Ten Steps Plus One Year

It’s been a year since I first visited Barrett Veterinary and started on my ten steps to healing. Considering my multiple health issues, my age, and that one year is like seven for a dog, I’d say I’ve done pretty well. And by pretty well I mean still on the top side of the grass.09 Logan - 10Steps- topside

The problem is that the same 10-step program that, a year ago, got me out in the field doing 1-hour walks, now just gets me to the barn and back, and our barn isn’t far from the house. It didn’t happen all at once, of course, it’s been gradual. My 1-hour walks became 45 minutes, then 40, then 30, then 20, and so on. It’s hard to believe I was still walking a mile every morning when we first came home from Arizona in March. When I look south to the neighbours’ place now, a half a mile away, it seems a formidable journey.

These days I go out to the barn to help with chores once or twice a day and make the trek to the end of the driveway with Nollind to close the gate at night, even if the gate is already closed. I like the routine, and I like to feel included in the happenings of the farm, like I still have a job.09 Logan - 10Steps- stalled

Helping with the herd used to be my thing. I’d rush right in to assist when Teresa was moving horses around. These days I hang back, far back. My Border Collie herding instinct still says, “Get in there,” but my survival instinct says “Are you nuts?” I swear those horses are a lot bigger than they used to be, or maybe I’m smaller.

My life is definitely a lot different than it was a few years ago, even a year ago, but it’s still life, and it’s still good most days. I enjoy different things at a different pace. I always did like lying on the deck or in the yard watching the world go by, so that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that I just let it go by, the world, rather than chasing after it.09 Logan - 10Steps- yardtime

I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be here. Walking is getting tougher, the Legend isn’t helping much anymore, and some days it’s a challenge just to get up off my bed. Teresa got me some supplements that help settle my nighttime restlessness and my medications have been adjusted to levels that seem to keep me going as best they can but, when I look at my condition compared to a year ago, I know I don’t have another one in me. There’s only so much sliding downhill that can happen before the toboggan reaches the bottom and stops moving.

But, until then, I’ll be here, keeping the troops entertained. I figure as long as I have a skip in my step (in addition to a limp) and a light in my eye, I’ll be bargaining for a few more days.09 Logan - 10Steps- fieldwalk

Advertisements

The Chase

I may be slow, with a wobbly hind end and a serious limp, but I managed to catch a gopher. I admit the little guy was cornered in the barn, but still, I caught it. Me.

Just to clarify, for those who aren’t familiar, the animals I’m referring to are technically Richardson Ground Squirrels, often called prairie dogs, but around here they’re just gophers. And, as cute as they are, they are farm vermin and will dig up your entire property, eat your garden, create a minefield for livestock, and attract much larger burrowing critters, like badgers who dig holes big enough to swallow a human leg up past the knee (just ask Teresa).07-logan-thechase-groundsquirrel

We spotted the gopher as we were headed out to the barn on Wednesday morning and chased it across the paddock, Chico in the lead, of course, but me not so far behind. When the gopher went under the barn door we knew we had him. There was no way he had an escape hole dug through the concrete floor.

We ran in, he cheeped to alert us of his location (which they always do for some reason), Chico went left, I went right, and there he was, cornered by the wall and a shelf unit. I haven’t had a gopher in my mouth in years but I jumped in and grabbed him. He was huge! He fought! I tried to give him the old shake of death but my wobbly back legs gave out and I plopped down onto the floor. Despite my unplanned, sprawling sit, I held on. His claws were flailing at my face—

07-logan-thechase-jaws-0161

Jaws of death.

It was about then that Chico jumped in, grabbing him just as I let go. He finished him off, which was fine with me. I always enjoyed the thrill of the chase and the catch but the killing, not so much.

You may see the whole thing as rather barbaric, and I suppose it was, but I felt so alive in that moment, like I was four rather than fourteen, and I walked a couple of inches taller on my way back to the house.

07-logan-thechase-mouth-062126

Jaws of death at rest.

There’s not a lot of excitement in my life these days, which I’m normally fine with, but every now and then, it’s good for the old canine soul to do something completely instinctual and dog-like. It used to be chasing coyotes, baying as I went, or running down a skunk or a porcupine and dealing with the consequences. I don’t recommend any of these activities but, at the time, they were pretty thrilling.

07-logan-thechase-wolves-5311

Expressing our wolf-ness when we were both a lot younger.

These days, my hunting and chasing amounts to following Chico on his yard patrols, sometimes watching him catch something, always far behind and never in the thick of things. Wednesday was different. Wednesday I was a wolf.  Wednesday I forgot I was an old dog, just for a minute.

There’s a scoreboard on the fridge in the kitchen, a little friendly competition between Nollind and Chico. Well, this old dog is on the board.07-logan-thechase-scoreboard-190123

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!

01-logan-i'malright-rainyday

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.

01-logan-i'malright-lyingoutside

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.

01-logan-i'malright-bathday

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.

01-logan-i'malright-leader

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

Goodbye Mozart …

hello Kenny Loggins!