29 August, 2014

Where Do I Begin?

The last week and a half has been interesting, to say the least. Let me bring you up to speed on all that has happened.

First, a week ago Tuesday (August 19), I had Balthazar Vasquez and his son/helper come to take a look at a couple of steel screen doors we have on the Mennonite house. Upper and lower on the same end of the house. We were talking about pulling the doors and frames out and them working on the doors to refine the fit and to replace heavy metal screening in the doors themselves. I wanted them to replace the welds holding the screen in place with screws so the screening would be relatively easy to paint/replace on down the road.

We started off looking at the upstairs (front) door. Actually, the first thing I did was to tie up the dogs to prevent any undue familiarity with them and workers. A security measure of sorts. That went fine at first. When it came time to inspect the lower door, which was where I had the girls tied up, I had to move them so that Balthazar could check out the door.

Not even giving it a thought, I disconnected their main chain (they each had a short length of chain to their collars, which in turn were joined to the main chain) planning on moving them all together to the parking palapa.

Big mistake on my part. The dogs, already excited because of Balthazar being there, and now I was trying to move them as a group. Well too much excitement led to a big fight with the three of them. Poor Cindy Lu, being the smallest took the brunt of it. It probably only lasted a few seconds. I managed to get them separated and secured.

Then I told Balthazar that we could start this project on Wednesday morning and eased them out of the property. During all that, Dianna had checked out Cindy Lu, She had sustained a couple pretty good bites but nothing real severe. I bundled her on her leash into the Isuzu and took her to Dr. Sheila, just to make sure.

After getting some pills for antibiotics and such, we returned home. As I was letting her out of the car, things went to hell in a hurry. I had thought in the half-hour Cindy Lu and I were gone, that the other two dogs would have calmed down and returned to normal. No. They immediately jumped on Cindy Lu and a really terrible fight ensued.

I was trying to get the dogs separated, pounding on Deeohgee and Secret, which did no good at all, and then tugging on Cindy Lu's collar, which slipped off her and sent me flying airborne, landing flat on my back across a concrete curb. As I landed, I heard a loud and distinct 'crack'.

My first thought was that I had broken my back. I managed to get up. It didn't feel too bad right then and I helped corral the two big dogs. Cindy Lu had gone over to the other side of the palapa and was lying down. Dianna went over to check her out.

At that point things began to get a little foggy for me. I began to realize that I was probably hurt more seriously than I initially thought.

Dianna said Cindy Lu was bleeding quite a lot if she moved her. I knew I was not going to be able to drive. We called David and Elizabeth and they came over quickly. Dianna and David carried Cindy lu to his car and they took Cindy Lu back to Dr. Sheila's. Sheila immediately began triaging Cindy Lu's wounds. She said we could probably pick her up at five PM.

After they got back from that trip, we (I think) were talking about if I needed to go to the doctor. I opted for the hospital to get an x-ray of my back, assuming that would be the first thing my doctor asked for. Just then, the phone rang. It was Dr. Sheila with the very bad news that poor Cindy Lu didn't make it. Sheila just could not stop the bleeding. Both her femoral artery and vein had been badly damaged in the fight.
Our Beloved Cindy Lu in Happier Times
We just didn't have time right then to start any sort of grieving process. I know for me, the rest of the afternoon was quite surreal. I know I haven't yet acknowledging her loss. It's weird how things can just become so compartmentalized.

David loaded me into their Isuzu and took me up to the hospital. Elizabeth stayed at our place with Dianna.

When we got to the hospital, I was amazed at how fast I actually got in to see a doctor. He asked a couple of questions and looked briefly at my back. I ended up getting an injection in the butt and a prescription for some pills. Altogether, I was in the hospital about 10 minutes. I had completely forgotten to ask for an x-ray and the doctor didn't mention it either.

So, back to the house. By this time, it's apparent to everyone (not necessarily me) that I can barely move. Immediately, we set up camp in the pool house, as climbing the stairs up to our Mennonite house would be almost an impossibility. And this is where we've been living ever since. Except for today, which is the first time I've been back upstairs so I could do this blog bit and some other things.

Early on, we made contact with Dr. Marc Nadreau, a Chiropractor who also is an acupuncturist. I met with him Wednesday, the day after my fall and I've had three or four sessions with him since. I think that's why I seem to be making quite substantial progress toward recovery.

Yesterday, I also visited with Doctors Natasha and Kishor Punjabi, who run the Five Rivers Medical Clinic just north of Courts. They put me on some pain killers and muscle relaxants. Great doctors and great people. Very easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable.

After four sessions with Dr. Marc, my back this afternoon is finally feeling almost normal. I certainly didn't think I would be feeling like this so soon after the fall.

We're thinking that maybe tomorrow we can begin moving back into the Mennonite house. Of course, if the tropical wave coming towards us develops into something, we may be back down to the pool house as our hurricane shelter. Maybe we'll be slow about moving out. Besides, I don't want to jeopardize my back and the progress that's been made with it.

Back to the dogs for a bit. On the one hand, it was a very bad scene with the fight, and with Cindy Lu dying. It would be easy to say, "That's it, they're gone and get rid of Secret and Deeohgee too". But, they're still lovable. There was no malice in what occurred. It's just one of those things that happens in the dog world. If I'd been more like Cesar and had stronger instincts about dog behavior, I would have probably moved them one at a time and maybe avoided the problem, or when we came back from the Vets, I wouldn't have brought Cindy out with them around. But, I didn't and it happened. We still love them and have them around us day and night - even more so, staying down at the pool house.

It's easy to think of relationships with dogs as being so simple, but at the same time, they seem to be some of the most complicated relationships we have to deal with. Some of the recent research seems to bear that out, with the findings of areas of our human brain responding directly to dog activities. I think we're a lot closer to them than we realize. At least with ours, there was never a thought that we would get rid of them - wring their necks, for sure, but not getting rid of them. they're a part of the family.

And I know, Cindy Lu would want it that way too.


Wilma said...

So sad to lose a pet; you have my deepest sympathy. I hope you continue to do well with your back. Thinking of you and Dianna.

Perry and Mischelle said...

Dave and Dianna,
I'm so sorry to hear about Cindy Lu. They become so much a part of the family. I glad to hear you're feeling better. Maybe the upcoming rain will keep you indoors and away from doing anything that would affect your back.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Cindy Lu. It will take some time before you may be able to rationally access the causes.

Remember, dogs are not people. They will individually attempt to climb the social pack ladder at every opportunity. The pack includes you and your wife. None of your dogs should ever get the impression that their status is any higher than #3.

Dogs that are kept as pets need to be shown, not told, who is really in charge. Pack behavior is complex but not complicated.

If the human owners are perceived to be the Alpha and any challenges to this status quo are quickly terminated, then your dogs will be much happier and less aggressive towards each other as they will look to you the alpha to dish out punishment. As alpha you must accept your role in pack dynamics and behave accordingly or opt to just have one dog.

JRinSC said...

Wow... what a mess. I'll quit thinking you are just being lazy about the blog!! And I hope your back continues to get better Dave - that is one think you want to keep in really good shape.

Sorry about your puppies. I would not have thought something like that would happen either. Anyhow.. glad you're on the mend.

Take (better) care!


Dave Rider said...

Hi Wilma,
Thanks for the nice message. Because of writing the blog, that's the first I've dealt with her loss. It has been tough on both of us. Probably more so for Dianna - she has been a fantastic nurse for me.
On the plus side, the back is improving by leaps and bounds.
Thanks again.


Dave Rider said...

Hi Perry,

Thanks for the good wishes. The rain up until today, barely even wet the deck.

Now today we've had a couple of showers that start off the way a rain for this time of year should - with gusto... But then, ten minutes later, no wet stuff.

We'll keep hoping.

Hope you and Mischelle are doing well.


Dave Rider said...

Hi Anymouse,

Thanks. It's a good reminder, and it's so easy to become complacent about pack status and behavior.


Hi Julian,

Thanks for the nice comment. Hopefully, it'll be a long time till I do something like that again. That curbstone just had no give to it at all.
I'm just amazed at the progress I've made so far. Dr. Marc and acupuncture made the difference.


Vivien and Denis said...

Dear Dave and Dianna,
So very sorry to hear about the events of the last couple of weeks. Thank goodness you are now on the mend and have good practitioners to
help you with your recovery.

So terribly sad and traumatic for you both, what happened with Cindy Lu. Don't blame yourself. Despite the way doggie brains are said to work, the whole scenario might have happened when you were not there to intervene and it would have been much worse.

We will miss Cindy Lu standing at the side of the pool waiting to be
'wet headed' with just the right amount of pool water and her funny howl-along when she heard the emergency sirens. We will miss hearing her sound the initial alarm at night(from the comfort of her screen porch) when there was a potential threat, so the other dogs could respond to it. We also remember you telling us how lazy she could be in the morning when it was her turn to be 'Walkie Dog.'
She will certainly be missed. Rest in Peace Cindy Lu.
Denis and Vivien

Corozal Dave said...

What a story!!! Not much I can say after the fact other than I'm happy to ready your back is getting better. As for Cindy Lu, poor dear thing. I've never had more than one dog at a time and I would never be ready for something like this. You and Dianne did your best under the circumstances.
Happy to read the physical and metal healing has begun. Hoping the best for both of you and your animal friends.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the note of sympathy. We appreciate it very much. It was a pretty unbelievable week.

Healing is definitely underway. Still taking things slowly and with pain meds - but just one a day now.

There's improvement every day. Thanks again. BTW, I've enjoyed reading your FB posts on your trip. What fun.


Mr. Pancho said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, I know you are a good pet owner.
Glad that your back is on the mend. I had an issue like that a few years back and I have to say the daily stretches do wonders before you get out of bed. When talking to a co-worker a while back, he said "When my dog wakes up and starts moving the first thing he does is stretch". I imagine that your puppies do the same thing (and so do I) before I do any moving around. Plus the daily Naproxin (Aleve) does the trick for me.
So glad you have your wonderful nurse Dianna by your side, The Bible says in Proverbs 19:14 "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord."