That is what my dogs do when we’re hiking in the woods. All. The. Time. Can you tell they’re agility dogs?? Silly monkeys!
Lives are busy. “Remember quality time?” Everywhere it seems, people are over-scheduled and over-committed. “Workers are weary. Parents are pre-occupied. Children and family relationships are often neglected, says Kerby Anderson, author of “Living Ethically in the 90’s.” The year 2007 is in its last stages. Soon we will be heralding in the New Year. What have we done with our time since the 1990’s? What have we achieved?USA. Why?
Time is not renewable. If we squander our time it is lost forever. Nowadays, many people are surrendering their dogs to animal shelters or trying to “rehome” them. Most often, the exuse is “Our family is too busy to give attention to the dog.” It has been documented that dogs are one of mankind’s greatest therapists, yet they are being discarded at an alarming rate. Most of them land up euthanized in shelters across the
Weren’t we supposed to enjoy more leisure by the year 2000 because of technology? Instead, most people are busier than ever. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Increased speed and efficiency of computers and appliances has generated the desire squeeze even more activities into already crammed schedules.
We all feel trapped in the rat race. We are letting go our “loving” dogs to do what? Shop? Stay on the computer longer? Watch t.v.? Talk on the cell?
Taking your dog for a walk on a leash is a meditative experience in sensory awareness. Consumed by the virtual world of computer technology and communication devices; we are losing touch rapidly with the beautiful sky, dew on a leaf, wiggly worms crawling, the sound of wind blowing through the leaves. Instead, people “run” at area lake parks after work, “run” in and out of food markets to buy ready-made organic “fast” food.
We get to choose the kind of relationship we want to have with ourselves and the world. Each of us are responsible for making our reality each minute of the day. How do we want to live our one time lives?
Dogs do not do “wrong” things. They are mirrors for our souls to look into. If our dog is chewing, eating too much, lying around depressed, we run to corporate “pet shops” like Petsmart and Petco to “buy” them some costly product to appease them…or is it our guilt? Intuitively, each of us know our truth.
Think on this today: we may lose money, but we can always earn more. We may lose everything we own; but we can always acquire them again. We can spend our time only once. Remember your dog. Remember the first time you hugged your dog. Remember that moment. Take the cell phone off your ear; disconnect from the world of technology; and enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life…a daily walk with your dog.
~ Author Unknown
Back in the Summer we decided to go ahead and have Miles’ hips and elbows x-rayed and sent to OFA for evaluation. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is an organization that aims to research and prevent orthopedic and hereditary diseases in animals, namely dogs. They focus a lot on hips and hip dysplasia, but they also have guidelines for testing and rating elbow disorders.
Miles is neutered and therefore never going to be bred, but we elected to do these tests because a) he’s an athelete and b) he came from a rather dubious breeder (our mistake). So off we went to our vet for radiographs.
Great news first, his hips rated OFA Good. From the OFA website:
Good (Figure 2): slightly less than superior but a well-formed congruent hip joint is visualized. The ball fits well into the socket and good coverage is present.
Bad news, his elbows were rated as Grade 1 Dysplasia with DJD in both. The only grades involved are for abnormal elbows with radiographic changes associated with secondary degenerative joint disease or arthritis. According to the OFA, Grade 1 means there is minimal bone change along anconeal process of ulna (less than 3mm).
So I guess this doesn’t sound so bad until you think about where the dog carries most of it’s weight…on it’s front end. And then you think about most of the forces incurred doing agility and it’s mainly on it’s front end. CRAP! Into panic mode I go.
I pulled it back together and started to gather information about how to handle the diagnosis and prognosis of Grade 1 Elbow Dysplasia in my 76lb agility dog…..76 POUNDS! Oh nooooes! “Miles is chunky” says an acquaintance. “He’s about a 6” says our vet. “He has no ribs” says my trainer. My healthy raw-fed wonderfully active jogging partner is FAT.
Ok first step, weight loss. I cut back his food to about 1.25lbs per day from about 1.5-1.75lbs per day. At the advice of several folks I spoke with, to include the wonderful breeder that we were awaiting a puppy from, I also increased his salmon oil and added a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement with MSM and Vit. C. I also cut back on his road running and now do mainly trails off-lead now or at least have him run in the grass on the side of the road.
Fast forward four months and Miles is down to a slender 63lbs, but could still stand to lose a few more. He’s doing great and while he never was symptomatic, I want to protect his front as much as possible. I will never push him to jump full height in any agility venue except NADAC and CPE where the jump height for him is 20″. So he’ll never get a MACH or an ADCH…oh well. Did I really think he’d get those anyway? Probably not. I’ll be happy with a few titles and a dog who’s happy to play and lives a long active life 🙂