Thursday, August 4, 2011

Week 13.5: The Good, the Bad, and the just plain Icky

We have 2.5 fixator weeks to go - and it can't come soon enough. We'll start with the good. The good is that Taj is putting much more weight on the leg again. We walk quite a bit longer - relatively speaking - still only 10 minute breaks but now it's mostly walking instead of standing and sniffing and looking around. His spirits are up, and he tries more 'dynamic' moves with it (e.g. leaps, spins-arounds, trotting - all of which I have to reign in). He's feeling much better.

The bad. His system isn't doing the best on the antibiotic (if you know what I mean), but that ends today (last two pills!).

And now, the icky. The past couple of days he has had significant hair loss on the one side of his leg. I will attach a few pictures (for education purposes) below, but if you are a hyper queezy person - you will want to jump to the next post (and not click these pictures to zoom in). I am pretty much immune to most grossness factors now. My guess is that this is due to a number of factors: 1) I cannot bathe the leg thus dead skin cells have been building up, 2) the salt solution I use to clean it is slightly abrasive 3) he has gotten to the leg to lick it a bit at night (beat the comfy cone - back to plastic cone). It look much yuckier in these photos I think than it is in reality. Regardless, I decided to call the VOSM techs for advice.

Icky hair loss

Close up icky-ness
The technician said that the reasons above are likely and that also with fixator cases towards the end of the fixator period - the leg can start to slightly reject the fixator - meaning (good news) it is due to come off soon! This means that the leg will become much itchier for Taj and the skin may feel slightly harder or courser to the touch. I am supposed to monitor the leg for inflammation (and/or being hotter to the touch), swelling, any pussy discharge, and any increases in lameness. Lucky for us (aside from the ick factor), Taj doesn't have any of those symptoms.
Not so much on the front of the leg...
...but a LOT on the outside.
She also warned to keep him from licking it 100% of the time -if possible- the next week. Sad for Taj but this means back to full-time muzzle wearing. No fun, but it's the home stretch! He still sleeps most of the day anyway. Dr. Christopher is gonna take a quick look at the photos I sent down to confirm everything is ok, and if so, we're just waiting for our 16-week (and last fixator) re-check on 8/18!

Poor Mr T., back to 24/7 Muzzle
Rumi keeping us entertained

Week 12: A Rumi Interlude

I've been trying to make a point to have some special time with Rumi since everything has become Taj, Taj, Taj. We've been to a few conformation handling classes, and I've taken him for some dog park trips and on a special hike.

I had the chance last weekend to shoot up to the Nita Nee (State College) Kennel Club shows for some show practice. This was our second show, and at our first show (in April) in Harrisburg, there weren't any class dogs/bitches.

Rumi relaxed and me intensely concentrating; 
his rear feet are back a bit too far but I'm learning!
Over the weekend, there were about 13 saluki entries on Sat and about 14 on Sun. I had the chance to meet a lot of saluki folks! I really appreciate all the advice and encouragement that people gave me. I am a total newbie to showing and Rumi's breeder (Deric @ Z'bee's) is in Michigan so it's been challenging. You can learn some things by email - but a lot is "live" experience.

My special boy - lining up for judging
We got a third on Saturday and on Sunday we got first and reserve winners dog (to a Major). Rumi was very well-behaved, I was very proud of him! I am working on getting him better conditioned (he has a little bit of weight to lose - it's challenging with Taj being out of commission). I am trying to learn the hang of handling - much harder than you would think!
Poetry in motion
I loved watching all the different types of dogs (lots of diversity in this breed) and really am grateful for the tips people kindly offered. Rumi is such a good boy and seems to tolerate the show ring well (even with his 2-second attention span), but I think his real passion though is in connecting with people.
Me learning that I need to let out the lead more...
 I have done some therapy work with him (he's a registered therapy dog with Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services - I nicknamed him "Thera-ROO") and after Taj gets better, I plan to resume doing lots of therapy visits.

Paying Homage to Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi - The Dreamer
I love to watch Rumi move - he is very graceful. Rumi was named after the Persian Sufi poet - Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. I chose his show name as "Z'bee's Homage to the Dreamer" with Rumi being the greatest dreamer and writer of beautiful poetry that pays homage to living life in the moment. His name is also a play on his personality. Rumi is a talker. He loves to chat and his favorite sound is a repertoire of various "Roo, Roo, Rooooos." One of his tricks for therapy work is that I will look at him and say, "Now, what's your name?" and he will let out a loud, protracted, straight from the lungs, "ROOOOOOOO." :)