Sunday, May 6, 2012

Struggling with Puppy Rehab

As Vespi approaches her eleventh birthday next month, we have been struggling through trying to get her arthritis symptoms under control. There are all kinds of new (nd very expensive) glucosomine and chondroitin powders and treats, Omega 3 goo to drizzle atop her food and Apple Cider Vinegar to add to her water.

All this to get her back to where she wants to be:
Our mini nightmare began about one month ago, with that first few inches that we had in April. She and I got a little greedy for fresh snow and did several laps on the powder covered icy bumps of Skye Lark. It wasn't too long after that where she started to actually look her age. No one in the shop was asking about the four year pup, but instead giving sympathetic looks as the old dog gimped over to them.
It was extremely painful to watch, and the pain in her eyes was eating straight through to my heart.
And then it got worse.
While we were puppy sitting Cooper, I got up to go skiing early in the morning. When she heard me in the ski room gwthering my gear, she hobbled up the stairs to confirm that I was, indeed, going skiing without her. She stood in the doorway, looking from me, to the puppy to my skis and back to me. I coud feel the sorrow building up inside her as she took a deep sigh and turned around, going back to bed and being just extremely depressed.
There was skinning and skiing to be done.
And for the first time...
she would be staying home.
We tried taking her for shorter hikes,
but she would ask to turn around about half way up RamsHead.
She would look wistfully at the summit,
then start backpeddling for whence we had came.
X-Rays at the Vet's office revealed serious arthritis in her front elbows, with her right elbow being a candidate for laser treatments and anti-inflammitories.
Vespi was officially a senior dog.
But then something magical happened.
We have taken up Disc Golf, something that we can do together.
A one-hour adventure full of great sniffs and a
pace slow enough that any dog could have a wonderful time.
It gave her freedom.
It gave her happiness.
And even though she couldn't go skiing, she was starting to get out and about again.
She was willing to jump in and out of the car again
(although she still patiently waits for a spotter)
She was wrestling with the puppy.
She made it to the top of RamsHead
And now she wanted to ski.
Now granted, this would be a different type of skiing.
This would not be non-stop, top to bottom.
This would not be a full speed, ski chasing adventure.
But when she saw my skis come out last week,
there was a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
She stretched in downward dog as well as she could,
shook her hind legs out and trotted to the door.
She started panting with the excitement of it all.
She was ready.

It was hard work.
It was slow paced.
It was a trot.
But It was skiing.
Our first run together last week brought tears to my eyes
(I was just dehydrated & over-tired from the hike, I'm sure)
And a look of pure and utter joy to hers.
Those weeks where we wondered if she'd ever be able
to run down the trail on my tails again were over.
We were together, skiing, and having a marvelous time.
There were more stops and more huggies,
and we still have a long way to go
before skiing Tuckerman's or Low Rider in the deep powder,
but we are progressing & moving forward.
on our mountain.

We are Skiing.
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum & Vespi

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