29 September 2010

A covert post on the semi-invisible members of Team Small Dog, please keep your eyes averted at all times.

Various members of my family ask me, please, Please, PLEASE, don't make me go on the internet. I'll do anything. Just keep me off there. Like my very own husband. I have a super nice, normal, friendly husband. He has a job and hobbies and we like to do stuff like go out to breakfast, see bands at the Crepe Place, and worship in the cuteness of Gustavo together. But he likes to stay invisible on the internet, because, hello. Team Small Dog, live and in real time. So not what he signed up for.

You should hear his views on skorts. But if I told you, he wouldn't be as invisible. Just use your imaginations. Wave to him if you see him in short, tight lycra trousers riding his bike down a mountainside one day, though.

Same with Ruby. You don't see her as much, you don't hear tales of her woes. Ruby is a private dog. She much rathers hanging out behind the scenes and letting the other dogs have the hijinks. She can be very busy pacing around, trying to kill flies with her mind. But don't think Ruby is some kind of third wheel. No siree. I just like to let her have her alone time. Ruby is no thespian inclined, camera hogging reality star wanna be. Like some other drama queens I know.

Her eyesight seems like it's taken a turn for the worse lately. You know she has progressive retinal atrophy? And also a full time immune keratosis. Her eyes are crap. She's ok with it. Ruby is tough. But lately, when we walk in the woods I have to be very careful with her when the light is low. For a long time, she's rarely left my heel when we walk, the other dogs run their maniac running crazy up and down, but she stays where I am. Recently, she can't seem to judge how steep things are and she's becoming very careful, I'm needing to pick her up more and show her where to go, and to make sure we don't leave her behind if we all are scampering down the bank to the creek or climbing the cliff down to the beach.

The upside of all of this is that she's actually quite sound. She had a couple years of on again, off again tendonitis, and she looks pretty good these days. Maybe the copious amount of steroids she's taking on the forever plan. When we practice agility, she gets turns with the other dogs, and she is having the time of her life. She can actually do the 24" poles! I had stopped her ever having to weave because she was hitting her face on the entry pole sometimes, and I always suspected poles as one of the things that really caused her pain in her front legs. But the wider poles don't bug her and she is back weaving again in sequences when we practice with the 24 inchers.

She's also lost the ability to have me steer with rear crosses. I suspect the vision thing. Did you ever seen her run? She was always very fast, and our runs frequently had the vibe of, Yikes, Not a Lot of Steering. Now there's really not a lot of steering. She also can't send out to things now, even though I only jump her over very tiny jumps that I think she can still make it over eve with a totally bizarre takeoff. I need to get right up to every obstacle, like, DO THIS ONE HERE with a nice big pointy finger wave. There is no sending her places while I run out to front cross. It's a curious predicament. We are working it out. The goal is just don't let Ruby start crashing into anything ever again, but still let her go fast.

Is it possible to use GDHS when the dog can't actually SEE the handler most of the time? This is what we sort out, every time Ruby gets to practice.

If her little stubbin of a nubbin is waving frantically the whole time, and she smiles and does her little growly bark when she goes after her tennis ball, we're all good. If Ruby is happy, I'm happy. And now I'll stop talking about her. Don't tell her I told you all this. Just give her a treat instead.

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