Hopefully only a temporary big brother but I get the sinking feeling it might be otherwise. We got a shiny new foster dog, Gracie. Gracie was an owner turn in after clearly having been left in someones backyard for the first year of her life and was born with horrible knees. Unfortunately, the owner let her live like this for a year, which has led to all kinds of complications because she was growing and it has caused significant damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Camp Cocker (God bless them) got her out of the shelter and she had double knee surgery but she now requires extensive physical therapy if there is any hope of correcting some of the damage. How did I get her? There is no physical therapy place in San Luis Obispo, which is where Camp Cocker is located and I took one look at the videos below and knew that someone had to help her. Initially, she was only going to stay here during the 4-6 weeks of physical therapy but now we know that her condition is far more complicated and will take longer to help correct. Also, she is very people oriented and there's no way I can send her back to boarding after her physical therapy is completed and so she will stay with us until she gets adopted.........adopted by someone other than me.
I provided a link to when she was first rescued from the shelter, a video of her right after her knee surgery, and a few seconds of video of her first session of physical therapy. She is currently going to physical therapy three times a week. The therapy place, Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland is comprised of all kinds of specialists and not only are they just wonderful people but they are giving Camp Cocker a 20% discount. Of course it's still costing a ton of money but without it, Gracie's muscles and tendons would continue to constrict and she would face a lifetime of pain. She is a particularly sweet, gentle, joyful girl and is worth all the effort and money. She is the easiest dog I have ever fostered.........fostered being the key word. I am already seeing that it's going to be a challenge to find her an adoptive home but boy, is she a sweet, affectionate, easy dog!
I thought Alvin would have responded better to a new addition than he has. I should have taken his not so subtle cue when the night before she arrived I told him he was going to get to be a big brother and he stomped both of his paws and bit at the air.......I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Gracie is even more submissive than Alvin, which I had to see to believe because I didn't know that was possible. Unfortunately, this resulted in Gracie trying to follow Alvin around but because Alvin is so submissive (and autistic) he needs to be the one to follow. When she tries to follow him, he gets scared and runs away. I was hoping he would just go into his tight circles and then he wouldn't know who was the follower and who was the leader.
I had to slightly rearrange the furniture at first and that threw poor Alvin nearly into a permanent loop. He communicated his displeasure by going to the bathroom in the house for a few days and then walking around muttering most of the day. We were able to put the furniture back but he continues to be off. We have lengthened our bedtime ritual and so I spend about 20 minutes at night in bed with me praising him and scratching him. He started going to grandma's house today for some one on one time but it resulted in him refusing to leave the kitchen and just staring at where the meat had been for nearly an hour. We have had to greatly reduce his treats at grandma's, as well as here, because when Gracie arrived, I was struck with how much bigger Alvin is than her. Gracie is a cocker spaniel and only weighs 14 pounds and Alvin looked big as a house next to her. I realized that I have been in nearly pathological denial that my little boy has become a big chub. I realized that I was like that mother who has an obviously overweight kid and just keeps saying, oh, he's just a little husky. I haven't groomed him for quite some time and had it in my mind that he was just fluffy. I weighed him and let's just say that I would be more inclined to type my weight here than Alvin's. It is so embarrassing when a pet is overweight because it's entirely the owners fault. We are starting on his little diet, which has resulted in disgusted muttering on his part.
I realized I probably traumatized Alvin to no end last night. I have always preferred male dogs because I find that they often come with far less drama. I was looking around the house last night and realized that between Stevie, Maddie, Gracie, and me that Alvin's the only male in the house. I told him that he was now the man of the house but later realized that not only does it border on crazy that I am talking to a dog and terming him the man of the house, but had Alvin been able to understand me, he must think everything is going to hell in a hand basket if he's in charge.
I am certain there is much more to report but I will close for now. If you know of anyone who is dying to donate to a very worthy charity, please refer them to www.campcocker.com because I can almost hear the ching chings every time we arrive at physical therapy. God bless Camp Cocker because if it weren't for them, dogs as special as Alvin and Gracie would have been put to sleep in a scary shelter and instead, one is now the head of the household and the other is the absolute bell of the therapy Ball.