I’ve been out for the last week. Not just out of touch, but out of commission on the trails. I sprained my ankle a week ago. Nothing major, but enough to make walking on rough ground unpleasant. I did it at the old trail, actually, right in front of three women walking their three little dogs–all six of them ablaze with orange regalia in honor of hunting season. Embarrassing. I’m most proud of holding back the string of four-letter words that wanted to come screaming out of my mouth at that instant.
Ollie got injured too. He came down with kennel cough, a hacking, dry cough that he picked up at doggie daycare. And, perhaps of more concern, he cracked the pad on one of his paws quite deeply. It’s clearly quite painful, because he’s been limping around trying to avoid putting pressure on it for the last week. And this from a dog who gets a puncture wound and keeps on going–he almost never shows any outward signs of feeling pain.
But both he and I are now back in the saddle. Mostly because I’m tired of sitting around and because Ollie’s even more sick of it–he’s bouncing off the walls. So we’re trying to take it easy, but the walks have recommenced!
This paw thing though, could be problematic. It split pretty deeply and the vet says it must heal from the inside out. I think she also told me that the cracked outer part would have to die and slough off, which sounds horribly painful. She’s scolding us that Ollie shouldn’t be walking on the paw if we want it to heal quickly, and we definitely do, but it’s impossible to keep that dog down. He runs laps around our living room, whining, if he can’t get at least a little walk. Seriously.
Incidentally, while this is alarming and unusual for our little domestic dog, bears apparently slough off their paw pads every winter while they hibernate. For a while it was thought that bears actually ATE their paw pads for sustenance during the winter, as they shed body weight in their dens. One Native American legend held that the bears walked on blueberry bushes in the summer and crushed the juices into their paws so they could draw the essence of the blueberry out during the winter.
Now it’s thought that they lick their paws to help loosen and release the worn out pads. And in the spring, when they emerge, they have a new footbed. Adrian says he’s heard that early in the spring, bear footprints are occasionally bloody as they toughen up with walking.
Here’s hoping that Ollie heals a little less painfully. Or that he spontaneously decides to hibernate long enough for his foot to heal. Otherwise I think we’re in for a long slow recovery.