I’m Alright

Geez … and now Chico is writing sad, poor Logan, blog posts. Two Minus One. How tragic was that? Teresa even got a message from a blog reader who saw the title but couldn’t get into the post. He wanted to make sure I was okay.

That’s it! No more! Enough! I won’t have it! I refuse to be like that old guy everyone avoids because they know he’s going to rattle on for hours about how his back aches when the weather changes, his gout gives him grief when he drinks anything that tastes good, and his arthritis keeps him up at night!

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Weather changes can be refreshing.

Our blog is starting to feel like watching a drunk guy driving a snowmobile. We all know there’s going to be a wreck it’s just a matter of when and how bad it’s going to be. (I may have borrowed this analogy from one of Teresa’s life experiences.)

So, for those of you hanging on to see what’s going to happen, I’ll just skip right to the end. I’m not getting out of this alive! But you knew that already. None of us do. It’s just likely, but not written in stone, that I’m going to check out ahead of most of you.

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But I still look awesome. Right?

The upside of all of the recent doom and gloom about my health is that, according to averages, my life account was drained a year ago. The Border Collie lives an average of 13.5 years, the Labrador Retriever 12.5, which puts a mix like me right at 13 years as a life expectancy. So, the way I see it, everything after 13 is gravy (yum). Well, happy birthday to me, I turn 14 in a few days—or possibly yesterday, or it could have been last week. Somewhere around now anyway.

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Advantages of my age – no longer expected to stand for my bath. Aaaahhhh….

I won’t ignore the topic altogether. Like, for example, I’ll tell you about any new meds that are particularly fun, like my latest painkiller that I’d probably get rolled for if I walked down the wrong city street.

I’ll generally keep you updated on my progress through the gravy days of my life. And, I’ll be sure to let you know if I’ve spotted a bridge with a big rainbow over it, or possibly a bright light I’m feeling pulled toward. But, other than that, I’m changing my theme tune.

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The only bright light I’m headed toward these days … the sun reflecting off of Sid.

Goodbye Mozart …

hello Kenny Loggins!

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Definition of Stoic: Logan

I’m writing my blog in secret this week because Logan would stop me if he knew what I was writing about. He’s sleeping a lot during this heat wave we’ve been having so it’s given me an opportunity to get on the computer this afternoon without him noticing.

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Ssshhhh … don’t wake him.

The dictionary says that stoic is “a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining”. That sounds about right. Just add “or dog” after the word “person” to make it complete.

Border Collies are known for their stoic nature, and Logan definitely leans toward the Border Collie side of his Borador breeding. For example, he’s more herder than retriever, he’s more nervous than laid back, he’s more picky eater than chow hound, he doesn’t really like to swim … and … he’s stoic.

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See how dry he is? He’s a wader, not a swimmer.

Because of his stoic nature, I know he won’t tell you about what’s been going on, but you’re his friends and I think you should know. In May he had his right elbow injected to deal with the osteoarthritis that has set up there and he blogged about how well it had worked. Well, it did, but only for a short time. It was supposed to last six to ten months, it lasted just four weeks. At first, it was a mild limp that returned, but now it’s progressed quite dramatically.

T is worried that his condition might have been worsened by the injection, once the positive effects wore off, but the vet says he’s probably just been more stoic all this time than anyone suspected. I guess he can’t hide it anymore. It’s why he seems to have suddenly grown old in the last six months. It’s been happening gradually but he just soldiered on without telling anyone.

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He’s been hiding his grey hair in his white markings.

He was so excited during those four weeks when his elbow felt better, running, jumping, playing more, visiting the neighbours. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s what really did it in.

They tried a new drug called Tramadol. Apparently, it’s a narcotic, an opioid. Now I’m not too sure just what those terms mean, other than it’s some pretty serious shit, the stuff you have to sign for when you pick it up, the stuff that’s controlled. The warning from the vet was that it might make him weird. Well, you know, I didn’t notice anything. He may have had some psychedelic party going on in his brain, but on the outside, he was the same old Logie. Stoic. If he were human, he’d be that completely snockered guy that attempts to make it across the bar to the bathroom without giving away the fact that he can barely stand.

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“See? I’m totally fine.”  – Logan

But did the Tramadol work? Well, he did seem pretty happy that week, but he was still limping, and still almost three-legged when he got up from his bed, and still needing his Meloxicam every day. He was only on it for a week as a trial and, because it didn’t produce the result they hoped for and it can be hard on the kidneys, T and Nollind are trying another approach, another natural one.

That’s our T, always looking for a natural way to fix something rather than going with the standard pharmaceutical approach. She was researching Tramadol, to see if it had any side effects the vet hadn’t mentioned, and this natural alternative kept coming up, something called FlexPet. It just arrived in the mail yesterday morning from Florida so it will be a few weeks, maybe a month, before we know if it’s working. That’s one of the differences with the more natural treatments, they have fewer side effects but they take longer to kick in.

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I’d love to walk farther, but it’s time to turn back.

In the meanwhile, I won’t complain when our walks are shorter than they used to be, and I’ll hang out with Logan when he’s prescribed rest time indoors. I don’t mind. He’s my bud, my partner in grime, my wingman (even though he’s a really terrible hunter), and my brotha-from-anotha-motha. I’ll let you know this time next month how the new treatment has worked. Here’s hoping. Toes crossed.

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Partners, brothers, and friends.

My Top 10 List – Home

There’s something about being away from a place that makes you notice all the things you love about it when you first return. At least that’s what happens to me every time we come home from our winter travels in the desert. It’s like I arrive in this wondrous place that’s been awaiting my return, placed on hold just for me.

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As T says, “Home is where the horse is.”

In my last post, Home on the Range, I mentioned it might be time for another top ten list. What are my ten favourite things about home?

  1. Freedom! We rolled into the farmyard, Nollind opened the truck door, and we were off and running. Running! And when T or Nollind is out doing chores around the place, riding a horse, or just sitting on the deck, I’m out there at liberty, roaming around the property. As long as I don’t head across the road or disappear from sight for too long, I’m free to do as I please.

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    A run in the hay field.

  2. Gophers to chase. I love to chase gophers (ground squirrels) and there are plenty of them out here on the prairie. It is possibly my favourite activity, and as I’ve grown older and wiser, I catch them more often. A couple of summers ago I realized that if I was patient and stealthy, rather than charging after them from a distance, my hunting was much more successful.

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    I know I posted a similar photo to this last time, but … 🙂

  3. Beds in every room. Not sure which is my favourite, but here at home I have at least one bed in every room in the house (except the kitchen and bathroom), as well as some human surfaces that make great napping locations (like T and Nollind’s bed).

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    Hanging with T while she catches up on the company books.

  4. Food. I get food everywhere we go but it still makes my Top Ten.

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    Cleaning the wrapper from some blue cheese. Yum.

  5. Canal walks. We walk a lot in the desert, and it’s great, but it is such a treat to have a place to cool off and get a drink as we wander along. We don’t always walk near the canal when we’re home, but it’s our go-to route in warm weather.

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    Canal time.

  6. Horses and the treats they leave behind. T noticed me on the Misty Creek Dog Rescue website six years ago because I reminded her of Nevada, so I am forever grateful to the big spotted guy. I like the rest of the horses too and, although it may sound disgusting to you, horse manure makes a great fibre-filled dog snack. It’s full of enzymes and partially digested proteins. Hoof trimmings also make tasty treats, although foraging for snacks while the trimming is still underway can be risky.

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    Me and “Spot” (aka Nevada).

  7. Movie/TV Nights. Here at home, there is one couch for all three of us to share on movie nights. Sigh …04-Chico-range-movienight-1
  8. Visitors. We get regular visitors out here on the farm: friends from the city, neighbours, family, boarders. Judy, who boards her horse Gidget with us, comes to visit every two or three days and always has a treat for me in her bag or her car. I love Judy. Michelle, another horse boarder, brought her puppy Zulu out a couple of weeks ago. I’m not entirely comfortable with cuter-than-me dogs around to hoard the attention, and people seem to think puppies are adorable, but he was okay for a puppy … and he’ll grow out of it. Then there’s friend Darren who comes to work on his boat and brings Roxie along for some gopher-chasing time. If I could just convince Roxie that she can’t dig them out of the ground maybe she’d get more off-leash time.

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    Playtime with Zulu.

  9. Grass. I love to roll in the grass, do it multiple times a day when I can. It’s the canine version of a morning shower.04-Chico-top10-rolling2-1
  10. Trips to town. At this time of year, with the days still cool, I often get to go along on excursions into town. When Logan went to the vet last week, T and I went to the coffee shop, and then for a leisurely stroll around the lake in Strathmore’s downtown Kinsmen Park.

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    Sniffing around Kinsmen Park.

And then there’s just that indescribable feeling of being … home.