Saturday, 30 October 2010

home therapy after cruciate operation

One of the problems with a recovery after surgery is boredom, and maybe even depression - and that's just the human, lol!

Anyway, back to the needs of the patient... having to do therapy three times a day helps pass the time. Here we are trying to follow the instructions we were given for the next few weeks. We don't go back for a review until another three weeks, so I sure hope we're doing the exercises correctly. But at least we're having fun.

Though I must admit Penny didn't seem too happy about the last exercise on this clip, to judge by the height of her tail.

going for very slow walks after surgery

I was looking at this video clip I took last week of Penny setting off for a short walk with one of her humans and I was interested to see how clearly it shows the need to go at a slow pace after extracapsular surgery for her torn cruciate ligament.

When Penny came off the ramp, she hopped instead of using her left leg, and when her human picked up the pace a little at the end of the driveway, Penny once again hurried along without exercising the leg that has lost muscle tone.

We've been told that walking is a way to build up stamina and strength, but that it still needs to be very slow at this stage.

Friday, 29 October 2010

apologies to blonde readers for this dog joke

I can't resist passing on this joke that came today in The Friday Funnies:

The veterinarian told the blonde that her dog needed some

"You need to make sure the dog runs around," the doctor
said. "Try playing a game of fetch."

"I can't play fetch with my dog," the blonde said.

"Why not?" the doctor asked.

"Because," she replied, "He can't throw."

And Sheila, in her Pet Hates Cartoons blog has a treadmill joke. I'm glad Penny doesn't have to go on that one!

a dog meets farm animals at Myuna

Penny is once more allowed to go in and out the door, but we've still got the doggy door closed, so she doesn't get stuck in it again! The vet told us weeks agot that she would have to do something quite extreme to ruin the surgery on her knee, but we still like to be extra careful.

We went for her twice-weekly walk on the underwater treadmill this morning and Penny is now doing two sessions of seven minutes.

The great news is that we are also going for seventeen minute slow walks! (Who would have thought, ten months ago, that such a small trip would be exciting?)

We mooched around the lovely farm where the treadmill is situated and Penny met deer and llamas (I didn't go too close to the llamas, as they looked a bit concerned about a dog approaching). However, we walked right past the deer, who were coming close in the hope of getting some bread (didn't have any on me, but I'll take some next time).

After all that exertion, Penny took a rest on our back patio, keeping an eye on the clivia and asparagus seedlings for me.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

dogs and fish

Penny is a real city slicker and only eats fish if it comes out of a can, unlike Noah and friends, who enjoy all sorts of fish. Today I stumbled across a clip of a dog who accidentally caught a fish while trying to ear the bread scraps his human was tossing into the water.

I wonder what Penny would do if the same thing happened to her?

But this dog certainly wanted to catch a fish. I'd have loved to see what happened next. Did he eat the huge salmon he worked so hard to catch, or did his humans steal it from him?

Friday, 22 October 2010

the doggy door is closed

Well, it seems we were too optimistic in opening the doggy door for Penny. Yesterday she raced around the corner to go out through it, slipped and got stuck half-way - which would have been funny in the past, but wasn't so funny now that she's had an operation on her knee.

But we didn't stress too much - just settled her down on her mat for some lovely grooming and placed ice-packs either side of the knee.

Today she seemed fine, so we set off for our twice-weekly walk on the underwater treadmill.

And they were having a photo shoot! Penny pricked up her ears at the sight of a camera - I'm sure all you blogging dogs know that when humans get the camera out, treats may be not too far away. I'm hoping I might get a copy of some of the pictures that were taken of Penny.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

funny dog cartoon

Slavenka has posted a doggy cartoon that tickles my fancy. One of Penny's favorite places is on the couch, but she can't jump up there for a few more weeks yet - or, more conservatively, a few more months.

a step towards full recovery

Today was a big day in the story of Penny's recovery from cruciate ligament surgery. As of our visit to the physiotherapist yesterday, she is allowed to go for a twelve minute walk each day!

We set off as a group - Penny and two of her humans - after much bustle and preparation, and went slow-ly around the corner to the local school. Six slo-o-w minutes to get there and six slo-o-w minutes back. We have to go slowly because if she gets up any speed she doesn't use the operated leg, just hurries along on three legs.

Who'd have thought, six months back, that a hundred-metre walk would be so exciting?


In the afternoon there was the official opening of the doggy door so Penny can go out onto the back patio by herself, without being on lead. We'll only let her go out at the moment when one of her humans is sitting at the back door working on her tapestry. She (the human) is just back from a wonderful textiles tour of Turkey and is slaving away at the tapestry, in order to get if finished in the next couple of weeks, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Penny to go in and out.

Monday, 18 October 2010

doggy lookalikes

Hsin-Yi has posted a few lookalikes of Honey, and suggested we join in the game (started by Samantha the Golden Retriever) by deciding who Penny looks like.

Well, I knew instantly that it should be Elvis, as she is known for her Elvis sneer, when her tooth sticks out of her mouth, but I can't find a picture of her that fits, so we'll have to go for her second lookalike, which is Winston Churchill with his famous cigar.

I think you'll agree there's a strong resemblance when Penny carries a chicken neck in her mouth.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

learning to like our dogs

As I drove along yesterday, I listened to part of an interview with a theologian, James Alison, on the ABC radio program, Encounter. I was struck by his claim that the idea of 'companionate marriage' - a loving relationship between two people who like each other - only emerged in the seventeenth century in Europe. He said that previous to that time, men lived separately from women and didn't socialise with them. Of course, as he so delicately put it, the two sexes came together for 'procreation'.

I took this to mean the two genders didn't really understand each other, or respect their similarities and differing strengths, until they began to live as couples and spend time together.

That made me think of the changes that are currently occurring in the way we relate to our dogs. As long as dogs were in the backyard, out of sight for most of the day, we didn't realise how much they are like us, in their emotions, intelligence and needs. But now that many of us live 24/7 with dogs, we realise we need to respect them and treat them well.

And we like them. In fact, we have learned to love them.

This development has been recognised in Australia, in many ways. An article in The Age newspaper yesterday reported that Lifeline Australia, the crisis support telephone service, now offers support to people grieving the death of a pet.

underwater treadmill and cruciate rehabilitation

Penny's gaining confidence in the underwater treadmill. Here's a clip of her third session (we're going twice a week at the moment).

It's interesting to compare with her gait back in August, before the surgery, when we were trying conservative management and trying to avoid surgery.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

striped dogs

When I look at Penny's coat, I have trouble describing its color, but the vet recently called it 'brindle', so I've been describing it that way lately. The Online Etymological Dictionary says of this color:
"marked with streaks, streaked with a dark color," 1670s, from M.E. brended (early 15c.), from bren "brown color" (13c.), noun made from pp. of brennen "burn," perhaps meaning "marked as though by branding or burning."
Once I looked it up, I was surprised the vet would say Penny is striped because I think she's just light brown. Until I got a close look at her shaved leg in the sunshine yesterday, as she lay around 'helping' me to garden:

Definitely striped!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

trying out the ramp in the car for the first time

Today we're off to the vet for the fourth and last anti-inflammatory injection that is part of Penny's recovery from extracapsular surgery on her left knee, so in anticipation of the trip we practised using the new ramp to get into the car. I thought getting in would be easy, as she is used to the see-saw and the 'dog walk' in agility, and also because we have been using our own makeshift ramp for weeks now.

But she surprised me at how quickly she decided it was not scary to walk down the ramp!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

a ramp for getting the dog in and out of the car

At our session on the underwater treadmill today I could feel my back aching from the effort of lifting Penny into the car at home and out at the therapy centre, so I was ready for anything that would make life easier.

And there it was on the shelf - the Trixie Pet Walk. The therapist let me take it out to the car to see if it was suitable.

I did a rather silly thing, at this stage. I had already lifted Penny into the car, so I had the bright idea of setting up the ramp at the door and asking her to walk down it to the ground.

Now, I ask you... would any self-respecting dog walk down a scary, steep black thing that suddenly sprouted from the side of the car?

Of course not! She would take a few steps, freeze in fright and back up into the car and cower in the far corner, refusing all blandishments and entreaties (or offers of treats) by her human.

I had forgotten that we need to introduce our dogs to new activities in a logical way. So, when we got home, I put the new ramp on the kitchen floor and we played with it. Tomorrow we'll try it out on a steeper slope, maybe even as an entry to the car.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

new toy available in Australia for intelligent play by dogs

I'm a sucker for a good dog toy, so today I just couldn't resist the wooden Seek-A-Treat, when I visited Murphys to buy one of my favorite dog foods - Ziwi Peak canned tripe, venison and lamb.

Perhaps I was attracted by the bright packaging - after all, that's what it's for, isn't it?

Penny found one part extra easy, because she is used to moving parts in slots to get at what's underneath. But this one had another, not-so-familiar aspect. She had to turn a little lever in order to get at a treat under a separate flap. It was great to see her puzzling over it, but when she began to chew on the toy, I solved it for her this time, as I don't want her starting bad habits with her puzzles.