Lu’s recovery: phase 3

So this photo has nothing much to do with anything except that she looks like a dork who is rapidly going insane. Which is actually pretty accurate.

So this photo has nothing much to do with anything except that she looks like a dork who is rapidly going insane. Which is actually pretty accurate.

I’ll dub this phase the: Seriously, why can’t we run around now?  phase of her recovery.

Which is to say, she’s very much fine. Too fine. I now have a fully recovered (as far as she’s concerned) working dog on my hands who hasn’t stretched her legs for nearly 3 weeks. Which isn’t to say we haven’t been on walks. We have. But they’re walks, on a lead, for only about 20 minutes each time.

I am now seeing the dog I would have, if I wasn’t incredibly active with her. It looks like this:
Chasing the cat

Picking up any contraband and carrying it around (hand lotions, socks, paint brushes)
Trying SERIOUSLY HARD to engage Mal in a game of keep-away when I wasn’t looking and they were in the backyard together.

Some super awesome speed and amounts of eagerness when playing with little handling bits on the flat (I have to get this energy out somehow!). I love this- this can stay!!!

Getting into everything (more than normal)

Lots of bouts of barking at random stuff (cars driving by, people’s voices, when the people in the music were going “YEAH!”)

Chasing the cats.

Breaking out of her dog fortress room by smashing the baby-gate when I wasn’t home.

And just generally being a pain in the butt.

I don’t know what happens when stitches come out. I seriously hope the vet is all like: Yeah she can totally run around and jump now (not agility jumping, I get that I’ll probably have to wait another couple of weeks to start this again) and just build up to long walks and don’t throw the ball too much… at which point we’ll go WAHOO!!! And race to the park and let her and Mal have a good long romp together. And maybe I’ll take the tunnels down and so some high-speed tunnel games.

But more likely he’ll be all: “Just keep doing gentle exercise for another week, then she can have short runs” to which I’ll look at him and reply: “You realise she’s a working dog, right? You know, one of those dogs that people recommend get an hour of exercise daily? Gentle exercise is NOT cutting it!!”

The area around her incision is still hanging down weirdly – a vet friend said there’s liquid in there that should go away on its own but I don’t know if it’s getting better. Possibly she’s meant to be doing less exercise than she is but I seriously think she’ll go on a rampage if I try and keep her calmer. The only things keeping us both sane right now are the short little handling games we’ve been playing (and part of that is celebrating everything, or, incorporating another wrap around the lawn-chair to try again, so she’s not wrong, ever. It’s fantastic. I need to remember this when we’re back to sequencing (and it’s so logical, but you just forget in the heat of the moment) – if she messes up do the next obstacle you see and reward her, or do a loop and come back to that part so you can try again. But better would be to do the next obstacle I see or can get to and reward her, then try again. Cos then, she never fails, but she still gets another chance to try again especially if it was my fault for handling that something didn’t work. So, little handling breaks are awesome, our short walks are pretty good, and our shaping sessions are very handy too, though there’s only so many tricks we can do, so that’s the challenge. She’s getting very good at putting a spoon in a bowl and a bowl in another bowl and I’ve been working on getting her nose under her paw for ‘shy’. This is a hard one!

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Lu’s recovery: phase 2

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed!

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed!

We have entered phase 2 of Lu’s recovery. It’s not an actual ‘thing’, just how I’m marking the changes she’s going through. Phase 2 is: Lu feels pretty normal and is ready to get back into long hikes and running around.

Yesterday she slept most of the day, and moved between looking sad and in pain and being closer to her normal self…

Today, I think I pretty much have 100% ‘normal Lu’  back, with a bit of a defiant streak that I think comes from being given pills and having the cone put on every time she comes near me.

This morning I took her into the yard to have a wee, and she wanted to zoom around and tackle Mal, and picked up the most mundane twig and was all like: CHECK OUT MY FULLY RAD STICK ISN’T IT THE BEST STICK EVER LET’S PLAY WITH THE STICK! HERE I’LL JUMP ON YOU SO YOU CAN PLAY WITH ME AND THE STICK LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO!!!!!”

At this point I called the vet and asked if it would be ok if I could pretty please take her for a nice calm on-lead walk down at the park or she will go crazy. Luckily he said yes. Off we went. Of course, I should have put her in her harness or halti because she’s using her full strength to pull me from smell to smell. I’ll remember that next time. I think they were both very glad to be out.

Another really interesting thing I’ve noticed is how much of a momma’s girl she’s become- she’s either been sleeping on her soft blanket or, when she’s in pain or unsettled, she plonks herself directly on my lap, or pushes herself so close against my leg that her bones dig in. So comfy. Usually at night, she hops on the bed down at my feet until I turn off the light, then she gets off… Last night she was on the bed pretty much all night, either between Nic and I with her head on my legs, or curled up as my ‘little spoon’. Keep in mind it was about 27C in our house last night so… yeah, warm times.

 

But everything looks good. She’s having bowel movements, she’s peeing, she’s drinking (though not as much as I’d like. They now have a little faux chicken stock in their water which they had a big drink of earlier), she’s eating (I still have to keep the meals small and start building them up. This morning’s was probably a little large so hopefully it’ll be ok) and she’s bright and alert most of the time. We’re back to the vet for a checkup tomorrow morning, and then off to a friend (who is also a vet) who does acupuncture. Her dog had stomach ulcers once and she now wonders how much better she would have recovered if she had used her acupuncture skills. I’ve never been much to believe in acupuncture but apparently even the World Health Organisation says it can be an effective treatment for a whole list of conditions , which I find quite remarkable. I’m looking forward to picking her brain, as a medical-science-oriented person about how it all works.

 

Completely unrelated but Silvia said this on my final Foundations video and comment: Can’t wait she starts trialing, you’ve done such a great job with her!

Awww, Yay!

prickly

Apparently everything is too prickly on Lu’s shaved tummy. Bed sheets? Prickly. Can’t lay there. Couch? Prickly. Oh, so prickly. Can’t lay there. Dog beds? Very uncomfortable, prickly, no good. Pile of weeds in yard? Possibly less prickly, but I wouldn’t let her lay in them (we really don’t need ants or insects in her wound right now), dirt and leaves in yard? Maybe less prickly. Prickly jute rug? Definitely tricky (but she’ll keep trying anyway!)

“Seriously, why would you try and make me lie on this?!?!”

Luckily, we have a “mink” (not real mink) blanket which, when in her crate, she just crashes out on. It’s very soft and apparently not as prickly as everything else in the house.

She’s on so little food at the moment that after a walk around the backyard, she started trying to dig a nest. At first I couldn’t figure out what she was doing, but then I realised that she was ready to sleep. I brought her in and she tried to dig the bed into a nest but every time she’d go to lay down, the sheets would touch her stomach and she’d spring back up like she’d been bitten. She’s doing so, so well with the cone (doesn’t even run away from me if I’ve just taken it off and am holding it. Couldn’t say the same for harnesses!), and taking her pills, and being bandaged and hobbled… she just can’t cope with her shaved stomach. Hopefully it’ll only feel prickly for her for a few more days as the hair grows back, and when the stitches come out (I’m looking at you, Friday) that might make her feel a bit better, too.

In the meantime, I’m just going to keep chasing her around with her mink blanket so that she doesn’t destroy the couch by trying to dig it into a luxurious cloud-bed.

“Now, this lady knows what’s going on. Floating cloud bed for the win! Nothing prickly about a cloud bed!”

insight into the mind of Lu

You might not be able to tell because you don't know her, but this is the face of a sick puppy who'd just come home and who definitely did NOT want her photo taken. So much for my joyful reunion with a happy dog!

You might not be able to tell because you don’t know her, but this is the face of a sick puppy who’d just come home and who definitely did NOT want her photo taken. So much for my joyful reunion with a happy dog!

So, my girl has been sick. On Monday morning she vomited slime with flecks of blood… so into the vet she went that afternoon, and they took her to have x-rays, hooked her up to an IV and kept her overnight. Poor girl. Tuesday I got her home, still tired, still sick, still not wanting to eat. I managed to get her to have some boiled chicken and rice because I don’t necessarily believe in feeding her their ‘prescribed diet’ food. Yuck. They basically didn’t know what was wrong with her, no obstruction, maybe some kind of gastro.

Anyway, she spent most of the night outside last night after waking me up at 2am to go out and then not wanting to come back in. I was tired and I figured she’d be up and down most of the night wanting to eat grass and poop.

This morning she’s on the road to being normal- she brought her slipper for Nic to play with, but is still pretty tired and unhappy. Tried to get her to eat this morning without a lot of success until she wanted to slam the cupboard doors in the kitchen, and then looked at us hopefully for a treat. Huh? So, we started doing really easy tricks. “Sit. Good girl! Have a chunk of boiled chicken! Drop. Good! Here’s more chicken!”

I took her outside just a minute ago and saw she was sniffing around for some chicken she’d buried earlier when she didn’t want to eat. Maybe she’s hungry! Brought her inside, start doing some tricks. Normal ones, hard ones like sit pretty to stand up to sit pretty. Treats?! She asked. Sure!, I said, have some more boiled chicken pieces!!!

And now, with a bit of food in her tummy, she’s trying to get Mal to play. I swear, she actually likes boiled chicken more than raw anything, I’m considering using it as a high-value reward. What a freak. Anyway, if making her do tricks is how I get some food in her stomach, I’m certainly not going to complain!