Tumbleweeds are rolling…

It’s hard to believe that he could bounce back so quickly from yesterday’s near death experience, but Max has made a remarkable recovery.  Last night’s slowness in his step seems to have had more to do with the residual effects of anesthesia than anything else.

Last night I had to help him up and down from the bed, but this morning he hopped down with no problem, no grunts or yips, and has been his old self all day! While he looks like hell, he seems to feel pretty fine thank you very much.

So, after a short call to the vet to make sure it was OK to get moving, we packed up the car and headed out around 11AM.  I’ve mapped out our route to Silver City with an estimated date of arrival this coming Friday.  I’m not planning to go more than 3-4 hours driving distance each day – which means we’ll probably be en route between 4 and 5 hours each day due to stops for lunch and walkabouts.

All day, as I drove, I kept flashing back to yesterday morning and Max running and bounding around so happily just prior to his horrific accident.  I’m trying to erase those awful images from my mind, but it’s hard.  I’ve also been counting my blessings all day. Max is one of the best of those blessings…

This gorgeous animal who chose me when he was just 11 weeks old, and has enriched my life for almost two years now, survived and will continue to enrich my life.

I know that I have learned from this terrible experience.  I hope that the smart part of Max’s poodle brain has learned something as well.

I’ve tightened his collar so that only 2 fingers can fit under it, and will keep an eye on that in the future.  I plan to work with Max to learn an easy command that he knows means he stops in his tracks if I say it. That one is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and haven’t.

I also bought a new Halti Head Harness – which is a face harness similar to a horse halter that helps to control a rambunctious dog, or one who pulls on walks (Max to the MAX!)  I got the wrong size, and hope to exchange it tomorrow for the right size.

Max trusts me to keep him safe, and I feel like I failed yesterday.  Not deliberately, but through benign neglect (I hadn’t noticed that his collar was too loose).  In addition to being a great joy and a marvelous companion, he is a huge responsibility.  It’s a responsibility I signed up for when I brought him home, and it’s one I intend to honor.

Mostly, I do all the right things for him.  I have worked on training since he was 12 weeks old – starting with training with the best dog trainer I can imagine, Diana Logan of Pet Connection Maine.

Diana used to come to our apartment in Portland, and she got us off on the right foot with positive reinforcement and clicker training.   Max is the great well-behaved dog he is today thanks to the great beginnings we had working with her – thanks Diana!

The other good thing I do is feed him the best diet I can.  When we are at home he eats raw food, based on the BARF philosophy of feeding.  While we are on the road, he’s eating Origen kibble, which is the closest to raw we can get.

Every day at home, we go for a great walk/romp/play at one or the other of our two favorite places: Mariners Park (about 1 mile from home) or Old Settlement Quarry.  Max gets to run and play, and we interact in both play and some spontaneous training and learning.  He recently learned to “spin” on command while out on our daily romps.

In return for my care and training, he gives me his undying love and attention, and loves to “work” with me whenever I ask.

So, even as we Tumbleweeds go rolling along, we will continue to “work” and play and learn.  But, the work will wait until Mr. Max is really feeling up to snuff again.


About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Silver City, St Augustine Florida, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tumbleweeds are rolling…

  1. hank says:

    yay for rapid recovery!

  2. Marilyn Wheeler says:

    I am seriously impressed, with all you have expressed in your blog today. My concept of living life with a dog has broadened and deepened. Thank you!

  3. Brenda says:

    I am so struck by how the near tragedy with Max has deepened your love and feeling of responsibility for him. It is beautifully expressed. You are both recovering very well indeed.

  4. P.J. says:

    Glad to hear all is working out well for you and Max! Please be careful out there Ma! We miss you back here at home. Come back soon!

  5. Diana Richardson says:

    Momo, Just read about poor ol’Max’s brush with mortality. Whew! I’m glad I got the post a day late………..so I knew he was really all right.
    How lucky to have the reality brought home without having paid the ultimate price.
    You’re both a couple a lucky dogs!!!
    Hugs and more hugs,
    Yer Home Girl and a woof! from Miss P

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Diana, thanks for the note. he was one lucky boy and I am so grateful for that! hope you all are well. xoxo, Momo

  6. Gandalf says:

    We do learn a lot from our hounds, don’t we? Hogan’s eleven and he’s still teaching me. Knowing what you know about you and Max already, think what lies ahead for you. Savor the thought just as you do all those wonderful meals you write about. Here’s a little gift fo9r you Mo.

    Keeping On

    Two days ago Hogan turned eleven.
    Yesterday I had a birthday, too,
    and for the first time in our lives together
    he has become older than I.

    Most of the time it’s not as obvious for him
    As it seems to be for me.

    He gets up more slowly (as do I)
    but he still stretches each time
    (would that that ten-year lesson had left its mark on me)
    but after stretching he still prances
    out his Turkish crescents declaring his desire to play,
    runs with abandon, begs for the ball to chase.

    My considered view is that aging sucks,
    though I guess it’s hard to tell given what I do.
    Have I always held the hammer with two hands?
    No, but now if I don’t, the random elbow stings
    I’m subject to cause dimpling on the pine floor
    of the front porch I’m building for my Sarah Margaret.
    (We’re contemplating the sedentary pleasures of watching,
    in the pasture just below, the neighbors’ horses,
    the herds of deer, the flocks of wild turkeys.)
    And when I wrote the check to reimburse my friend’s
    purchase of Jane Anne Morris’s Gaveling Down the Rabble
    so I could keep the book and write marginal notes with impunity
    as I worked on that food policy piece for Maine, the wincing from my wrists
    reminded me that pain these days was both fiscal and synoveal.

    Side benefits? Sure! Mostly it keeps me off ladders,
    reminds me to take my stick, keeps my eyes sharp for
    hand holds and grab rails, but it’s also motivation for making rigs,
    and clever ploys, and that hardest of all things for guys like me
    to finally learn to do – to ask for help!

    I don’t propose to dwell on why . . . but it’s gotten me thinking
    how thirty years ago an old banker woman, reviving something
    of the area’s pirate traditions to be sure, taught me how to carve
    out a lunch of scallops from the bay smack in the middle of Carolina’s Core Sound
    with just a penknife and a dip net left over from the morning’s quest for flounder –

    to stand thigh deep in the falling tide, dipping, shucking,
    plucking out those sweet half inch morsels to savor
    while casting an eye for the next bivalves fluttering by
    to round out my noontime repast on the fly –

    never imagined to that point in time,

    never repeated . . .

    and never forgotten. HDG 10/3/11

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