Thursday, November 15, 2007

Canine Catastrophe

Last fall, my then six-year-old beagle, Maggie, tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee. She hopped around on three legs while we waited to see what would happen. When a month of painkillers and anti-inflammatories didn’t get her left rear leg back on the ground, the vet said it was time for surgery. $3,000 surgery.

A friend of ours recommended her vet in another town. The 45-minute drive didn’t seem so bad when he said the surgery would be $1,000. This was a bargain compared to our regular vet, but still, where were we going to find $1,000 for dog surgery. At the age of six, our little beagle wasn’t even half way through her expected life span. Thanks to medication she didn’t seem to be in pain, but we obviously couldn’t just let her hop on three legs for the next seven or eight years.

On top of the cost, the recovery for this procedure sounded like my worst nightmare, as well as Maggie’s. For eight weeks, she would live in a little crate, leaving it only for short, scheduled walks on a leash. Maggie tolerates the leash (as well as the crate) in very small doses. One or two walks a year would suit her just fine. She much prefers to roam our large yard at her own pace with no particular destination in mind. Following the surgery, she would initially only be able to stand for five minutes at a time. This meant finding a spot to go potty, doing her business and getting back inside within five minutes. Forget it! It takes a minimum of ten minutes to find a good spot to go, followed by another ten minutes of mandatory exploring for future potty places. A five-minute limit would mean I’d be doing more crate cleaning than really appealed to me. What’s more, winter’s approach and the thought of walking my dog in the snow for two months gave me a sudden urge to hibernate.

Thankfully, when the day of the surgery arrived, I asked my husband to have the vet examine her before doing the procedure. “It looks like she’s putting weight on her leg,” I said. An answer to my prayers came when my husband arrived home and reported that surgery was no longer necessary. Apparently, small dogs can sometimes heal this type of injury on their own. We were to keep a close eye on Maggie for another month, and reschedule the surgery if she had a setback. Thankfully, she didn’t, and we were spared the two months of recovery torture, as well as the $1,000 bill.

Yesterday, Maggie started hoping around on three legs again. This time she held the other rear leg close to her body. Here we go again.

What lengths would you go to for a family pet?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mommy Time Out

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, - James 1:2

F or the past several days I was down in the dumps. Things were not going my way and my selfish side was really starting to sit up and take notice. My DH was doing a miserable job of reading my mind and meeting my unspoken needs, and the precious cherubs I have for children were resting on my nerves. I was definitely ready for a Mommy time out.

Now, when my children go to time out, they sit in a chair in the dining room. Mommy time out starts with sitting in a chair as well. In a nail salon. Pretty nails go a long way in lifting a woman’s spirits.

Next, I went to the mall. When my children go to the mall, they like to visit the pet store to pet the puppies. I like to visit Macy’s to pet the handbags. The luxurious feel of buttery-soft high-end leather can turn my frown upside down, even when I can’t afford to buy it. Thankfully, this time I had a gift certificate!

After trying on several diamond rings at three different jewelry stores, my new purse and I found our way to Eddie Bauer where a cute jean shirt was on clearance in my size. It will look adorable with the boots I am going to buy the next time I have a bad week.

And what trip to the mall would be complete without a visit to the nice people at the Cheesecake Factory? After a little pampering, a lot of shopping and way too much sugar, I felt like a new woman. I returned home with a spring in my step and a restored attitude, ready to tuck my angels into bed for the evening.

What remedy perks your mood up when you’re feeling down? Share your best tips!