Marty’s photos of the day #4570: Ten days have gone by since Nellie’s TPLO surgery (think doggie Tommy John surgery) on her left rear leg, which means that Deb and I have only seventy-four more days of waiting on Nellie paw and foot. Yeah, the novelty of all of us camping out on a mattress on the main floor is already getting a little old.

Nellie, being a smart dog, has figured out how to milk us for pampering worthy of a queen. Other than the physical therapy that my wife, Deb, does on her leg, as far as Nellie is concerned, it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll again. Our job is to hold her back for the next ten weeks.

Nellie’s only supposed to go on short leash walks, but she’s figured out how to extend those walks substantially by letting me know that she has to poop—and she will do that as soon as she finds the absolute perfect place in the forest to do that.

At night she still has to wear a cone (at least until day fourteen), so she responds by waking me up multiple times a night by shaking her cone to make a rattling noise. Then I take her cone off, get dressed, and we go for a middle-of-the-night walk in the woods.

Last night, at 2:30, a deer looked at us as if saying, “What the fuck are you two doing up at this hour in the morning?” Nellie, of course, announced in response, “Dad! My leg is all better! Undo my leash, and I’ll escort the deer off our property.”

I will say that experiencing the woods at all times of the night is an interesting experience. I wear a really bright headlamp, so I always see eye-shine of animals looking at us. Each time I hope it’s a mountain lion or a wolf, but so far that hasn’t happened.

All in all, Nellie is doing great. Her leg looks much better than it did ten days ago. She’s eating special “human-equivalent dog food,” enjoying her happy drugs, going on walks every time she asks for one, getting to lounge around on a mattress all day, and indulging in unlimited scratches and pets from her human servants.

As for me, I’m looking forward to when Nellie can graduate to stairs and we can move up to our third-floor bedroom. For a while, our bed will be too high for her to jump in to, so we’ll remove our mattress from the bed and put it on the floor. But at least it will be bigger than the great room floor mattress (from a pull-out couch), so the half of the bed that Nellie allows Deb and me to share will feel less crowded.