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The year started off with a bout of discrimination.

And then  Itzl had to alert me on the nefarious antics of my car. Since it was all sound, I would never have known there was an issue with the car - I couldn't see the flashing lights from the inside.

On the Way

That was a loud and boisterous start to a year filled with some major ups and downs for Itzl. This was one of his high moments.

February 3, 2012 was the start of the worst 2 months of Itzl's entire life, and the most amazing.

On February 3, 2012, Itzl snapped the ligament in his knee and got it trapped under his knee cap.  Manipulating it wasn't getting it out, so I had to figure out how to afford this very expensive surgery.

Itzl, Limping

On February 12, 2012, after we'd done all we could to fix his knee without surgery, dear Nurse Kelley convinced me to allow Kossacks to help Itzl by donating towards his surgical fund. I searched for the best and least expensive surgeon for this, and it was still a staggering amount of money.  All you marvelous Kossacks came through for him and paid for his surgery. More than 100 willing hearts reached out to help Itzl get the surgery he needed. I am still, in my heart, thanking each and every one of you every day. Itzl, of course, is just doing his job.

Itzl and Xoco ate a lovely BBQ meal before Itzl had to go NPO before his surgery It was their only BBQ meal this whole year.

Distracted

On February 17, 012, Itzl had his surgery.

Slightly Stoned

An on February 18, 2012, he almost died. According to the story I got, one vet tech gave Itzl his pain meds, but didn't mark it on the chart, so a second vet tech gave him a second dose. It was a week before I found out the truth.

In the meantime, Xoco was DOGNAPPED and taken to the DOG TORTURE PLACE and visited Itzl in recovery, then DOGNAPPED again. Translation - she was taken by her dogsitter to stay with her for a few days while Itzl stayed in CICU (Canine Intensive Care) recovering from his drug overdose.

On February 21, Itzl was allowed to go home early because the vets trusted me to care for him and he was obviously stressed by alerting on all the beeps and alarms and other sounds of a busy vet surgery.  Plus, you know, he wouldn't poop there, and he'd been getting doses of activated charcoal 3 times a day. And on the 22nd, we went back to work.

Xoco checking on Itzl

On March 1, nearly a month after his initial injury, he began physical therapy.

Water Treadmill

Even though he was still busy convalescing, he took time to encourage people to vote.

Vote

On March 13, he had his last day of therapy.

Balance Boarding

The weekend of March 30 - April 3, Itzl spent volunteering at the OU Medieval Fair, helping to supervise the Water Paws pet comfort station booth.

Water Paws 125

On April 12, we rescued a giant puppy after a tornado. At 5 weeks and nearly 5 pounds, he was already bigger than Xoco and Itzl, a couple of days after Itzl's surgical release by the vet. We got him taken care of at the vet, and started searching for a home for him be cause Xoco was all NOT IN MY HOUSE about him.

We participated in the Unite Women Against the War on Women March and Rally in Oklahoma City in April.

Pre-rally Signs

And then Itzl and Xoco both mutually decided to shun me because we still had Hector the rescue puppy, who was now 9 weeks old and 16 cute but clumsy pounds. That didn't last long. 4 days later, I found a forever home for Hector, which made Xoco insanely happy.

In June, we ran the Green Room for SoonerCon.

Author and Itzl

On July 19th, inspired by Itzl's dedication to taking care of people (and me in particular), and by the wildfires that threatened our state, other states, and such beloved people as Nurse Kelley, the Itzl Alert Network was created.

Itzl

On August 18th, I shared with all y'all Itzl's special cuss words. Itzl not only knows people sign language, he has his own K-9 sign language, signs he makes to pass information along to me.  He is a multilingual dog, understanding spoken English, signed English, K-9 signing, Chihuahua, and Cat. But this was when I first realized he cussed and called people names.  And I thought he was just a cute and cuddly little dog.

Itzl

Things were relatively quiet until OctopodiCon, and Itzl was a trooper the entire convention long.

Top Hat

On October 19, he had an anaphylactic reaction to being stung by some insect or other.

November 2, we had a follow-up to our experience to at Applebee's the previous January.  Things were very different.

Then we had the Presidential Election, and because this is the 4th Presidential Election that's been held in my office, and last year there were some bad things that happened, I wrote frequent diaries to reassure everyone that all was well with Itzl (and me).

Itzl

December 14th was a stressful day filled with alarms and Itzl was utterly exhausted by the unusual frequency of the alarms.

Itzl

December 20th, one of the kitties Itzl helped acclimate to dogs found a forever home.

Itzl will always be an amazing dog, and each year, he gets better and stronger in his skills as a hearing assistance dog. We've been partnered now for 8 1/2 years.  That's a long time for a human and dog to be partnered.

We'll see what triumphs and challenges 2013 will bring.  2012 was a year of some pretty hefty challenges that were overcome, and some amazing triumphs.

Thank you, all of you at DKos, for being with us on this journey.

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