When You’re the Healthiest One in the House

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Taking care of my dog over the last two weeks after she had her leg amputated has presented alot of challenges. She needed almost 24 hour care the first week. She needed medication, compresses, and help eating. Sometimes she just wanted someone to sit with her. She’d howl for hours on end if you weren’t petting her.

The challenges increased when my father fell off a ladder a week before Sierra’s surgery. He sprained his ankle and could not get himself around very well. This meant that her recovery fell on me entirely.

As a disabled person, I have trouble getting through the day myself. I found myself in the strange position of being the healthiest person in the house. I had to ignore my usual aches and pains and help Sierra.

This wasn’t always easy. My size and disability created some problems. She’s a 70 lb Lab and I’m an 80 lb human. Sierra needed physical support for things like getting in and out of the car and going to the bathroom. It’s probably a good thing that she trusts me implicitly because I wasn’t always sure that I had a good grip or was carrying her correctly. I have to admit something. I didn’t really known if I was up to the task. In fact, the first day we brought her home, I panicked. Here was this suffering creature and her recovery depended on me. Yes, the same person who sometimes doesn’t get out of bed on time because she dreads having to put on her braces and shoes.

I think seeing her struggle with her three legs helped me forget my own woes. I’ve seen people who have had only a minor injury–and they use it to opt out of life. I have used a swollen finger or a sore foot as a reason not to do things. But, Sierra lost a limb. She has had to relearn almost everything she does without really understand why her leg is gone.

I’ve found her will to survive humbling and inspirational. When I think of my own ailments, I can at least say I have all my limbs even if they don’t work very well. The whole situation taught me a little about myself. When the going gets tough, we’re able to put aside our own distractions and draw on that inner strength sitting deep inside of us. I’m glad that inner strength was there when I needed it.

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