Flashback Fur-iday: A Logan’s Elbow

I’ve been part of the van Bryce clan since the beginning of 2011 when I was two. Logan had just turned seven at the time, and although supposedly entering his senior years, he was not an easy guy to keep up to, even with an already lurking health issue.

A game of “kick the ball” back in 2011.

If you’ve been reading our blog for a time, since back in the days of Logan, you’ll know that he struggled with arthritis and lameness in the latter years of his life. In fact, without the lameness and the medications that made it manageable, he probably would have lived longer, might have even been here to celebrate his sixteenth birthday in January.

But that’s not the point of today’s post, because I know Logan wouldn’t want me rehashing his many health troubles or his ultimate demise.

How Logan would prefer to be remembered.

I’ve hurt myself twice in the past six months, both times resulting in a sore leg and a limp. The first time I just tripped and landed badly, the more recent one, just a few days ago, I tried to climb through a gate and, when I didn’t fit and pulled back, I wrenched something. Again, soreness and a limp. It will probably go away in a few days of lighter exercise and that will be the end of it.

Nobody knows what started Logan’s elbow troubles. It could have been any number of things, partly because he was so active—

I’ve had a hitch in my giddy-up for a long while now … years. Not sure just where it got its start–a bad landing jumping for a ball, playing a bit too rough with a friend, too many miles on the trail behind a horse, or some perfect storm of a combination.

April 2016 – The Trouble with Elbows
Beach run with a new buddy in California.

—and partly because his stoic nature made it near impossible for a vet to figure out where the pain was.

The first (vet) who checked out my limp gave up when I wouldn’t flinch and give her any clue as to what was hurting. She called it “typical Border Collie stoicism”. I just called it “not liking vets”. Ever since I was kicked in the face by a horse and had to spend a night at the vet hospital … alone … and have surgery the next day, I’ve not been a fan of vets.

April 2016 – The Trouble with Elbows
“This little skiff of snow? Nah, not a problem.”

Having always been such an active guy, Logan had a hard time admitting defeat as his arthritis worsened. I can understand that. Even though I am far from stoic, or so they tell me, I’ll limp along if it means the difference between going for a walk or not.

Admittedly, I find it hard to keep up with horses these days, even at a walk. Their walk is my jog and I just can’t jog for four or five hours straight anymore, in fact, a couple of hours across the prairie normally has me limping. So, as angry as I was with Chico for spoiling what was a great gig, he saved me from having to admit defeat and retire in disgrace.

June 2015 – Trailer Days
Logan logged a lot of trail miles over the years.

It frustrated the poor guy no end that one small joint in his body was keeping him from living the kind of life he most enjoyed.

Darn thing is like my Achilles’ heel. (Think there’s any chance a “Logan’s elbow” might become as famous as an Achilles’ heel?)

April 2017 – A Shot in the Arm

One of the best treatments for Logan turned out to be our winter trips to the desert, for a couple of reasons.

When we travel south for the winter, not sure if it’s the climate or the leash time, but my elbow hardly bothers me at all. Almost makes the many hours of terrifying interstate highway travel worthwhile.

April 2016 – The Trouble with Elbows
In the desert, leash time doesn’t mean boring.

T tried a bunch of treatments and remedies for Logan. You can read about them back through the years of the blog, but the one with the most dramatic result was a joint injection in the spring of 2017. Sadly, the treatment’s effect was very short-lived, and its temporary success had unexpected consequences.

You see, with my right leg no longer slowing me down, I’ve been a lot more active and am now discovering that some of the other parts of me are older than I thought they were. For example, my backend seems to be having some difficulty keeping up with the front, and it wobbles sometimes after I’ve exerted myself. I’m always tempted to look back there to see what the heck is going on, but I don’t of course. I forge on like nothing has happened, hoping nobody noticed but me.

2017 – The Domino Effect
“Anybody see that?”

I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine with a few days of lightened activity. After so many years of trying to help Logan, T’s pretty keen on not letting me develop a chronic problem. And, whenever I feel short-changed on a walk or upset about my outdoor time being curbed, I just remember the wise words of my old buddy…

So, to all my ‘nines out there (that’s peeps in the canine world), I know you can’t help yourselves, but try not to wear out any of your parts while you’re still young.

April 2016 – The Trouble with Elbows

Flashback Fur-iday – Your Dog on Drugs

Any of you who have been reading our blog for a time might remember Logan’s drug-induced adventures. He was always a funny guy, but under the influence, he was a riot, especially to those of us who knew him best. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a recreational drug user. His usage resulted from a long battle with travel anxiety, a battle originally fought with every form of natural treatment T could come up with. There was the music therapy, the pheromone collar, various herbal and homeopathic elixirs, training tips from experts, aromatherapy, and combinations of the above. A few things seemed to help a little, but nothing turned Logan into an easy traveller.

I’d like to tell you Chico was wrong and I’m doing just fine, but I can’t. I’m just not sure the world explorer shtick is for me. I like being in the truck with my people and new places to walk are fun, but I just can’t stop shaking and panting when we start to roll down the highway. The panting makes me thirsty, the shaking turns my breakfast into purée and I don’t sleep for hours on end. By the time we get to our destination I’m dehydrated, exhausted and I have the runs. You can see why I might be questioning my aptitude for travel.

So, I Guess I’m Not Magellan, January 2015
Contrasting travel experiences.

I think T and Nollind thought he might settle in on a longer journey when we set out on our first big RV adventure in 2011. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite was true. Each subsequent day of travel just ramped up the panting, pacing, and drooling. Speaking of drooling, I was a very patient travel companion to Logan, but looking like a favourite chew toy by the end of a day’s drive did get tiresome. So, when the peeps did a little online research and decided it was time to try a less natural approach, I was on board.

Hitched up in BC and ready to cross the border.

The first trial was Gravol, which would apparently make Logan sleepy. T’s family had used it for a car sick dog when she was a kid and it worked like a charm. Logan seemed untouched. Next was Benadryl, also supposed to induce drowsiness. Logan soldiered on through the medication, unaffected.

By the time we reached Salt Lake City, two weeks into our journey, the towel had been thrown in. It was time for the big guns. A trip to the vet was arranged.

He was such a happy guy once we got somewhere. Here we are walking in Boise, Idaho.

Logan’s first prescribed pharmaceutical was diazepam, often known by its brand name Valium. I couldn’t stop staring at my buddy that first day. It was like some other dog had put on a Logan suit and was sitting beside me in the truck.

I think I’m finally getting a bit more comfortable with truck time. Sa and Nollind think it’s due to the new treat they got for me that they call “magic cheese”, but it just says Havarti on the package, which I’ve had before. There is something special about it though because I feel really mellow about an hour after I eat some, and riding in the truck is pretty cool then, watching the world go by outside the window. I like sticking my head out and getting that rush of a thousand scents at once blasting in. Oddly enough, the cheese also seems to make me more hungry, something my people call “the munchies” and seem quite amused by. It’s usually Chico making them laugh so I’m happy I can entertain now and then.

Murky Water and Magic Cheese, December 2011
By Utah’s red rock country, we were a foursome of happy travellers.

The trouble with the diazepam, was that is often didn’t work on day two of a road trip, and sometimes seemed to add to his anxiety. And the timing of administering had to be just right because if it hadn’t completely set in, his nervous system would override it and the shakes would begin.

And then it stopped working altogether and he and T went back to seeking an herbal or otherwise natural solution with no success.

I thought I was ready. I really did. I’d been practicing my deep breathing and meditation in the days leading up to our trip and I was sure I had it this time. So there we were, on our way, and I was breathing a little faster than my practice sessions but still holding it together. I was enjoying the scenery as it went rushing by the windows— RUSHING BY?! ACK! Must we go this fast?! Does this beast only have one gear? What’s the hurry? Isn’t this supposed to be a vacation?  So much for zen.

Travel Woes, August 2016
Even with T in the back seat beside him, he’d try to hide on the floor of the truck.

When our friends G & S offered up Dixie’s Alprazolam, prescribed to help her through thunderstorms, T and Nollind were happy to give it a try. Oh my. What a difference. It was like that first day with Valium all over again, but this drug worked with a small dose on consecutive days. Logan would get a piece of magic cheese in the morning and then tiny pieces of magic cheese through the travel day every few hours. He slept, for the first time ever in a vehicle. He stared out the window. He didn’t drool all over me and our space. And he told some good stories.

Heeeyyyyy ….. duuuuudes. I’m writing to you from the road as it flashes by my window. Whoa! What was that? S’okay. It’s all good. Just a semi (that’s pronounced semm-eye in these parts) going past us. Man, those things clip along and you would be amazed at how many of them are on the road down here. Hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions! They usually scare the bejeezus out of me, but today, for some reason, they just look kooool as they stream past us. Whoa … there goes a red one! Niiiiice.

They Call Me Buzz, March 2017
Sleeping while underway. We were all in shock.

Food. That was the other thing that happened to Logan on drugs. He ate things he normally wouldn’t touch, and his eyes turned into saucers as soon as a snack opportunity presented itself. In short, he loved food as much as I did!

I think they expected the drugs to make me groggy, but it was more like the pills erased my fears and inhibitions. The truck travel was fun, the leash-less jog around the rest area with Nollind in hot pursuit was definitely a highlight, and food never tasted so good. March 2017

They Call Me Buzz, March 2017
Panting because he’s hot rather than terrified.

And Dixie’s magic meds, and a refill of the same, lasted through two whole trips south, working just as well on the last day as the first. Alprazolam was a game changer for Logan when it came to travel.

Good afternoon. This is your captain speaking. We are flying at an altitude of 6870 feet… wait… I think I’m higher than that. ;o)

We’re in our third state of the day and I’ve been in this state through all three. March 2018

From the Cockpit, March 2018
Cool companion.

I’d take panting, drooling, pacing Logan over no Logan at all on our road trips this past sixteen months, but Logan on drugs, well, he was one cool companion.

Flashback Fur-iday – In the Beginning…

This time of year brings up a lot of memories of autumns past, particularly the autumn of 2011 when we set out travelling by RV for the first time and started this blog. It was T’s idea for Logan and me to write a blog. She wanted to share the tales of our travels with friends and family back home but didn’t want it to be the standard “weather is here, wish you were beautiful” stuff. Wait a minute. What up, Jimmy? That’s not how you say it.

So, there we were, a couple of rescue hounds, writing a blog. Crazy, right? Logan took to it like a Lab to water, but it was a tougher learning curve for me. I just wanted to run and chase and run some more. Who had time to sit still and tell stories? I was a 3-year-old dog!

On the other side of that coin though, I was an excellent traveller, but Logan, well, not so much. He loved the new places but …

The stops are filled with new sights, sounds and, most importantly and best of all…smells! It’s an absolute scent-fest every time we stop in a new place. Travelling between stops is a lot less appealing, or let’s make that more terrifying — hurtling down the highway at great speed with others doing the same thing in the other direction. Does no one else recognize the danger we’re in? Have they not read the newspapers or watched the nightly news? My people sit blissfully naive in front, seemingly enjoying the ride, regularly trying to reassure me of the safety and okay-ness of it all. But I’m not falling for it.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan
Maybe if I close my eyes?

I mostly just slept, still do. What better way to pass the hours in a vehicle? But I could never convince Logan, at least not until the “magic cheese”…

I think I’m finally getting a bit more comfortable with truck time. Sa and Nollind think it’s due to the new treat they got for me that they call “magic cheese”, but it just says Havarti on the package, which I’ve had before. There is something special about it though because I feel really mellow about an hour after I eat some, and riding in the truck is pretty cool then, watching the world go by outside the window. I like sticking my head out and getting that rush of a thousand scents at once blasting in.

December 2011 – Murky Water and Magic Cheese
With magic cheese assist.

For two rescue-come-farm dogs, travelling for five months in the United States was quite the grand adventure—sand dunes, beaches, cool spiky plants, rocks the colour of a sunset, and Logan’s favourite …, dog parks.

Viva Las Vegas…or so the humans like to say. I wasn’t clear what all the fuss was about until we arrived. Once we’d settled in and done a bit of exploring, I found out why it’s such a hot destination — Las Vegas has the best dog park in the western USA, possibly in the whole country!

January 2012 – Viva Las Vegas
RV dog paradise – freedom!

But it wasn’t all fun and games on the road, especially for a sensitive guy like Logan. Some of those great things I mentioned above had a dark side…

I drink from puddles at home all the time but whatever tiny critters live in the water down here do a number on my digestive system. Drinking from a watering hole in a dog park at Oceanside gave me a thorough understanding of the term “explosive diarrhea”. Another normally innocuous part of my life on the farm, plants, also seem to be out to get me down here. I’ve had more thorns in my paws than I can count, one big ball of nasty stuck to the back of my leg, and a spiky branch that seemed to jump right off its host onto my thigh when I walked by. I also had an eye infection that took many days of an antibiotic ointment to cure, and running in deep sand at the dunes tired out my hindquarters so much I had trouble getting up the stairs into the trailer when we got home.

February 2012 – How Do Dogs Live Down Here?
It was a long way to the top.

We were away five months that first trip, a long time for a couple of dogs who’d rarely left home. Logan in particular, got a little homesick toward the end…

Yesterday we left Bisbee, the farthest point south we’ve travelled on this trip, and drove all day heading north. I hear we’re going home! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time, but I am a bit of a homebody and I’m looking forward to my farm, my bed, my doggie friends across the road, and leashes that hang on a hook in the porch. Oh, and friendlier plants.

March 2012 – Sore Feet and Sore Eyes
Montana’s high country on the way home.

There’s talk of a trip this winter, and Sid’s all cleaned up and ready to go. As excited as I am about the prospect of another winter in the desert, it sure won’t be the same without Logan. But then I’m pretty sure he’ll be there with us, exploring our favourite boondocking spots, enjoying the desert sunsets, and riding along easily without the aid of magic cheese.