His mental intensity can be managed by physical exercise and mental challenges (like teaching him tricks). Of those two, being able to run is the most important to R's mental health. Without it, his tendency toward obsessive-compulsive behavior becomes stronger.
However, R's ability to run is threatened by his elbow dysplasia. That's a hereditary condition in which a puppy's elbow joint doesn't develop correctly. He had his first surgery at age 1 and another surgery a year ago, at age 6.most recent surgery, we were told that there were no more "salvage" procedures that could be done. "Salvage" means that the surgeon tries to fix the natural surfaces and structures within the joint by using a minimally invasive approach called arthroscopy.
The reason was that the surgeon discovered that R had no cartilage left in his elbow. Last January (2014), the surgeon cleaned out the joint by removing floating bone fragments but he seemed pretty sure that R was heading toward a reconstructive surgery before too long. We hoped, with all our hearts, that it wouldn't be too soon.
To our dismay, the main surgical option is very new (called CUE surgery). It involves installing a new artificial "surface" to bear weight within the elbow. Because the surgery is so new, no one knows how long a the artificial surface will last - and R is only 7 years old.
I just hope that we can figure out a way for our wild and crazy R to keep frolicking in the snow and running to his heart's content.