Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bad Feeling

Do you ever just have a bad feeling that something is wrong, but you can't really pin point it? I feel that Katie isn't quite right, but I am not sure what it is. About a week ago, she briefly cried out 2 or 3 nights in a row while laying on her bed for the night. I have no idea why or what she had done other than pick up her head. I think that the weakness in the left hind leg has been worse over the last couple of weeks. She is crooked when she should be traveling straight and if she does anything quickly, her rear end swings wildly to the left.... more so than before. Then while fetching a stuffy toy the other day she cried out and came to a halt. Again, I couldn't find anything wrong with her and haven't seen anything since. She has an old broken toe with a huge knuckle on the right hind leg. It has never cause a problem until recently. For one, the knuckle is much larger than before and there is some additional swelling. It now rubs against the other middle toe and has a blister on it. Katie, of course, never complains. I think that when her left hind leg was paralyzed, her right hind compensated and aggravated the gnarly toe. (Katie is 2 years old and still wearing SEGA blue in upper left picture)

I still find myself grieving about her retirement. It probably sounds kind of silly, but work/play/train is what we did. I hope that I can preserve forever how it felt to walk into a ring with her. She did everything quickly, smartly, and happily. She never quit. When Katie earned her first CDX leg in Open obedience, she did so with a very good score. Later, a man with a Golden Retriever (a popular breed for obedience) was very complimentary and asked who I trained with. I explained that I wasn't working with a trainer at the time, but that I clicker trained. He was like "Clicker what?". I smiled. Clicker training wasn't very popular for competition obedience a few years ago.
I am becoming more afraid that I am going to hurt Pumpkin (yeah, that's her nickname) if I allow her to be too active. I try to do more hanging out, snuggling, walks, and so on with Katie. I hate to whine about it, but its almost kind of insulting. She needs something a little more mentally stimulating than that. I have thought about teaching her some silly tricks since that would allow me to shape a behavior with a clicker. If you can think of a creative trick, please let me know. (Katie is 9 years old in the lower right picture)

My friend, Anne Jones, lost her very special Ridgeback yesterday. Beckett was the only Ridgeback to have earned a Utility Dog Title and the Master Excellent titles in agility. He was also a conformation champion and the sire to many other champions in both conformation, agility, and obedience. As I look down at Reagan at my feet, I can't help but think "Katie and Travis, don't leave me alone with her!" That poor little brat has a lot to live up to.
Anyways, I'm being sentimental and that is my complaint for the day.


Sientay L said...

I know what you mean. I ask myself everyday if there's something more to Dino's rear left. He doesn't lay down or sit down straight. There's a shift/lean to the right. I don't know if it hurts b/c he won't show it. He's happy to go out on a long walk but seems to tire out sooner than he used to. He has let out a cry a few times at night...more like a moaning howl. I thought it was maybe a dream he had??? I don't know what to think. I hate to spend hundreds and find out nothing more than last year. If he could just talk to us!

Sientay L said...

How about these for silly tricks?
1. Putting a treat on her nose and make her wait a few secs before she can catch it and eat it. Paul has tried to do that with Dino and Pebbles but they won't sit still long enough.

2. Maybe you can teach Katie a few dressage tricks/moves. It's always amazing to me when I watch dressage on tv how the horse knows what to do. I know the rider is giving cues, but they are so subtle. Granted the only time I actually watch dressage or horse jumping is during the Olympics. Denise does dressage, right? Hopefully I'm not butchering any equestrian lingo. Anyways, I thought this would be neat and a challenge. Don't know if it's doable. If it is, maybe you/Katie and Denise/Lester can do a brief demo at the farm one day.

Denise said...

sientay you didn't butcher any lingo:-)
Sorry Jen, I know how you feel. Great picture of her though. Don't forget Travis and Katie weren't always perfect... it's easy to forget the bad times after they become so perfect.

KF-in-Georgia said...

I have absolutely no idea whether it's doable, but can you teach her "position" tricks? Or "number" tricks? Or "shape" tricks? Like, you lay out items and clicker-train her to "touch the one on the left" or "pick up the fourth one" or "bring me the round toy"?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I'm sure I'm just being overly paranoid. I probably should do the freestyle with her. Katie is such a good heeler. I was thinking about teaching her to put stuff into a box or a basket. Kind of like putting her toys away. She is so good at picking up anything and carrying stuff that I thought that might be a cool trick to work on. Thanks everyone for the ideas.


greytblackdog said...

I think everyone would love a dog that can put stuff away. Especially now that you have Regan who drags everything out!