Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grief is a sneaky thing

Grief is a reaction to loss.
There are 5 stages to grief  and they do not necessarily have to occur in the order listed.

The sneaky thing about grief is that it occurs with any kind of loss not just death. Tonka is still with us and yet  I can look back at the past 7 months of Tonka's downhill slide and insert myself into all of those stages. Some stages more than once.
I have also come to realize that there is loss within loss and that starts you down the path all over again.
We have adapted and settled into a new routine that still allows him some mobility and I do believe he is still a very happy boy. I don't believe that dogs allow themselves to get down about what they cant do for very long. Humans are a different story and llately I have been saddened by the loss of what we had. I try very hard to stay grateful for what we do have but every so often sneaky grief comes by and reminds me of what we can't do anymore.
It's little things like not be able to see him run around on a wet baseball field scooping up mud with his nose and then finding me to wipe it off on. Never again walking to the bus stops to say hi to the kids on the way to school in the morning. Not being able to watch him run and wrestle with his friends as if he could see. One of the things I really miss is our long walks everyday no matter what the weather. Every walk was an adventure.

So I mourn the loss of the life we had and try to stay positive about the future, but some days it is hard.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Day Out

AP here: Since Tonka has only been traveling to go to his many vet or therapy appointments I thought it would be nice for him to go somewhere else for a change. Our friend Donna has a doggie resort in Amissville, VA called  Golden Retreat For K9's. Tonka's friends Charlie Bear, Casper and Max live there and it was a pretty day for a drive - so off we went.
It was good to see Donna and the kennel is amazing. If you need a place to leave your dog while you are on vacation you should really check it out. It's a little off the beaten path but the accommodations and care that your companion will receive are well worth the trip. The rooms are all suites with different themes and are quite large, not like a regular kennel. One of them even has a poster of  Tonka up on the wall! 
We had a great time and Tonka and I always love to see his good buddy Charlie Bear. Donna has started helping with Newfoundland rescue and has also adopted a beautiful boy named Chance. Charlie, Chance and Tonka all got along real well and although he was worn out from such a long day he was a very happy boy.

Tonka Checking In

Saturday, March 3, 2012


AP here:
The 8 minute underwater treadmill workout and meeting up with his buddies at the park 4 times a week seems to have been a bit much for the Tonka Dog. He is not walking as well as he was and can not seem to get comfortable. This whole neurological medical journey has been about discovering what makes him better and what doesn't work. We know the rehab he is getting with Chris and Diana at CVSS works (miracle kind of stuff) and going to the park and on walks are essential for his mental well being. The treadmill should help us strengthen him physically and retrain his gait so we just need to find the optimal mix of things. We are searching for the right Balance.
When undergoing an exercise program a workout will leave you tired but in Tonka's case we also have to lookout for what we are going to call neurological fatigue. When his system is stressed too much the signals between brain and body part get weak and things get slow. His back foot will not lift high enough or quick enough to clear a doorstep or his foot will not have enough downward strength to keep it from slipping out on the carpet. That is where we are today neurologically tired so this weekend will be low key and full of ice packs and rest.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Working Out

I had to go to hydro-therapy again to help get my back legs strong and train my brain to keep lifting my foot. It was harder this time because they made me go longer and added more pool toys to keep me from cheating and resting my foot.

AP made a little movie to show how hard I was working. If you look closely you can see me still trying to cheat a little.