Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alvin's Taking the Medical Community by Storm

I want to thank you all again for the heart-felt, lovely comments.  They have been greatly appreciated!  I can't find out a way to post individual comments in response to your comments and so I thank you all very much for each comment.  I think things are getting a bit easier but it is just always going to hurt on some level because he was the dog of a life time.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I don't think there was even a single day that my mom and I didn't talk about what a perfect dog Timmie was.  Every day we marvelled at the fact that he was the perfect combination of everything you could hope for in a dog.  I think sometimes after a person has lost a loved one that they reflect back and either inflate the attributes of the loved one or only learn to fully appreciate the loved one once they are gone.  With Timmie, my mom and I were always aware that he was that one in a million little being and I lost count of how many e-mails I sent to Camp Cocker thanking the founder, Cathy Stanley for saving Timmie and telling her how perfect he was.  There was not even one day that I didn't tell him how wonderful he was and far more often than not, I told him multiple times a day how perfect he was and how grateful I was to have him.  All of that joy and happiness then is part of the pain now but that is just part of the deal and there's no avoiding it.  Some day I am going to write a long post of how and why he was so perfect because he really was quite extraordinary but it's too soon and would be too painful at this point.  So, your comments are particularly helpful and appreciated right now.

My mom is home from the hospital after her knee replacement surgery.  Alvin about busted a gut when he saw her.  I had put him outside when getting her in the house for the first time and when I let him in he ran to her but because her walker was blocking the front of the chair she was sitting in, he leaped up on the side of the chair, got on his back legs, and hung on with his front legs while appearing to be nearly beside himself with happiness.  We have been very fortunate that he is a bit afraid of her walker and manages to stay just far enough away so that he can't trip her.  I told her to try to bump him with it so hopefully he would continue to stay back but when she tried, he panicked and ended up circling himself into the wall, jumped around, got thoroughly confused as to where he was or where to go and finally managed to get the heck out of dodge.  I told her that if he got used to the walker that we put an air horn on the walker that she can use to blast him into submission.  The problem with that idea is that Alvin is not particularly afraid of loud noises.  The dog is nearly afraid of his own shadow but leave it to him to be fairly unfazed by loud noises like most other dogs.  He has had a couple mishaps with the walker, in that he gets so fixated on sniffing it that he becomes oblivious to everything else and he has raised up and bumped his head pretty hard on the bar of the walker......he manages to do this when the walker is stationary. 

When my mom was still in the hospital a physical therapist came in and told us that the number one reason people fall after knee surgery is due to tripping over animals.  Really?  You can imagine the looks on our faces because the guy hadn't even met Alvin and had no idea what were are up against.  Ideally, we would have found a temporary home for Alvin while my mom is here recovering but I could picture him whimpering and circling himself into oblivion and there was no way I could do that to him.  Plus, they sent my mom home with a truck load of very heavy narcotics and I recently watched an episode of the show, Intervention and learned that those types of pills sell on the street for $40.00 a pill.  I figure if he trips her and she injures herself that the doctor will give her even more pills and right now we have about $5,000 worth of pills and so if Alvin trips her, it could potentially be quite a big money maker for us.  Call me Pollyanna because I just keep looking for the bright side of every situation.

Alvin has been very pleased with all of the new people coming in and out of the house.  He always enjoys meeting new people because it provides all kinds of opportunities for him to sniff and circle.  He is a particularly cute dog and so everyone makes a big deal over him and he enjoys playing his approaching/retreated game over and over again.  Of course, he wants to repeatedly put his nose on everything that is brought into the house and between rehab equipment, bags, books, and forms, I am surprised that his nose hasn't developed a callous yet.  On a few occasions I have tried to put him outside when people are coming in and out because he is particularly adept at squeezing through small spaces and trying to make a run for it.  When "trying" to put him out, he sees me coming and I have ended up looking like an idiot while chasing him all around the house as he tried his best to get away from me.  Usually when I have to chase him, he is easily caught because he has to run in the same pattern and I can just cut him off at the pass but his newest trick is that he has learned to run away like a real dog and it has been a challenge to catch him.  This has resulted in me doing that uncomfortable fake smile and laugh while excusing myself for having to jump over their equipment and bags to try to catch the little devil.  When I do catch him, he manages to put on the breaks like no other dog I have known.  Usually dogs just brace their back legs and because I have a tile floor, I can just slide them across the floor if necessary.  But Alvin has developed his own resistance and manages to plant all four legs, with most of his weight on his front legs.  This results in a much sturdier stance and when trying to slide him, he keeps those front legs planted and starts tipping forward as though he is going to face plant into the floor if I keep pulling.  It is clearly a game of chicken and I always flinch first because I think he would possibly keep planted until he landed on his nose.  I don't want to have to call Camp Cocker and try to explain why their dog has a broken nose and busted out teeth.  Alvin just so enjoys being a part of the rehab show that goes on in the house.  Meanwhile, Stevie who has recently located the areas that my cat tends to go outside to poop.  Maddie, the cat doesn't help matters because of strong desire to be just like the dogs and squats, goes potty and then walks away from it without bothering to bury it.  I have a large back yard with a fair amount of plants and shrubbery and so more often than not, Stevie manages to sniff it out before I can find it.  Stevie has taken to going out, eating the poop, and coming back in to lie next to the physical therapist every time she gets on the floor to work with my mom, while trying to suck the poop out of her teeth. She also tends to be a bit of a gassy dog and tends to leave frequent parting gifts before walking away as though she wasn't the one to do it. It's a ridiculous circus and I imagine that all these people are going back to work to draw straws to determine who has to be the unlucky worker to come out to Canine Toon Town. My mom just keeps reminding everyone that they are foster dogs because I don't think she wants people to think that we were responsible for creating such "unique" dogs.  I was encouraged when the physical therapist today said that if she wanted a dog she would want Stevie because if someone is interested in her with her cat poop breath and her gassy parting gifts then there is hope yet. I did silently question the physical therapist's sense of smell though.  I thought maybe she should take Alvin instead because when (not if) he trips her she can administer the necessary physical therapy on herself.....always thinking.

Like every other animal I have been around, Alvin has always been particularly drawn to my mom but now that she is back from the hospital, he spends a great deal of time staying close and just staring at her.  I caught myself spending far too much time staring at him while he stared at her because I am amazed at how he can sit and stare and I was trying to figure out what was so darn interesting about my mom sitting in a chair watching TV.  I don't know what it is but he literally stares at her for hours and looks to be so very happy to do so.  I took my mom on two walks outside today, which consists of her walking slowly with the assistance of her walker and me staying right next to her.  Alvin so wants to go with us but because he tends to make circles around me to the point of binding my legs together with his leash, I figured that he should stay put in the house and we will only take him with us if we need an excuse to get more of those fancy pills.  Keep in mind, that dear Alvin is supposed to be not even half way through his cage rest, which was abandoned long ago because of that whole cage fiasco I had previously written at length about.  The good news is that he seems to be staying in one of his beds and sleeping far more than in the past.  I try to keep the house as boring as possible so there is nothing else to do but sleep and with the exception of the people coming in and out of the house, that has been pretty successful.  You know your life could use more spice in it when a high anxiety dog gets bored enough to sleep due to there nothing being more exciting to observe.  I fool myself into believing that I could be so much more exciting if I wanted to and I am sacrificing my excitement for a dog but in reality, I am very easily able to bore dogs to the point of sleep. 

I think all of the activity yesterday wore Alvin out because he ended up going into the bedroom at 7:30 last night and put himself to bed.  He is so cute when he puts himself to bed for the night because once he's committed to it, he usually stays asleep for long periods of time.  He did manage to pull himself away from his slumber at one point to come out and watch my mom watching TV.  I can't seem to interest him like that but apparently I am no competition against a 60-something, nearly immobile woman with a walker.  There has to be a support group out there to help with one's self esteem when coming to the discouraging realization that you are far less appealing than the lady with a walker.  My mom must have an unusually high pain tolerance because the medical personnel had all told her that she would have quite a bit of pain once she got home and off the IV pain meds.  They had told her that she would probably need to take a fair amount of the narcotic pain pills.  In actuality, she has taken very few but when she does take them she gets loopy and she and Alvin seem to really understand each other on a whole other, deeper level.  She tends to giggle at him and talk to him while he keeps coming up and putting his front paws on her chair or her bed while gazing at her.  This is a big no-no because he shouldn't be putting that amount of weight on his back legs but it's difficult to interfere in what appears to be the only time that a human totally understands Alvin.  Just imagine if they were both on the meds because they would probably be barking at each other, while solving the world's problems.  I am realizing that I am merely a supporting actress in the story of my life.  Clearly the true stars have four legs and one of them lives for eating poop. 


  1. Here's something sort of related: I used to walk my friend's cocker named Chammie. She lived near where I work - in between 2 hospitals and many nursing homes. Chammie loved tennis balls almost as much as she loved her dinner, you almost never saw her without one in her mouth. Well, you know how people put tennis balls on the legs of their walkers to make them slide easier? Chammie would run up to old ladies and old men old the sidewalk and try to steal the tennis ball right off the front of their walker. It was pretty cute, and as long as she didn't knock anyone over we cheered her on. Good thing Alvin doesn't have a tennis ball fetish or he might go spin the people around as he circled.

  2. I just love this post - I laughed out loud .
    Janet keep this up and you will find a book in there
    I mean it !
    Keep em coming !

    Janet G