Susan Salo Spider and Ladder grid

Sami and I hadn’t worked with the spider (an apparatus invented by Susan Salo to help the dog build a natural, healthy jump style) nor the ladder grid for months, but he performed beautifully. He loaded his rear, stepped into the optimum take off point, sprang from two rear feet, and arced nicely over the jump.

Recallers games built in all the foundational skills of ‘it’s your choice’, sit, focus forward, release, and drive to something.

Small Things

The idea of travelling to Haida Gwaii arrived in my head unprovoked. Perhaps I was influenced by marketing that I no longer remember, who can say? It’s not something that has haunted me in the past. 

My uncle lived in Charlotte for several decades but I visited him long after he’d sold his marine engine business there and retired to the Gulf Islands.

Nevertheless, the idea took hold. I tried to shake it off several times. Getting there is expensive and time consuming. One might try to convince oneself it would be a scenic voyage along the coast… but on a ferry?

Two days before I was about to leave, my sailing was cancelled. Bad forecast.  I was quite disappointed and a tiny bit relieved. I could cancel the trip or consider flying.

I asked a friend. She emailed back one word. “Go”.

I flew.

For the first couple of days, I kept waiting for something appropriately mysterious and magical to happen. Why had I been ‘called’ to visit Haida Gwaii, anyway? 

I walked. I hiked. I drove. I ate. I slept. I explored the magnificent Haida museum in Skidegate. I took pictures.

And nothing, happened. 

It was a trip about small things. Little openings of thought. Brief encounters with people. Better sleep each night. Looser walking each day. 

Just small things.

People rising…

I bought this gorgeous Salish Knitters hat at Elizabeth May’s campaign fundraiser last weekend. It’s beautiful, warm, stylish (ok, it fits me a bit better than Ruby) and celebrates the rising Green Wave of hope and action that’s rolling across Canada.

Ruby says “Vote this time with your strong brave heart.”

 

Healing Hands

CarolynandRuby

I took Ruby to Coastal Canine BC http://www.coastalcaninebc.ca/our-team/ for a canine massage with Carolyn Kutchyera.

It was fascinating to watch the interplay between Carolyn and Ruby, as she worked on her. It’s been about five weeks since the dog attack and although she is moving with no obvious issues, I have been reluctant to allow her to jump in agility. Carolyn pointed out  how Ruby is moving the injured leg with a bit of an outward swing as she brings it forward and with a little hitch (a slight lifting of the foot rather than skimming it along the ground).
I am now more confident about working her on cavalettis and low jump grids to balance the two legs and strengthen the right rear, which has atrophied a bit. 
Ruby is entered in an upcoming NADAC trial, tunnels and hoops only. I will run pieces of the course FEO and use a toy, to assess how she copes in a trial environment, with lots of other dogs and barking. 
Thanks to Carolyn’s expert hands, I have confidence that Ruby is healing well.  

Vertigo

Not the Hitchcock version, although Kaylah probably experiences it just like Jimmy Stewart does.

Old dogs lose their balance. A lot. Sometimes, it’s the mild wobbliness you might put down to old age. And sometimes, when it comes on quickly, accompanied by a head tilt, and a tendency to turn in circles, it might be vestibular disease.

My Kaylah,  15.5 years, has had a challenging month. I took her to my vet for a blood test and checkup. The blood work came back fine, but showed signs of dehydration, not unusual for old creatures.

I made that classic error of messing around with something that was working fine. I asked him about prescribing pain medications, ‘just in case’ she’s suffering from arthritic pain.

Oops. That was a bit much to expect her body to cope with. So I stopped the meds, and nursed her back (plenty of broth and love) until the vertigo struck.

Head tilt, sudden flops to the side, endless circles. The worst part was watching her unable to get any rest. I remembered I’d read about a special ‘manouevre’ used for humans that get this same problem.

I tried it. At the end of the procedure, she remained in the last position I’d put her in. And slept.

I’m grateful.

IMG_7013

 

 

Losspain

She lives

Breathes

Moves in slow circles,

Sometimes standing

for long minutes,

in a corner.

I stroke her coarse fur.

Blind,

Her head lifts

and orients towards me.

Faithful,

she follows my rafts

wherever I go,

Bread crumbs through the forest

She eats,

Shoving her sharp nose

into every delicacy I offer her,

She sleeps.

I’m grateful when she does.

I tell her I love her,

A thousand times

I do.

It’s no antidote

nor protection against

the lump of losspain I see in the distance,

hunkered down and waiting.

It will come.

A giant black wave,

That will crash over my head

Crush my chest

and knock me down.

Nothing can stop that.

Not hope, nor prayer

Mantra nor talisman,

Not love, nor the tasty treats I offer her. 

Nothing.

I’ll hurt like hell

Until one day,

the Losspain will loosen,

Relax its jaws

And let me slip free.

Free, until the next time.

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