Bella is up to 20 minutes in the hydrotherapy tank.
And we got permission from her rehab specialist on Tuesday to let her climb stairs.
Folks, do you know what Bella’s permission to climb stairs means? We have abandoned camp in the living room and returned to our bed.
Immediately, I noticed a difference in the neck pain I’ve been experiencing and all three of us have been sleeping better these last few nights.
And we’re seeing marked improvement in Bella’s stride every day.
I’m going to have my adventure dog back before we know it.
Life with an injured adventure dog
It isn’t easy being strapped to the couch. We haven’t been out snowshoeing once this season and there have been no hikes since our trip to Leavenworth last October.
On the bright side, I didn’t have to fork out another $40 for a Sno-Park Pass this year. (Uh … weigh that against the $4,500 surgery, the $3,300 rehab and my $1,500 in rehab and I think the $40 would have been manageable.)
With spring starting to show its face in the Inland Northwest, though, I’m looking out the window, hoping we can wander through the woods soon and spot the first arrowhead balsamroots blooming.
In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on self-care.
“Self-care” means different things to different people. For the most part, it means going for a hike with my little adventure dog. Since we can’t do that, I have to find other ways.
Right now, it means:
- Forcing myself to take breaks from the computer. I’m weird. I love doing the little things that make my businesses run: the websites, the emails, the social media posts and what-not.
- Writing in my journal. I’ve had a lot of complex feelings lately. The loss of our winter of exploring brought with it certain levels of grief, as all losses do. Writing is an excellent way to organize thoughts and release those emotions.
- Staying active. With Bella confined to very little activity, I have to remember to take care of my own physical condition. I’ve started lifting weights again and using the
dust collectorstationary bike and treadmill.
- Being social. I have the most wonderful friends who love to meet for sushi almost once a week. It’s good to get out, and I’m glad my husband will stay home to sit with Bella while I do. We’re also heading to the Bartender’s Ball this weekend, a fundraiser for Help Every Little Paw in Coeur d’Alene.
- Doing nothing. I need to remind myself that sometimes it’s OK to just not do anything, to just lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling.
And then there’s my favorite: taking moments to be present with Bella, soaking up all the goodness those magical fur fibers of love carry with them.
I’m reading a great book right now called The Human-Animal Connection by Genie Joseph. I interviewed Genie for an upcoming episode of the One Last Network podcast and she shares some really interesting information about learning to communicate better with our companion animals.
I was only a few chapters into her book when we spoke but I mentioned to her that one little tip she offered had already changed my life.
Each chapter is a principle on the human-animal connection and the first was is titled. “Good Medicine: What Animals Can Teach Us About Goodness.” Genie writes about filling up your goodness tank by centering yourself in calm and peacefulness and saying “good girl, good doggie, good Angela.”
I took that advice, lie down next to Bella, held onto her paws, stared into her eyes and said, “Good girl, good Bella and good mama.”
It felt far more authentic than high-fiving myself in the mirror or leaving myself Post-It notes of encouragement in random places. And now I’m doing it with Bella every morning.
Self-care is critical
Getting ourselves into a good practice of self-care is vital, especially when dark days arrived.
I learned on Wednesday that one of my 2023 Paws of the Inland Northwest dogs left our physical world recently.
Beautiful Ruby with the long, stunning eyelashes was lifted up two weeks ago after a long life as her mama’s best friend, co-pilot and adventure dog.
I shed tears and curled into Bella’s mane for comfort, hoping to send strength, love and light and to Lacey.
All around the circle
Pet photographers often work with clients whose animals are nearing their last adventures, and when those pets are lifted up, we grieve that loss.
While it is not our place to center ourselves on our clients’ losses, we do invest emotion in each pet we meet and photograph.
We care and many of us want to be a part of your journey with your pet, through the good times and the bad.
That’s why there’s more to your session than just a few random clicks of a shutter release button.
That’s why I’m a twice-certified grief coach and a certified pet loss grief companion.
That’s why I will offer to be a part of your support network as you take these last walks with your best fur friend.
And that’s why the photographers in the blog circle this week are writing about self-care. They’ve all been a part of their clients’ grief journey and they feel the pain of their losses.
Start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography in Northeastern PA, who has pointers on having your best life with your dog.
Click the link at the bottom of Elaine’s post to continue through the circle. When you get back here to self-care with my injured adventure dog, that’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
If you need a last-minute adventure, don’t hesitate.
Thanks for sharing this. Self-care is critical, and also easy to neglect when there’s no deadline to do it like there is with all the other things we juggle.
I’m so glad Bella is able to go up the stairs again. I can’t imagine being on the couch for so long.