Healing Hands


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.  


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.





She lives


Moves in slow circles,

Sometimes standing

for long minutes,

in a corner.

I stroke her coarse fur.


Her head lifts

and orients towards me.


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. 


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.

Go to Rehab? I say YES YES YES!

Ruby is making great progress in her recovery. Within a couple of weeks, her puncture wound had healed and she was putting weight on her injured leg.

Hidden damage is still to be determined. How smoothly have the muscle tissues and tendons healed from whatever bruising and crushing she may have sustained?
Scar tissue can cause problems later on.

Doing mild exercises like this one that I learned from Susan Garrett’s Agility Nation Body Works are great. She loves looking for the treats and stepping over and around the bars helps stimulate her proprioceptive awareness.

Apologies to the amazing Amy Winehouse for adapting her song title…
I love her voice and her music.  She was a great loss.


Today, the Canadian Kennel Club’ letter of congratulations and our Grand Championship Certificate arrived in the mail.

I’m so proud of this little girl…

In less than four years, she has achieved her Grand Championship in conformation, Novice Rally titles in AKC and CKC, Pre Companion Dog, and Agility Dog of Canada titles. 

All this while being the sweetest Schipperke, ever entertaining and lovable.

Just twelve days ago, Ruby was blindsided as she made her way towards a show ring, when a very large dog slipped out of his handler’s control and attacked her.

I was so shaken by this experience on so many levels.

Today, I am grateful that she is alive and is recovering like the champion she is.

She’s an indomitable little Schipperke.

No farther

Rolling along, your plans as tight as rails

Beneath the iron wheels,

A painted landscape sliding past as

Stations come and go.

People rise to leave and others climb on board

Your destination’s  closer

with every singing mile of track until

A lever’s pulled.

Harsh shrieks lift

The floor beneath your feet, it tilts.

You struggle for your balance, grabbing

Anything to hold.

Jolting to a stop

this train,

Will take you,

no farther.


The unthinkable

I rose at 5 AM, excited, bathed my dog, tossed my toothbrush into my over-packed car, and headed to the ferry, bound for the dog show.  A weekend of fun lay ahead, testing our skills in the ring, playing games and maybe if all the planets lined up just right and I didn’t kick over a Rally sign, getting a scrap of ribbon for our efforts.

I was not thinking that this would be the day my beautiful and kind Schipperke will be attacked by a big muscular dog, on our way to the ring.


But it happened. The unthinkable.

Your guts might have tightened up when you read that.  Perhaps you quickly thought, thank goodness it’s never happened to me. I’m always super careful. And a dog show is not a common place for dog attacks. 

The unthinkable can happen to anyone, wherever there are dogs and people. 

Is there anything we can do to make it less likely to happen?

I wonder.

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