Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On top of the world

In a small village the social calendar is characterised by its predictability. We don't like radical changes, and want to know by looking at the date what is coming up in the next couple of weeks.
So August might be a bad month for me, but the wheel keeps spinning and the regular events come inexorably round in their turn.

This Sunday was the date of the Summer walk. Last year it helped me a lot in getting through some of the bad days, so I was very much looking forward to this year's walk. And I wasn't disappointed.
The group was smaller than in previous years, but there were still several people who had left their 'other halves' at home, so I didn't feel like the odd one out for once.

We walked up to the moors to the Llyn Mawr nature reserve above the Carno valley, and then followed the path back past our local wind turbines. I rather like being up above the huge blades - it puts them in their place somewhat. Although we climbed somewhere between 400 and 500 feet, it was a long, gentle and easily-manageable gradient. The sun shone benevolently and the slight breeze prevented overheating, and an elusive glimpse of a hen harrier made the climb worthwhile.

The only thing that marred the day was the fact that I couldn't take Moose with me. He has had arthritis in his shoulder for a while now, which we have been managing with a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement and regular doses of an NSAID. Sadly about a month ago the stiffness I had started noticing in his back legs suddenly worsened almost overnight. They are sometimes so wobbly that he falls over, and he is having difficulties walking much more than a mile or so - and then only at a very slow pace.

He seems happy enough in himself though, and still charges around my paddock like a mad thing when the mood takes him, so I am hanging fire on asking for steroids for now. But it has not stopped me embarking on another of my internal debates, this time about the moral implications of hip replacement surgery for dogs. I am sure I will be revisiting this one in the near future!


  1. Beautiful country. What a gorgeous description of your walk. This spring we had to make tough decisions for our 14 year old dog. But it took me almost a year to make a final decision. It is so tough. Good luck to you and Moose.

  2. Stunning scenery, the walk must have been something else. Have you tried glucosamine powder for Moose? It made a big difference to ou previous dog Jake.

  3. I've had Sabrina on a glucosamine/chondroitin liquid that has various herbs, green lipped mussel, etc.. for awhile. She's also on Metacam for pain and inflammation. As you probably know from my latest blog post, I took her for laser therapy to the joints. That actually seems to have made a difference and she's getting around better and more playful with my young dog. However, the real "therapy" will be when we head south to the desert in another few weeks. Being here at the coast is bothering my arthritis too. Btw, one of my friends had a very arthritic yellow labrador that was greatly helped by acupuncture. I don't know how things are in Wales, but quite a number of veterinarians do acupuncture here in Canada.

  4. boris went on caprofen when he started getting sore and gimpy over the winter. Stresses me out, not knowing if it would have happened anyway, or it is due to the stress of losing matt, the whole household getting turned around - all that. He's on glucosamine from the vet, as they told me the pet store stuff is iffy in effectiveness. bo just turned 9, and is still so active - I have to drag him out of the water; we'd never actually seen him get tired and quit of his own accord.
    Anyway, all this to say - changes in the dog member of the family, without the other human member of the family to just be there, Sucks. Sorry, J.

  5. J - I hope Moose is okay. I can remember your post last year when you realized he was missing and you had to run all the way back to find him and he was sitting there waiting for you. Dogs ARE a widow's best friend! xx

  6. Thanks everyone. It has been pretty depressing watching this sudden deterioration, but he was moving a lot more easily this afternoon and we managed 1.5 miles (didn't want to push it), and with him walking ahead of me as usual, rather than limping along beside me.

    @Bev: Moose is on Metacam too, and it does seem to ease the stiffness. I was very interested to read about Sabrina's laser treatment. Definitely something to discuss with the vet, although my practice is quite traditional and farm animal-oriented, so it might be a bit avant garde for these parts. Ditto the acupuncture, but definitely worth asking about. I am dreading the cold, damp winter, so I need to get something sorted.

    @ Megan: Yep. It sucks. Big time. Last year when Moose had to have surgery for the tumour there was no choice - he had to have it or die, and if it had been malignant they would have simply not woken him up again. But this is different - I have to play god and decide what is best for him, and I so hate not having anyone to talk to about it.

    @ Boo: They certainly are. I've just spent an hour sitting with a furry head on my lap, pretending to listen as I told him all my woes. I sometimes wonder what he would say if he could talk!

  7. Anonymous01:05

    Hi J,

    Poor Moose...Bonnie's hips greatly improved after I started giving her 500mg fish oil capsules each day,

    Hope you find something soon,