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Posts Tagged ‘lazy’

I must have been out of my mind the day I wished Rufus wasn’t so lazy. You’re probably saying, “Well, you know they say to be careful what you wish for…you just might get it.”  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Like I said, outta my ever-loving mind.

The only reason I wished for Rufus to not be so lazy (mind you, I didn’t wish for him to be active, just to not be so lazy) was because I was getting tired of dragging him off the couch…and out of the car…and out of his kennel…and off of my bed.  My arms and back were threatening to mutiny if I kept using them to haul fat-boy Rufus around.

The one time I took him hiking with the other dogs, I had to help him climb up some of the boulders on the hike out. Before this, I had never had to help a dog climb up a moderately steep incline–usually they were the ones pulling me. Let me tell you…it was quite awkward, trying not to slip while pushing Rufus’ derriere in front of me. He basically would just put his front legs up on the boulders and look back at me, waiting for his push. I tried to see if he could do it on his own, but he just rested his head on the rock and looked at me like I was the cruellest person in the world for not helping him. Finally I gave in (because if I hadn’t, I would have been there all week) and hoisted him up the rest of the trail until the area levelled out and he could make it on his own. Needless to say, since all the attempts I have made to get Rufus to really exercise seemed to end up with my arms falling out of their sockets, I gave up.

Rufus Before...

Over the last few months, Rufus has battled ongoing skin issues.  It started as soon as I rescued him.  He had road rash from being run over and was on antibiotics to help his skin heal.  Even after his skin healed, though, he never seemed to grow new hair and was losing what he did have left and right.

I scraped him several times looking for mange mites.  I never found any under the microscope, but because he was a pit bull type dog (they are notorious for getting demodex mites) and because he was itchy (pruritic) and because sometimes you don’t find the mites, I treated him empirically with Ivermectin for three months.  The missing hair around his eyes (an area you can’t really scrape without sedation) grew back, but the rest of him stayed as bald as ever.

I changed his food to grain free and only fed him a fish based diet. I added fatty acid supplements to his food, antihistamines to his medication routine and bathed him with oatmeal-based shampoo. His pruritus continued to worsen and he started to stink really bad. He had horrible seborrhea (oiliness to his skin), developed comedones (fancy term for blackheads) and continued to lose hair. I performed skin cytologies and more antibiotics and anti-seborrhea/antipruritic/antimicrobial/antifungal shampoo were tried. He became less itchy, but the comedones were so bad that he looked like he was growing mold. Through it all, he continued to lose hair. I could either have his skin biopsied and/or start allergy testing or see the veterinary dermatologist.

Instead of putting him under anesthesia for the biopsy, I decided that I would see the dermatologist first. In preparation for that visit, I decided to go ahead and perform a complete blood profile on him. I remember joking with one of the veterinarians at work:

“Wouldn’t it be funny if he just had a low thyroid?”

“Well, it would be an easy fix, but juvenile hypothyroidism is just so rare. One can always hope,” she replied.

Then I really started to think about it. Maybe he DID have a low thyroid. Other than the fact that it is very rare for a dog to have juvenile hypothyroidism, he did fit the other criteria:

  • Poor hair coat with lack of growth and general alopecia–Yep.  With his patchy baldness, he was starting to look like a chupacabra mixed with a hippo.
  • Lethargy–Check. It he was any lazier, people were going to start assuming he was just a weird dog-shaped pillow.
  • Mental dullness–Uh oh. I was pretty sure his IQ was well below normal for a canine…or a rock.
  • Heat seeker–Yep!  Rufus hated the cold weather and I had to give him Charley’s old jacket to wear else he trembled uncontrollably, even in 68 degree weather.
  • Gain in body weight–This was the whole reason I was trying to get his lazy behind off the couch to begin with. He was definitely becoming more rotund.
  • Neuromuscular signs–Hmmm. Rufus had been observed to do some weird head bobbles and tremors at times. I thought maybe it was just because his head was too heavy.
  • Myxedema of the face–Also known as thickened or swollen skin, this leads to the tragic expression seen in dogs with severe hypothyroidism. Rufus definitely looked tragic, with thick eyebrow folds and drooping skin.  I thought he just looked sad because I made him get off the couch every once in a while.

Rufus’ bloodwork came back with a few discrepancies:  he was slightly anemic, his cholesterol was elevated and his free T4 and total T4 were both very, very low;  all of these tests displayed biochemical trends that are usually seen in true hypothyroid dogs. In fact, his free T4 value was so very low, it was reported as “less than” the lowest number they record. I had my solution to his skin issue (and his other issues, as well). All I had to do was supplement him with thyroid hormone, no need to see the dermatologist just yet.

Rufus After

Fast forward one month. Holy mother of dog! Rufus is a new canine.  His hair coat has almost completely grown back in, his oiliness has disappeared, he lost eight pounds without any change to his diet, his tragic expression has almost gone away completely and, in answer to my wish, he has become turbo-charged. Whereas before he would only play for a few minutes, now he wants to play ALL DAY LONG. Grimm is worn out, Zella is worn out, I’m worn out. And guess what? Rufus can actually run and gallop and jump up into the car on his own. He drags me out the door by his leash rather than the other way around. AND he can go outside in 60 degree weather (like today) and not shiver at all. Now, he still likes the couch, but these days he uses it more as a springboard to jump off of rather than a bed. At times I’ve almost been tempted to stop his supplementation, just to have lazy Rufus back for a bit. But…then his hair will fall out and he’ll stink again.

The only symptom that hasn’t gone away is the mental dullness. Thyroid hormones did not make him a genius overnight. He will probably always be a little slow mentally. Puppies who don’t have enough thyroid hormone during development can have impeded mental function and retardation of growth (they call this “cretinism”). They  can  still grow once supplementation is started, but they can not catch up mentally.

So there you have it. I got exactly what I wished for (a less lazy dog with better skin) but found out I was not yet prepared for all that entailed. Now I guess I need to wish for a magical way to exercise and entertain Rufus so Grimm and Zella don’t become worn out. Then again, if I wish that, there is no telling what cruel joke fate would play on me. I just might get it.

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I think I have the laziest dog on the planet.  How do I know, you ask?  Well, I’m pretty sure the following criteria qualify him as the most sluggish around:

  • His favorite walk is from my bed to the couch.
  • He refuses to catch a ball and, instead, lets it bounce off his forehead.
  • The above also applies with a frisbee.
  • He only goes the minimal distance required in the yard to do his business.
  • All the bunnies and squirrels laugh when he is around.
  • He is slowly becoming part of the sofa (see previous posts).

Rufus has seriously let himself go.  His lack of movement has caused his waist to expand a bit and I fear his limbs will deteriorate.  I gave him some slack earlier in the year, thinking his laziness was due mostly to the extremely hot weather we had earlier in the summer.  Now that it is cooling off a bit, I expected to see his frisky side come out.  Nope.  He just asked for a blanket to keep him warm in his slumber.  The time had come to force the issue and get him off his behind.

 

"Okay, fine.  Let's get this show on the road.  I'm ready to sweat!"

“Okay, fine. Let’s get this show on the road. I’m ready to sweat!”

 

I thought it might be fun to try Rufus out as a jogging partner.  I figured since he just sort of shambles anyway, I could go really slow (which is my prefered pace) and enjoy the scenery.  Rufus could get his blood flowing, I could slowly get back into running and we could bond over the experience.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I had my arm almost pulled out of my socket.  It’s not what you think, though.  Rufus did almost dislocate my shoulder, but not because he took off like a rocket.

We started slowly, Rufus trotting beautifully by my side.  “This is great,” I thought.  “Rufus makes an excellent poster boy for jogging with your dog!”

The joke, however, was on me.  Here I was, jogging happily down the road, stupid smile on my face, enjoying the cool brisk evening air, hand in Rufus’ leash, when all of a sudden Rufus decided he didn’t want to run anymore (and run is being generous…he was barely trotting).  Instead of slowing down first like any normal dog (or any other being with any type of motor skill), he just stopped and flopped immediately onto his side, perfectly imitating a beached whale caught on the asphalt.  I, in my jogging enthusiasm, did not realize he had crumpled himself onto the road and I kept going until whiplash and an almost dislocated shoulder from the sudden dog anchor stopped me in my tracks.

“Rufus!  What the heck, buddy?  Come on, let’s go!”

I tugged at the leash.  Dull, glazed over eyes stared out at me from Rufus’ skull.  Dear God!  Had I killed my dog?  Did he have a heart attack?  I bent down and checked him out.  He proceeded to roll on his back and solicit belly rubs.   Big faker.  I prodded him with my foot.

“Get up.  Let’s go, doofus.”

He rolled back onto his side and just laid there.  I tugged again at the leash.  Nothing.  I started to drag him, thinking he would get up and start walking.  Nope.  I dragged him two feet with his harness before I gave up.  He still wouldn’t budge.  Since we were only fifty feet from the house at this point, I thought I would call his bluff and just leave him.  I turned around and jogged towards home.  This finally got him to sit up and acknowledge me, but he wasn’t moving anywhere.

“Come on, Rufus.  Come here!  Ok, fine.  I promise I won’t make you run anymore.”  He still looked doubtful.  Time for the ultimate bribe.

“Rufus!  Come here!”  Blank dog stare.

“If you come now, I’ll let you snooze the rest of the evening away on the couch…and I’ll throw in some peanut butter!”

**Boing!!**  That dog actually galloped back home and beat me to the front door.  As soon as I let him in, he jumped on the couch.  Even though Grimm was in his favorite spot, he didn’t care.  He just climbed on top of Grimm and commenced his snooze fest.

"I never want to leave the couch ever again...or you, Grimm."

“I never want to leave the couch ever again…or you, Grimm.”

 

Obviously Rufus will have to stick to sleeping and wrestling as his sports of choice.  I guess he really isn’t built to be a runner.  He has more of a couch potato weightlifter physique.  Really, though, is being lazy all that bad?  If sleeping on soft surfaces makes him happier than frantically chasing frisbees, that’s fine.  Grimm and Zella are more than happy to be my running buddies.  Rufus can come if he wants and we’ll slow our pace to make him happy when the time comes.  I will enjoy the dog he is rather than try to turn him into something he isn’t.  I’ll take him any way, shape or form, even when he’s out of shape and his form looks more like a sofa pillow and less like a dog.  As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.  At least I know I’ll have company when I, too, want to be a couch potato.

 

"dkkj"

“Okay, no more pictures…and no more running!  Take off these sweatbands!”

 

“You gotta know when to be lazy. Done correctly, it’s an art form that benefits everyone.” 
― Nicholas Sparks, The Choice

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Ahhh…summer in Texas.  The sun is sweltering, the humidity is high, the mosquitoes are as big as mockingbirds and all the dogs want to laze around inside during the daylight hours.  I can’t say that I blame them.  It’s too hot to run around outside unless it’s early morning or late evening, but that’s when the giant mosquitoes swarm around and make life miserable.  What to do?  Do we risk heat stroke or exsanguination?  Both sound like bad ideas.  Maybe we’ll just stay inside.

My lazy dogs have taken over the couch this summer.

My lazy dogs have taken over the couch this summer.

Even the bunnies are too hot to run.  When the dogs are outside and rustle up a rabbit, the rabbit runs a few yards then stops and hunkers down.  My very brilliant dogs stop the chase and turn around, twirling in circles, looking every which way.  “Whaaat??  Where did the bunny go?  Bunny?  Oh, buuunnnnyyy…”.

Very slowly, rabbit ears come up over the grass.  The bunny peers at the dogs, as if to ask, “Really?  Are we really going to do this?  I’m hot, you’re hot; can’t we just pretend you got me, I’ll play dead, and we can both go on about our day?”.

The dogs exchange looks, shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, okay.  Good point.  But we sooooo got you, bunny.  You better play dead for a long time.”

Grimm dreams of colder days when chasing bunnies and frisbees doesn't tire him out so much.

Grimm dreams of colder days when chasing bunnies and frisbees doesn’t tire him out so much.

How do you entertain three lively dogs when it is hot enough outside to fry your brain?  Walks during the day are out of the question.  The concrete and asphalt would burn their little footsies.  Running around outside in the heat of the day leads to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, even with a giant water trough outside to jump in periodically.  Roughhousing inside causes too much chaos.  So what do we do?  We wait until dusk and then we all pile into the car and head to the nearest lake–Lake Pflugerville.

Zella can't wait until evening comes.  Her dramatic sighs from the couch illustrate her frustration with being inside during the day.

Zella can’t wait until evening comes. Her dramatic sighs from the couch illustrate her frustration with being inside during the day.

Lake Pflugerville really isn’t a true Texas lake…more of a giant Texas pond.  It does, however, have a 3.2 mile dirt and gravel track around it, a large expanse of water, and enough constant wind and rough breezes to blow even the most determined mosquito off course.  Not having many artificial lights around it makes for great star watching and moon gazing.  The croaks of the frogs, the quacks of the ducks, the splashes of the fish and all the smells in between delight the dogs.  Plus, if they want, they can go for a moonlit swim.  This biweekly excursion has become a favorite trip for the woofers and me.

Rufus daydreams about chasing Grimm through the lush prairie grass.  In a minute, his daydream will turn into reality, but instead of chasing Grimm through the grass, he will chase him around the couch...and over the rug...and under the table.

Rufus daydreams about chasing Grimm through the lush prairie grass. In a minute, his daydream will turn into reality, but instead of chasing Grimm through the grass, he will chase him around the couch…and over the rug…and under the table.

The lazy days of summer are aptly named.  The heat and humidity seem to soak up everyone’s energy.  Here at my house we seem to have become seasonal vampires, only out during the hours between twilight and early dawn.  On the days when I’m not working, we save the rest of the day for napping and lazing around, working on indoor projects or doggy behavior training while indoors.  Even though it gets hard to work their bodies during the hottest parts of summer, I can still engage their brains.  I can’t have complete lazy bums around here.  Plus, the waggle of their tails while indoors makes for a nice breeze.  If only they could aim them better, we could turn those tails in mosquito swatters.  Maybe we’ll work on that during these lazy days.

The boys wake up when the sun goes down.

The boys wake up when the sun goes down.

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