We made it. Touch and go, the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 was not what I had in mind – nor do I think Sas did either. Yet here we are. And here you are!

Although the bandages are off, the antibiotics finished, the cone still on, I can honestly say it is a joy to have my boy back in fine form and desperate to go out for walks again. We are both tired of being indoors.

So. What has been learnt from this. Well. Pull up a chair, maybe a strong coffee and a snack and I will tell you.

At first, as you may, or may not have gathered, I was incredibly stressed. Anxious and worried not far behind followed by a god awful dread that it could be something worse. As chance would have it – biology too I would wager – Sasukes tumor was benign and his resilience is something I have learned from. The amount of medication he was on plus the surgery was beyond expensive and there were.. are.. times when I question whether I did the right thing opting for surgery for him and not getting pet insurance. All said and done – I stand by my decision and would do it all again.

Caring for Sasuke was challenging. I have never had to make such important decisions and then follow through with the level of diligence, care and response. I would be lucky to get a couple of hours sleep and then have to go to work. After his main surgery, I set my alarm to check on him every hour on the hour for a few minutes to make sure he was ok. Of course he was. I was paranoid. Over the Christmas/New Year period I think I ended up with about 3 weeks off work, including sick days and paid vacation in order to look after Sasuke.

No one tells you how to change bandages on a dog who won’t let you near them because they are in pain. Even if you do know how to actually change bandages. Distractions don’t always work and no one prepares you for your dog to want to rip your arm off because you are trying to help and they are in pain. Here is a tip. 1.Get a cone. 2.Hide the meds – painkillers and sleeping tablets – in cheese. A small amount of cheese goes along way. 3.Be patient. Don’t yell or show frustration in your voice or body language. It will pay off in the long run. 4. Keep a damp towel which has been soaked in salted water on their bed or where they hobble and hop about so they can sort the wound out themselves. Refresh it regularly. Oh and 5. Poop mats. Lots and lots and lots of poop/pee mats. They will be your lifesaver.

New Year and Sasuke is walking on his paw without any pain medication. For the first time in 4 weeks we have had a very short much anticipated walk around the block we live and we are both happier for it. We wait for the all clear from the vet before we go on longer walks as his paw still looks awful and patchy where some of the fur has grown back and where it hasn’t. I cannot tell you how amazing our vet has been. Simply the best.

Before this, Sasuke liked to be by my side, sitting next to me, sleeping, dozing off or full on snoring away. Now?. Now he comes to me demanding hugs and kisses. I have conical shaped bruises calf/ass height where he continually follows me forgetting he wears a cone and bumping into me. Nowhere is safe from the snuggle and cuddle monster. He tells me when he wants to go poop, when he is in pain and even when I am being an ass. Dinner time is back to being a riot – even more so because the cone gets in the way. He is back to being my early morning alarm – the conversations are enlightening 😉 .

All the snarling, yelping and snapping has been replaced with licks, hugs and butt bumps (as he follows me around) and on some level I do think he is aware that I have tried to help him through this traumatic event of surgery and recovery. This was our second Christmas together and what I have learnt, now that I am back at work full time – sigh – is that for all of this we are as a unit stronger. Until the next bloody otter comes along and I am dunked into the river again.

So until then. Then. 🙂

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