By Leslie Gallagher
All of a sudden it happened. After another week of just walking with support in the harnesses, Ken decided he was ready to try to walk on his own (without informing me first). Oh. My. God. I almost had a heart attack when he first tried. I had come home from work bone tired, with my usual car full of dogs and Ken had gotten home earlier with Bryan. I walked into the kitchen and shouted out, “HEY KEN!” as I always did and the knucklehead started wagging his little stump and grinned at me and staggered to his feet. Holy crap. I raced towards him as I was absolutely terrified he would fall, and he lurched towards me! He took about three steps and fell just as I got to him. My heart was pounding (so was his). He was ecstatic. This was awesome.
And it created a whole other can of worms. I now had the equivalent of a drunk newborn 90 lb. baby learning to walk and you can’t let them out of your sight for a second. My life just got a whole lot more complicated. For the past few months Ken had been more like a nice, well behaved potted plant. You could actually leave him and go and do a million other things knowing he would be just fine. Not anymore! Ken was going to try to come with! Always! Everytime you leave the room! Go Ken!
The last thing on earth you want is to have a paralyzed dog who had had a severe neck injury to fall down. Really, really bad. Every movement must be slow, controlled, safe. Ken now had to be monitored every freaking minute of the day. It was hilarious and terrifying at the same time. My house for the most part is carpeted (read: safe for Ken). The rooms with tile and hardwood are covered in yoga mats and area rugs so that there is good traction in most of the house. The office? Not so much. What Ken really needed was a padded room, a helmet, knee pads and full carpeting everywhere.
He started trying to walk on his own. And then he’d fall as I’d gasp and grab for his harnesses to save him. Over. And over. And over. It truly became my fulltime job, protecting Ken from himself. He was so weak and yet at the same time so determined. So he’d get up. I’d let out a yelp, rush over, grab his harnesses, and we’d go to wherever he decided he was going with a little support from me. Within about a week we had progressed to walking down to the corner and back with me lightly supporting him.
Then came the day he got brave enough to try to walk at the office. He stood up by himself, wagged his stump and CHARGED OFF DOWN THE HALL!! We laughed, we yelled, we cheered, we all cried! Everyone had put their heart and soul into this dog and he was turning into our little rock star. Go, Ken, GO!!!