Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Its Boosday!

Boo is doing great, and is starting to respond more and more to her new name.

I got up last night to use the restroom and noticed that she had moved off the couch and into the office, where she also has a bed -- she has a bed in the bedroom also, but maybe she was shy about coming in uninvited. So I invited her up on the bed for the first time. I know that this can a slippery slope if you don't plan to have the dog on the bed all the time, but its nice to have a dog on the bed, I think. Boo will learn eventually that the rule is: she can be on the bed, but only when Jen's *not* here. This worked great with Kaia, though there was nearly always some pouting on Kaia's part.

Boo on her couch.
So far, it's eerie how familiar Boo feels. She's been here less than 48 hours and already it seems like I've known her for far longer than that. She does look a lot like Mia (the all-white girldog that I had before Kaia) and acts a lot like both of them. But its more than that -- she's so easy to have around that I have to keep reminding myself that we only just met, and that this house and my expectations are all new to her.

I left briefly yesterday and there were no accidents or destroyed furniture or chewed-up shoes when I returned, and I heard no howling or barking. I wasn't too worried, but this is all a good sign. I'll leave for a little longer today at some point, and I'm hoping that it all continues to work out.

Mia in about 2009
In my experience with adopted hounds (Boo is my 8th greyhound) there is a pretty standard process by which they settle into their new homes. All greyhounds have had lives before, and have been uprooted many times. Most are shipped off to trainers in other states and may race in various different locations as well. Boo, as far as I can tell, was raised in Georgia, and raced in Kansas and West Virginia. It seems that she was then sold to a farm in Iowa where she had 4 litters of pups -- 15 total. Then, after retirement, on to Minnesota to live with a foster family for 2 weeks, then another foster family for a few weeks, and then -- finally -- here. So it's understandable that she doesn't really know whether this is just a stop off, or if she lives here now. Even still, she's quiet and well-behaved. This is one of the reasons (and a sad one, honestly) that greyhounds are favored by animal research facilities: they take well to being kenneled, and are quiet and don't complain very much. Some veterinarians also keep a greyhound as a blood donor: all dogs have the same blood type, and greyhounds have a higher than normal Total Blood Volume (TBV). They also tolerate having an IV in all the time, will live in a kennel, and are quiet and well mannered.

Kaia about 2010
So, after many changes in their past lives, I find that the first 3-6 months of being in their "forever home" the dogs are friendly and social, but aren't sure what this new place is. After that period, when it seems like they've figured out that they're really going to stay, I find that the next 3-6 months are key as they become very attached and may have some separation anxiety. The dog's personality determines what form this insecurity takes and the degree to which it manifests. After that 3-6 month separation anxiety period, the greyhounds seem to relax and settle in. My job is to be as consistent a fixture in her life as I can, and to establish safe spaces for her and a reliable routine. The more she feels safe here, the more she'll relax and trust that she's not going anywhere.

The Back, etc.

Over the past few days I've been stretching out my lower back in a quest to find something -- anything -- to alleviate the pain. This seems to help a bit, and I'm hoping that it will continue to get better. Likewise, I've been walking. No marathon treks yet, but 6 or 8 blocks at least each day. Hopefully this will strengthen the back and encourage the muscles to relax a bit.

Strangely, this sounds really good about now.
The leg has been better. I still don't know what's going on down there, but I do think that the nerves (that were messed up in the surgery) are coming back, as I feel mildly painful electric jolts into my inner thighs. And -- a new thing -- my thigh muscles in both legs are sore, not just the left leg, which was the troublesome one before. You know how sometimes your muscles cramp or spasm when you get really gold? My thighs feel like that sometimes during the day No spasms exactly, but the same soreness that might come from being punched in the thigh. Its not in exactly the same area as the numbness was, though. So it might be related, it might not. Its an annoying mystery.

The pain meds (60 mg daily) appear to be working for the most part. Coupled with the stretching and walking, I don't feel the need to go any higher. I'm hopeful that Mayo will have some insight, and I have a lot of eggs in that particular basket, hoping I'll have some answers sooner rather than later. I really do need to get off of these pain meds, though. On the day that I hit the 60mg/day level, I noticed that my skin looked ashen and there were dark circles under my eyes. It reminded me of my first glimpse of myself post-chemo. Anyhow: nothing new to report on that front, other than its all holding steady.


Dave Matheny said...

Looking forward to meeting her.

Kevin said...

Glad you're feeling a bit better, and I second Dad in looking forward to meeting Boo.

Eclector2 said...

It was nice to read more news about Boo and of the lessening of your pain. She is keeping you busy and providing a warm body for company. I am grateful to her for that. She is also lucky to have been chosen by you. You are a great dog Dad.
See you at noon tomorrow.

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