Last month, I found myself trying to explain to the girls that things would be out-of-the-ordinary for a while.  Newfs, like humans, are good worriers, and I wanted them to have an idea that things may be different, in hopes they would be less uncomfortable or prone to worry.  So, I carefully began by some discussion and asked whether they remembered last spring when Jade had to be spayed.  Banner was listening, more indirectly.  Jade was paying more attention.  My tone probably had some influence, as Jade has more years of familiarity with human-to-Newf communications.  I told her that in the next week, I would have to go see my veterinarian to be spayed, like she did last spring.  She may not understand many of my words, but her reaction caught my attention.  She had a sudden “Oh, no!” expression.  Again, it may have been my tone that caused her to take notice, although I was trying to keep this calm and clear.  Whether or not they had some understanding of my words, I felt better having a pre-talk.  (This works well for when someone will be gone for a few days too.  Sudden disappearances are cause for Newf worry.)  I continued that Greg would take good care of them and that they should be very good, as he would have his hands full taking care of all of us.

Greg and I rearranged the bedroom so the bed was on the floor.  Usually it is mounted at 36″ and the girls sleep underneath at night.  We scrubbed the cabin – floors, walls and ceiling, in preparation.  Newfs were bathed, then gated into the living room/kitchen area, a very small space for such big creatures, with one in particular occupying most of the floor.  I spent most of the week prior getting information into order, including account and password information, who may need access to which information or resources and writing careful, thorough instructions for Newf care, since I’m the one who usually does this.

The first few days were an adjustment.  Greg was on task, walking the girls, cleaning floors, doing laundry, cooking for Newfs, preparing my meals and helping me get up as needed.  I had lost quite a bit of blood, given the drop in hemoglobin, and there was a large, ugly hematoma on one side that kept getting bigger.  It was an interesting perspective.  If one of the girls were being spayed, I would be inquiring of (if not inquisitioning) the veterinarian about how well they tied off vessels.  I knew that Banker’s mother had been lost due to “bleeding out” following a spay, and one of our veterinarians had told me that it was likely that a vessel was missed, and that cauterization was relied on too heavily rather than carefully using sutures.  Yet the nurse told me that a tiny vessel could have accounted for that size of hematoma.

I did some therapeutic walking in the mornings and afternoons, and was surprised at how little stamina I had for such short distances.  After a few days, I took the girls out with me.  It was nice in the mornings but too blazing hot for Banner in the afternoons, even under the large Maple tree.  Jade stayed as close as she could while still being in the shade.  When Greg came home and called the girls to come inside, Jade wouldn’t leave me.  She was a little torn, as she is a good girl, and she was being called, but even with me telling her to go on, she wouldn’t leave a radius of more than a step or two.  She’s always been a “Not the Mom” kind of girl, with respect to anyone else, and she was firm about this.  She clearly felt that it wasn’t safe for her to be out of my reach.  Now that I’m less wobbly, she seems to think it’s OK to let me walk by myself again.  I’m making good use of the walking stick that I bought at a National several years ago.

Meanwhile, we were having occasional summer storms, and I could hear Jade move the “sofa-blocker” that Greg was using, a folded step-stool, with one or two swipes of her forearm and paw, then I knew that she was climbing onto, rather into, the sofa.  When she lies on the sofa, her chin rests on one arm and her tail hangs off the other, as her body is embraced by the sofa cushions.  Jade seeks comfort when there is thunder, and it occurred to me that for her on the sofa, it was like being held by someone who loves you, all wrapped up in snuggling comfort, like a baby in a blanket being held by Mom, and this was also like Parker sleeping with his arms around his giant stuffed frog.  I guess if you aren’t where someone can wrap their arms around you, it’s the next best thing to have something large and soft to get close with.  So, when Greg came home and told her that she had to get off the sofa, I gave her moral support from the bedroom.  Space, occupancy and indoor accommodations are limited in the cabin, but when we finally build and move into the house, the sofa must become Jade’s.

She is back to being happy and when she sees me, she smiles and wants to share hugs and head rubs.

Banner has been going through her own version of adjustment.  For a while she was very careful, then she began to want this to be back to normal, and she got a bit naughty, nose-thrusting where she shouldn’t.  Then she “accidentally” began knocking the gate down when it wasn’t firmly in place and sauntering into the bedroom, once having a party on the bed while we weren’t in the cabin.  She’s a funny girl, both obnoxious and very confident, but sensitive too.  At this point she seems to have accepted that things aren’t quite normal, but she is being very cooperative and well-behaved.  As soon as I can manage her recovery, not much longer, she will need to go in for TPLO #2, so she needs to be practicing her patience.  She doesn’t know yet that it will be quite a while for things to get back to normal.

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