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Splish Splash August 26, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Family, random stuff.
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Remember how tiny Jarly was when we got him?  Just a wee scrap of a puppy – only 75 pounds or so!  We knew he’d be big when he grew up, and we suspected that he’d have some of the problems that go along with large dogs.

I mean besides the hugeness of his feet and the prodigious amounts of drool he produces!

One of the most common problems in large dogs is hip dysplasia – I’m not going to go into a lot of details, first because I’m not good at medical things, and second, because it kind of makes me sad – I know it causes him pain, and, short of major surgery, there’s not a lot we can do except “manage” it.  In short, keep his weight down, plenty of exercise to keep muscle tone, and the occasional pain pills and anti-inflammatory pills, as needed.

So. . . how do you exercise when you can barely walk?

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That’s easy – you swim.  And we are very fortunate – besides living on the edge of a Great Lake (or at least a Darned Good Lake, anyway!), we have a great hydrotherapy facility about 15 minutes from home – and Bill at K9 Care, Inc.  takes this work seriously! He’s so incredibly patient – and willing to help the most unwilling puppy into the water to start treatment.

We started with a series of three sessions in a row – the idea was to get the dog working – and work he did!  And let me tell you, while he was curious as a cat (heh), our Jarly was not about to willingly step into that strange pool! He wasn’t all that excited about the life jacket either to begin with.

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That first session was, I think, quite unnerving for the poor puppy!  And to heap one more insult on top of it all, there’s also a dog dryer.

Yeah.  It’s a blow dryer for drying the dogs.  After all, he’s just spent the past hour in a 92° pool, swimming his little heart out, and we’re in Rochester.  It’ll be snowing before you know it!  It just would not do to have him go outside with wet hair!

On the plus side, though, he doesn’t mind the vacuum cleaner nearly as much as he used to!

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By the second session, he was doing much better – about halfway through the swim, Bill took the life jacket off of Jarly – now he has to swim without the extra help in keeping afloat!  That is one tired puppster, isn’t it?

He sure is a champ isn’t he?

And you know, he’s been moving a lot more easily lately – even going up and down the stairs for no reason!  Wow!

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Now that his first week’s intense therapy is done, we’re backing down to once a week with Bill, and one or two trips to the beach – for as long as we can use the beach, anyway.  So . . .I guess someone heard us mention The Beach, didn’t he?

Look at him, sitting up all straight and handsome!

Do you think maybe he wants to go somewhere?

For a ride, perhaps?

A ride to the BEACH?

Yeah, I think so too.

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So we grabbed a few towels and our Super Secret Beach Toy.  See, he’s always been a little, well, weird about getting into the water past his depth – he’s like his mom, I guess.   He likes to be able to touch bottom with his feet.  He needs to work that “lab” part of him – and go RETRIEVE something.  Something he really really wants!

Remember Awful Mad Kitty?  His all-time, super-duper favorite toy?  Well, meet his cousin, Mildly Annoyed Kitty.  It’s annoyed because we FLING it as far as we can into the lake, and Jarly swims out, grabs it, and brings it back.

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And boy, he met with some resistance, too – lots of wave action after the storms we’ve been having the past few days!  Good exercise, no?

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But fear not – he won’t let anything happen to Mildly Annoyed And Really Damp Kitty!

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So he does a good swim, as far as I can throw, then a brief walk on the sand to “rest” – and another swim, and another walk, and so on, until he’s tired, but not too tired.  That’s my biggest concern at this point – that we’ll overdo it and undo all the hard work he’s done with Bill.

PhotobucketThe poor puppster – he just doesn’t know when to quit – I’m pretty sure he’d go all night if I let him!  Fortunately, there’s plenty of other stuff to do and sniff at the beach – it’s not too hard to pull him away from the water and, eventually, head him back to the car.

But come on.  Is that a tired-but-happy face, or what?

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Comments

1. origamifreak - August 26, 2009

You could get him a bumper like they use for training Newfies for water rescue.

http://www.gundogsupply.com/dog-training-bumpers.html

Most people seem to get the black and white ones because they’re really visible. You can put a longer line on it so if he doesn’t go in after it you can still pull it in.

- Perhaps, but you’ve gotta understand – he LURVES his kitties. . . I think he’d chase them all the way across the lake if need be!

2. origamifreak - August 26, 2009

Oh hey! Look at all the cool ones they have – including cow patterns that I’ve never seen before!

http://www.gundogsupply.com/plasrubdum.html

- Of course, maybe he could get used to something new, too. ;)

One thing’s for sure – the generic blue ball at his swim classes just isn’t doing it for him!

3. Barb - August 29, 2009

Oh, I just love your dog. But, um, how much does he weigh NOW? How old is he? How old was he when he first started showing signs of dysplasia?

Not that my life is flashing before my eyes or anything…

– Hi, Barb. Isn’t he a sweetie?

Right now, Jarly’s hovering around 112-115 lbs – he was up to 120 a couple of months ago, but we’re working harder on keeping his weight down. We adopted him about 16 months ago, and at that time, they estimated that he was about 6 months old – he’d been picked up as a stray – no license, no ID. . . so I guess that would make him almost 2 years old.

We always knew he had (or would have) hip problems – he’s a big dog, and, as I’m sure you know, that’s very common with big dogs. And of course we have no idea what his formative months were like! He’s always been kind of “limpy” when he’s tired – the vet felt his hips at his first checkup and told us that it may become a problem.

He’s doing so much better now, though, with the swimming! I’m hoping we’ll be able to get back to the walking we used to do soon. He’s been so bored – he keeps running off with my sneakers. :?


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