I am happy to report that Alvin is sleeping far more and therefore, is staying off his feet much more. We went to the vet on Thursday and he thought that his legs looked great. This vet was very pessimistic about him having the surgery because his knees were so bad that he didn't think anyone could adequately correct them. When he saw him on Thursday he just kept looking at them and kept saying how impressed he was. I really value my vet's opinion and it helped make the horrible past few days worth it........well, not worth it but it helped. He got his fenantyl patch off and will continue on his anti-inflammatory and sedatives. I would hope we wouldn't have to do the sedatives much longer but I just don't know how to keep this little guy off his feet otherwise. What he needs to do is to get up to go potty, go to the bathroom, walk around for no more than five minutes and then lie down again. I can't manage anything close to that even on sedatives. I would need a dart gun to get those results but we will stay with the sedatives for now. The vet told me that the sedative is very good if given before the anxiety sets in but if it's given after the anxiety starts then they tend not to be able to calm down. Since hearing this very crucial information I have been giving it to him at regular intervals he has been much calmer. I look at him all curled up in a comfy bed, sleeping peacefully and I think it looks like a pretty good life. They needed to give a human version of that when sending Alvin home with me.
I recently posted on a cocker spaniel board called Zim forum when I was in the depths of despair as to how to get Alvin to quit doing his best impression of a circus poodle throughout my house. I got so many amazing suggestions and I so regret having not posted there when I first got him. I got a lot of suggestions from people who work with autistic children and because Alvin does indeed appear to be autistic, I think many of the techniques will work for Alvin also. To carry out these ideas I have to leave the house to go get the supplies and other than taking Alvin to the vet, I have not left the house. I hear it's been sunny outside. Alvin has made significant progress but some of the techniques could be very helpful with helping him further.
Camp Cocker did send me a calming collar today and we will see if that helps. He certainly smells good with it on and if it doesn't help him, I'm going to wear it. Maybe I'll just stay really close to him and see if I get a contact calm.
When Alvin is on the sedatives it is a bit of a painful reminder of what he isn't able to do when "normal". When he is sedated I can pet him all over his body and pick him up without causing him any stress. Last night I laid my head on him while he was sleeping. It felt so nice and I found myself wishing that he could naturally be about 20% calmer so that he could enjoy being touched more often. He does now readily let me scratch under his chin and chest and will often come to me and seek it out. He also sleeps nearly on top of me at night. This is major progress and I don't take it for granted but I want more for him. When we go to the dog park and he shows an interest in another dog I always get so hopeful and excited. Inevitably, he wanders off into his own world. I have so often wondered if this is a fraction of what mom's of autistic children feel like when taking their kids to the playground. I have found that having Alvin in my life has made me more aware, more sensitive, and more compassionate. As I said in the beginning, I knew that I would get more out of this experience than he would, and I truly have. I just know there is someone else out there that would benefit from the lessons only Alvin can teach. He's a very patient teacher.
Recently the founder of Camp Cocker talked to me about it being a challenge to ever find Alvin an adoptive home and she was kind of wondering if I would end up adopting him. It's interesting because I love Alvin and I don't think it is possible for me to care more about him. I am sort of surprised that he hasn't been adopted yet. That probably sounds ridiculous considering that most people want a dog they can actually touch (go figure) but he is just the sweetest, most innocent soul and I would think a lot of people would want a dear little being like him in their lives and homes. I think that with his knees fixed and after his physical rehab that someone is going to want to adopt him. I don't want to adopt Alvin by default, meaning I adopt him because no one else will take him. He is more valuable than that. I want him to go to a home because someone specifically chooses him over all other dogs. With that said, it is going to be very difficult to see him go and part of me hopes he never does. Shoot, most of me hopes that he never does, but I made the commitment from the start of fostering that I was not going to adopt any of my foster dogs because then my slot is closed. The amount of additional dogs that can be saved throughout the years with the slot remaining open is potentially quite a few. Selfishly, I would really like to adopt Alvin and Stevie and call it a day but when I think of the fact that 10 cockers are going into the LA area shelters each day and about half aren't making it out alive, I need to keep my commitment to fostering. But why did I end up landing two of the sweetest, most challenging to adopt foster dogs? Just my luck! But I do promise you that I will be at the human doctor asking for whatever Alvin had, to sedate me through my near hysteria when he leaves. You will all have to stop reading this because I won't have Alvin and it will turn into some weird diatribe of missing him. My hope is that his new mom will want to post here periodically and take over the blog. Otherwise, how are any of us going to go through life without Alvin in our lives? But no worries of that yet because Alvin is right here, curled up in a dog bed and he looks like a little fawn. In these moments I nearly forget how hard the first six days were......almost. So far it's nine days down and only 10 weeks and two days to go. Heaven help us all! The poor guy is going to end up wearing 10 calming collars at once and me swallowing his bottle of sedatives in one sitting, which due to the weight difference will probably only relax one of my legs.