Saturday, January 4, 2020

Worrying about my dogs, etc

I have recently been worried about Ben and Duffy recently.  First it was Ben who the evening after the last hike woke me up crying.  He couldn’t put weight on his rear right leg.   I initially worried about his having joint problems.  Trooper had severe joint problems in his old age and the vet at the time said “big dogs” usually did.  Ben’s breeder seemed a very knowledgeable breeder, one who avoided such things as hip dysplasia (by testing her breeding pair and avoiding two with recessive characteristics for hip dysplasia).  When I expressed apprehension about taking Ben at age three because my last Ridgeback (Sage) died at age seven and that might mean I would have Ben for just four years, she told me that Ben’s grandfather lived to age 15.

I kept working on Ben’s right hind quarters, rubbing and massaging, all of which he appreciated, but eventually I noticed that the only part he objected to my touching was his foot.  We had earlier trudged through a lot stickers and burrs and if Ben got a burr stuck in his paw.  I discovered some burrs on the carpet earlier and thought the resourceful Jessica had removed them from her own fur, but maybe one of those burrs was from Ben’s foot, and his foot still hurt from its effects.  The next morning Ben still limped from time to time but he no longer whimpered.  As the day wore on he seemed more and more normal. 

I made some bad choices about where to trudge on the hike earlier, largely because I was having trouble keeping my balance and didn’t feel free to explore for a better, burr and sticker-free, path in the direction I wanted to go.  I assumed after that, that I would have to cross that hike off my list, but I’m doing better and suspect I’ll be able to get back to it (more safely) eventually.

And the day after Ben’s ailment, Duffy took to the crate.  (I’ve had one Rhodesian-sized crate in one corner of my study as long as I've lived in San Jacinto).  All the dogs have taken turns using it.  If my dog-count doesn’t add up to three and I have to go a-looking, the crate is one of the places I check first.)  I checked in the evening, talking to Duffy, and he didn’t seem to be moving.  What if he had a heart problem and the hike had been too much for him?  What if he was in the crate dead?  I went back to my desk and got a flashlight and shined it into the crate.  I was reassured to see his little black eyes open up and look woefully back at me.  I coaxed him out of the crate and took him out back to go potty.  He limped about as though all four quarters were failing.  The next morning while Ben and Jessica were out back fence-altercating with the neighbor’s dogs, Duffy was downstairs watching me carefully, even calculatingly.  He had just recently returned from the dead and could see that I felt indulgent.  I got his leash and he hopped about clearly in no pain whatsoever.  Off we went.  His only complaint was that the walk wasn’t longer.

I woke in middle of the night.  What with various aches and pains (from the four of us) I don’t have any regular sleep-cycle any more.  It is nice, though, since I no longer work, that I don’t actually need one – better to get up than lie there and fidget.

If one of my dogs can be considered attached to me at the hip, it would be Jessica.  I can’t go anywhere without her following, or the next thing to it.  If I walk up and down the stairs for exercise, she won’t follow me up and down more than once, but after that she stays in the stair-well watching me, and if I want to get past her to go all the way up, I have to (practice?) stepping over her.  She isn’t actually at my hip, but if I miss seeing her and look about, I can usually see her someplace watching me. 

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