I am Walter and this is my World.

I am Walter and this is my World.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What now?

Okay, I know this sounds crazy...but I'm still feeling it, so I'm going to put it out there so you wise ones can lead me through. The therapist wants Walter to spend more time out of scamperland and to build up as much time in the shoe as possible. She said, and I quote, "Let him out around the house."

Let him walk around the house??? it goes against my every instinct. I want to keep him in scamperland where its safe. where he's safe. I've become so robotic in our strict "routines" (medication at exact times of day, exercises and physio ball everyday, coordinated babysitting, No time outside scamperland except potty breaks, no running, jumping, rough housing, going on walks etc...) that now that walter's routines can change back...I'm having a hard time changing anything at all. I'm not ready!!!

My little man can actually go on short walks outside on a leash now! It's terrifying! what if a car...what if his leash...I can't even finish the sentence. I won't! I KNOW!! stop worrying! Walter isn't worrying!!! In fact, in an attempt to prolong the "babying" I got walter in a new stroller. a $250 contraption with all the bells and whistles. You know what happened? I put him in the new stroller, said, "Here Wally! It's your new stroll..." Then I heard, "Rrrrrrrrip!"

Walter slashed the front netting with his nails. Slashed it right out like...."I don't believe I'll be taking the stroller anymore mom! See ya!" Then he hopped out.


So now the stroller is going BACK to the manufacturers! Returned! Come on UPS, take the baby-mobile away! We don't need it! (But...but I need it!!) How can I possibly take this little guy on walks out in the big world unless it's in an indestructible bulletproof gerbil ball with a security envoy!?!

My question is, how do I let my dog be "normal" again when I'm so used to everything being abnormal?? Letting him walk around the house seems as sane as letting him "walk around the mouth of a volcano." What if something happens? It's started to trigger some of the old memories...some of the post traumatic stress stuff. I don't know if my heart can take letting HIM take risks again. I don't know if I can do it. I know I should, I know he's ready...even the doctor says he's ready, but so help me...I cannot go through this again. How do I make sure I never go through this again and give him any freedom at all?

Winston, Lise and many others, I know you'll point me to the positive, which makes me love you!! I'm right there with you! In fact, I am POSITIVE I want to keep walter in an inflated pug bubble-suit for protection ;) okay that might get hot...but you know what I mean. Being positive is essential, and so are fences. So where does caution remain, and faith begin???

I've been clinging to the tippy-top of a palm tree for so long during this 4 month storm...I don't know how to climb down even after the storm is over and the waters are starting to recede. How do I convince myself to step foot on dry land again? Is it safe? It seems so much safer up in the tree!

(I just know some Chinese philosopher has this all figured out already. It's so frustrating to be small.)


The Devil Dog said...

Oh Heather, that is a tough one. But if anything, Walter is up to the task. He's been telling you that for a while now, and so is the doctor. As long as your doors are shut and you have no stairs to worry about, I would say that the house is now scamperland. Just think of expanding the boundaries a little. You can still worry about outside, but inside is full of love and faith and strength. You have to have faith that Walter will be fine there. And you have to realize that there is a new normal. It involves letting go a little. No one says you have to do it all at once. Maybe you can give him one room, then add another room, then another room, until he has the entire house, if that makes it easier for you.
You've done so well with all of this, I know you will be fine with a new normal.

Roxy, Lucky & Mom

Freya's Human said...

*hugs* I can totally understand how hard this must be for you. You want to protect your baby, but sometimes you have let them be, you know? Even if it is a gut wrenching feeling for you, you have to trust that he will stop or rest when it gets too much for him. I'm sure Walter has an abundance of energy he wants to burn off right now.

Take care and do it slowly.

Sorry about the stroller though.

Pearl said...

Your feelings about this are so normal!! Anyone would be hesitant to start returning to the old ways, but isn't that what we've been working so hard for? A return to puggy normalcy!
I agree with Roxy & Lucky's mom. Your best approach is to take it SLOWLY. One room at a time. Watching his every move. Take him on a walk down the street and right back home. You are easing yourself back into trusting the world, just as much as you are easing Wally into it! And that's ok. Do this at a pace that feels ok to you... if you give him one room of the house for a WEEK, that's fine! There is no agenda here...
Once again, I admire you and the care you give Walter. He is SO so lucky, in so many ways!

Soph K said...

I really sympathise with you on this Heather! I had this very same experience after both my pug babies were let out of the usually very secure back yard by a window cleaner and one of them was missing on the railway sidings for 24 hours. The post traumatic stress was so great that I didn't want them to do anything or go anywhere without me, even though they were both back safe and without a scratch. I'm sure they were very irritated in the end by my spying on their every move, but it is such a gradual process that even though they weren't bothered about what happened, it was what I had to go through to adjust to having things back to normal! It has been a much longer process of adjustment for you and Walter so I agree with everyone else in taking it slowly - just watch him and watch him until his progress gives you confidence. It may be a long time before you feel normal again but the more Walter progresses the better you will feel! Best Wishes to both of you!

Shelley said...

Dear Heather, I know this is a very hard, but very good change for Wally. It will be easier on him than on you, but I know that the Lord has something special for you & Wally from all of this. I truly don't believe that the Lord who created us & loves us all so very much would put you & Wally through all this to let a tragedy happen again. Maybe like you were thinking about before, Wally will become a therapy dog & help other dogs & people. Or maybe you will be an advocate for dog safety & making everyone aware how quickly something can happen. I just believe that with you being a very talented writer & with your special little guy & what he's been through that God has something big planned for you both. Maybe because of Wally's therapy, he'll be an example for the future when the vets tell people that their beloved pets won't be the same again. You & Wally have proved them all wrong & LOVE & hard work rule over all medical prognosis. You are a very kind & wonderful person, Heather & I've been following your blog ever since Boo Bear Pug alerted us to Wally's accident on Facebook. I hope I get to meet you both someday. You've proven to me what real love can do - you & Wally. God's Blessings

Michelle & FeeBee Mong

Page said...

This probably sounds crazy, but, when things like this come up for me I try to think of what the pugs would think....as long as you take it slowly, it sounds like little Wally is more than ready to "be a pug" again and would probably never look back to his days of being incapacitated. Just do your best to prevent any accidents but remember that there will probably be minor cracks along the way and it's so much more important for him to LIVE his life now that he's almost recovered. I have to say that I so admire a dog's philosophy on life and I think that's why I have dogs, to remind me of it. Quite frankly, there are times when I wish I could switch places with the pugs and let them worry about me while I get to live life to the fullest!! You've done an amazing job with him and this is just another trial that you will get through!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow that is a tough one. But as hard as it may be or seem to be, I believe you can get through because look at what you have come through already! You are strong Heather and now Wally is getting stronger.

I like Roxy and Lucky's mom's idea, expand scamper land to the room it is in, then another room and then another. Babygate the stairs so you won't need to worry about it.
With the walking, start slow. Just the front yard, double check the leash and harness/collar as many times as you need to feel reassured that it won't just snap off.

You can do it because Wally needs you too and because we all believe in you.

That really sucks about the stroller!

Lilo, The Great Rock Eater said...

Slow and steady wins the race!! You have to taqke this at a pace that works for you. If you try to do to much at once, you are going to stress yourself out and get worked up and that is no god for you or Walter. The girls are right. Expand his boundaries little by little so its not overwhelming for either of you. I know you will make the decision that is best for you and Walter as you have done all along. And you know that we will be here to support you in whatever decision you make as we have from the start.

Jess & Lilo

Otis Says... said...


You and Walter have worked hard for this day to come. You have gone for worrying if Walter would survive to now worrying about a independent Walter. This is a great day. Walter has come amazingly far in a relatively short time which most likely seemed like an eternity to both of you. Heather believe in yourself, water and his doctors. Like any toddler Walter may have some accidents but you will both survive. This is a great day for both of you.

Emily said...

Three Words: Free Range Pug!!! Its like Marley and Me. He's letting you know he's ready and Momma, he's ready. He needs to unleash his inner pug.

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

Hi Heather and Walter
This is what I think.
Walter is smart and he has been waiting for this day for so long.
Walter is smart and he will take it one step at a time. One day at a time. Maybe the first few days he will only go visit one room. Maybe the next day he will add another room on his own. If he does not feel like flying - then he won't. Animals know how to keep in control of the situation. Take one step at a time with Walter- watch and see what he does.
Yes, block off the stairs.
To tell you the truth my moms don't trust the harness and leashes- and they have no reason not to. We all understand how you feel. Its normal feelings. Take baby steps with Walter.

dw said...

I think you've received many words of wisdom from everyone here that will help you face the next phase of Walter's recovery -- the phase where the pug wants to be a pug and the mom wants to be a mom. I'm sure you'll figure it out and I'm sure there'll be bumps in the road, but I'm sure that as a good mom (since we all know you're a great mom), you'll let your little boy live his life on his terms as much as you feel he can. And he'll understand and love you.

Yoda and Brutus said...

All of the comments above are great and I am not sure that I can add much. You and Walter have been through so much and it is understandable that you don't want to see him hurt again. As long as you take him out with his leash on (I make Yoda & Brutus sit while I put their collars and leashes on and then make them stay while I go out the door ahead of them). Just think of how things used to be before the accident and maybe that will help.

Pugs & Kisses,

Cindy, Yoda & Brutus

Heather and Walter said...

YES! WE DID IT! I will post pics later...but we actually went for a very short walk outside on the leash. (took me a half hour to secure all leashes and collars and shoe...but we did it!

Smilingpug (aka Winston Wilbur) said...

Oh dear, you are in a bit of a pickle! I guess the key is to start slow to get you used to the idea of Wally having free roam again. Start indoors then slowly work up to longer and longer excursions outdoors. It is so hard to just let him go after all you both have been through. On the other side he must feel he is ready as he now is sending his stroller back! LOL. He does know his own body and if he is showing interest in moving around it must be time. To start, just take small steps and work up to bigger ones to get used to it. Between the both of you it will turn out ok and before you know it you will both be thinking "scamperland.... wow seemed liked years ago". The first few steps will be the hardest but in no time at all.... you will be walking no wait running round the lake!

Winston and Lise

Jen and Maxwell said...

Awww Heather and Walter,

It is hard to just let go when you have had something so traumatic happen. But he is such a little trooper! He is so amazing. And Maxwell and I will keep you both in our thoughts and prayers in a continuous healing process and also comfort that it will all be ok.

Lots of Puggie and human love sent you way!!! kisses!!!

Jen and Maxwell