Finley Doodle & Her Best Life

To be fair, I didn’t see the story here until I was relaying to my mother the details of a (hopefully) minor injury to our doodle dog, Finley. It wasn’t the injury, a partial ACL tear, that caught my own attention. It was the statement of “Oh no, it’s okay, Finley is absolutely thrilled” and its supporting information.

Essentially anyone who ever meets Finley will eventually ask if she is depressed or why she is glum or why she seems to be begging for a ride away from here. 

Doodle dogs? They are supposed to be wide open and silly and happily plagued with endless episodes of the zooms. Doodle dogs are actual clownadoodles, probably caused by the crossed lines of breeding causing some crossed wires to leave them in a perpetual state of “puppy.”

Finley Doodle Dog? Not so much. Her personality falls firmly in the camp of Eeyore rather than of Tigger. Any questions of “why?” are answered with a likely relation to being a throwback, meaning her original family opted not to keep her, a decision that probably followed months of very inconsistent care as they worked towards that difficult choice. 

When Finley arrived on our doorstep, she was sullen and with her tail tugged so far between her legs that we wondered if she had a tail at all. She jumped at sudden movements or raised voices and cowered at raised hands. She also had a raging case of whipworm which caused us a great deal of frustration until it was finally diagnosed (it’s a tricky one). 

Two years after we welcomed Finley home, we generously brought home a sister for her, Kylo. It was Kylo’s entry into the ark that really highlighted just how down Finley was in the years prior. One doodle dog was (and is) wide open, silly, happy, and plagued with endless episodes of the zooms. The other continues to live in a state of annoyance that her beloved people would dare consider getting her a playmate, let alone actually do it. 

Eight years later, we are still hoping for forgiveness. 

But today? Today Finley is living her best life. 

Why? She finally has her very own injury. Yes, Finley has a partial tear in her ACL and she could not be more thrilled. 

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

FOMOOMT: Fear of Missing Out On Medical Treatment

Among the long list of reasons that Finley finds her life quite glum is that she has had to stand by, numerous times, and watch her animal siblings get the extra-special treatment that comes with injury or illness. She has stood by with looks of disgust as she was not relegated to cage rest or hot compresses or daily shots. I know. Most animals would be elated not to have to endure these struggles. 

Finley begs to differ. 

  • Finley stood by not once, not twice, but three times when our cat Coalbolt had to spend weeks in the recovery zone. Once after the removal of a mass and twice after a likely animal attack – all of which left him with dozens of stitches and staples. Finley stood by looking longingly as that cat received hot compresses every four hours, antibiotics, painkillers, and was bribed with special food. 
  • Finley stood by when her wide-open sister doodle broke a toe, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but actually is when it comes to canine toes as those toes are very difficult to heal. Kylo was cast for six weeks as a preamble to what would likely end up as a toe amputation. As if the cast wasn’t bad enough, Finley had to watch as Kylo was carted off weekly for cast changes and cleanings and x-rays. The few times we let Finley ride along, she became visibly annoyed that we made her go on the ride that she wanted to go on but also did not like. 

Kylo also got to wear a cast condom each time she went outside and Finley, well, Finley would have liked one of those delightful socks as well, thank you. 

In the end, Kylo got to keep her toe but when her cast came off for the final time it revealed a raw, itchy, stinky leg. We were sent home with more antibiotics, including one that would be sprayed on the area a few times a day. We were already accustomed to giving Finley a pretend pill by now. We were not accustomed to the demand for a (pretend) squirt of what was likely the canine equivalent of Solarcaine. If forgotten, Finley would remain seated, patiently waiting for her perfectly healthy leg to receive its treatment.  

  • Finley stood by again, in late in 2022, when our fat cat was diagnosed with diabetes. This threw our whole “pets are easy” plan into a loop as he would require, well, so much! Gunter was put on a special diet which meant all cats (four at the time) had shifted eating practices to keep a separation of foods. Gunter had to have insulin shots twice daily carefully timed with that special diet. Gunter had to be monitored throughout the day for the hills and valleys of blood sugar issues. Gunter was fitted with a Libra device so that we collect data for his doctor via our smartphone. 

Finley? Finley didn’t get any of that. It was very distressing. 

It took no time at all to realize that Finley would, in fact, play the role of diabetic support dog as she sat patiently waiting for her own special shot after Gunter received his. Twice a day, without fail, she would align herself with our vision as we prepped the needle as if to say, “I’m right here. I’m ready and I’m being very brave.” Did we fall for it? Well, obviously. When we lost Gunter last month, we did wonder how long we might have to continue administering Finley’s pretend medicine. 

  • Perhaps the biggest blow was in April of 2023 when Finley had to stand by when our little, incredibly bad cat endured a leg amputation. This cat who dedicated her life to torturing all creatures great and small was the center of a household hospital dedicated to round-the-clock administration of care. Containment units were set up in three rooms so that this tiny terror could be transferred to wherever the people were as ice packs were applied to one end while the other was being hand-fed. Finley watched as we turned on videos of birds or or played purring sounds from Alexa while we gently washed all the things from the imp’s fur away as the painkillers prevented standing but did prevent potty breaks. The entire rehab project spanned months as Pickles learned to walk again and adjust to life as a indoor cat, assisted by endless purchases to make her new life more interesting. Finley. Poor Finley. It was slap after slap into her FOMOOMT face.

Today? Today, Finley is living her best life. 

We had noticed an increasing limp that seemed to stem from Finley’s back driver-side leg. After a week of at-home care, I packed both dogs into the car and headed in to see the vet. When I loaded both dogs into the car for a trip to our veterinarian on Monday, Finley was her normal glum self. Finley doesn’t even like a car ride but what she likes even less is when Kylo gets to go somewhere and she doesn’t. Leaving Kylo at home wasn’t really an option as she’s a bit too dependent on her glum sister.

The journey took a delightful turn when Finley noted that Kylo was actually left in the car at the vet’s office (stand down, people, the car was left in dog mode). Finley skipped into the waiting building, thrilled to be the only dog that would be welcomed with the excitement that only vet techs can provide. She pranced to the scale and sat perfectly while offering her latest numbers. Her tail was like a windmill spinning around faster and faster each time anyone said her name. HER NAME! And they said it with a touch of sympathy! 

The diagnosis? Partial tear of the ACL.

The treatment? Two weeks of bed rest and a round of anti-inflammatories before a follow-up to determine the next steps.

Finley is thrilled.

Twice daily, that little square of cheese holds a pill for her. She seems to know that the little square of cheese given to her sister is devoid of drugs and that makes her so very happy. When we go out to play, Finley is relegated to sit on the porch and simply … watch. Yes, her sister does the hard fetch-lifting while Finley patiently waits in sick bay. 

It is glorious.

I’m not sure how we will tell if Finley’s leg is actually on the mend. The treatment alone has given her a new spring in her step and seems to have put a perpetual happy look of “it’s finally happening” on her furry face. This is it. This is finally Finley’s moment. 

Today, Finley is finally living her best, worst life ever.

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