year old American Eskimo mix, Cheyenne. So, when in the course of canine frivolity, Cheyenne tore her ACL, it was just one of many surprises she experienced in that moment.

Cheyenne was born to fetch. We taught her, I believe, at 4 months, and she hadn’t stopped. She’s the type of dog that will run herself to exhaustion if you let her. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a dog stumble around like a drunk person and then fall over, but I have, and it’s half funny and 80% horrifying.

We think she partially tore her ACL a few months ago. After a few rounds of fetch, Cheyenne would start limping, favoring a hind leg. The limp would eventually go away, and the next time she fetched, she’d run at full speed like nothing was wrong.

As time went on, the limp got worse, so we took her to the vet. They said she had early onset hip dysplasia. So we took her to another vet. They said she had a bad back. So we took her to another vet. That vet was a surgeon, and he pushed the bones of Cheyenne’s legs apart right in front of Dom. I’m glad I wasn’t there.

So Cheyenne got surgery. Something called a Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, which is commonly abbreviated as $$$$. She came home with an undercut, a bunch of stitches, and of course, the dreaded cone of shame.

Cheyenne doesn’t do cones. Cheyenne is a princess. Princesses don’t do cones.

And yet, the advice from the vet was don’t let her lick her wounds or she’ll die.

So, even though we knew she wouldn’t like it, we put Cheyenne in her crate, popped on the collar, and turned out the lights. She slept for a couple hours.

Then the panting started. Then the whining started.

Throughout the night, we tried various combinations of being in the crate and out of the crate and on a bed and on the floor and none of it made a lick of difference. Cheyenne was hyperventilating herself into a tizzy.

Finally, around 2 a.m., we put a blanket down on the floor, took Cheyenne’s cone off, and I laid down next to her. To keep her from getting to her wounds, I wrapped a towel around the lower half of her body. To keep her from trying to get around the towel, I slipped my hand inside her collar and slept like that, if you can call the constant dozing and waking “sleep.”

It reminded me a lot of when Matador was born. Up all night, wanting to sleep… But at least when we were taking care of a newborn, we didn’t have to camp out on the floor where bugs are known to sometimes live.

So, today I’m rather tired, and Cheyenne is rather indignant about having to wear her cone. But it’s one day down, 6 to 8 more weeks to go. And if have to sleep on the floor every night just so my princess pup is comfortable, then so be it.

Nothing’s so bad it can’t be worse.

Wayne

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