White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army have been incredibly attentive to Steve as they attempt to nurse his back into a return to spritelyness. He is not the most compliant patient, even when Sachi sits on him to keep him from hopping up and down. But the Tylenol and heating pad seem to be helping a little so everyone is in a hopeful state of mind.
The White Dog Army is beginning to feel the stress of their normal routine being altered. They try very hard to keep the look of disappointment from their eyes when pre-bedtime walks are cancelled; the idea of six walking trips around the neighborhood are more than Steve can even consider. And his substitute of taking all into the yard only goes as far as standing on the deck leaning heavily on the railing. They understand and do not complain but I know they are missing "normal."
Feeding times and eating spots have been moved around to better accommodate not having to stoop from the counter to the floor 11 times twice a day. For now pup meals are being served closer to where Steve can sit to place bowls, or to hand them to me to set on the floor. Zsofia kind of likes eating with the "big kids" but kind of misses her ingrained idea that her meals are, as they have been since she was a puppy when we segregated her because she ate different food, served around the corner from my desk. Puff who has trouble remaining standing during her meals is used to being helped by Steve cradling her hips as she enthusiastically devours her meals; she is accepting of the new methodology of momma holding her and feeding her in my lap but I know she secretly cannot wait to have her illusion of independence back.
White Dog does not understand why she can't, as usual, sit behind Steve's back on his armchair as he leans forward to groom the others. The White Ones have kindly allowed me to increase the grooming time we usually have together to compensate for Steve's early morning attentions that are not possible right now. (Despite what you might have heard, White Dogs DO shed, copiously, and require a daily maintenance regimen).
Hardest of all for the White Dog Army is not rushing Steve in a loving embrace to welcome him home or back inside or after he arises from the heating pad. It takes great effort for all to remember to approach him with tails waging but not to press and to leave him lots of space. And they struggle with how much space to leave so as not to cause back pain but sit so far off that he cannot lean forward or reach out to touch them.
"Thank you, my loves," I tell them before Steve returns home. "I know this is not easy. But you are all being patient, gentle and loving. Your understanding and love are very powerful medicines in helping dad get better. Believe in the WDA, things are already improving."