Hear No Evil

As a member of one of the more sensitive dog breeds (and smart but that’s for another blog post), I’ve always been a bit more, shall we say, aware, of strange, loud, or otherwise bothersome sounds. Things that beep, for instance, which includes many household objects: the stove when it comes back on after a power outage, the battery backups on the computer equipment, the dreaded smoke detector.

 

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I’ve spent my fair share of time hiding in closets.

 

And then there are cell phones. Why can’t they just ring like the phones of my puppyhood? There are umpteen different rings, chirps, beeps, and chimes, most of which are alarming to my ears.

Movies and television shows are chock full of disturbing noises—explosions, gun shots, roaring engines, booming music, to name just a few. What is the human obsession with all things noisy?

 

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What’s that noise?!

 

If it were safe outdoors, I’d just spend my time there, but then Nollind starts up the compressor or, horrors, a nail gun, a thunderstorm rolls in, or some duck hunter is firing off rounds. And then there’s fireworks. Seriously, whoever invented that crap must have been a real dog hater. Scares the bejesus out of most of us canines.

 

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One of our hair-raising summer thunderstorms rolling in.

 

In 2012 we were on our first RV trip over the Christmas holidays and Teresa and Nollind took us walking on a beach at Oceanside on New Year’s Eve. We went early, so that we’d be tucked in safe and sound at midnight when the fireworks started. At least that was the plan. At 8:00, the sky exploded just up the beach and if I hadn’t been attached to my people with a sturdy leash, it’s possible I’d still be running along the coast of California.

 

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The beach was great during the day.

 

And it’s not just me. A lot of dogs are sensitive to noise. My buddy Aspen, who lived with Teresa and Nollind when I first came, used to run blind as soon as she heard a gunshot, even if it was so far off it was imperceptible to anyone but her. In fact, it was what did her in in the end. She ran right into a tractor in one of her panicked states and damaged herself beyond repair. Poor silly, sweet girl.

 

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Aspen.

 

Other than that night on the beach, I’ve never been panicked by noise quite like Aspen, but lately, it’s like I hardly notice noises at all. An abrupt bang or a loud sneeze will launch me out of a nap but, generally, the world has become a lot quieter. Teresa and Nollind think I’m going deaf in my old age, but I don’t know about that. I still hear the important stuff, like the fridge door, a cheese wrapper, or someone driving into the yard. Maybe hearing just becomes more selective as we age, so I’ve opted out of thunderstorms and gunshots and the like.

 

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An undisturbed sleep.

 

Whether it’s loss of hearing or just being more selective, lately the world is a quieter, friendlier place for a sensitive dog, and that’s a good thing.

 

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This photo’s not really on topic, but it does feature ears, and we just had to post it somewhere.

 

The Dog Days of Summer

Apparently, this time of year was referred to as the dog days of summer by the ancient Greeks because they associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius, or “Dog Star”, and its rise just before the sun. I can believe that. It most certainly wasn’t because creatures covered in fur who have just a few sweat glands on our paws and cool off via panting are at all comfortable at this time of year. You’ve seen it. Dog on a hot day with its tongue on the floor. It may look like a big smile but, believe me, I’m not smiling.

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Yes. I know. It’s long.

 

Holy hot, what is going on this summer? It’s been hot almost every day since the beginning of July with most days out here on the farm rising above the thirty degree mark (that’s 86 Fahrenheit). Now I know it’s not Arizona or Australia kind of hot, but for many of us northerners, especially those of dressed in fur year-round, it’s just too hot.

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Morning road walk. Anybody have a bowl of water?

 

Teresa tries to get us out early for our daily walks, but even in the morning that sun seems to blaze into my black coat. Since the start of the heat, we’ve been walking along the canal so that we can swim and drink as much as we want to. And then they sprayed weed killer. Teresa’s not a fan of chemicals and won’t walk us down there until there have been a couple of good rains. I appreciate the consideration but, man, I sure miss the water when we’re baking in the hay field or down the road. Come on, rain!

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Rain dance in the hay field.

 

I went out with Teresa late this morning on a horse manure pickup mission. Thankfully, the area the horses had dropped most of their piles was near a shady spot where I could lie and watch. I said I went out with her, I didn’t say I went along to help. Not much I can do anyway other than supervise and I think I handled it just fine from fifty feet away in the shade. But, even with the shady vantage point, by the time we came in I was panting like a locomotive and seeking a little cool from the hardwood floor. I used to spend a lot of time in the basement during hot weather but, now that I’m getting on in years, I try to limit my trips up and down the stairs. Preservation, you might say.

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Maybe next time I’ll stay inside for horse chores.

 

On a positive note, Dictionary.com says that the Dog Days of Summer is “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” Well, at least I’m doing it right.

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.