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—

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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.