1 year 1 week 4 days old
It has been a very long time since my last entry, I know. My health has been up and down, and I am still... struggling with Knightley's status change, from assistance dog to be, to medically retired - or 'washed out' as people say in this industry. It was so sudden, when everything had been working out so well. The most recent Assistance Dog Blog Carnival passed recently, and I had initially intended to be a part of it. However I just couldn't bring myself to write anything cogent. Having to wash your dog out for medical reasons is an owner trainer's worst nightmare and to be around people (even virtually!) who had functioning dogs was too much for me. I didn't even read them. :( Maybe when the new pup arrives, whenever that will be, I can go back.
Anyway. Knightley is now getting a raw egg nightly (!!) mixed with a joint supplement, fish oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and kelp. Eggs are acceptable for dogs on a raw diet, and it's a great way to get supplements to your dog. I also add a small drop of 'puppy milk'... lactose free milk for dogs, just to liquefy the mixture a bit more - and the extra calcium and other vitamins don't hurt. As regular readers will probably remember, Knightley has never been a fast runner, and we've never had much of a problem with him jumping up on us. With this in mind, I think I have seen some improvements in his running speed and willingness to jump and lie down. I have him on a high quality joint supplement, and I do think that it, and the other junk I'm feeding him, are actually doing something. On the other hand, I never used to hear his hips crack, and recently I've been hearing them a lot. He sounds a bit like me really! I've noticed other things now too, his left foot points slightly outwards (which is the side with the much worse hip dysplasia) and twists even further outwards as he steps. There is also a slight bulge on his left 'haunch' that isn't on his right, which I actually think is partly his hip ball. It freaks me out when I think about it, but the ball sits outside the socket and it is his muscles, tendons and ligaments that keep his hip in place and moving pretty well.
Speaking of muscles, recently I found out that I have problems with a few of the muscles in my hip region. My right hip is much more painful than my left, and originally the diagnosis was tendinitis - and it still is to an extent. However, I had an appointment to discuss the results from the ultrasound which my hip injections were done under (about 7 weeks ago now) and it seems I have two muscles which are so inflamed and surrounded by fluid my musculo-skeletal specialist said that they almost may as well have been torn. Another muscle is almost atrophied to nothing. He also spied arthritic changes in a bone scan I had done a while ago that no one had previously noticed, in addition to the changes in my large joints. Nothing much to be done really though, I have some exercises to help and I stick to my muscle meds. I wonder why individual muscles are playing up like that.
Anyway. Onto happier things other than canine and human hip problems! If all goes well, hubby and I are going up to Sydney (unfortunately the far north of Sydney, when I live to the south) in about a week and a half to temperament test this new litter of puppies. I'm guessing it will take 3 to 3 1/2 hours to get there, if we drive without much of a break. Much better than the 7 1/2 hours it took to Knightley's litter!! I've been revising the post I made a while back about how to temperament test puppies for assistance/therapy etc jobs. I think I've done a good job with that temperament test, with a little revising of how I used it with Knightley. Knightley has sure turned out well, so I know it works! It'd be 3 1/2 weeks from now until we brought home the furry bundle, as hubby and I are going up to the snow with his work on the very weekend the pup will be 8 weeks old and available to go home. Annoying. I would happily not go, but after all the organising that has gone into it, I guess I have to put on an appearance.
Temperament testing again I will be looking for the same things, but with so much more knowledge now to back it up. Knightley was a natural retriever (or perhaps I should say fetch) at age 7 weeks, and I will be looking closely for that, as well as willingness to be recalled, curiosity, problem solving and sociability. He'll also have to be completely unmoved by loud noises, people making strange movements and sounds, and strange objects appearing suddenly like umbrellas. It is quite possible that with a litter of 6 males we won't find a prospect, as Knightley was the only satisfactory puppy out of 6 males, although there were another two males already taken. I am rather dreading going through puppyhood again, but at least we know what to expect from a golden puppy now... and I am counting on Knightley tiring the pup out!
As for names we really don't have a clue. We've had a couple of ideas but nothing solid. Hubby's come up with some silly ones, but has vetoed Darcy (named after Mr Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, as Knightley is named for Mr Knightley in Austen's Emma). However, I think that is because Colin Firth played Mr Darcy in the very well known BBC adaption of the book, and hubby is not a fan of him at all.... unlike me. ;) So I think we may just have to get the pup and see. I am expecting his colour to be darker than Knightley. For English style goldens, the breeder has bred some quite dark ones, although she has a real mixture. The litter is apparently is a mixture too, but obviously colour is the last thing I would choose for!! Perhaps colour may give us a name.... I wonder what 'gold' is in a few other languages for instance...
I actually felt quite well this morning, and Knightley and I had a good romp outside - playing in his birthday sand pit, his paddling pool (water is filmed with ice but he doesn't care!), and chucking sticks back and forward. However, sigh, as I usually do when I feel better than usual, I totally over did it today. Knightley spent a couple of hours on my lap (well, part of him was) in the evening as I tried to not dive head first into a migraine. I actually pulled out our Nintendo Wii. Before hubby and I went to England to get married I was quite well comparatively and used to exercise almost daily with the Wii, but when we came back to Australia I had a real dip in health - and then we got Knightley and I haven't got back to it. It is perfect exercise for those with a disability as you can do small movements or big movements to get similar results, there are many exercises you can do sitting down, and since you've not gone anywhere you can just stop if there is too much pain or stiffness. I played some tennis for a while, as well as doing some hula hoop - really good exercise for someone as unfit as I am now. The tennis is what did me in though and I'm on the edge of a migraine now, sigh. The funny part was watching Knightley's reaction. He accepted me doing the hula hoop ok, but when I started waving my arms around, he found he had to come and investigate. It took a lot of zen, and me having to repeat 'leave it' quite a few times before he realised the idea of the game actually wasn't to eat mummy's hand whenever it came within reach. I wish I could blame my continuous losing whilst playing tennis to the dogface, but he just made my score worse but I still would have lost! It was a bit disconcerting trying to play when every time my hand reached Knightley's head level I got the feeling of a tongue, or a cold nose... or even gentle teeth!! Still, very amusing. I am trying to hurry my weight loss a bit you see - it is very hard to lose the weight I need to in order to keep the obstetrician happy without any exercise to speak of.
We continue to do a bit of training every day although it isn't hugely focused. In many ways I am simply enjoying my time off with a quite adult dog who has pretty good home manners before the whirlwind of a new puppy hits. Knightley is by and large well behaved, and we certainly get along well together. He spends a lot of time as a lap warmer. There will be no more sleeping in once a fuzzball arrives home, so I am trying to enjoy however many weeks of relative freedom I have left.
So that is more or less what has been going on, in the shortened version. I also have some new products up on Oz Working Dogs, although my checkout system has some problems at the moment so if you want anything you'll need to contact me for an invoice (my contact page on OWD is probably best).
I hope everyone is well out in internet land, and that all our wonderful furry friends are well too.
Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment
For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!