Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “December, 2017”

Service Puppy

People with health problems, both physical and emotional, benefit from the assistance of service animals.  Think of seeing eye dogs, seizure dogs, dogs trained to assist a person in a wheelchair, and companion dogs for PTSD sufferers.

Now, by way of contrast, let’s talk about Gus, our Yellow Lab puppy.  When I became temporarily “disabled” by a fractured femur and new hip, I was provided with a walker.  As I took each step, Gus liked to get between my feet and move forward with me.  Now that I have progressed to merely using a cane, he bites the bottom of the cane every time it moves forward.  He seems to appreciate the entertainment.  He seems unaware of safety concerns, but he is young and has little OSHA training.

He also jumps on me, sometimes landing on my incision.  Ugh!  However, it is nice when he falls asleep between my legs.

gus as therapist

He’s no Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, but Gus is excellent at providing “emotional support.”

I must bring this post to a conclusion so I can rescue my wooden cane from the jaws of a puppy who is chewing on it.  Guess who.

gus with cane

At least he gives good foot massages.  Moist ones.

foot massage

Pain Management

After the fall:

When I was admitted to the hospital, a nurse/drug pusher offered me morphine “to stay on top of the pain.”

I said, “I don’t need a painkiller because the pain ain’t that bad.”

The nurse argued with me.  “You won’t heal as quickly if pain prevents you from getting up>”

“But if pain does not prevent me from rehab, then the medication will be something else to deal with and I do not need it.”

Miss Sugar, my trusty trophy wife, advocated for me.  “He does not want morphine.  He does not want to throw up.  And, he says it does not hurt except a dull ache.”

After hip replacement surgery, I awoke with my wedding ring back on.  They had taken it off during the operation, but in recovery, Sugar put it back on me.

I awoke without much pain, again refused morphine and all pain meds except two Tylenol.  I could get up shortly after waking up.  The anaesthesia made me a little dizzy when I first sat up, but it was no big deal.  The surgeon and anaesthesiologist had each done a great job.  I felt better than before surgery.

I was discharged the next day.  Modern medicine!  I am grateful to all the care providers, especially Miss Sugar.

Back home, the dogs took over my care.  They are nice therapy dogs.

Gus is unaware of where my bum hip is located and jumps up on my stomach.  Then he takes a nap between my legs.  He is a good therapy dog.

gus as therapist


Cowboy Tough

So this guy wearing cowboy boots (spoiler alert) went to the rural post office and went in to get his mail.  Coming out, he slipped on ice and fell hard on his left side.

A young man who saw the fall picked up the mail and asked, “Are you okay?”

The ruggedly handsome cowboy on the ground bravely responded, “I don’t know yet.  Let me lay here a spell.”

Then, heroically, with no regard for his personal safety, the cowboy grabbed the hand rail over his head and pulled himself up by a display of extraordinary strength.

Others in the parking lot witnessed the effort and came over to steady the huge mountain of a man, who looked like an NFL linebacker or at least an unsigned free agent.

As the little people attempted to hold him up, the tough cowboy, well, I hate to say it, fainted.  and the well-meaning citizens could not hold him up, so he awoke after a few seconds on the ground again.

Someone said, “We better call 911.”

“No, just help me to my car please.”

They did both.  He made it to his car with assistance.  It was maybe 30 feet.  At the same time, some tattletale called 911.

Soon emergency personnel, EMTs or whatever, arrived and checked him out.  No, he did not hit his head.  Yes, he knew the day of the week, date of the month, year and who the President is.  Yes, he could move his toes.  No, it did not hurt too much when the fella pushed on his hip.  It was noted that the courageous cowboy refused an ambulance ride.  There was much muttering.  “I thought John Wayne was dead,” someone remarked.

They watched him drive away.  Not into the sunset, as it was morning, but away.  Away to his ranch, where he got out of the car to open the gate, got back in, drove to the barn, got back out, watered the horses, tossed out a couple bales of hay, got back into the car, and then drove 25 miles to get crutches at a pharmacy.  Then, legend has it, this amazing man, drove another 25 miles and used the crutches to get into the house, pulling up four steps.  Some say it was 50 steps, but that is an exaggeration.

His wife, from Texas, came to the house later.  She said, “It probably is not broken or you would be in more pain and could not do all that you did.  I broke my ankle that time and it really hurt.  Look, your hip is not even bruised.  Don’t be a pussy.”

By all accounts, the uninjured fall victim used the crutches to assist in his mobility the rest of the day, night, and through the next morning.  His wife then suggested going to urgent care to get an x-ray, just in case, because the pussy was avoiding putting weight on the unbruised and unbroken left leg, relying too much on the crutches.

According to the national news reports, the cowboy and his wife, whom we shall call Miss Texas, drove through Wendy’s on the way to urgent care.  He ate a Dave’s cheeseburger and had a chocolate Frosty around noon.

Urgent Care suggested just going to the hospital for x rays because if there is a fracture, that would be the place to go to anyway.  So, they went to the hospital ER, got x rays, were told the left femur (whatever that is) was “fractured” (see, it was not broken) and would need to be pinned.  The patient  having just eaten, the surgery was delayed.

Later there was a change of plans.  The trauma surgeon saw the x- rays and recommended a total hip replacement because the angle was wrong for just a pin, leaving a high risk of failure.  He said the surgery would be the next morning.  It was.

In hindsight, I see that I probably should have accepted the ambulance ride from the post office.  Maybe next time.



All American Mom

When my mother was growing up, there were not many opportunities for girls to participate in sports.  Here is what happened when I tried to include female participation in basketball at our garage, which had a backboard and rim attached, and a driveway which served as the court.

To fully appreciate the setting for this story, I must tell you that my mother had an older brother who was an All American football player.  He also was a basketball star and a good track athlete.  So good, that his nickname was Flash.  He is in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame.  I am not in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame, but when I was in 5th grade, I fully expected future induction.

So, I was shooting hoops with my friends and my mother came by on her way to the backyard clothesline.  We were, as you could have seen if you had been there, excellent athletes, whereas my mother was, of course, just a girl or, more accurately, a lady who was my mother.

I teasingly passed the basketball to her.  She caught it and immediately shot the ball.  It went into the basket.  The shot was from the side, maybe 15 feet from the basket.  Swish!

Then she made like she was wiping her hands and offered to play with us again when we improved.

I don’t recall ever playing with her again.  She was one for one.  Perfect record.

Thirty Pounds of Puppy

Gus at 15 weeks

At 15 weeks of age, last week Gus  went to his primary care physician for his veterinary care, which included shots and a checkup.  The checkup involved weighing him on a scale.   The scale read 30 pounds.

That weight for a Labrador Retriever of that age is not unusual.  Some are smaller, some are bigger.  What was remarkable to me is the rate of growth.  Three weeks ago, when Gus had a vet appointment for his 12 week checkup, he weighed less than twenty pounds.

Now for me to gain ten pounds in three weeks is easy.  But for a puppy to increase his body weight by half again what he weighed would be like me gaining 100 pounds in three weeks.

With the holidays here, I will give it a try.


Beau as Pet of the Year

Readers of this blog who are familiar with numerous posts about our Yellow Labrador Retriever named Beau have an impression of him as an amusing trouble-maker.  Today, I want to amend that view of Beau.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not taking it all back.  The stories about him are all true.  He is indeed a character with a funny personality.  You might recall that many of Beau’s activities have involved “collecting.”  He has robbed both a UPS truck and a FedEx truck.  He has brought me tools from workers.  He has “found” a hat of one of our guests.  He has borrowed towels intended for hot tub occupants.  He has helped himself to breakfasts of persons who negligently got up from the table to get coffee.

But Beau has revealed a selfless side recently.  For acts of kindness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year, an honor that has eluded him for the first six years of his life.

What changed?  Beau has accepted responsibility as the babysitter of our new puppy, Gus.  Beau patiently plays with the exuberant puppy.  He is careful not to hurt Gus.  He allows Gus to climb all over him.  He seems to realize that it would not be a fair fight, so he tolerates the puppy taking Beau’s toys.  He even coaches Gus about fetching and pottying outside.  It is heart-warming to watch the two together.

Today, I witnessed something else that warmed my heart and inspired me to write this post.  Besides Beau and Gus, we also have a female Lab, Sadie, who has tried futilely to teach him how to live his life.  She comes when she is called, for example.

Sadie has always been the first to eat.  No matter which bowl I put down first, that one is hers.  Today, Sadie did not go to her bowl.  Beau finished his meal and stood, waiting for Sadie to eat.  I had to lead her to her food.  Sadie is fourteen, almost.  Her eyesight is going, I suppose, but not her appetite.   I was amazed that Beau did not take Sadies’s food.  He just stood and waited for me to lead Sadie to her food bowl and patiently watched her finish her breakfast.

And for that act of respect  and selflessness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year.


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