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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Duo's Saturday

K is doing her best to settle into her new sedentary role. She can take only very short walks so she's been upset when I leave her behind to exercise or train R. Yesterday afternoon, I took her for a short walkabout on our property before doing some training with R. Unfortunately, she was noisily unhappy with being in the house while R was out with me. She cried piteously, so loudly that I could hear her through our closed windows. I felt horrendous for her, wanting to bury my head in a pillow and cry.
For those of you who are interested, K tore a branch of her deep digital flexor tendon that pulls one of her middle toes downward. That's why it was jutting up at an odd angle prior to surgery. The surgeon reconstructed it using some remaining tendon plus some other connective tissue in the area. The particular type of rupture and location was unique so the surgeon had to improvise. That's why we cannot be certain of long-term outcome.

While she was indoors, R and I did our very first agility training together. This is part of his obsessive-compulsive disorder behavioral training. I've been told that he needs more "hobbies", things for him to obsess about that aren't related to water-drinking. R suggested that he'd like trombone lessons :) 

I decided that more basic obedience training, agility training, plus a series of games that he can play in the house (instead of drinking water) would be more appropriate. I'll be writing more about this program but the bottom line is that an obsessive-compulsive dog cannot be cured of his obsessions but can diversify his obsessions so that he doesn't drink water so much that he gets sick. That's why R and I were doing teeter-totter and weave pole training yesterday afternoon. I'm pleased to report that he didn't drink maniacally yesterday evening - so Day 2 of his training was a success. However, K was extremely displeased with the attention that he was getting and let me know all about it.

This morning, I took the Duo for a very short jaunt in warm sunshine and golden leaves.
They both seemed to think that a fascinating animal had come close to our house last night but my cameras near the house only photographed a rabbit.
After the Duo's short jaunt, we arrived at the moment of truth. I had to take R for some serious exercise so that he could burn off some of his usual supersonic energy. The timing was terrible from the point of view of K's psyche - it was exactly the point in the day when I would usually take K for a mountain bike ride. Fortunately, she accepted our departure with much more serenity than last night, perhaps because I timed her pain medication so that she'd be very sleepy just as R and I departed.

I used my ride with R to work on some of the same basic obedience that I've been focusing on in our official training sessions. Here, he was running ahead of me, and I asked him to "wait". He did!
I'll forever love his lithe body shape, a classic field Lab's conformation. However, it's his champion field Lab brain that has led to his obsessive-compulsive behaviors. He needs a job, or better yet, lots of jobs to keep him happy.
We climbed up high, and I took off R's muzzle for some photos. Yes, the mushrooms are still here - now they're dried out but R still loves them too much to run around off-leash without a muzzle. Fortunately, we saw no one on our ride - R with a muzzle seems to make some people become emotionally unhinged.
He stood atop K's little arch in the bright sunshine. This took tremendous self-control because chipmunks mocked him loudly from down below. Our ground squirrels have entered their tunnels for hibernation but the chipmunks are still gorging themselves.
We visited the vast aspen grove near us to inhale the scent of dry leaves in autumn and revel in the yellow glory.
Then, we headed for home. We traveled on one of my favorite trails on Earth. It's so narrow and ledgy, and I almost never see another soul on it, except bears and deer. We also saw petite and agile red fox today, bounding through the brush with his luxuriously long white-tipped tail prominently bouncing up and down. What a gorgeous creature!
K met us at the door but didn't seem as piteously sad as yesterday. She spent the day at my feet, out on our deck. Her best human friend outside our family came to visit her. K snuggled with her friend and let out a contented sigh as she was showered with pats and belly rubs. K's friend stayed for almost an hour, an eternity of bliss in K's world. K knows when it's time to lie back and enjoy the moment.


  1. How quickly everything can change!

    My heart is aching for K and having to stay home except for short walks. That was smart to coordinate K's meds and your time with R. How long will it be before K can take longer walks? After you get some inches of snow, won't that be better for K to walk on?

    Give her a snooter smooch from Me and Stella.


  2. Don't you wish you could just explain to K what's going on and that things will get better? Few things are more heart-breaking than when your dog feels left behind and doesn't know why.

    Gorgeous photographs. Here's hoping for the very best outcome for K. And for R as he faces his training. And for you and the runner, having to face all of this.

  3. Maybe you need a basket for the bike ;-)

    Great pics

    AND thanks for the updates on both members of The LabraDuo!

  4. Both dogs look awesome. Love those shiny coats. Poor K, she will adjust but it must break your heart to hear her cry. But as my three will tell you. belly rubs go a long way to make one feel better:)

  5. Poor K! I know that look and routine exactly. Hopefully she'll find some solace in other times and special things that she gets to do alone with you.

    It sounds like R is going to be one busy boy. We have to keep Morgan busy, too. Hubby is thinking about trying scentwork with her, because she's so keen on games.

    I love the pictures of both of them!

  6. Poor better be getting those extra cookies. Bet your wondering why your walks are short... Our paws are crossed you will be better soon
    Benny & Lily

  7. People who think children are difficult patients ahve never lived with a housebound dog! Love R outlined against the sky.

  8. Hey! Great blog! Just discovered it over on the Nature Blog Network! Thanks!

  9. absolutely gorgeous pics today!! the crisp autumn air and beautiful colors!
    i'm curious about R's polydypsia...does R drink continuously if water is available? is he always seeking out water? i suppose you have to keep the toilet seat closed at all times! i've never heard of this, fascinating stuff...sounds like the training will help with his obsession.....
    bizzare injury to K...hope she heals 100%...time will tell..

  10. Glad K had some really great company to make her feel better :)

    Crossin my paws that she completely recovers SOON!

    Some fabulous scenes you and R got to take in!

    Thanks for sharin :)

  11. I shouldn't be reading these backwards. I know K's back at home and trying to recuperate before I find out about the surgery. No cliff hangers here!

  12. I'm glad to hear that K is such a good patient. These long recoveries can be hard, but I cannot imagine going through one with a dog who didn't have such maturity.

  13. I still can't get over that you "muzzle" your dogs for... MUSHROOMS! I mean, gosh darn it, they must need a 12 step program, the little 'shroomers they are! ;)

    of all the things to use a muzzle for... it is silly and if I saw you, I'd probably ask then laugh. but become unhinged? no way jose!

    i sure hope K gets all the way better. i absolutely hate to hear when a doggie or kittie is in pain.


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