Oliver is home.  Right now he’s in his own bed, snoring like a bear and we couldn’t be happier.  It feels right to have him here with us.  Not that this situation is without it’s trials.  No, one of our big issues is keeping him safe; from himself, from Addison.  She can be a little overbearing when it comes to Oliver.  She just loves a little too much.  Addie is always kissing him and often tries to climb on him like a horse.  It worked once and she rode on Oliver’s back halfway across the living room.  Thrill of her life!  Now she won’t give up.  She wants the exhilaration of that 8 seconds back again.  Since Oliver can’t get away from her and we don’t want him to start getting defensive, we’re keeping a very close watch over the two of them.

Yesterday when we picked Ollie up from the hospital we talked with both his doctor and his physical therapist.  The latter will be working closely with him in the coming weeks.  She said that he had some movement in his good leg during therapy yesterday and we were able to witness that for ourselves.  He’s not using it to walk, but he is moving it and using it to support himself to some extent, which is more than he was doing on Thursday.  She also told us that he had no tail function.

After we settled Addie in bed for the night we were getting ready to take Ollie in the backyard for our first attempt at getting him to go to the bathroom.  As soon as the lock on the door clicked open I heard the distinctive ‘whump, whump’ of his tail hitting the bed.  We got his rear end into the sling and took him into the backyard for the first time in  3 days.  He took off into a quick trot with his tail swinging from left to right.  He was very deliberately wagging his tail.  He ran right to one of his spots and started going to the bathroom all on his own.  We haven’t had the same luck getting him to go this morning.  In fact, we haven’t had any luck getting him to go this morning…but we’re hopeful.

This is strangely reminiscent of when we first brought Oliver home.  I was six months pregnant and we went to the shelter to pick up a dog we were taking in as a foster pet for a few weeks.  We had no idea which dog would be coming home with us.  We only knew we would be getting a black lab; one of the dozen or so that needed a foster home for two weeks.  We lucked out and happened to get Oliver.  As we were walking to the car, a shelter worker stuck her head out the door and yelled – as if it were an after thought, “It would be great if you could house train him!”  Huh?  Was she talking to me?  Because until that moment it had never occurred to  me that this dog might walk into my house and think it was okay to use my living room as a litter box.  And I have white carpeting.  I guess I had never thought about it.

That first day I  watched Oliver like a hawk.  Every time he shifted, or looked at the door or started to sit down I thought he was going to lift his leg on my couch or squat on the rug.  That night before bed, we decided it was best to set the alarm for 2:00 AM to take him out for a bathroom break.  Scott woke him up and they trekked out into the backyard together where Ollie sat there staring at him as if to say ‘Why did you wake me up and what in the hell are we doing in the back yard in the middle of the night?’ We never set the bathroom alarm again.

We’re going through a lot of those first night jitters now, because we were told that Oliver needs help going to the bathroom.  We don’t know how accurate this is or how often we should try to get him to go.  In fact, we’re not sure of much right now.  We’re not sure if we’re putting him in the sling correctly, or even if we’re positioning him on his bed the right way.  Like the adjustment period we went through when we first brought him home, we’ll get through this one too.