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April 05, 2005

Boring old theropod

Here are a few old photos of Zeke. This one is from almost ten years ago, in Nevada on the Tahoe shore. The last one is from a hike in the Richmond hills near a spot I wrote about in this post, and the one in the middle is from 1996, when Zeke was already getting to be an older dog, just before a rainstorm in the prairie north of the Badlands in South Dakota.

That day was fun. Zeke absolutely hated the Badlands: he refused to hike out into them, despite the fact that there were no slopes there he couldn't have negotiated rather easily. In a box somewhere we have a photo of him standing carefully, feet dug into the ground in full resistance mode, ten yards from the top of a shallow cliff with me pulling hard on the leash.

The good news these days is that Zeke is feeling better. I've been giving him 243 milligrams of aspirin every day, which has turned him into a frisky dog who doesn't act a year older than 12. We're in high-level talks with his vet about other, less-stomach-eroding antiinflammatories to ease his hip pain even more. These days there are quite a number of efficient painkillers that have few long-term effects - though as I mentioned to the vet, these days Zeke pretty much can't count on a long term anyway.

It is such a wonderful thing to see our 14-year-old dog run in tight, crazy, joyous play circles again. Tears come to my eyes.

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Comments

There are few things in life more perfect than a good dog. Looking back over 44 years, there were days, weeks, even months, when I wasn't convinced humanity deserved to survive for another hundred years. We are, after all, arrogant, destructive, possessive, cruel and short-sighted. But dogs..... Dogs are what people will be like if we ever get our shit together.

May Zeke remain blessed for the rest of his days.

Posted by: tost at April 5, 2005 06:17 PM
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I love old dogs. They're the best, especially when reasonably healthy.

Hey, is there some reason why when I view your blog I get your posts running off the right over the right-hand column? I can see it fine in comments, but not on the main page.

Posted by: leslee at April 5, 2005 07:01 PM
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Just a thought, but I moved my now-ancient dog onto glucosamine sulfate several years ago for her hip problems and it helped greatly. She went from crotchety to prancy inside a month!

Posted by: Trix at April 5, 2005 08:32 PM
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Our fifteen-year-old cat has been taking glucosamine for eighteen months now with good results, though she's still crotchety. Always has been.

Posted by: doghouse riley at April 5, 2005 09:18 PM
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Oh man, how I love Zeke.

Posted by: Allison at April 5, 2005 10:46 PM
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Tito the Mighty Hunter is 15 and some, and has been on rimadyl for a year or two. Expensive, but the difference when he gets it and when he doesn't is dramatic.

The very best thing for a dog's mental and physical health, I'm convinced, is twice-daily hikes, at least short ones, every day of their lives. Which means, basically, being lucky enough to get an owner who knows they're real, and not furniture or toys.

The dogs who don't get exercise are the ones who bark, chew, bite, fight, raid the garbage, get fat, and live shorter lives. With most of these problems, a great number of owners think it's all the dog's fault.

Any dog who hasn't rolled in snow, swam in a lake, snorted wild critter tracks, and run with a pack of 2- and 4-legged friends -- OFTEN -- is, in my opinion, seriously deprived.

Tito has been bitten by a coyote, chased by a momma elk, has splashed through crystal-clear mountain steams, learned interesting things about porcupines and skunks, played with a red fox, been on the 'critical list' twice for adventures gone awry, been both Chief Dog and Lead Dog of home-based packs, and slept inside and out, chainless and trustworthy (mostly) for most of his life.

And, ahem, he also knows what road-kill deer tastes like.

When I die, I want HIS life to flash before my eyes.

Posted by: Hank Fox at April 6, 2005 01:06 AM
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I love old dogs too.

And yeah, I think dogs need to experience the joys of nature whenever possible. Why is it so many places in the states only allow dogs on leashes, or not at all?

One more reason Bailey and I are not looking forward to moving back.

Posted by: KathyF at April 6, 2005 03:04 AM
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When I was recovering from my broken wrist (the second time I'd broken my wrist in three years .. the first time required surgery to repair), I used glucosamine sulfate but did not notice any difference. Vicodin, on the other hand (pun only weakly intended), made it possible to sleep at night. And while I agree with Hank, don't forget the people who live in the Big Apple, where there are nearly as many dogs as humans. These dogs do not regularly get out to sniff wild critter tracks, but they are nonetheless, loved (and isn't living well all about being well loved and loving well?). The leash law for dogs is to attempt to prevent them from destroying native wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds, Kathy. Having been engaged in field research, I can tell you first-hand that free-running dogs do a lot of damage to nests, nestlings and to the bird that decides to risk her life to protect her young. Wild birds already face enough dangers as it is as their declining populations attest to, why add to the list?

Anyway, I am not trying to be a pain here, I am simply trying to present an alternative viewpoint based on my own limited experiences.

Posted by: GrrlScientist at April 6, 2005 04:46 AM
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When my dog Heidi (the best dog in the history of the universe) was old, we acquired a stray dog whom I named "Bootleg", after the dog on the cover of a Mike Oldfield album. Bootleg was fully grown when we got him, and we had him for at least 16 years afterwards. When he was getting old and infirm, my mom put him on Glucosomine and Chondritin, and it did him a world of good. The great thing about dogs is that there is no placebo effect.

On my mother's urging, I tried G&C for myself, but it didn't seem to work. But the rhuematologist I went to a few days ago said that I didn't use a high enough dose, nor did I keep at it long enough to see a change. So I'm back on it, 1 pill (500mg G and 400mg C) three times a day for the next three months.

Posted by: Paul Tomblin at April 6, 2005 05:05 AM
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Buffalo is working on plans for the new waterfront. People are split betwwen crap like condos or public space... and space that is NOT retail...

One thing I suggested is that at least a little corner of the space should be used for a dog park. A little canal to swim in, etc. Buffalo doesn't have a dog park, and the ide is completely foreign to people here.

Only one person in the groups I suggested this to agreed. Everyone else imagined packs of roaming wild dogs, safety issues, etc.

I tried to explain that dog parks are even popular with non-owners of dogs like myself... a place to watch pooches have a good time.

Its not going to happen. People in Bflo are just too conservative, with a little "c." No vision.

Posted by: Craig at April 6, 2005 07:26 PM
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Craig - It's the beer. Generation after generation of Buffalo residents drinking Genny Cream Ale is bound to cause some sort of massive social dysfunction.

Posted by: tost at April 6, 2005 11:02 PM
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Clifford Simak was right. Dogs and robots SHOULD inherit the Earth and let humanity live on in their rosy memories.

Posted by: Fred at April 7, 2005 07:28 PM
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Tost, I've said a number of times that I think the entire city of Buffalo has PTSD.

Posted by: Craig at April 8, 2005 09:27 AM
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