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.