I think it was a good thing for all of us that Butch spent last night at the animal hospital. This time he looked really good when we picked him up, and there was none of the disorientation that worried me so much the last two times. Allowing time for the anesthesia to wear off made a world of difference.
Kim went with me to pick him up this morning, so her dogs, Lucy and Winston, were here with Kadi to greet Butch when we brought him home. It was really touching to see how solicitous they were of him, checking him out from head to tail, sniffing him all over and licking him gently on the face.
We let all the dogs outside soon after we got home, and they scattered in different directions to find the perfect places to do their business. When Butch started to come back in, his bearings were a few degrees off. He was headed straight for the fence, about two feet to his right from the patio he was aiming for, and he was trotting at a pretty good clip. My calls for him to stop didn't slow him down a bit, but Kadi heard me call. She saw what was happening and ran to intercept Butch, putting her body between him and the fence, nudging his nose with hers, and stopping him just in the nick of time. That was pretty cool to see.
On most days Kadi's interest in Butch appears to be limited to making sure she gets on the sofa before he does, keeping an eye on the treats to be sure hers is no smaller than his, and monitoring other issues that smack of sibling rivalry. Today, though, she's kept an eye on him. When she hears him whimper (and he's been doing a lot of whimpering today), she stands over him and touches him with her nose, gently checking out first his head, then his paws, trying to determine what's hurting him. Then she looks at me, her expression clearly saying, "Do something."
And so I do something. The only thing I've discovered that stops Butch's whimpering is rubbing his belly. He's spent the better part of the day lying at my feet, mostly on his back, and I've spent those same hours watching Hallmark movies on TV while scissoring my feet back and forth from his chin all the way to his inner thighs.
My proudest moment today was when Butch went to the back door and asked to be let out, then walked to the back of the yard, circled around, and pooped. It was a scrawny little poop (he hasn't eaten much since yesterday), but poop it was, and he controlled when and where it happened. I have since scratched "incontinence" off my list of concerns.
Butch isn't due for more pain medication for a couple of hours yet, but he stopped whimpering about half an hour ago, and I'm hoping his pain is finally easing up. Right now he's sleeping soundly, and all I can think as I watch him is how much I'd like to be flexible enough to bend all the way to floor level and give him a great big smooch on those black patent-leather lips.
(First published at Velvet Sacks on July 19, 2008.)