Jun 252009

I walked into the animal hospital today with a bandaged foot and ankle, and a splint – and I walked out of the animal hospital with just a bandaged foot and ankle!  I feel so happy I could run a mile.

Except that I’m not allowed to walk more than a block in each direction.

No splint, just bandages. View of my paws and ankles, from behind.

No splint, just bandages. View of my paws and ankles, from behind.

In fact, Jane and Phil are still keeping me on my short lead whenever we are outside and I’m still on the lead when we go up and down stairs.

In fact, in some ways I’m more limited now that the splint is off.  Since I now have more pressure on my leg and less support, I have to be more careful than I’ve had to be recently. With the splint I was going up the stairs and down the stairs numerous times a day. Now they only let me upstairs once – to go to bed for the night – and downstairs once – to go out in the morning for my morning walk with my dad, and I have to stay downstairs all day.

Still I feel lighter and happier! My leg is getting more air and there is less irritation.

Many people look at my leg and still see the bandages which are currently bright blue (to humans) but to me – do you remember? – is a pale blue. They can’t tell that the splint is not there under the bandages. But it’s not there!

Dr. Bill, my doctor was leaving the animal hospital and moving to another city and this was his going-away present to me!  He was going away but he gave me the going-away present.  That’s the kind of doctors I have.

 Posted by at 8:52 pm
Jun 252009

How do dogs communicate with each other?  Some dogs make friends quickly and others not so quickly.

Today we took another trip to the animal hospital for another bandage change.

I met more and more dogs and one of them even let me lick him!  This dog I liked a lot. Her name is Fay. When Fay’s mommy was holding her in her lap, Fay let me lick her face.  She was really happy about this and we got along really well.  Then later Fay’s mommy put Fay down on the ground. I went to play with Fay and lick her face but suddenly she seemed afraid of me and hid behind her mommy’s legs.  Maybe because when she was on her mommy’s lap and higher up she liked me to play with her but when she was down on the ground and could see that I was many times bigger than her, she got nervous. So Fay’s mommy and my mom decided that I should leave Fay alone so that Fay could feel happy and comfortable.  It’s too bad that I couldn’t just say to Fay that no matter how tall or small she is, I would like to be friends with her and I hope she could be friends with me.  But dogs don’t communicate that way.  But if we could, that’s what I would tell her.

There were other dogs in the hospital, too.

There were two dogs named Lowell and Lana who went together with their dad.  Lowell was the younger dog and was very excited to be in the hospital but Lana, the older dog, was very nervous.   Their dad held Lana in his arms and you could see Lana was shaking and their dad held Lana so that she felt comfortable and protected. It’s too bad that I couldn’t just say to Lana that I’ve been in the hospital many times and that everything was going to be alright and that the doctors in the hospital really care about their patients. Dogs don’t have that kind of communication but if we could, that’s what I would say.

Tern, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Tern, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

I also met a dog named Tern. Tern is a Cavalier Spaniel and these dogs are very friendly to humans and to other dogs. Tern and I became friends there at the animal hospital and he even let my mom take a photo of him.

Jun 232009
We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

A dog who gets hit by a car isn’t going to tell you if he is in pain.  And if he is in pain, he certainly is not going to tell you where it hurts.

At the fence that morning after I was hit by the car, my mom saw blood and open wounds but she had no idea how seriously I had been hurt.  Because of my silence, it had never occurred to her that I was so deeply wounded.  I didn’t tell my mom and I didn’t complain, not a whimper. I didn’t lie down; I stayed sitting up and erect.  I did everything she told me to do and I stayed where she told me to stay.  My eyes were wide open the whole time and I followed my mom’s every move. Even when she had driven the car to the back of our home and was opening the back door to the car to let me in, I tried to jump in until she said “Joey, NO” and she put the blanket around me and lifted me in and onto the car seat.

The hardest part for my parents was when the first doctor said, “He could die if you don’t get him to Angell right away.”

Since then my parents have been learning a lot about how we dogs are different from humans.  For example, today my mom found me licking my splint again.  She knows that something is irritating my foot and that this means another trip to the hospital tomorrow to try to determine the source of my irritation – and that in the meanwhile she has to put the sock back on my foot and the cone if my licking my foot continues. She knows that I’m never going to tell her that my foot is being irritated or where it’s irritated. I’m not going to complain.  She knows that I’m just going to try to get some relief in the only way I can, which is to lick my foot. And maybe try to chew at the splint.

That’s just my way. That’s our – a dog’s – way.

Ask any dog and he or she will tell you the same.

So my mom and dad are going to keep looking at me and looking at me to see what I’m up to every day, every waking hour. And they’re going to keep the phone number of the animal hospital close at hand.

Jun 222009

How can you tell when your dog is feeling sick?  After he’s been sick how can you tell when he’s feeling well again?

Everybody asks “How’s Joey?  How’s he doing?”

Anybody who knows me can tell I’m feeling better than I was ten weeks ago – or even last month. How? Here are the top ten things that my parents have noticed:

I'm feeling better

I'm feeling better

1) I’m running up and down the stairs faster.

2) At midnight on a beautiful summer night, I make some type of deep howl that I want to go outside.

3) I’m scratching the ground after I pee.

4) I’m getting interested in the squirrels and bunnies again when my dad takes me out for my early morning walk.

5) I’m picking up my tennis ball and throwing it up in the air and playing catch with myself again.

6) I’m playing with the area rugs and rolling them into little balls, which frustrates my mom to no end.

7) I’m even eating all my breakfast topped with the glucosamine and chondroitin sauce before Jane even has to say “Joey, eat your breakfast” and my dinner with its salmon oil topping before Jane has to say “Joey, eat your dinner”.

8) I seek out other dogs when I’m outside now and follow the trail of their scent.

9) I’m bringing my tennis ball to my parents for them to throw to me (although they aren’t throwing them for me to catch).

10) If you get near my tail when I’m wagging it, you might feel something more like a fly swatter than a tail!

I sure hope that I get to spend more time outside soon and that I start running with my dad. I have so much energy!  What can I do with it every day?

When my dad he gets up at 4 a.m. and gets dressed to go running and I get up too and get all excited and my dad says, “Joey, not today. Go back to bed” I do what he tells me to do. I go back to bed.  But it’s hard for me.  I hope soon he’ll say “Joey, come!  Let’s go run!”

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Jun 182009

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

First of all, I’m not sure what he meant by “an old dog”.

But let’s get real.  I’ve learned a lot of new tricks since I was hit by a car.

Joey at work

Joey at work

One new trick I’ve learned is the word “lift”.  Whenever my mom puts the sock on my leg, she says “Lift” and taps my foot to signal that I’m supposed to lift it up.  Then she puts the sock on.  Then when she wants to put the bootie on my leg, she says “Lift” again and taps my foot, signaling that I’m supposed to lift it up.  Sometimes she says “Lift” and I just stand there. Then she says “Lift” again and I just stand there again. Then she says, “Joey, lift” and I’ll take one step forward.  Maybe that’s what she wants me to do. It seems to please her because then she’ll say “Good boy!” Last night my dad was getting me ready to go out for my walk and Jane was just standing nearby. She said “Lift” and I lifted my foot.  Then I put it back down. Then she said “Lift” again and I lifted my foot again, both times without her or anybody tapping or touching my foot or leg.   It’s not easy for a dog to lift his leg straight up like that but I can do it momentarily.  So see?  Who are you calling an old dog?

I think whoever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is the same person who said “You can lead a dog to water but you can’t make him drink.”

Secondly, my short-term memory is improving with time. Maybe it’s the Omega 3 fish oils that she puts in my dinner.   Before I was hit by the car, she or my dad would tell me to “Stay” and I’d stay for about the time it took to crack open an egg.

You remember I told you that I have to go up and downstairs on my lead or certainly with somebody.  So during the day Jane goes up and down the stairs for various things.  I accompany her a lot but not every time.  There are times when I want to go with her each time but she doesn’t allow me to. So she goes to the stairs and I follow her, and then she says “Joey, stay” or “Joey, sit” and uses her hand signal.  I look at her and listen to her.  I sit and stay. And a few minutes later when she’s back, I’m still sitting where she left me.

At these times I’m a good dog and she gives me a lot of love afterwards. No treats, just love!

 Posted by at 2:35 am
Jun 162009

As time passes, dog owners need to continue to assiduously follow the veterinarian’s instructions, particularly around avoiding infection. Dogs are capable of learning new behaviors, even when they are ten years old! There are many important aspects to taking care of a pet, and learning about your pet, especially a pet who has been injured.      ***

I’d like to show you the new bag for my leg.

high-tech bag
high-tech bag

This new bag, or bootie, replaces the old plastic small wastebasket bag that was formerly put on my leg each time we went out.

low-tech bag

low-tech bag

Initially, when my parents wanted to take me outside, they would put on my sock and over that the white plastic wastebasket bag, and then they would either get some tape and tape the plastic bag closed or they would twist and twist the top and tie that so that the bag stayed on me. It seemed to take forever, especially because it was hard for me to remain still while I was so full of anticipation of going outside.

Now the sock goes on and over the sock goes this little black bootie. It’s so quick. And that means I get outside faster.

Mom is trying to teach me a new word, “Lift”.  It’s debatable whether I actually understand her when she says “Lift” because at the same time she also taps my foot lightly, signaling that I’m supposed to lift my leg just high enough that she can put the sock on.  Meanwhile I have to balance myself on three legs. Did you ever try that – balancing yourself on three legs?  Then we go through this “Lift” routine again, this time for the medipaw bag. But I’m perfectly happy to let her believe that I’ve added one more word to my vocabulary.

The hardest part for me is still staying still while my parents are fussing around with my leg and these bags.  My mind is focused on being outside and I’m so excited that I cannot stay still. This is where the medipaw bootie makes my parents happy. They slip this bag over the sock, make sure that it’s facing in the right direction, tie one velco tie, tie the other velcro tie, then pull the elastic tab to close off the top.

It takes less than a minute if I am standing still.  It takes forever to do if I am moving around.

I support improvements in technology.

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