I have always believed we should get ten, 5 minute English speaking tokens that you can share with your dog over his/her lifetime.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just tell your furry bff that the reason she has to stay home is because you have to go to work and make the money for the treats? It would certainly prevent the sad eye good-bye and the guilt ridden drive to work. While we are rewarded with the dedicated and enthusiastic welcome home, there are many difficult situations where an english speaking heart to heart would comfort and explain issues such as the loss of a family member or in my case, Pearl’s torn achilles tendon and her forced adventure-less life for the next several months.
Our travel adventures had to be put on hold when we finally received the diagnosis that Pearl had torn her achilles tendon. She would require surgery with a long rest to properly recover while remaining close to her doctor.
Tip #1 and a word to the wise here, if you are traveling with a pet, have a healthy slush fund put aside for the vet trips you will inevitably encounter and are totally unprepared for.
We had several of these “pit stops” this year and since we are on the road, were at the mercy of the emergency veterinary clinics which are typically more expensive than your hometown vet.
Tip #2 keep your pets vet records readily available (on your phone via photo is very handy) or you will have extra charges to insure your dog is up to date on shots, etc.
Pearl is a seven year old Lab/Shar-Pei mix with an enthusiastic adventure quest. Accustomed to 5+ mile adventures with her sister, Gracie Mae and I, trying to explain that she was on bed rest for the next several months was an impossible conversation. This would certainly have been a great time to cash in one of those english speaking dog conversation tokens.
Every attempt to open a door, grab the car keys or god forbid, pick up a leash was met with a hobbled rush to the door. The sad eye goodbye amplified by the hurt and confusion when seeing her sister and I set out for even just our usual jaunts. Believe me the surgery was the least painful part of these last few months. What to do???
Resigned to no english speaking tokens to cash in, we replaced humor where Pearl’s pout was inevitable. The “boo-boo” as was called, became a colorful and fashionable centerpiece, special to Pearl exclusively! Pink, Green, even Spotted wraps made fussing over this sweet girl a treat to replace her much missed outdoor activities. The ceramony of a new wrappper for the boo-boo (fyi-the wrapper is just self adhesive bandage tape) was performed with high levels of glee and right before I needed to leave and keep Gracie walking. It worked!
Tip#3 positivity and good humor coupled with determination will go a long way in getting your bff to get used to something new!
Tip#4 the crutch of leaning on treats to substitute for walks…helpful only in moderation since dear Pearl would not be working off the treats and risk for weight gain is just another set back in recovery. Special attention is calorie free!
We are 9 weeks into Pearl’s recovery and finally she is able to take small 15 minute walks and has upgraded to a custom flexi-cast from the hard permenant one. She is thrilled to be able to spend more time outside and is feeling more like her adventurous self. We still have our special time to properly accessorize her outings and even “spa treatments” (aka a soak in lavender/mint epsom salts) which continue to make her feel like she is not missing out.
Tip#5 Epsom salts are great healers and getting your bff to sit long enough for a proper soak requires the same “fun” attention and discipline as the fashion wrap did. Be patient and rewarding, your dog will get the hang of it! Maybe a dab of peanut butter on the back of your hand to lick off would be a nice distraction during the soak process.
Our travels will resume after a few more weeks
Tip#6 stay close to your original doctor, we tried to travel and see other vets for Pearl. It was not successsful and much was lost in translation for her cast changes.
Pearl is a rebounding diva and might have even grown fond of her cast! We all know that dogs speak a limited amount of english but I still wish for the conversation tokens. But there is proof that words can be expressed in other ways too.
When traveling or even at home living with a hurt dog, remember your dog thinks of your as her hero and turning her new challenges into a game or special event can communicate volumes and make the recovery less painful for everyone!