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Monday, February 13, 2017

An Astounding Animal Athlete

This dog may look contemplative sometimes but she's happiest when she's in action. She and I share that trait. We both love the forest and enjoy a quiet moment of sitting still. However, ultimately, we both love to move through the forest as gracefully as we can.

After I decided to keep her away from all things that she could take flying leaps from to prevent injury, I discovered that there are far more leaping takeoff boards in the forest than I thought. She finds them and surprises me - like in this moment of flight. I believe that she didn't want to run through the bushes at the bottom of the photo so she flew over them.

This moment was during a recall. It looks innocuous enough but there were some shrubs that she didn't want to run through so she took off!

And she flew.
She is, quite simply, the most athletic dog who I've ever had the honor of riding with in the forest. The only reason why I can keep up with her is that she slows down for me!

I've been worrying about her joints because several of her close relatives have ruptured both of their ACL's. I'd hazard a guess that there's a hereditary factor in those injuries. So, I'm trying to slow Shyla down when it comes to flying leaps, and I'm researching how to strengthen her leg muscles to prevent such an injury. After teaching R all his rehab exercises, I feel ready to teach Shyla her very own strength program!


  1. Sometimes it's just hard to keep a girl from flying!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  2. We are all happiest when we are super active too. I guess risk is a part of life. You can do your best to prevent injury, but sometimes it will just happen, like Mom's broken ankle. We are all having a real tough time limiting activity now for about two months, but we focus on how great it will be to be back at it again in another 6 weeks or so. For now, we just enjoy doing what we can like our nose work, or agility with Mom working on hand signals.

  3. That second picture where you caught her at the peak of her leap is amazing. Your dogs are lucky to have you to be there strength and conditioning coach. Most of us could never do what you have done for R.

  4. I love the first photo, her eyes look so sweet.

    Aroo to you,

  5. And we have no doubt you will accomplish that very challenge with Shyla. Misty makes us laugh when she races down the length of the kitchen and does a huge leap over one of the kitchen runners as if she couldn't possibly let her feet touch it:)

  6. Yes, let's not get hurt pretty Shyla!

  7. You really can FLY, Shyla!
    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret Thatcher

  8. And we know that your mom will do her absolute best for you, Shyla! You really can fly!

  9. I think everyone is happier when they're more active!

  10. Oh, I knows Ma gets REALLLLLY cranky when she doesn't gets any exercise! And, it makes her my-grains worse too! I would looooves to fly like you do gurl! I thinks I will dream abouts that tonights....
    Ruby ♥

  11. What pawesome photos of Shyla in action :) Milo & Jet

  12. She really is amazing! I do understand your concerns. Tommy has had wonky ligaments for years, now. But ultimately, it's a fine balance between being careful and seeing pure joy in a dog. When she flies, Shyla looks so happy!

  13. Shyla loves to fly :) This reminds me of how much I loved jumping when riding a horse who loved jumping too. Timing and pacing and balance in motion, and then that brief time of being airborne, despite weighing (collectively) more than a thousand pounds. Nothing else quite like it that I can think of.

  14. Shyla really is the most beautiful athlete dog that we have ever seen,, and the happiest! I know its hard to stop her from flying,, Its like trying to keep a happy dog from being happy!

  15. She is amazing! Do you give her any kind of joint supplement to help strengthen those joints? It's hard to slow them down sometimes, and hard to want to slow them down when they are enjoying themselves so much!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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