I am Walter and this is my World.

I am Walter and this is my World.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wally as a Therapy Dog?

Wally loves his short jaunts outside. Only 5 mins each, per doctors orders, so it's great when there's a little sunshine!

I was wondering - Does anyone have any information on becoming a therapy dog? The programs, training etc? Otis mentioned the idea of Walter being a therapy dog in the last post and even though it'll be awhile before Walter is ready for the public, it's something I've been thinking about more and more.

A friend told me Walter might be a good match for kids who are about to undergo surgeries or starting physical therapy. He could show them hard work, patience and positivity pay off!

Friday, September 25, 2009


all right, it isn't pretty, but we never thought it would be. Through carpet runners, bath mats, welcome mats, crib liners and my once-perfect green yoga mat, we have created walkways that are floppy-foot-friendly. Today was the FIRST DAY Walter got to walk about the house more (or less) like he used to! this is the trail that leads into my office. As long as the carpets are close enough together, he doesn't slip on the floor. (goal being at least two feet are on carpet at all times.) He adheres to the new rules well, only because the wood floor is like buttered ice to him now. Anyone have any experience with post-op dogs being unable to walk on hardwood floors? It's like his paws aren't sticky enough anymore. Anyway, he's getting along all right and is busy checking all his old hiding spots for stashed away loot!

15 mins later...had to post this picture - can you find the pug? this is where Wally used to sleep when I wrote...my heart did a little jump to see him there again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


So Walter enjoys his stroller walks so much, he's practically torn the screening out of the lower half. I went to Pet Smart to replace it...but their "new " strollers seemed really rinky-dink and flimsy so instead I went to Home Depot (no, not happy about shopping at all these meglo-marts...) and got some new screening that was identical! it's actually called Pet Screening. ANyway, we fixed the strollie up and away we went!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This is a BEFORE picture of the apartment...I have to take one with the rug runner I bought. It helps, it's a start, and I can buy the runners off rolls in any length I want, so he can have a trans-room highway of carpet tracks to trot on.

Also - to answer a few of the shoe/boot/orthotics questions, for now we are getting his legs strong enough to wear a boot. He's up to 14 minutes in the water tank (he started at 2!) and they say he IS getting stronger, so in another 4 weeks, if his foot has not regained nerve function, he will be fitted for a little shoe.

For now He's back at Nana's house, and I am working. We're going on an afternoon stroll shortly though, and I will steal kisses.

UPDATE - we took a walk and had a little stroll around the back yard. I called Wally to come inside...and this is the look he gave me. I'm excited b/c This is the look he USED to give me when I called him inside. Brooding, indolent...stubborn...WALLY!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Looking for Creative Ideas...

So Walter is really REALLY getting sick of Scamperland and Pug Pen. The thing is, he can walk just fine on carpeted areas, which is one reason we keep him contained, but my place is completely hardwood floors, with some occasional rugs.

This is the first time in my life I wished the whole house was carpeted. Even if he stays in Pug Pen for 90% of the time, it's nice to let him out now and again to join the family in the living room or what have you. After all, his mind is as alert and active as ever. Picture putting your pug in a pen thats the right size for a goat and see how long the fun lasts!! Anyhow, anyone have any cheap ideas for secure-footing flooring? Looks don't matter anymore, we have a pug pen in the dining room. Maybe industrial door mats? Remnant carpet? Anybody own a remnant carpeting place? ;)

And what, what WHAT?? Walter got his first INTERNATIONAL CARE PACKAGE! Hey-O! All the way from Wonderful Mary in Canada. THE COOLEST stuff came, and it came the day we found out Walter's pin was broken, so he didn't even have a minute to feel down, he was chomping on venison treats, getting a backrub with his new groovy back rubbing thingie that he loves, and I was stunned that Mary sent me a dreamy eye pillow! How did she know sleep is my most precious thing these days?!?

Also very cool was pad balm for the pads of Walter's feet. His bad foot especially has been taking a beating despite efforts to protect it. He knuckles it like this:
So thats another major reason to figure out the flooring thing - we can't have him mashing the dorsal side of his paw on wood. Oh, my kingdom for shag carpeting!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


So the surgeon, who operated on Wally both times, just received Walter's new films, called me and we had a chat. Apparently one of the pins in Walter's leg, the smaller one, might have broken. The good news is it broke AFTER significant scar tissue already formed, so it hasn't shifted a lot. It does mean however Walter has another month of Scamperland, so I built him a new one. I call it "PUG PEN" Walter seems to be enjoying it...here he doing whatever it takes to gnaw on his new Pug Pen bone!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Pins Held!

GREAT NEWS! We took X-rays yesterday and Walter's Pins are right where they should be! They held! The scar tissue is forming, Walter's body has accepted his new bionic legs!

I was hoping to put up images of his before/after X-rays, but the technology is too advanced for me right now...

The only small thing is one bone is still fractured. It is floating in betwixt two bones that have healed (this is in the pelvis region where bones triangulate,) so it is something we may have to operate on in the future, as it may be a catalyst for arthritis. I am thinking I need to research bone/joint regrowth/health etc...

Also, the vet was a bit pessimistic about his foot ever healing. (This is NOT his rehab vet, this is the his primary caregiver vet.)

VET: "His back foot may never heal, you know."

ME: (locking eyes with her like Clint Eastwood) "And it may."

VET: (pauses,) "Yes, it may."

ME: (deadpan) "Well we're going with that one."

VET: (nodding, registering my compulsive-obsessive glare) "All right then. Okay."

So we're going with the foot healing. If anyone has any info on nerve regrowth, send it our way, because we're not giving up. No how, no way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Big Time Loot and the 8-week X-ray

Walter received TWO care packages this week, one from wonderful Mary in California, who sent a box of goodies hand-selected by her four darlings! Walter KNEW the box was for him and enjoyed snorfling each and every package of treats, toys and goodies. He then patiently (sort of) waited for me to allow him to taste-test the treats and gave each toy a welcome mauling. He couldn't believe how much stuff there was!
As if that were not enough, my good friend Kelley, a bookseller at Barnes and Noble sent us the SWEETEST bag of special treats. Walter was totally into the gift-wrapping! His absolute favorite was the chicken strips that have Glucosamine in them, which is good for joints/hips. He snacked on one immediately - see his lil stuffed pug buddy saying "Hey! What about me!" THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, exciting/a little nerve-wracking news...Today we go to the vets to get Walter's 8-week xrays. This is to see if the pins are in fact where they're supposed to be, and if scar tissue has developed, and "accepted" the pins. Please send us some prayers if you have extra, for Walter's pins and for my ability to stay calm. Just walking into the vets now makes me start trembling.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Apocalypse Pug

L. took this picture of Walter in the water tank, we think it looks like the movie Apocalypse Now in that scene where Martin Sheen rises up out if the water, face painted and ready for war.

My next battle? A reading at the Galleria Barnes and Noble in Southdale. Come on down my pug peeps I need a hug!

Heather McElhatton
reading from her book "Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single"
Author Reading (Fiction)
Thursday September 17, 2009 7:00 PM

Hope you can come, love to see you there!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 Mos Anniversary

Today is the the TWO MONTH anniversary of Walter's accident. On July 10th he dashed out of the house and into the street and was hit by a Lexus SUV, the entire lower half of his body got crushed under the wheels - It all happened in about 15 seconds, the longest 15 seconds of my life. I rushed him to the emergency room where I was told that because of his extensive internal injuries and severe state of shock, he would not live through the night.

But this little guy fought and hour by hour he improved just the littlest bit. I would not leave the emergency room not even after they said I should, even after friends and family came. I stayed and wept in the waiting room barefoot because there hadn't been time to put on shoes.

I told the doctor, that she had to save him. That my life did not make sense without him. I told her to go back in there because he was going to make it. He had to or I wouldn't. I fought, she fought and most of all, little Walter fought and he survived.

He spent an entire week in critical care and finally came home drugged up and in terrible pain.I wept every day thinking this marvelous animal was taken down so young and I was powerless to help. I had horrible flashbacks, the sound of him getting hit would flash in my head, the picture of him laying bloody on the road replaying over and over until I thought I'd lose my mind.

Then I asked you all for your prayers, and they came. Not just a few, thousands. Thousands of people prayed for him, sent good wishes, emailed kind words, sent healing blankets and big boxes of gifts. People sent checks. 5-yr-old twins drew him pictures and hoped he came home soon from "the Vegetarians." You all bought copies of my books, which boosted sales and we were lifted, supported and propped up by strangers.

My family rallied and set up a nursery for walter just like you would for a newborn. They sacrificed time, money, and countless backbreaking hours, especially in those beginning days when he needed round-the-clock-care. He had no control of his bladder and couldn't sit up. We fed him water with an eyedropper, changed urine-soaked bedding every half hour, slept in shifts so he got his pain meds on time no matter what. Mom helping me was the reason he made it out of that horrible, dark, critical time when the doctors had done what they could do and we hovered over his crushed, broken body to see if he'd make it.

He still didn't sit up. He howled in pain if we shifted him the wrong way. It was my mother that insisted a second set of Xrays be taken and sent to the orthopedic surgeon because something "just wasn't right." It turned out that hunch of hers is what led to the second surgery. Three days later he got up and walked. Not far, not easily, much like a newborn deer unable to steer his body, but he WALKED.

Then he was unstoppable. We had to build a pen like you would for a foal just to keep him from charging around the house on his still-healing legs. We started physical therapy and landed at a clinic with dedicated, clever people and walter worked harder than ever to show off.

Now, a mere 8 weeks from the accident,we are somewhere I never expected to arrive. There is still a long road ahead of us and we don't know where it leads. He walks, but his rear foot still drags and it is unknown if it will heal. If it does, it will take a long time and alot of clinic visits and a lot of homework and hardest of all alot of patience and endurance on my part to stay the course.

That's why I wanted to thank all of you. Everyone. My loved ones, my friends, and all of you who have followed our story. You are part of why he is alive and I will never be able to thank you but I will promise you this. I will stay with Walter's recovery no matter what. I will see this through regardless of cost, pressure or fatigue. I will not give up, I will never give up and your love combined with Walter's indomitable spirit, is the reason why. Blessings to you and thank you for saving us.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lil outdoorsy time

Check out how much Walters hair has grown in...and the WEEDS IN THE YARD! This is absolute proof of how hard we're working over here, the whole place is going to hell in as handbasket, but Walter is good and I am better since I relocated my computer set up to work beside walter. (If you can't beat em...) Plus, with his handsome concenred face, no one can stay away....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

No Sunshine - Getting Pale without him.

Ugh. No pictures today, no cute Wally story - because Here I am once again strapped to my desk as one might be in a slaveship galley, hurrying to churn out my latest, most urgent the-world-will-end-if-I-don't-get-it-done deadline. I can handle big work loads. I know being a working writer is a privilege these days and I'm lucky to have this deadline in the first place...but The part I can't deal with is being apart from Walter. He's at mom's, safe and sound, being loved and pampered, but when he's not here it's like there's no sunshine and I wilt.

I worry that things will never be the same again. Walter used to sleep on the chair with me when I wrote (sorry...tearing up) and snuggle in bed with me and go everywhere with me. Now he's trapped in that damn Scamperland and I'm trapped at my desk and I hate it. It's painful and I need to believe one day we'll be back together. If I don't hang on to that thought...I'll collapse. Sorry to be such a drama queen. it's a DQ day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We can rebuild him...using the Brooklyn Bridge

So we went to rehab today and the ingenious folks at Twin Cities rehab devised a setup for Walter that not only had I never seen before, NO ONE has ever seen before, because it has never been done before. Using some orthotic designs for bigger dogs, they came up with this sling, that puts absolutely no weight on Walter's little chicken foot ankle, but acts almost like the spring on your back door, using light tension to life his foot correctly whenever he lifts it. I think it looks like a little Brooklyn Bridge.
It's a piece of light velcro around his ankle to which is sewn a small silver ring. Elastic loops are tied to the ring, and each one is measured carefully and then slips over Walters toenails. It LOOKS uncomfortable, but he actually had no idea it was there. The only part he could feel was the velcro around his ankle, and it didn't seem to bother him a bit. Isn't it ingenious? He only wears it for 2 hours a day as we fiddle with the mechanisms, and see how he responds but I have to say, I think TC rehab is genius.

Here he is walking in his ankle sling. Dr. Julia had him walking over little PVC pipes to practice lifting his leg. You can see, even when he gets excited by another dog and tries to jump (Thats our wally!) the sling helps keep the foot placed correctly. Normally this amount of excitement would mean he landed butt-on-the-floor. but he stays up! Amazing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Boy? YOU be the judge!

This is just a little video I shot in the back yard before my battery died, but look at Walter's response when I ask him if he's a good boy!