Friday, September 5, 2008

In This Episode: Nobody Dies! -- UPDATED WITH PICS!


I’ve been at kind of a writing lull for the last couple of weeks. I’m in the middle of a
Times episode, but I’ve written myself into a corner that I didn’t expect to hit, and I’m trying to figure the way out. This is actually a good situation because it forces a writer to be inventive and examine new ways to resolve a story. So I’m doing that as I write this.

I also thought,
after blogging so much about death recently -- our dear Tucker, my pal Robbie – that I’d turn a little non-Times space over to some good news for a change. It’s especially good because September 10 will be the first anniversary of Tucker’s passing. We still miss him terribly, we still fight back tears, but recent events have reminded us how much we love the “sister” he left behind.

Shalla (named for the Silver Surfer’s lost girlfriend, by me) is our terrier mix. We adopted her a year after we adopted Tucker so he'd have company. But she hates other dogs. ALL other dogs. we didn't know this until we got her home, though She and Tucker rarely got along; I often feel guilty for bringing her into the house and stressing him out. But on her own, she’s a sweetie. She’s three years younger than Tucker, based on her shelter records.

This makes her about 12-13, or 69-70 in human y
ears. She’s an old lady, but as anyone who’s been at the other end of her leash can tell you, she’s strong. Strong enough to show her displeasure at being crated last year by walking the crate out of the living room, around a corner, and down the hall, until she hit a wall.

The crate started in front of the couch, here. Move it left about four feet and forward about six to eight feet and you'll end up...

Here, where Shalla ended up. (This is where, and how, we found her.)

Here's a detail of where she shoved her snoot through the bars to move forward. One of these bars ultimately fell off. She is STILL that strong.

So, she tore what’s called a cruciate ligament in a rear leg that day and, astonishingly, healed very nicely without so much as a limp.

This year, though – and we have no idea how – she tore the same ligament in the other rear leg. This time, it was a complete tear, one that required surgery last week. We were very concerned for several reasons:

1. Shalla hates going to the vet hospital. She’s been there numerous times for exams and boarding, but she shakes like a leaf and is ready to tunnel through the foundation during every visit.
This isn't very helpful to the doctors or techs who have to deal with her (never-realized) bite potential.

2. The surgery was $$$$, and we had to wonder if it was worth going through much financial strain – or worth the stress of surgery and recovery -- for a dog her age. (The attending surgeon dispelled that idea quickly, proclaiming her amazingly fit for a dog of her years.)

3. The surgery was routine, but with the anniversary of Tucker’s death approaching, we feared something might happen – like Shalla working herself into shock on the table – that would take her from us.

I am pleased/relieved to report that Shalla has been home for a week now and is progressing nicely. She’s actually walking on her repaired limb tentatively, but with growing confidence. We still have to walk her out in the yard on a leash for bathroom breaks. However, unlike Tucker during his hip replacement surgeries, Shalla is encouraged to walk on the leg when we go out. The max is five minutes, but she’s usually back in the house of her own desire in about one minute. Best of all, after going without an appetite or food for about a week, she’s finally eating meals and biscuits again, a sure sign that we’ve dodged another canine apocalypse for now.

Like I said, some good news for a change. I think Tucker would approve. Then he'd ask me why I wasn’t getting back to work on the script.

So, if you will excuse me, my dog and I will return to my corner.

-- L.

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