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Bubba

The Adventures of a Tripawd Boxer

Bubba

Freedom and Healing

June 11th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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Being away from Bubba has been one of the hardest parts of this ordeal for me.  And, I don’t mean the times that he had to stay at the hospital.

Before Bubba came home, I built him a “recovery suite” in the middle of the kitchen.  I put a lot of thought into this and wanted it to be as comfortable and safe as it possibly could be.  I also thought this was a better option than putting him behind a closed door in the laundry room or bathroom.  This design allowed him to lay in the sun, look into the yard and be a part of the family while he heals.  I pulled scraps of carpeting from the basement and even taped them down to the floor so he wouldn’t slide.  Bubba is used to sleeping on the sofa, but when he is annoyed with us, he sleeps on Matthew’s spiderman couch.  To keep it clean, I wrapped it in garbage bags and covered it in a fleece blanket.  I put the couch in his “suite.”  I also set up the pen next to the doorwall so he could go outside conveniently, without negotiating the toys and chaos of the house.  My husband spent an entire day constructing a custom ramp from the deck to the patio.  We had it all figured out!

Bubba was not happy with this AT ALL!  His first night home, he cried all night.  It was a good thing that his room had space for me too.  I curled up next to him on the kitchen floor and spent the night in his suite!

His first time outside….he refused the ramp.  (However, the kids LOVE it!)

When he had his first set-back and spent a few days at the hospital, we wondered if  doggie depression was part of the problem.  Of course!  We took his leg, his couch, his family…life as he knew it was changed.  Who wouldn’t be depressed?  The next time he came home, we made some changes in this arrangement.  He needed freedom.

Knowing that it might be a messy transition back to the living room, I made a trip to a medical supply store and purchased some supplies.  I bought abdominal drain sponges (thick, large, non-stick, sterile pads) and some awesome material called “tubular netting”  to hold the pad in place.  I was advised to keep the area open, but I am (sometimes) non-compliant with instructions.  But…I have good reasons and did tell my vet about it!  I thought it was doing him no justice to healing by laying on blankets soaked with drainage.  I thought a good compromise would be material that allowed the area to breathe while containing some of the nasty ooze from spilling onto him and his blankee’s.

One more thing…this modified bandaging would give him back the freedom to get back into the living room without me scrubbing carpets or furniture.  Yes!  I cannot believe the difference in his spirit.  He slept soundly, snoring the whole night.  He got up on the couch without assistance.  I really believe that getting back to his old routines has helped him turn the corner in overcoming the challenges of this new life on 3 legs.  I still put him in his suite during the work day to keep him safe.  But, when we’re home, he is with us.  How stupid of me to think that he wouldn’t miss the same things that we did!

Bubba's Recovery Suite

Custom ramp

Back on the couch!


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Getting back to Bubba

June 8th, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

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My boy is back!!  He is still fighting this nasty infection, but today I saw the Boxer in him come back.  Crazy, silly, stubborn, hungry….!

He has figured out the stairs and how to get on the couch today.  I don’t want him on the stairs (but it is nice to have my lap dog back for movie night)!  I am so excited to see him ‘hunting’ after dinner today.  It was pizza night and he knows I don’t eat the crust.  Ok, maybe I left a pepperoni or two.  I know, weight control is so important now that he is a tripawd and we are both trying to tackle this bad habit.  He knows my weaknesses…all he has to do is give me a sad-eyed look and a whimper and I give in.

I did get tough with him at lunch today.  He escaped my protection and took off down the 2 stairs to the yard, peed, and promptly came back up the stairs to claim his prize.  Claiming exhaustion, he laid down as I prepared his feast of canned dog food (not his normal food!) When I placed it across from him into his dishes, he immediately started crying.  Lately, I’ve been bringing the food bowl right to him.  Today, I told him “no way!  Get your big. old butt up and eat that food!”  A hearty sneeze and huff followed this conversation.  Next thing I see:  big, old 3-legged Bubba gets up without help and walks over to eat his food, effortlessly.  Player!

I am excited for his doctor to see him tomorrow.  I think he is making remarkable progress.  We are almost out of recovery Hell!  Yay!

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The Fan Club

June 6th, 2012 · 13 Comments · Uncategorized

Bubba's fan club!

Being our first child, Bubba has always been a popular boy in our family.  In the days before his surgery, I received more phone calls, facebook posts, emails, and text messages than I did when I gave birth!

Last Friday, one day after Bubba’s readmission to the hospital, our doorbell rang.  There stood 6 kids from the neighborhood who all said in unison, “we hope Bubba gets better soon.”   Wow.  I was moved!  Joseph, our 8 year old, has been keeping a verbal blog with the kids in the neighborhood about Bubba!  He also got to tell his classmates all about canine amputation.  I am so  impressed with Joseph’s maturity and his ability to handle this situation so well.  I am learning so much from Bubba and Joseph!

Bubba has always been the forbidden dog on the block.  Bubba’s oversized, brindle, foaming, drooling physique does not earn him many smiles from strangers!  He loves children and stops to watch every kid he see’s in hopes that he might find someone to play with.  I understand that most adults might see this beast staring down their kids and think he might have a different motive…..

Nonetheless, the children on the block have grown to love Bubba!  Word spread fast of Bubba’s homecoming.  Today, 4 children came to my doorwall to see their friend’s dog “who has 3 legs.”   One of the girls asked, “How old is he?”  I said, “he’s almost 10!”  She replies, “wow, I’m 10.  Can I give him a treat?”  Of course!  She came back, climbed over Bubba’s gate and fed him a treat.  It was so sweet.  And, there was my son, Joseph, smiling.  Bubba was thrilled with all this attention from his favorite generation of people – children.

Thank-you, Joseph, for knowing exactly what your dog (and your mom) needs!

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Home at last!

June 5th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

I am staring at my buddy who is sleeping soundly on Matthew’s kiddie couch.  We’re not out of the woods yet…

He had minor surgery to clean out the infection in his incision today and we’re expecting blood culture results tomorrow.  2 more drains have been added, which he is not happy about.  Does anyone have advice for keeping him from licking at the drains?

I am a little bit worried we could be dealing with MRSA since he is on 3 different antibiotics with no resolve.  He has the beginnings of a respiratory infection as well.  Too many days in the doggie hospital 🙁  Thankfully, his doctor agreed that he would be happier at home!

On the positive side, he is moving around extremely well.  He is bright eyed and smiling!  He’s eating like a champ and doing all bodily functions as he should.

One day at a time.  Tonight, I am just glad that he is here.

 

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Dirty Floors

June 4th, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

For the past 9 years, there has been an eager body in this house to clean floors.  It is not me!

Bubba has been my silent assistant in cleaning the kitchen and I miss his help!  With 3 kids, somebody is always spilling something.  I didn’t realize just how often this was happening until now.  My floors are destroyed!  There are noodles stuck to the floor under the table and Dorito crumbs on the bathroom floor…yes, the bathroom floor.

Also, it seems like the children are eating less of their dinner since he’s been away…hmmmmmm.

He is a great helper with the dishes too.  Bubba has got away with a bit more than he should given his situation and my guilt…note the front left leg in the photo and the awkward position with the tumor protruding out from the elbow.  This was taken about 1 week pre-amp.  Ok..so he probably won’t be able to do that anymore!  Positive change: no more self helpings of table scraps=weight management for a healthy life on 3 legs!

Not allowed!

cleaning the dishes

Pre-rinse cycle

 

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Afternoon Picnic

June 3rd, 2012 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Our afternoon picnic with Bubba went fairly well.  I say fairly well because, with an 8, 5 and 3 year old, nothing goes without trouble!

We made a stop at the pet store and loaded up on some treats and yummy food for our buddy.  We brought a blanket, bowls and bottled water so Bubba could have everything he needed for his picnic dinner!

I think he was most happy just to be out in the sun watching the kids play.  He was all cleaned up and I thought the incision looked clean with the exception of the small area of infection.  He seemed to have more confidence in walking too.  One day at a time!

You expect me to eat this?

Looks like it will fit!

Bubba's new T Shirt

Look at that grin!

Amanda and Bubba

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Another obstacle…

June 3rd, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

I was hoping to bring my baby home again today.  He has been at the vet hospital since last Thursday, recovering from a stumble.  We went to visit last night and finally got him to eat some canned dogfood.  He looked great!

During my “inspection” of his incision, I noticed a section tucked in a fat roll that looked weepy and oozy.  Ugh…infection.  It was also starting to separate.  He is still draining from the drain tubes and it’s just impossible to keep that incision dry and clean.  The doctor just called and asked to keep him a few more days with antibiotics until the blood cultures come back.

I miss him.  My house isn’t right without him!  I will be going back tonight to bring him more food.  Not that I need an excuse to go spoil my baby!

Get Well Bubbs!

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Pocket Change

June 2nd, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

 

Bubba walks the 2 yr old

Newly married and signing the papers to our first mortgage, we knew two things: (1) we were broke and (2) we had to get a dog!

We picked out Bubba from a litter of 8.  He was the quiet one sleeping in the corner alone.  What a trick!  He is brindle with very little white coloring – a beautiful Boxer.  The white on the tips of his toes and the bottom of his chin sold me!   He had his name – Bubba – long before we ever saw his face.  We had always talked about ‘Bubba’ being a great name for a Boxer.   In our new, empty house, we sat and counted our pocket change (stored in a giant Coke bottle) and bought our Bubba.

He is our first baby.  In 2004, Joseph came along.  In 2006, Matthew came along and in 2008, Amanda joined our family.  I tell my kids that Bubba is very special to all of us.  For me, Joseph, Matthew and Amanda, Bubba is our first dog EVER!  And, for my husband and I, he is “our” first dog together.  He made our house a home.

Bubba is more than a dog to me; he is my dream come true!  When I was a little girl, I always wanted a dog.  Not just any dog….a dog that loved me as much as I loved him.  I wanted a dog that went everywhere with me, laid by my side, did tricks for treats, etc.  Bubba is that dog.

When my days are long and the stress of a full time life with jobs, kids, home, school, etc gets the better of me, I look to Bubba to find peace.  He reminds me that dreams are worth the wait.  I waited 23 years to have him and I would keep him for the rest of my life if it was an option!

It’s been a rough 2 years as Bubba battles cancer.  Cancer is something I know a little bit about…I am a Radiation Therapist.  One thing I’ve learned is that dogs aren’t that different than people, when it comes to the treatment of cancer.  I have had a hard time dealing with his diagnosis.  I am not ready to let him go….and I know, he’s not ready to let us go either.

Deciding to amputate has been both relieving (in knowing that the tumor is finally gone forever!) and sad.  It has only been one week since his left front leg was amputated and it is a rough start to tripodism.  I will do whatever I need to do to keep my mind positive and focused on recovery for Bubba.  He is my dream come true!

Spoiled!

 

 

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