Happy 5th birthday to my favorite guy. The best years of my life have been those spent with you. You're my partner in crime for all things, and while I regret being away for work this year and not getting to spend the day with you, I know you're in good hands. As I write this, you're probably enjoying a great nap on that big comfy couch you love so much.
This year has been rough for you...and for me. We'd successfully rehabbed from your double cruciate ligament surgery by the time your birthday rolled around last year. But things took a turn when you pulled your groin in March. We rehabbed through that successfully, too, though. I even managed to take you on some low-intensity hikes into the crag the two times I went rock climbing.
By fall you were back at it, the highlight of outdoors activities was certainly the 10 mile hike through Dolly Sods at peak autumn. You were the absolutely epitome of the perfect off leash dog on that hike. You stayed within close sight the whole time, paused when Q and I paused, and rested when Q and I rested. You were hardly even sore the next day! I was thrilled.
But then November rolled around and you tweaked something in a bad way again. The way you presented led me to believe it must be your groin - again. Despite being cautious with our level of activity, crating you for a few weeks even, you just weren't bouncing back from this second mystery injury. I was heartbroken every time I had to leave you behind when I headed for an adventure - I still am.
Despite the addition of daily pain relievers and supplements, you weren't improved much in January. I gave in and took you to the vet for x-rays to see what was up. I figured you had a full groin tear and wanted confirmation on it...but what we found out blew both the vet's mind and my own.
You'd managed to do something my vet had never seen before - you fractured a small bone called the fabella in your right knee. This bone is surrounded by ligaments and is where the vet had blindly anchored the suture during your cruciate surgery nearly 18 months prior. Somehow, you'd exerted enough force on that leg that the suture pulled through the bone, fracturing it into two pieces and loosening the suture from the knee surgery in the process.
We still aren't sure how to proceed with your rehab. You received a joint injection and an adequan shot at the vet that day and are responding well to the pain relievers you've been on for a month now. I'm trying to keep you quiet, only allowing you to move about during your bathroom breaks during the day - no great activity outside that.
It's so hard though! You're my adventure dog. You've had it ingrained in you from the first day you came home with me that you get to go everywhere with me and do all the things. Not being active is as hard for you as it is for me.
I plan to take it slow with you this year. To get that boned healed and get you strong without surgery. A year of rehab is what we're looking at, Kenai. A year of slow nothing that builds to slow something that hopefully builds slowly back into you being able to come up on the mountain with the patrol by next January.
You get to be on house arrest with minimal activity through March and part of April. If you're doing well, we'll add low intensity strength building inside. If that goes well, we'll begin short walks. From there we'll build up the length, time, and intensity of our walks. We'll hike lots of hills and mountains so you really have to use that hind end.
I hope we'll get there...I really, really, really do.
Happy birthday, Kenai. I'm glad you're in my life.