Roo's surgery: More paw trouble


The day started with taking the half hour to wake Roo in time for her 8:30 appointment with Dr. Stokes. “Chig, you’re going to have to get up,” I repeated to her a million times while I made some coffee. “You’re going to have to get up, Chigi, we have to go in the car. You have to go back to the doctor. Poor little bear. But the doctor is going to fix you that little hand of yours, so at least there’s that. Come on, Rooki, you have to get up.” Waking that dog up is like bringing someone back from the dead. But finally, she got the idea, got out of her bed and came outside.

She had refused to go out last night, so it was more than 12 hours since her last bathroom break, but there was no talking her into that. I tried and tried, but she just wouldn’t go. I tried again at the vet’s office, but she wasn’t interested. She was going to go under the knife like that.

Roo was good about going into Dr. Stokes’ office but she wasn’t too excited about being placed in the cage where she was going to have to wait until her surgery. “Don’t worry, Chig,” I said. “You’re going to be fine,” Dr. Stokes told her, and she gave me a look of terrible disappointment as I left.

Around noon Dr. Stokes called to say that there was no foxtail awn in Roo’s paw. What there was was a small nodule, some sort of growth. Dr. Stokes kept the incision small, but excised the nodule put eight stitches in and wrapped Bearface up in a fat pressure bandage. The growth is off to the lab. The results will be back in five days. Probably Monday.

Dr. Stokes told me to hold off until 3:30 or 4 to pick her up. I was there at 3:30. Roo was still a little woozy from the anesthesia, and putting any weight on her paw hurt her, but she kept forgetting because she was so happy to see me. Dr. Stokes briefed me on what he’d found. He said the growth was hard and fibrous and could be from something that got in there, though there was nothing else to be found. So, the lab.

The second Roo got outside she took a long pee that reminded me of the day I first met her, when I picked her up from the lousy, crowded vet clinic in Los Angeles where she had just been spayed. She had been caged for who knows how long then and, as frightened and traumatized as she was, she had to go.

After that, she wanted to get right in the car. Roo being the dedicated chowhound she is, and having been starved since 8 last night, she tucked right into a piece of jerky and a cookie. She didn’t want to drink any water but when we got back to the camper, I gave her a bowl of water with a big chunk of the ice I always freeze for her in hot weather, and she tanked up.

Unsurprisingly, the paw is too painful for Roo to walk on and she doesn’t want to go outside for long enough to get rid of everything she needs to, so that can’t be too comfortable, but that’s where we are.

I had been planning on leaving here, but obviously we have to stay for her follow-up. Dr. Stokes said to expect it to be pretty sore tomorrow — the day after surgery is always, in my experience, the worst of them. He’ll take the pressure bandage off tomorrow afternoon and have a look at how she’s doing. We won’t leave until Dr. Stokes clears her.

And so we wait for the lab results. In the meantime, the thunderstorms I’ve been dreading and was hoping to get ahead of are on the way. They are the last thing I want Roo to have to experience tonight. She’s going to want to come up on the bed, but if she tries to jump off she could hurt herself, so I have to figure out how to keep her from doing that.

She’s a little on the miserable side, but not as bad as she could be. She likes hearing me tell her what a Poor Little Bear she is, though. I get down on the floor with her to tell her, and she bats at me with her paw to make me tell her again, but then it zaps her with pain and she has to stop.

She’s a tough girl, though. As long as there’s no bad news from the lab — and I have a feeling there won’t be, because it seems more likely that this is just another in Roo’s long line of mouse hunting injuries, if a strange one — she’ll should be all right. The stitches don’t come out for 10 to 14 days, though, and that means that Roo in hot mouse country, is grounded. No swimming, no nothing but life at the end of a leash.

For now.