Monday, December 10, 2012

Hurricane Update Part 3

I have to warn you, this is going to be a bit of a long ramble and much of it may not make sense, but if you bear with me, I'll be your best friend. :-)

On October 25th, I was in the middle of writing a followup about Desmond's esophageal stricture, addressing all the great input we got from readers. That seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Strangely enough, Desmond has actually been regurgitating less since the displacement. I'm not sure how much of that is due to the fact that he's also been eating less regularly. He is far less interested in his THK meals, which he was going bonkers over before everything happened. We bought some Merrick dry food to sprinkle on top as a fun supplement but sometimes have to add people food or crumble soft treats into the THK. That's all well and good, but it's just one more thing making it hard to get him back on any kind of schedule.

"See, Mom? I can eat bones again."
What's adding to this problem is the fact that we all sort of feel like we're on a displacement vacation, if that makes sense. Basically all health and wellness and structure rules have gone out the window with both us and the dog. I had a hard enough time getting Joey on board with all the plans and training, never mind getting an additional two people on the same page--people who are fully the spoil-your-grandpup type.

Everyone does know what's safe or not safe to give Desmond, so I'm not worried that he's going to get sick or anything, but I've got concerns about him gaining weight. So far, he hasn't--which I previously mentioned is super annoying, seeing as how only one of my pairs of pants that were salvaged from the house still fit me, and it's only been 42 days and 23 hours (but who's counting?)--but that can easily change, so I'm trying to keep an eye on it.

We've been meaning to start walking him more often or for longer periods of time, but the aforementioned pants issue has been a hinderance for me, less because of fit and more because of the fact that I lost all of my warm comfy clothes and dog-walking sneakers. I ordered new ones, but obviously shipping is still all messed up, so things have been taking a while.

Oh and have I mentioned that Desmond's reactivity is off the charts? Have I also mentioned how much more stuff is going on in my parents' neighborhood than in ours? I had enough problems in East Rockaway at 5:30 in the morning. Never mind Queens--at any hour of day. People, kids, cats, other dogs (so many other dogs), cars, busses, trucks, random yelling and barking, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many holiday decorations that move and sing and generally need to tone it down.

So add all those things up with the darkness and the cold and the "displacement vacation" mentality, and you do not have someone who is jumping out of bed, or off the couch, or away from her "desk" (aka someone else's kitchen table) to go for a jaunt with her crazy dog. Very sucky, the whole damn thing.

"And by 'displacement vacation', you mean 'full-sized pull-out bed all for me all day long', right?"
I'm also trying to find a vet around here, because I really think this poor dog needs those damn anxiety meds more than ever before and our vet in LI won't prescribe them without having us go through a behavior modification program. I don't necessarily disagree with him, but it's a bit frustrating, what with the whole Animal Behavior College thing I've been doing for over a year. I mean, I can do the modification myself and if I couldn't I'd ask for help from the vet or from my mentor trainer, but scheduling-wise, it's very hard to coordinate with another person, especially right now.

The separation anxiety doesn't seem to be subsiding at all really either, but I can't work from home four days a week forever. We found a doggie daycare that's very close to my husband's job, so we're going to give them a try for a day in the next week or two. If things go well, then I can actually go out into the world to my job two days a week or even more, starting in January. And that would be great for my own sanity.

In the meantime, we're going to try and get this poor dog over to the closest dog park on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. That's been hard, too, because of weather and needing to be back at the house. I love Desmond with all my heart, but there is no denying how much less complicated this displacement would be if we were a no-dog family. And it's very hard not to feel just utterly terrible for him at all times. Poor guy has no clue what the heck is going on or where we are or where his house is or when we're going back to it.

We had discussed taking Desmond back to the house/neighborhood once in a while to keep it in his memory, but we're not even sure that it's safe to do that thanks to whatever horrifically gross things were floating around and have now seeped into the ground. By the time we can take him back, the house will already be in the renovation phase and won't look or smell the same anyway. How messed up is my doggie going to be when we eventually move back home?

At least it won't look like this anymore...

All photos from after the surge receded. We had about 3 feet of water inside the first floor of the house during the height of the storm. Thank goodness for that ground-level crawl space. Our neighbor had floor-to-ceiling flood water on her first floor. And, yes, that is boat gasoline you see making a rainbow in the water on the right. 

I don't fully understand the logistics, but neighbors who did not evacuate for this storm reported that the water was at the street signs and a police boat came down the block to rescue children and wives from the houses. Our block is a bit odd in the way it's slanted--even our property and house have some odd slants going on--so some houses got it a lot worse than others, even though there was basically a river going through. I cannot even imagine being one of those people who stayed and witnessed that. Thank goodness everyone we know made it through without injury or worse.

For those who have been asking, I can share this good news: we have finally heard back from the insurance companies and now have a budget for our repairs. Much of the demo has been completed and mold remediation has begun. I'm hopeful some kind of work related to moving forward--as opposed to making this mess go away--can begin before Christmas.

A note to all my pet blogger friends: I am still trying to keep up with everyone as much as I can. I have surely not forgotten about you or your funny and gorgeous and talented pups. Sorry for being a creepy lurker!
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