Elki (Loops and Whorls pt. 1)

I debated whether or not to write this. Wondered about how it would be taken, how it would change life – if at all.

Life has been a mess lately.

How did I get here? Well, let me explain from the beginning … or the beginning of this particular mess.

There are so many loops and whorls in this story that they don’t all tie together, so bear with me while I explain.

The Beginning:

Did it start with my fur-baby? She’s a boxer mix. A sweet, loving dog named Elki. We’ve had her for nearly two years, and she will be roughly six years old in April. My husband and I adopted her from a couple who was going to live on a houseboat and wanted to find Elki a loving home where she could roll around in the grass and bask in the sunshine.

From the little we know of Elki’s backstory, she originally lived with the couple’s neighbors with several other dogs – until the owners moved and ditched Elki and the other dogs somewhere to die or find a new home. Elki managed to find her way back, and the couple we adopted her from took Elki in. We don’t know how long they had her before they decided to move or what happened to the other dogs, but we were (and are) thrilled with the cuddly, vocal dog we brought home.

We just adopted a kitten in December for her companion, because we just knew (based on her reaction to my best friend’s two cats) that a kitten would be perfect for her.

My mother-in-law joked that not many people get a kitten for their dog. I suppose it is unusual – but we love our dog and want the best for her. After a small period of adjustment, Elki and the new kitten (Smudge, barely four months old) are the best of friends. They have been sleeping together every night since the first night, and often cuddle during the day as well.

Elki and Smudge cuddling.
Elki and Smudge are the best of friends and love to cuddle.

The Incident:

It was shortly after we adopted Smudge that it happened. There was a small incident with another dog when Elki went outside to go potty. The other dog was not injured, but Elki started limping. We waited a day or so, but the limping didn’t get better. So while my husband went to work, my best friend drove me to the vet. Two and a half hours later (we did not have an appointment), we had the verdict.

We adopted Elki two years ago knowing she had arthritis. The x-rays confirmed this, as well as let us know the arthritis had pushed both of Elki’s knee caps out of place (one quite severely), she had degenerative joint disease, and of course – the cause of the limping. Somehow, during the incident with the other dog (maybe when my husband tried to separate the two dogs?) Elki had torn the cruciate ligament in her knee (which is apparently similar to the ACL in humans).

Options and Non-Options:

Elki can live the remainder of her (hopefully long) life with the hip joint issues. She cannot continue with a torn cruciate ligament. Which means we have to pay $3-5,000 for surgery (the veterinarian’s estimate, we have not had a surgical consultation yet) or have her put down at the point when she can no longer walk. To me, that is not an option. This our baby girl. We adopted her, we are responsible for her, and we love her very much. We only want the best for Elki. We have maybe a year before the other (already bad) knee goes out and Elki can no longer walk. At that point we have the same options, but two surgeries would be required instead of one, and that would of course double the cost.

Currently, Elki is taking a couple different painkillers, and is on strict bed rest to try to avoid injuring herself further. She can only go outside on a leash, and can no longer play unless she plays laying down – which is not part of any of her favorite games. She often only gets up for food and water, and to go potty outside – no more greeting visitors with jumping and kisses, or waiting at the door for her daddy to come home from work.

It breaks our hearts to see our baby girl in so much pain and unable to play the games she used to love, wondering how we are going to afford her surgery.

Elki in the yard pre-cruciate ligament tear.

If only that were the end of the tale.

We would pay for the surgery, our dog would be happy and healthy again, and everything would be okay.

A Non-Ending:

I keep telling myself everything will be okay. We have a year (hopefully) to pull the money together. Currently we are looking into pet insurance (most won’t cover pre-existing conditions) and care credit, which from what I understand is a credit card for pets and people that covers uninsured medical expenses.

As that is where the situation with our dog, Elki, stands – I will leave off here. Not to keep you in suspense about the end of the tale (we still don’t know where Elki’s portion ends but we are praying for a happy ending) but because this post is already quite long.

Next week I will share some of the other loops and whorls I referenced – and don’t worry, they aren’t directly Elki related. The common denominator is that they are stress in my life right now – which we know can worsen mental health issues.

See you next week!

2 thoughts on “Elki (Loops and Whorls pt. 1)

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