Marty’s photo of the day #4583: We are three-and-a-half weeks into the eight-to-twelve weeks of Nellie’s recovery from TPLO surgery on her left rear leg. The worst is over, at least for Nellie. As you can see, much of the hair has grown back on her leg (which had been shaved clean), so she doesn’t look quite so dramatic. On top of that, Nellie now only limps inside the house, after waking up from naps. Once she’s outside, the limp goes away, and she’s ready to rock ’n’ roll. Considering that TPLO surgery involves cutting and refitting the leg bone and installing a metal plate with six screws, I find that quite amazing.

My wife, Deb, and I are still sleeping with Nellie on the pull-out couch mattress on the floor in the great room, as the veterinarian doesn’t want Nellie climbing the steps to our third floor bedroom for at least another three weeks. Deb and I keep coming up with new ways to make the mattress more comfortable, and while we’ve definitely made progress on that, there’s only so much we can do.

The other day, Deb and I snuck upstairs to lie on our bed, just to remember how wonderful it felt. There were lots of oohs and aahs coming from both of us!

With many dogs, once the CCL (ACL equivalent) tears on one leg, it tears on the other leg within a few years. If that happens to Nellie, I’m definitely buying a different mattress for our six-to-eight week camping trip on the great room floor.

This photo shows the mattress during the day, after I’ve converted it to my temporary writing room. I don’t yet dare sit in the chair in my actual writing room, because Nellie often jumps onto my lap when I’m writing. And if I’m really concentrating at the time, I might not see her in time to say “no.” And jumps are the last thing on Nellie’s recovery list.

Nellie still won’t sleep through the night, like she did pre-surgery, but I think that’s mostly because she sleeps more during the day than before and isn’t allowed to run like a wild thing from one side of our property to the other. So I’m still getting up with her three times a night for leash walks. That’s probably as much my fault as it is Nellie’s. It’s not like she whines to go outside. Instead, she sits at the foot of the bed and stares at me until I can’t take it anymore, throw on some pants, and head out into the forest with her.

Nellie must think she is psychic, because without making a sound, she can literally wake me up at all hours of the night just by staring at me. Her ability to do that is kind of spooky.

The hardest part isn’t the uncomfortable bed or the middle of the night walks in the forest. By far the worst is having Nellie outside on a leash with her begging to play, and me having to say “no.”

I can’t wait for that first day, when I can go outside, unhook the leash, and let Nellie run on her new “bionic leg” for the pure joy of it!