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Cooper Update

June 23rd, 2010

Cooper with Cone

Well, it’s been a tough week around here. Although I’d naively hoped that he would have the stitches out now, at nearly two weeks, and be well on his way to healing, it hasn’t worked out that way at all.

We’ve gotten to know our new vets quite well in the past ten days, with bandage changes, check ups, and progressively larger cones of shame.

The wound is not healing well. It’s been bandaged for too long, so it’s getting wet and not closing nicely. But leaving it unbandaged, and Cooper goes crazy trying to get at it. We knit a sock for it, but that provides the same level of protection and breathability as the regular bandages. In other words, not enough.

There’s little we can do at this point. He’s really uncomfortable, and refuses to move or walk most of the time. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t want to use the backyard for his business, so I have to carry or drag him down the street several times a day. (On the plus side, I’m happy to only have one dog using the yard! Cleaner back yard ftw!)

The vet visit yesterday was a low point. The vet basically said that if it didn’t look improved by the next bandage change, they would need to amputate his entire tail or the infection would spread.

I’ve been told this before, both by several vets and some kind blog readers, and I know that anything that helps Cooper actually heal is a good thing. But I can’t imagine my Cooperbeast with just a stub on the end of his wiggly bum. And not to be unsentimental about things, another surgery is another huge trauma for Cooper and a big bill for us. Between house disasters and dog stuff this spring, we’ve blown through over 6 thousand dollars of unplanned expenses…. Significant for a one income family. For any family, really.

With all this, and some family stuff, it’s been kind of rough around the house, to say the least. My list of things to do is spiraling out of control once again.

I had an interesting conversation with my mom last night. She’s turned into a full time caregiver for dad, and is constantly amazed how her entire day and night is filled with physical therapy, appointments, and simply helping my dad get from one room to another. She had some house guests this weekend, some family who had come to build a wheelchair ramp. My mom is usually the type to bake dessert every day, keep her house immaculately clean. She told me that for once, shes just letting stuff go, because she knows she can’t do everything.

That’s how I feel right now. Not to compare my dad to my dog, but even Cooper takes a massive amount of care right now. So I’m working on doing what I have to, and not worrying about the other stuff. It’s challenging for a perfectionist and over achiever. But all the things I want to do, such as the video knitalong, I will do soon enough, it doesn’t have to be now.

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15 Responses to “Cooper Update”

  1. Meredith Says:

    Wow. You have so many heavy things on your mind right now. You need a break!
    I understand how you feel about amputating all of Coopers tail, too. I think I would feel the same way. It’s part of their personalities and their expression. 🙁
    My furry kids and I are sending HUGE hugs to you, Sandra, and the pups. You’ve had a rough year so far with all the disasters and your worries about your family, health issues, house issues, job issues, and yet you also sound like you are keeping it together through all of this, which I really admire about you.
    Things WILL get better! Keep breathing, babe. 😀

  2. cockeyed Says:

    So sorry for your troubles. Hope that Cooper is on the mend soon. I know how these lovable pooches make a special place in your heart and family. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Sending hugs!

  3. Jeanie Babbage Says:

    We have also had a year of the expensive unexpected. You sound as though you have received some good advice about Cooper even if it is hard to hear. And the life lesson about not having to do everything is a good one for all of us. My pup and I send you all our best wishes.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m so sorry for Cooper, and all of you. It’s a big job to care for a sick or injured loved one, human or canine. I sincerely hope he is on the mend soon.

  5. Kim Says:

    Being a caregiver is hard: emotionally, physically and mentally. It doesn’t matter whether the one you’re caring for is human or animal. Your experience is similar. You and your mum are living parallel lives. Glad you can talk to each other.

  6. Karen Says:

    I’m so sorry that Cooper is having such a rough time. I don’t usually share this very publicly but I think it’s worth it this time. I have a friend who lost a foot in Iraq last year. I offered to knit up some things for her and she told me that she didn’t want any blankets. She explained to me that she and the others on the amputee ward at Walter Reed don’t want to hide their injuries. They are a part of who they are know and they have no shame over them. This is now part of who Cooper is and it only goes to show that he is a survivor. He can proudly show all the other dogs that he is unbeatable.

    If the worst happens, I know that you will miss his wagging tail but remember–he wagged it because he is full of joy and love and he knows that he is loved. That will never change.

  7. samm Says:

    The ones above me have written feelings similar to mine, so I’ll just send a big hug for each of you, even Jackson.

  8. Rebecca Says:

    I’m still sending all my good thoughts your way! Hang in there. You will all get through this one way or another. xo

  9. Julia in KW Says:

    I certainly feel for you and the overwhelming sense of “I don’t know if I can take another something to think/worry/pay for”. It can certainly cloud your vision. However, your little pup…will endure…mine? we called her “petunia” when she had to wear the big collar (her ear was torn during “playtime” at the kennel – we were lucky as we told them we expected them to pay for it and they did!)…and the look on her face as she bumped into the furniture, the doors and everything else was heartbreaking…

  10. Roz Says:

    God bless little Cooper and you too for all your stress at the moment. I hope that he doesn’t have to lose his tail. I will be sending lots of love and healing thoughts.
    Please take care of yourself too and don’t worry about the little things – your Mum is very wise to let some things go.
    lots of hugz

  11. Phyllis Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about cooper. How miserable of the other dog owners to refuse to “man up” and be responsible. Karma WILL take care of them.

    Even if he loses his tail, Cooper will still be able to wag–you’ll get that wonderful ecstatic wiggly-wagging dog butt (and body).

    I hope things settle down and coop heals up. Rick and Pete the Bassets are slinging healing drool to all in your family.

  12. Anna Says:

    Poor Copper. I have two dogs myself and I know how dreadful you feel when they are ill. Copper seems to be a wonderful dog.

    Even though I don’t know you I send you all my good thoughts. Give Copper and your other furry boy a big warm hug from Tekla (cocker gir) and Tage (springer boy), and from me as well.

  13. Catherine Says:

    Try anti lick strips. They work like a bandade but if he tries to lick it does not taste good. Also a thunder shirt would really hep him through the stress of all this! Best of luck!
    Also if you can sit down on the floor with him, hand in collar, no bandage and just rub his ears, long slow strokes. Hand in collar to keep his head away from his tail.

  14. Michele Says:

    I don’t know if they have this option up there or not, but when my dog got really sick I was able to use CareCredit to pay for it. It broke the large amount into smaller payments. It’s amazing how everything can add up, but he appreciates it!

  15. annie Says:

    oh crap… i’m so sorry about cooper. any progress?

    did you know that a full time caregiver starts to burn out in 7 days?… i know this because jim’s mom has been looking after larry for about 4 years; she’s soldiering on, but it’s very very hard on her. if you can encourage your mom to get help and to GET OUT and to look after herself it would be such a good thing. (but i get that you’re stretched to the end of your rope too…)

    can i reach sandra in edmonton? i was thinking maybe i could figure out a way to see her/bring mug.


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