Jan 202012
 

All you dogs, this post has been a long time coming. Some of us go to visits with the veterinarian and are totally cool with it.  Others of us go to the veterinarian and range from skittish to totally terrorized. Where do you fit in?

We can talk about just waiting in the waiting room or bump it up a notch to being in the examination room, or having some procedure done. I’ve seen many dogs hang out behind their parents’ legs in the animal hospital waiting rooms; I’ve tried to make friends with many of these dogs, to calm them down and offer friendship, but they’re just frozen in fear.

I’m on the cool dude side.  When I had my injuries from being hit by the car, I had to have surgery, and xrays taken, and all sorts of procedures done on  me, including having my bandages changed regularly, and my wounds cleaned.  The doctors would ask my mom, “Does he need to be knocked out?” and except for actual surgery, and dental surgery, no, I didn’t.

It helped to have somebody just petting my head and saying “Good boy, Joey” and for splint changes I would need two technicians (my mom counted as “one”) but together we made it through everything, no “puppy’s little helper” required.

But many other dogs do. They have to take anything from a “calm down” pill to having an injection.

Let’s talk about this.

Do you think there’s a difference between how small and large dogs handle this?

Dogs who have been surgically “altered” and those who have not?

I am waiting to hear from you.

***

Nov 092009
 
  • After your dog is injured, when should you expect your dog to start walking? 
  • How far and how fast should he walk? How about swimming and dog hydrotherapy?
  • What’s the best way to get your dog’s muscles back in shape and to get his stamina back? 
  • If your dog is a runner, when and how should you introduce him to running again?

Good communication with your dog’s veterinarian can give you some guidelines. But as always, observe your dog carefully and notice and pay attention to everything, and use that as a guide.

***

Here is my time line for my rehabilitation from my injury.  In general, my parents and my doctors made these decisions, not I.  If my parents took me swimming, I went swimming. If they took me running, we went running. They decided how far, how fast, and how long I was to be out and walking, running, or swimming.  I guess in the end they made the right decisions, because I’m doing really well now. I’m not even limping!


Day 1:
I was hit by the car and brought to the emergency room of the animal medical center.  When I went home six days later, I had a full-splint on my leg.

During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop and then must go back home. I must walk slowly.

Week 5, Day 3: I have surgery on my broken ankle, though I’m asleep and don’t know what’s going on.   When I go home, I have a half-splint on my leg.

During this time, I may only go outside to pee and poop. I walk slowly.

Week 12, Day 3:
I go back to the animal medical center for a bandage change. It has been 7 weeks since my surgery. Although he was going to only take x-rays at this time, my doctor removes my splint!

Since I’m allowed to go upstairs and downstairs, my parents let me go up and down a lot so that my muscles begin to strengthen.  Of course, since I’m on my lead, I can’t go up and down too much, but I do it as often as they will allow me, and as many times as they will allow me. When I am home alone, my parents keep me in the living room and close the little door gate. They don’t want me jumping up on anything.

Week 13:  Day 3: I go back to the animal medical center for x-rays on my broken ankle. It has been 8 weeks since my surgery. My doctor removes my bandages!

During this time, my leg muscles continue to start working again.I’m still walking with a limp.  When I am outside and I start to hop on three legs, my parents slow me down so that I use all four legs.

My walks start out short. Then they get longer. Then they get longer and longer. Then they get longer and longer and faster and faster.  My mom is walking longer and longer and faster and faster, too. This is good for me.

Week 16: It has been 11 weeks since my surgery. I’m running and playing in the back yard. My parents are throwing the ball and I’m chasing it and bringing it back. However, we don’t play this game for too long.

Week 17: It has been 12 weeks since my surgery. I’m walking well enough and I’m strong enough to take a walk around the block with my sister and littermate, Rosie. I am still walking with a limp.

My parents take me to the lake for the first time!  My mom walks me around the edge of the lake but I do some swimming, too. I go to the lake a few times this week and I am swimming, usually in place, with my mom holding me up by my harness.  My legs are getting stronger and stronger and I’m feeling better and better.

Week 19:  It has been 14 weeks since my surgery. Dad takes me running with him. We run for one block!

Week 20: It has been 15 weeks since my surgery. Dad takes me running with him. We run for five minutes!  Then we walk.  The next day we don’t run and the next day we run again for 5 minutes again.  I’m feeling stronger.  Jane takes me on long walks and she doesn’t’ let me stop and rest until we get to our destination, or until we get home.

Week 22: It has been 17 weeks since my surgery. Dad and I run for ten minutes!  The next day we don’t run and the next day we run again for 10 minutes again.  Then the next day we don’t and the next day we do.  I’m feeling stronger and my parents say that they don’t see me limp when I run. They say “Other than the bald spot on his back, you wouldn’t know he was hit by a car.”

Week 25: It has been 20 weeks (5 months) since my surgery. Dad and I run for twenty minutes!  This is our “short” run.  I’m feeling good.  I’m not limping.  We do this run now a few times a week, one day yes one day no one day yes one day no.  During the afternoons, Jane takes me on long walks and she even tries to run for a block or two with me, but I’m much faster than she is and I’m always ahead of her looking back at her. They still say say “Other than the bald spot on his back, you wouldn’t know he was hit by a car.”

Week 25: It has been 20 weeks (5 months) since my surgery.

My dad says “Twenty minutes may be it for him.”   I’m going to do my best to run longer and longer and further and further.

My doctor says that I’m “a healthy dog”.  I love my doctor!

Week 26: It has been 21 weeks (5 months, 1 week) since my surgery.

I love my life! I go to new places and see new things. I meet new people and new dogs. I make many new friends, both people and dogs.  Everybody is surprised at how well I do.  When I’m off-lead, I obey my mom when she says “come”. At night I don’t limp.

But I do sleep well!


May 302009
 

How did people react when Joey got hit by the car?

I never was able to tell my parents the actual story of how I was hit.  So how did they find out the details?

Here you see the main 4-lane road on the right and the carriage path on the left where people jog and dogs are walked.  People also jog and dogs are also walked in the center green park that stretches for miles and miles.  It was in this green island that I found the other dogs and into the street on the right where I ran and was hit.

Here you see the main 4-lane road on the right and the carriage path on the left where people jog and dogs are walked. People also jog and dogs are also walked in the center green park that stretches for miles and miles. It was in this green island that I found the other dogs and into the street on the right where I ran and was hit.

Humans like to talk so, naturally, following my accident, there had been a lot of buzz in our neighborhood amongst dog owners and dog lovers that a dog had gotten hit by a car. Many of these people were shaken up.  They didn’t know if “the dog” had died or had survived.  Nobody put it together that I was the dog that had been hit. They said it was a brown dog (that would describe me), a large brown dog (that would definitely describe me), but when my favorite mail carrier suggested that it was me, Joey, the chocolate Labrador Retriever, people said “No, No, it wasn’t a Lab”.

Within a few days of my returning home, when my parents  started taking me for walks up and down the block and people saw my wounds and my bandages, they starting putting two and two together that it was me who had been run over.  People who my parents talked to said that there had been witnesses to the accident.  Our mail carrier knew  one of the witnesses and told us where this person lived. One day my parents went over to this person’s house.

She had been the person who reached out to grab me to keep me away from the other dogs who I wanted to play with. She had heard my scream and had been haunted by it for days; she had been thinking about me and hearing my scream in her mind over and over for days. Because I ran off, nobody knew whether I had survived; she and several others feared that I had not.

When my parents talked to her, to her great relief, they told her that I had survived.

However, they didn’t tell her that I had survived to write about it!

approaching a dog, part 2.

 

Is it ever okay to approach a dog that we do not know? What is a dog’s instinctive response when we approach him? How can we protect a dog that we see is playing near traffic?

A few days ago Jane was talking to a young man named Steve who asked that question, “How did he get hit by a car?”  When Steve was younger, he too had seen a dog off-leash and near traffic and, worried that the dog might get hit by a car, had walked toward that dog to try to grab her by her collar to bring her home. That dog too, like me, had run in exactly the opposite direction from the approaching person and had run, just like me, into the street.  That’s what we dogs generally do.

a dog

I was luckier than that dog. That dog died.  And for years after that, Steve felt badly.  Even as he was telling my Mom about it, his voice trailed off as he seemed to contemplate the scene, saying, ‘I felt badly about it.”

But one thing is for sure: We dogs don’t like it when people whom we do not know approach us, especially if they approach us suddenly and if our owner is not there to tell us that this person is “okay”. This is the case even if the person approaches us in order protect us, as happened in my situation and in Steve’s situation.  Our dog instinct is to run away from this person which, sadly and unfortunately, may mean that we run right into exactly what the person is trying to protect us from: in this case, into the traffic. We dogs perceive the person – though a good person with good intentions – as a threat, and ignore the danger of the traffic.

Steve said that the best thing to do if a person sees an off-leash dog that is about to run into traffic is to stand still and firmly say “Come” to the dog, and it’s even better if you can get a bone or some treat to entice us to come to you.  Also, everybody else should move away from the off-leash dog, further away from traffic.  Nobody’s asking me, but I’d say that Steve has it right. Especially the part about offering us a treat.

So I guess the answer to the question is: Don’t approach a dog that you don’t know if the dog’s owner is not there with the dog –  even if you are trying to help the dog.

 Posted by at 7:04 pm
May 182009
 

Can you tell what a dog is thinking by reading his ears?  Learn to read your dog’s ears. This is especially important if your dog is sick or injured.

These days I’m pretty relaxed.   I’m feeling better, the sun is shining, and the children in the neighborhood still want to come and visit me.

relaxed

They like to come and say “Hi, Joey” and they like to come give me a pet.

Because I’m still injured and Jane doesn’t want me to get too excited, I will sit down and then Jane will allow the children to come over to pet me, one at a time.

It’s important for the children to understand when I’m relaxed and when I’m nervous.  How can children know how a dog wants to play?  I can’t tell them with words, but there is one easy way for them to know how I am feeling: They can look at my ears! They can read my ears.

My ears are very important for a lot of reasons.

Of course, I use them to listen.

I also use them when I am trying to smell something!  Since my ears are large and floppy, I can use them when I’m trying to smell the scents of dogs, and food, to cup the odors.

Here's a photo of a dog's ears when the dog is being attentive. Here, I am looking in the direction of the dog that lives next door to us, a black Labrador Retriever.My ears are also an indicator of my mood.  You can tell when I am relaxed, when I am excited, or when I am nervous or afraid. When children want to pet me, they need to make sure that I am relaxed, and not nervous or afraid.

Here are so photos of my ears. Can you read them?

using my ears as a cup when I'm following a scent

Can you tell which is the best time to come pet me, and which is the best time to leave me alone and let me be by myself?

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