Tugger Update

Did I mention that Tugger only has three legs now?  Actually, I know I haven’t, but I’ve been thinking about this post for a while.  Then I would remember that I don’t have any good pictures of her and I would put it off.  But today I got some nice pictures of her on a beautiful fall day.

About a year ago, Tugger started limping one weekend when Pat’s brother was visiting.  It was only for a weekend and we thought she got a little too excited and hurt herself.  Then her limp came back and her “knee” joint on her left front leg started to look swollen.  We visited with our veterinarian every two weeks for a while and finally took an x-ray.  He recommended we visit an orthopedic surgeon and gave us two to check out.

We went to one surgeon and decided he wasn’t the one for us.  The other surgeon was further away but we finally visited him.  He was pretty sure it was a localized cancer and that about the only solution would be to remove the leg.  I was pretty shocked by this…it hadn’t really crossed my mind that she was going to lose the leg.  I thought he would be able to just remove the tumor but it was eating into the bone and there was no way to take just the tumor.

So, we scheduled the surgery and Tugger officially became a tripod in March.  From the time of our initial visit to the vet until the surgery, Tugger’s ability to use the leg had become less and less.  She was basically hopping around without using it and it was obvious she was in pain if she had to use the leg.

Intently watching the neighbor take down Halloween decorations

The first week post surgery was a little more difficult than I expected.  We were trying to keep her quiet and keep her from licking the incision site and fluid was still seeping out of the site.  It seemed like it would take forever to heal.  Tugger didn’t really have any problems getting around but every time she moved she would start leaking fluid.  She spent most of the time in the crate and we spent a lot of time saying, “No licking, Tugger.”  Luckily she couldn’t reach all of the incision and would just lick around the edge of it a bit.  I tried getting her a cone but when she had it on, she was too active in trying to get it off and she wouldn’t settle down.  It was easier for her to just stay in her crate and she didn’t lick much while she was in there.

After two weeks, the incision was healed and Tugger was getting around fine! She had her energy back and was ready to get out for some walks.  It is amazing how well she got around with her three legs. Even after only two weeks, if you saw her from her good side, you wouldn’t even know she was missing a leg.

8 months after the surgery, Tugger and I now go for runs together, she has been swimming and she has most of her endurance back from before she started to get sick.  Sometimes people will stare at us and I will wonder what they are looking at until I remember that I have a dog with three legs.  Other times people will see Tugger and not even notice she’s missing a leg until some time has passed and then they’ll do a double-take.

I took the picture above not too long after her surgery.  I thought it was kind of strangely funny that it looked like she also lost her head.  But she didn’t…it’s just under the bed.

Tugger has only escaped the house without a leash one time since she got sick.  She ran around for a minute and then she actually came right back to me.  Phew!  Hopefully this means there will be no more chases around the neighborhood or calls to animal control.  Although it made for an entertaining story, I’d prefer not to do it again.  On the other hand, she has gotten so sneaky about trying to get food off the counter.  I have to make sure that I have things up on the high portion of the counter or shoved all the way into a corner where she can’t reach!  She gets right up on her back legs with her front paw on the counter to see what she can get.


A Different Perspective

This is a post from Tugger tonight.

Someone had to get a post written so I “pawed” up to the job.  No posts this last weekend because once again the family went on another vacation.  They’ve been gone a lot this summer.  But I got to go to the kennel and play with my “friends” as the kids call them.  I don’t even really know the other dogs’ names, but we enjoy sniffing and chasing and doing dog things together.  The problem is after I leave the kennel…I’m wiped for days.  I’ve just been laying around sleeping all day.  Jack came down to say good morning to me at some godawful hour and I just pretended I was still asleep.  I moseyed down to the kitchen for breakfast though.  I don’t like to miss any meals or scraps that I might be able to steal from the kids, or off the counter.  Did Teresa ever tell you I managed to get Jack’s birthday cake one day?

Anyway, I guess everyone had a good time in Ocean City while I was at the kennel.  Jack keeps talking about going to the beach and playing in the water and playing in the pool and some pirate restaurant that they went to.  Casey just keeps clomping around in her princess heels that she missed while they were away.  Their toys are everywhere…I have to watch where I step.

I think there is some kind of storm coming this weekend and Jenn is coming too.  When I was a puppy and she came to visit us in Annapolis, I got so excited that I just passed out on the floor.  True story.  They were all worried that I was having a seizure, but I just got really really excited until I fell on the floor.  One other time, Teresa’s friend Aaron was over and I got really excited again.  This time, I jumped into Jack’s crib.  Seriously…over the rail and everything.  I’m not sure who was more amazed, them or me.  Had a tough time getting back out though.  Needed a little help with that.

Before I head up to watch Rachel Zoe, I leave you with some pictures of me…I got to travel a little this summer too.  I can still curl up in the front seat of the car but I really liked sticking my head out the window at red lights.  That was really great until we got back up to about 55 mph…and then I pulled my head back in, hoping for another light soon.

Staying Out Late

I just shut, locked and dead bolted my front door. I may have to write that every night after walking the dog so I can hold myself accountable. There may have been another incident with Tugger and the front door. And I mean that literally because I’m not even sure if anything happened.

Here are the facts…
1. I was sick most of the day Sunday, pretty sure I had locked the door earlier, and so I stumbled up to bed. Didn’t give it another thought.
2. Watched The Next Food Network Star, realized I was starving, made emergency bag of popcorn and finally fell into deep heavy sleep of exhaustion.
3. Dog woke me up at 5am with some strange noises. Sounded like she was excited about something. I immediately pictured the front door open and her running out of the house. Didn’t hear any wind so I decided that hadn’t happened and went back to sleep.
4. At 7:30am, found the front door blown open a couple feet. Sighed a huge sigh at the prospect of hunting down my dog again. Fed Jack his breakfast and went upstairs to put some shoes on, wondering whether I should drive around in my car to try to find her.
4. Neighborhood looks so calm and quiet. No one is out. I peered out the window for several minutes trying to seeing Tugger running around.
5. Thought I should go yell for her and offer her breakfast in hopes that she would come running but then decided I would check the guest room instead, just to make sure that she wasn’t sleeping in there.
6. Intense relief when I found her passed out on the bed. She could barely open one eye to acknowledge me she was so tired.
7. Tugger slept all day long…she barely moved. Acted like she’d been running for maybe hours.
So…I suspect that she may have gone out for a nice run under the cover of darkness and just let herself back in through the front door, which was still open. And maybe I’ll just leave the door open for her next time and that will be the trick to getting her back inside. It’s worth a few extra bugs and the AC working a little harder if I don’t spend hours chasing the dog around the neighborhood. Because I’m just going to face the fact that even though she is in no way an escape artist, she will eventually get out again. But I will once again vow not to let it happen.
Anyone who has read my blog knows that Tugger has already gotten out a few times in the past, like on this day in May and this day in May. But, to be honest, I didn’t even post about a day recently where she got out twice in one day. And right after I finally got her back in, Animal Control drove by. That could be a story for another day…or not.
Looking on the brighter side of things, it was an escape-free June. And we’re sending her to Matt & Kelly’s during our upcoming vacation. Good luck to them. The ironic thing is that she didn’t get out as much until she got her own backyard in which she can run around at any time. Then again, there weren’t any three year olds who were able to open doors and crates either.
I also just added a picture of Tugger on the side, since she stars in so many of these posts. I thought it best to go with a really cute one of her with Jack as a baby. Despite her desire to run free as often as possible, she really is a great dog and she has always been wonderful with the kids, even in the days when Jack thought it was great recreation to hit her often with a hockey stick.


It happened again…

We didn’t have anything planned Friday morning so I decided we should go for a walk.  Getting Jack back upstairs to change his clothes after breakfast is not an easy task.  I finally got him clothed, but he ran back downstairs while I was getting myself dressed.  
I heard him saying something about “my present” and I assumed he was talking about his big floor mat with all the roads on it.  I yelled down to him that it was in the closet.  
A few minutes later, as I was on my way downstairs, I heard him saying Tugger was running to someone’s house.  I thought he had his floor mat out and his tiny toy Tugger and was playing on it.
Seconds later, I saw the front door open.  
From what I could gather, Jack opened the door because he saw a bag on the front porch that I had left for a charity to pick up.  He apparently thought it was a present for him so he unlocked AND unbolted the door and went out.  Tugger took the opportunity to go out as well.
And the chase was on.
I put the kids in the stroller and armed myself with a leash and some treats.  We started to follow Tugger around.  She decided to go for a swim in the little pond near our house.  I went to grab a tennis ball in case I could get her to play a game of fetch in the water and get her to come back to me.  As soon as I got the ball, she was on to check out a new backyard.
People down the street were waiting for me to catch her.  There was a little boy out waiting for the bus and I think he was afraid of Tugger.  Tugger didn’t go anywhere near the boy but I was feeling like an idiot because I couldn’t get my dog.
Before we left the house to begin the chase, I told Jack that I was very, very unhappy and that he should never open the front door and let Tugger out again.  Every time Tugger came close to us, Jack asked, “Are you happy now, Mommy?”  And every time, I told him I wasn’t happy until Tugger was back on a leash or in our house.
The whole time I was trying to get her, we were getting further and further from our house.  
Giving her bacon treats to lure her to me no longer works.  She knows what will happen when she gets close enough to me.
She ended up heading down the street to our friends’ house.  Luckily Shannon was out watering her flowers.  After Tugger scared the crap out of Shannon, we were able to lure Tugger into her fenced backyard where she finally surrendered.  
And I told Jack that I was finally happy.  Except for the blisters on my feet from the extra walking I didn’t intend to do.  And this recurring problem of my dog escaping.  I wish I knew how to fix the fact that once she does get out, she won’t return.  Because I’m all out of tricks.

Early Dog Morning

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just saw my dog, my real dog, running down the street chasing the newspaper person on his bike.  It is 4:50am.  
At 4:12am, I heard barking and realized it was my dog.  Wondering why she was barking in the backyard at such an hour, I headed downstairs to find out.  Turns out, she was in the front yard, having let herself out the front door which was standing wide open, due to some wind that was blowing as I fell asleep.  And due to the fact that I didn’t dead bolt it.  
She was barking at a frog or some small animal that was in the bushes.  I got her to stop barking, but then her running free-for-all started and she took off.  There is no point in chasing her.  Eventually she gets tired and comes back to the house and I offer a little trail of treats, a la Hansel and Gretel, and she comes back into the house.
But, chasing the newspaper guy???  How far is she going to chase him?  I’m not worried that she will hurt him, but it would certainly be scary seeing an 65-lb Boxer dog bearing down on you at full speed.  I don’t think she has the stamina she used to have, but how far away from the house will she be when she realizes this?  Here I was, thinking at least there were no people around at 4 am for her to be bothering.  So wrong was I.  
I had decided to come into the house and lay on the couch for a while until she barked again.  Then I realized I wasn’t going to sleep and got up and it was at that moment that I saw her sprinting after the bike.  I wish I hadn’t seen it so I could think that she is running around behind our neighbors’ houses and not in the more general area of the city of Chesapeake.  Which is only one of the largest land mass cities in the US.
Last night she took a piece of pizza right off the counter while I was standing there.  Suffice it to say, I am not so happy with this dog right now.  Hopefully I can post an update soon that doesn’t involve a trip to the pound on Mother’s Day.  Did I mention she doesn’t have a collar on and that I have the paperwork to register her sitting right here on my desk?  How often do you think the paper boy has dogs chasing him? 
Okay, it’s now 5:36am and Tugger has returned to the neighborhood.  I have spent the last 20 minutes trying to lure her into the house and she’s not taking as well to the little trail of Beggin’ Strips as I might have liked.  I’ve had her in the house but as soon as she gets her treat she backtracks outside.  I just tried to grab her and she got away.  But, at least I know she’s here and I can hopefully get her inside soon.  Probably not soon enough to salvage some sleep though.