A few days ago, I noticed Chou panting in the evening. It wasn't warm in the house, but she panted all night, even after I set up the little fan near her bed. The next day, I understood that the panting was distress.
In the morning, Chou Chou turned herself around at the park and pulled me, headed for home; and in our playing, the sparkle in her eyes was missing. She wouldn't jump up on me (when asked) to give a hug; she looked up at me, moved a little, then sat. And instead of bouncing through the spinning in her tricks routine that we do each morning, she walked through the motions of going around in a circle. ("Bouncy was ouchy!") No tail waggling. She moped all day. It was sad.
The day before, we took a long walk, then she ran with a dalmatian friend in the yard, and later we played with the Woof Stick. Too much exercise? Or maybe she twisted the wrong way when she was jumping and pouncing to get the Woof Stick's stuffed toy? ("But I caught it!")
When we went for underwater treadmill physical therapy, she was "off" there, too. The vet had to slow her treadmill speed for the first time. She had a laser treatment, which should be helpful, and the vet said I should keep her relatively quiet for a few days and give her time to recover from whatever happened; she'll be fine. I do see some improvement today, compared to a few days ago. ("You worry too much.")
All of a sudden, this insight hit me: what I see now, what I think of as a big setback... this was her normal for her first 15 months! Before I knew she had hip dysplasia, before the x-rays, before all the supplements and treatments, I knew her as a puppy who played but never waggled her tail, never bounced. I never saw the sparkly eyes I've now come to expect.
I am very grateful, after seeing this contrast, that she has come so far since August! What I have been doing to control her hip dysplasia and make her comfortable (but so expensive) is working well! The future is bright. ("Enough blog! Let's go outside!")
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