Red Update: A Comeback And A Prediction – Bedlam Farm

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Red Update: A Comeback And A Prediction – Bedlam Farm

Red Update: A Comeback And A Prediction – Bedlam Farm
2018-12-05 17:13:10

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Red Update: A Comeback And A Prediction by Jon Katz
Red woke up bright-eyed and eager to get outside this morning. He ate all of his food heartily, stood eagerly by the door, tail wagging a mile a minute.
When I was dressing, Red came scooting up the stairs to find me, no hesitation at all.
In keeping with Dr. Fariello’s instructions, I walked Red outside and he peed, and then we both walked to the gate where Fate and Bud were waiting to go into the pasture.
I told Red to lie down, which he did, and the other digs and I and Maria went into feed the other animals and clean up the barn. Red, as instructed, did not move and seemed content to watch the sheep through the gate.
I brought him back into the house, where he has taken up his customary position behind my chair as I write this. Red looks very good to me this morning, he is moving freely and is eager to get out and work.
This will not happen for several weeks. He will rest and rest.
I screwed up Thursday and let him run a bit, that wasn’t a good idea, my fault. There was of course the usual jeering and outrage on the Internet, but by now, people who do that are like mosquitoes buzzing in the night.
Some lucky people apparently have never made a mistake, and I am not one of those people. I make mistakes all the time, and have for many years. I hope I am always strong enough to admit mine when they occur.
So far, so good.
I got a very nice note from a very nice person – Susan – preparing me for the possibility that Red may never work again.
This is what she wrote, and she is a person who knows a lot of about dogs and medicine:
“ I know you have a huge and loving heart and Red is your great pal. Having worked in vet medicine for years is seems to me that at this age and stage of Reds life his running days are behind him. I think dogs adjust well to change and if his life is slower here on out he will still be very happy. His love for you and his life means more than herding sheep. I could be wrong but this my belief. I have never seen a dog with serious back problems be able to run freely again but they do not mind at all. Old dogs are a gift and so fun to pamper and enjoy . “
This is a good and wise message from a person I respect and appreciate, someone I listen to, and someone whose advice matters. And she may well be right.
But I think Susan is, in fact, wrong. I have no problem with Red retiring from sheep work, he deserves it and it wouldn’t bother me a bit. Red and I have plenty of work to do.
I would never pressure or even encourage him to herd sheep if his body isn’t up to it. But Red has experienced severe back pain a number of times in his life, especially after a strong pony stomped on his spine.
He’s had successful laser and massage and acupuncture treatments, and Dr. Fariello believes it is very likely Red will recover again, if I can just be focused enough and patient enough to let him heal.
These spinal fractures do and can heal, given proper treatment. If that’s what he has, we are lucky.
Red is one of those dogs who would not mind at all if he stopped herding sheep (well, maybe a little). And I am one of those dog owners who would not mind a bit. Red’s therapy work is powerful and needed.
My wish for him is to live a long and healthy life, not to herd sheep forever. And to be honest, he has always been pampered and enjoyed.
I might want to curtail Red’s work, or even drop it altogether. But I will stick my neck out bit an predict with a lot of certainty that Red will be out working within a month, even sooner.
I know Red well and I know those eyes. He is not in pain today. I mean to keep it that way, no matter what.
Dr. Fariello and I both believe that dogs like Red need movement and exercise to stay healthy, especially if they have aggravated arthritis.
Managed working keeps him healthy, it doesn’t need to be unhealthy. Work for border collies is not amusement, it the point of life.
Work doesn’t have to be sheepherding, although our work with sheep is contained and most often, is not extreme or intense.
Sometimes all he has to do is sit out near the feeder, and that’s enough. He isn’t running off to other pastures with the sheep or rushing to get ahead of them.
Red is stronger and more fluid today than any day since Sunday. We’ll know a bit more then.
Acupuncture and other alternative treatments begin on Monday. The day will come, probably sooner rather than later, when Red stops working. My feeling is that that time has not yet come.
If I am wrong, I will be more than happy to say so, and let the scolding begin.
There is a fine line between optimism and recklessness, and I know it quite well. We’ll see… Share This



Red Update: A Comeback And A Prediction – Bedlam Farm
2018-12-05 17:13:10

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