Last week, I was telling you I celebrated my pal’s 13th birthday. My pal is Ubu my dog and I guess in human years it makes her around 91 years old. How we got here is a journey unto itself. Perhaps not outrageously unique to a lot of people but certainly to me and my pal. So let’s give you the rest of the story.
On my first visit to the hospital in Guelph, Ubu was brought into us, Ann and me. Ann is a lady I had met that Ubu thought was the best thing since sliced treats. Those two became inseparable. Ann worked in Toronto and everyday after work, she would trudge off to Guelph (remember this is in the dead of winter) to visit Ubu everyday. I could only make it on weekends. Ubu didn’t care. Ann was her favourite at this point anyway. You know, I didn’t care either. I was so thrilled that someone Ubu liked was there for her. Anyway Ubu was brought into the visiting room and we all got down on the floor to visit. Ubu went from one point to another by literally pulling herself with her front legs. The back legs just dragged along for the ride (think of Family Guy and that old man’s dog). Same thing. Ann works in a medical setting at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto so she was used to the slow starting point of recovery. I wasn’t. But I was happy to see my puppy actually trying to play fetch the ball after all she had been through.
After what seemed liked forever in the hospital (two or three weeks actually) Ubu was allowed to come home. Our lives were different now. I had to carry her everywhere. When we went for short walks I had to hold up her back end with a specially-made sling. Needless to say her front end developed into a very muscular mass. Eventually I bought a “wheelchair” for Ubu so she could be more mobile and it was while she was in this wheelchair that another life-altering moment was shared (honest, I trying not to be melodramatic). While we were out for a walk in this wheelchair which holds up her bag legs which are replaced by the wheels of the chair, I noticed Ubu’s back legs moving as if she was walking. We took the wheelchair off and we waited to see what would happen.
Oh, not very well because of a lack of muscle tone but she walked using those back legs. She fell over occasionally but she worked her way back up and went on her way. She was happy to be out of the sling and out of the wheelchair. There were a couple of more check-up visits to the hospital and staff were so impressed with her progress and determination that they took a video of her for teaching purposes in their classes.
It is five years since the accident. Ubu is still walking on her own and able to negotiate stairs as well. No she can’t jump on the couch anymore but she lets me know when she needs help. She can run a bit with the other dogs but usually can’t keep up. It’s funny how other dogs (in a leash free dog park) come bounding over to her to meet and play and then put on the binders and slow down. They just know that something is not the same with Ubu and take that into consideration when playing etc. A real treat is when Ubu wants up on my lap. It’s funny I’m sure to see this healthy, vibrant front end jump up on my lap while I’m bending over grabbing the back half and pulling it up onto my lap. Ubu thinks that’s perfectly normal now and by golly it is. My pal is correct again.
So me and my pal celebrated my pal’s 13th birthday recently with a small cupcake. I’m glad Ubu couldn’t read or understand because she was determined to walk again as best she could and she’s done it. She’s a fighter.
In the past three months or so, we’ve discovered Ubu is in the beginning stages of renal failure. We’ll fight this one like we did the last one. We know this one will take its toll eventually, but the road between now and then will be one where me and my pal will walk the road together having lots of fun.
Because she’s a fighter and I’m stubborn.
Now if I could just get Ubu pried away from her beloved Ann!
Me ‘n my pal.