The vet warned us this might happen. It’s very common, he said, for dogs over forty pounds, to have Cranial Cruciate Ligament Ruptures in first one leg, and then the other. Fifty/fifty chance because of the extra strain the good leg (left) takes on while the bad leg (right) is healing.
She only limped for a very short while. We don’t run her like we used to but she insists on following the lawn tractor around the yard when Frank mows (ball in mouth, of course, ever optimistic someone will throw it). Then she trails after me while I use the hand mower (I prefer to hand mow, burns more calories), and then she visits with the next door neighbours dogs when they come over to investigate, so all said, after a full day of lawn care, she’s ready for a nap. But when she rose from her nap, her left hind leg was up. She carried it close to her body as she changed nap locations, and my heart dropped into my stomach and churned around in acid for a minute or two. I recognized the signs (see post entitled “God and Gravol”).
But the limping didn’t last more than a minute or two, so we’re trying not to panic. We came up with a game plan, of sorts. We believe it’s the springing action that hurts her back legs, like when she leaps on the bed or into the back of the Jeep. Since her operation, Frank lifts her into the Jeep, but I doubt we can cure her of jumping on the bed now…she’s almost six years old and loves nothing better than hopping up with us and then doing her best to extend all four legs and head out as far as possible in order to squeeze us off the bed. At which time, when she has accomplished her goal of getting us up, she rolls on her back, belly in air, and goes back to sleep. Only something incredibly adorable would be capable of getting away with this.
And to us, she is. We don’t want her to stop this morning ritual. Her soft, wet nose nudging under our arm until we open our eyes and see her, with her ears as perked up as far as fuzzy, floppy ears can go. Looking at us, eyes bright with the anticipation of a new day with old tennis balls. It would break three hearts to suddenly demand she not get up there with us. We’d have to put a doggie door up so she couldn’t get into the bedroom. Listen to her softly whine as she sits on the other side of the gate and watches us with big, gentle eyes that ask, Why? Was I bad? Good Lord, I’m already in tears.
As I type this, Frank is at the hardware store buying … I’m not sure. Wood and stuff, whatever is needed so that Maple can casually stroll up a ramp and pester us every morning. And, hopefully, this ramp will save us all from the heartache of another operation. Because I really don’t think I could put her through that again.