White Dog looked at me in alarm. "Aren't you going to help him?" she asked referring to Ferguson who was struggling to rearrange himself on his sleep mat. "Give him a chance," I told her. "We need to encourage our boy to push himself a bit on this road to recovery. If he tries and truly can't or seems like he is getting frustrated and panicky, I will help, but let's let him use those muscles and his brainpower." I don't think WD was convinced but she hung back and the others followed her lead.
I do not like watching Fergus struggle but Dr. Julia, Steve and I decided that we must not let him fall into the role of invalid. The longer he does not walk, the harder it will be to rehab those muscles and to keep the motor skills sharp enough to be mobile. So letting him flail a bit with his legs or stumble or lean as he stands, as mean as it seems, is truly in his best interests. We know to lavishly praise even two small steps or swimming on his belly to change sleep directions. And we certainly step n with assistance when it is clear he has tired himself or simply is not able. It is not easy when my momma instincts fill my head with screams to pick him up and save the day.
But the White Dog Army got it. Every time Ferguson made an effort, one or the other was there with a nuzzle or a display of support. Zsofia dropped Dragon, her most prized stuffy, at Fergus' feet as he leaned into Steve's chair. She wooed at him to play and seemed pleased with herself when he dropped to lie on top of her treasure.
And when Steve announced to him that he was going to have to eat some dinner, Puff stood at my side as I held him while we fed our sick boy a slurry of blended dogfood and ensure. He resisted the first few slurps but I massaged his throat and explained how important it was that he begin eating on his own. Puff touched his foot. Then YoYoMa and Benson came to sit in front of him...and by the time Nilla, his special guardian, barked her cheer he was taking the thick liquid willingly. We did not overdo but followed the food with some syringed water as well.
It has become a family endeavor to accompany Steve and Ferguson as they go out into the yard every 90 minutes or so. He is not strong enough to walk but Steve carries him out and down the ramp and holds his special harness (once Quinn's) so Ferguson can stand. it is yet another attempt to get muscles and desire moving again...and hopefully will help him sleep through the night.
We see a little more light in his eyes, even after only a half day of fluids at the vet but the road to recovery still seems long. Tomorrow he returns to Dr. Julia for the day and then we will develop an action plan for the upcoming weekend.
It nearly made me cry when Sachi, usually our goofy self-absorbed boy, walked into the special crate we have set up as a cave for Ferguson and laid against Ferg's side. "Don't worry, brother," he reassured him, "you will get through this. I love you."