Work has been really crazy the last few weeks and this is the first morning, weekends or otherwise, that I haven't been at my computer by 6am. Normally, I'm a night owl, but since the Wee Monster gets me up early for bathroom breaks and then wears me out so I'm crashing by 9.30, working early suddenly seems to suit me. Anyway, deadline successfully passed, I wanted to take some time this morning to breath, relax and reflect.
The new house feels more like home, but I'm still struggling with the lack of storage and we still have stacks of boxes standing around. We've been watching Tiny House Nation and I've decided that, short of losing everything in a bush fire and having to start from scratch, I am now living in the smallest space I could cope with. I've had a few breaks from the computer to walk dogs and the neighbourhood is starting to feel like home at least. Every day driving home from work I look at Mt Dandenong and ponder going for a walk under the gum trees, but as yet, no time. Maybe next month.
The weather has been crazy spring weather, stinking hot, drenching rain, freezing cold, all on random repeat. Makes it hard to do things with the dogs, but last weekend I was determined to take Czar back to Sunday morning obedience, even though it was really wet.
When Wee Monster got me up, I went to let the dogs out of their crates - yes, they've happily transitioned to crate sleeping and middle of the night wake ups are really rare. I unlatched Bolo, Frankie, Czar and Ishka, working my way along the row. I was still standing in front of Czar's crate when I opened Ishka's and as he got up, he screamed.
Now, from Bolo the chatterbox, this would have gotten minimal reaction, but Czar is our least verbal dog, so he had my attention immediately. I wasn't alarmed, because we have had the dogs catch toes on the bottom of the crate's door frame and it gives them a nasty wrench. But Czar repeated this twice more as he tried to get out of the crate, which I thought was odd. We then all moved out to the back door - Czar was in front of the pack and Bolo ran into his hips and pushed him against the door. The scrum pushed more from behind and Czar screamed again. That really got my attention - the contact hadn't been overly hard. I got the door open and they all tumbled out into the backyard.
I called out to J, rushing to grab my glasses to better see what was going on. J came outside with me and at first Czar seemed ok - normal squatting and leg lifting - but there was another cry as he turned and headed back to us. I ran my hands very lightly down either side and got more moans and cries. J called Czar to him so we could watch him walk and after the first lap, Czar tried to hide behind my legs. This was all really unusual. Clearly his "lower" back, hips and thighs were sore, but there was no sign of injury or clear damage.
We discussed options. It was very early Sunday morning. Vets weren't open yet. Sunday consults are expensive. The chiropractor vet and the vet who did Ishka's TPLO surgeries wouldn't be available. We've had some disappointing efforts with young and inexperienced (and one older, highly experienced) vets over the last couple of years, and we weren't rushing to try someone new. We decided to give Czar a dose of anti inflammatories and see if it resolved itself or could wait til Monday.
Czar sat on the floor with me for a little while and then took himself back to his crate. An hour or so later, he went to get out and started screaming again. We coaxed him out for a drink of water, and rang the clinic that did Ishka's surgeries.
The vet on duty wasn't a callow faced newby, so I sighed with relief. Czar danced around like there was nothing wrong, rubbing himself along the vet nurse's legs and smiling up at her, until she stroked his lower back. The vet got the same response. He questioned us closely and examined Czar thoroughly. Czar moaned about every contact and screamed when pressure was applied. The vet asked us if Czar usually carried on, trying to gauge the level of pain he was in, and we confessed that we had no idea - Czar has never had a serious injury before. If Bolo had been making that much noise, we would have probably assumed there was some exaggeration, but Ishka has ripped both ACLs with barely a yelp.
The vet suggested a possible prolapsed disc and sent us home with more anti inflammatories and some Valium, to come back on Tuesday for an X-ray under sedation. Czar was to have crate rest and not to muck around.
We moved Czar into Ishka's (larger) crate on Sunday and the meds seemed to mellow him out. Bolo was pretty upset at being separated, kept standing at the crate door and yammering at Czar. At first, Czar just wanted to lie still and doze, but in the evening he came back from a toilet break and put himself into Frankie's crate, stretching out back to back with Bolo next door.
On Monday, Czar seemed heaps better. J started questioning the need for the x-ray and I kept pointing out that I wasn't qualified to make that call. Work was crazy and I just wanted to stick to the professional's plan. On Tuesday, J took Czar in and expressed his concern about the sedation and x-ray. The vet examined him again and agreed that the pain seemed to have cleared up completely, far more than just meds masking the pain. There was no sign of any issue in the spine- possibly the problem had been more muscular than first expected, cleared up by the muscle relaxant allowing things to unkink. New plan - wait to see if the pain returned, reschedule the x-ray if needed.
Over the rest of the week, Czar has happily gotten up and down, in and out without a squeak. Work has plowed on and the weather has been on random repeat.
So today has been a time to breath. Sleep in, pat dogs, potter round the house. Tomorrow we will head back to obedience. Fingers crossed.