Over the hill? Roo?

Here we see a dog feeling up to uprooting an old oak to excavate a mouse of some variety.

Here we see a dog feeling up to uprooting an old oak to excavate a mouse of some variety.

Lots of people acquire dogs on looks alone. They love the way Goldens or Labradors look and figure one of those would look nice lying on the carpet in the living room, giving them doting looks while the humans binge watch Netflix. It’s the worst way to pick a dog. A dog who doesn’t get to do what they were designed to do is an unfulfilled dog.

That’s one of the things I worry about with Roo. Her whole identity, her entire reason for living, is to run around and hunt. As soon as she started feeling bad a couple of months ago, she stated to become sad. How much of that was just not feeling well and how much was that she wasn’t up to doing the things she lives for was confusing. It was probably a combination of both. 

Worst of all was that I once read a thread online in which a bunch of people, most of whom bought their dogs for cute looks, were complaining about how active their Goldens were and wanted to know at what age they calmed down. It was all I could do to keep myself from ranting at them. These people were looking forward to their young dogs getting old? That’s awful. Why didn’t they just get a goldfish? The lives of dogs are too damned short as it is. They should get the chance to pack in as much activity and interaction with their environment as possible. In that thread, though, the thing that stuck out the most was that a lot of people were saying that their Goldens seemed to slow down when they hit six. According to a chart in the vet’s office, Roo would be the equivalent of a 45-year-old human now. In other words, a long way to go.

Roo was getting skin infections, but they seemed to have been the result of all the thrashing around she does in thorn bushes or going under barbed wire. They would clear up. What was worse was that after only a short walk she would start to limp.

Then Dr. Stokes put her on Rimadyl, which immediately helped. She started running more and a foreleg that she was favoring seemed to stop bothering her. She still wasn’t up to her old self, though, and Dr. Stokes had said that the next thing to consider was allergies. I misunderstood what he originally told me about medicating for them, but when I put it to him he said it was time to try the anti-allergic drug Apoquel.

Well, Roo seems now to be getting back to her old self. A few days ago — so, only a day into the Apoquel treatment — she broke into a full-out gallop and wanted to go for a long walk. She didn’t limp back. A hot spot that had formed on her hock was getting better, but once the Apoquel picked in, it was dry the next day.

To check if she needed the rimadyl I stopped that, but she stiffened up again. Now, one a day seems to do it for her.

All of which is to say, Bearface ain’t over the hill yet.