a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Remington's Doing OK

Monday, February 10, 2003

Remington's Doing OK

Remington continued through the weekend in his happy, alert, but reserving energy for really important things mode. Haven't been in to the vet for any reason now for almost 2 weeks. We're probably past due for *something*, but it's been a nice break for both of us.

He entered 2 runs Saturday and 3 runs Sunday this weekend in a CPE trial (Canine Performance Events). Each time, he was happy and excited to be heading out to the ring (although I could tell he was still reserving energy--excitement showed mostly in his eyes and ears, body remained calmer). He sat at the start line leaning forward, like he does only when he's about to blast into a fantastic super-Rem run, and then he'd mostly do the course at a slow run varied by casual strolls thru the tunnels and occasional trots. Then, at the end, he'd be gleeful and pleased with himself, so he's clearly putting the energy that he has into it.

Qualifiers: And even so, he managed to meet the qualifying criteria 3 out of his 5 runs, which is a really fine showing for any dog, let alone one who's got a fatal illness. His *fastest* running was after I ran into the teeter, which he apparently thought was pretty exciting--but that's another story. And he'd have probably Qed a 4th one if I hadn't wasted so much course time entangled with the teeter.

Slow Tunnels: Not sure why so slow on the tunnels. I used to think of them as dog accellerators. Thinking maybe it's because he's really as tall as the tunnels, so he has to lower himself some to get through him. When he's running all out, his center of gravity and body are lower so it's not an issue, but when he's slow, he'd actually have to duck to go through or else his head and back would hit the tunnel with each stride. So he slows to a walk to avoid it. Anyway, that's my working theory and he hasn't contradicted me.

Pacing Himself: In some ways, I'm less worried about him running slowly than I was at the trial in january where he actually did blast through a couple of runs, because then I started worrying about whether he'd rupture the tumor.

At the end of the weekend, when I turned him loose in the open field, he did become a wild dog for maybe 30 seconds or so before he slowed down again, but he was definitely running faster and harder than he had on course. Like I said--saving his energy for the really important things.

Random Notes and Thoughts: His appetite remains good, he's on no meds at the moment, like I said, he's active and alert, but not at the peak of his life.

Waiting for me when I got home was his license renewal. Due no later than April 25. Weird to not know whether you should even send in a 1-yr renewal.

Talked to 2 folks over the weekend whose dogs had died of various cancers. One said that she used to have her dog's blood checked a couple of days before an agility trial, and if red blood count was low, she'd know he wouldn't have much energy to spare for agility. Other lady talked about her dog, who became suddenly ill and was found to have severe, inoperable, incurable cancer, with probably only a couple of months to live no matter what--she had her put to sleep. I said it must've been hard to make that choice, and she said, no, it wasn't a choice, because when her dog looked at her, she could see that the life and the joy had completely left her eyes and there was nothing left. I hope I will know as clearly if that time arrives.

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