Friday, April 1, 2011

Dogs vs. Trail Walk

     Sometimes when I'm done work I take the dogs down a trail where they can be off leash.  This is an incredibly poor idea in many ways, but I am of the opinion that if I never give them the opportunity, they will never learn to be off leash.  My arms need a break.
     I have done this a few times before, but always in the winter when the trail is surrounded by high snowbanks on each side that kind of wall them in.  Monday I took them, and now that the snow is finally melting, the creek and fields are clearly visible and also more accessible.  I took them anyway.  It's a fairly isolated area, how much trouble could they possibly get into, those who are doomed to fail silently ask themselves?
     As usual, Nivek is not the problem.  He trots along, usually behind, breathing heavily and trying to keep up with his much younger brethren.  Duke does what he was bred to do and sniffs, sniffs, and sniffs, trying to keep up with Nuka on legs that are a quarter of the length.  It is Nuka that enjoys this time the most.  She's young and powerful and she rips up and down the trail with a muscular grace that I don't normally associate with her lanky, goofy body.
     Overall, they were pretty good.  Nuka took some liberties with distance she hasn't before, but she listened and didn't chase anything, she also lost her pretty pink collar, the only thing that lets anyone know that she isn't a boy.
     I learned three things on this particular off leash experience.  The first is that Nivek can't do the trail anymore.  He huffed and puffed and tried so hard to keep up that the next morning he could barely stand up.  His arthritis is just too much.
     The second is that Nuka really does look like a boy.  In lieu of the pink collar, I put on Nivek's old leather one, and yes, yes she does look like a boy.  I don't particularly care if people think she's a boy, but I don't want her to get a complex.  If no one treats her like a beautiful lady, she will never act like one.  Man, I couldn't keep a straight face while I typed that sentence.
Why can't anyone see that I am a beautiful lady?  WHY?
     Third, is that my pure bred education continues.  Even one quick google on Basset Hounds will lead you to believe that to let one off leash is about the same as picking them up and throwing them into oncoming traffic, so impaired is their ability to hear and respond to a human command.  Now, granted I have my own opinions about Duke's overall intelligence, but this was his second time on the trail and he was great.  Sometimes, he falls behind to sniff, shockingly enough, but he always runs to catch up.  Not to me, mind you, but to Nuka.  I can call him all day and he won't even flick a giant ear in my direction, but the minute Nuka is out of sight, those stubby legs really start to pump.  Maybe it's not so much that Bassets don't listen, they just don't listen all that well to people.  You can't blame them, really, I don't like listening to most people either.


  1. Sounds like a great day on the trail. I have three dogs too. My oldest Scotty is just starting to suffer from arthritis. Thankfully I found a supplement that works good on him so we are still able to enjoy our walks. Poor Nuka! I say she's a pretty girl! My youngest male dog, Casey, is always mistaken for a girl. Probably a combination of his name and the fact that he's so pretty. If dogs could seek therapy, I'm sure he'd be blaming me :)

  2. So glad to know I'm not the only one out there with three dogs! Thanks for commenting, I would be very interested to know what that supplement is, if you don't mind sharing. :)

  3. It's called Duralactin Canine. I originally got it through my vet, but then I found it on-line for a much better price. One of the active ingredients is dried milk protein. Some dogs have a hard time digesting milk, sometimes it makes my dog, Scotty, a little nauseous. But when he's off of it his arthritis is so bad that he moans when he's trying to stand up during the night. It's like trying to choose the lesser evil. My vet is looking into another supplement that just came out. If we try it and it works as well, I'll let you know. My sister has used Glucosamine for her dog and it worked good for him, but it wasn't enough to help Scotty.

  4. Thanks a lot, I will look into that for sure. I have also struggled with Nivek because he has high liver enzymes so my vet is very cautious about what he puts him on. Nivek takes glucosamine twice a day, it helps, but it progressively doesn't help enough. Let me know how the other one goes if you try it, I'm always looking for hints for my elderly pup!

  5. Scotty actually has high liver enzymes too. My vet has been very cautious too. Does Nivek have to take any medication for his liver? Scotty is on a pill for it every day. He caught a strand of lepto that wasn't included in his vaccination and ended up in liver failure. That happened about two years ago. I had him in animal emergency and they saved his life. His liver has never gotten back to normal and now he suffers from high cholestrol. How old is Nivek? Do you know what caused his liver enzymes to be high?

  6. No one really knows how old Nivek is. We got him Christmas, '98 and he was full grown, so that puts him 14+. How old is Scotty?
    Nivek took Zentonil Plus for a few months for his liver, but his enzymes were not drastically high to begin with, and didn't drop enough with the medication to justify the pills. That's when he moved to a twice a day dose of glucosomine and chondroitin. That's terrible about the liver failure! Do the pills help him? They didn't make a huge difference for Niv. Nivek's liver has not been explained and is not dangerously high, however, also cannot be toyed with. On its own it's not too bad, but limits how we can deal with the athritis issue.

  7. Scotty is 8. The pills do seem to help. They don't cause his levels to go into a normal range, but they do keep him from going too far over normal. My vet is pretty happy with his progress so as long as we keep move downward, even if it's really slow, that is all I can pray for. Right now his cholestrol has been a big issue. I started my blog, if barking burned calories, with the hope that it would make me more accountable for exercising them like I should. I think maybe if he can lose some weight it would help with both his liver and his cholestrol. Plus I've been meeting a lot of great people that I can share ideas with!

  8. No, Nivek's levels never go into the normal range either, no one seems to know why. The people you meet and the advice you get are great. I think your blog is a great idea, it does make you more accountable and might inspire others to get their pets into better shape. My dogs are a big part of my life and a constant source of amusement, that's why I started this blog. I am also meeting some really great people and getting some really good advice. :)