a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Depressed Dog

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Depressed Dog

I'm sure that some of Rem's problem is a feedback loop--a bit depressed about not feeling well, not being able to do fun things--which makes him feel not well--

I was gone most of the day. Got home, gave dogs dinner. Offered him the half a can left from breakfast. He was back to looking around, thinking about it. Ate several mouthfuls half-heartedly and walked away. I dug cooked chicken out of the freezer, shredded some up, and dumped that in his bowl. A big dog-sucking-up-the-chicken noise followed.

I had my own dinner, then again took just me & him for a nice long walk. One reason he doesn't get very excited at the moment is that every time he does, he starts cough/horking. But once we're out the door, he is a veritable force of nature, if forces of nature took walks. He heads away from home at the fastest trot he can manage without losing me, putting just enough tension on the leash for me to know that he's a strong dog who could give me a big jerk if he wanted to. It isn't until we're about 2 blocks away that he starts to relax, sniff things, look at what's going on out there, let there be slack in the leash. He still moves at a trot, but not so determinedly. But get within a couple of blocks of home, and suddenly every chlorphyl on every leaf has a smell that must be investigated. He droops. He drags. He can barely lift his feet. This is a dog who does not want to go home.

Unfortunately, I have other stuff to do. Like this. Dumb. He's always been more interested in continuing his walks than in coming home. Always. But now he's elevating it to the master's level of not wanting to go home. So I'm thinking I have to make it more appealing, coming home. Usually what happens after a walk is that I throw objects for Rem and Jake to rampage after. This time I fenced the other dogs out of the living room, and he and I did the Tricks game for more bits of chicken.

Something's not right about his body. I mean, we know that. But remember that limp-wristed thing? Still going on. Still won't do hang 10 with both legs. Now won't sit up & beg with both legs. Lifts one leg off the floor and sort of leans, but won't pick up the other leg. This from a dog who has always had phenomenal balance.

Anyway, after all that fun stuff, I got out a fresh can of dogfood and opened it. He came over to see what was cookin'. I lifted some on a spoon for him, and he chowed. I could hardly keep his nose out of the can, he wanted it so badly. Went through over half a can like that before he started slowing down and I decided to stop before he got turned off again.

But except for walks and doing tricks, he doesn't look like a happy dog. His tail almost never comes up. His ears almost never come up. He stands awkwardly, as if something doesn't feel good. He doesn't look miserable like he has the times the tumor's been bleeding, but he doesn't look happy, either. We're just waiting and watching.

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