Sunday, June 24, 2012

Payback or - Did you really just walk me into a car?

AP here:
The T-Man and I are still walking twice a day although we only travel about 4 or 5 houses up the block and then turn around. He cannot touch concrete or anything rough with the middle two toenails on that bad foot as they are completely worn down and become a bloody mess. Once out of the backyard he has to have either socks or a boot on to protect the toes.

He is managing to lift the foot with his Ruff Wear Skyliner boot (see this post) for a good portion of the walk so that is promising. This is exactly where we were in November of last year with the other leg. I sometimes feel like I am just repeating the days over and over again like the Groundhog day movie..
The boot thing is a huge deal in my little corner of the world since it means I don't have to deal with socks and duct tape. Socks and duct tape require stopping every few feet to reposition since they roll around and sag no matter how much duct tape you use or how tight you make them. I had created some sock boots but they suffer from the same rolling problem.

He is doing well (since this weekend) with the boot. He takes slow methodical steps and his back end does not seem to be drifting as bad to the right like it had been. He still thinks he can go further than I will let him which is also a good sign.

 June 22nd

On the way back when he gets sloppy we do some thera-band work to keep him going and to train his foot and leg to lift.

This morning I was walking him home with the thera-band and I was looking down at his foot so that I could get the proper placement and he subtly drifted a bit and walked me right into a parked car.
I had to chuckle a bit because there have been times over the years that I have walked him into some items such as a tree, a car, and the occasional fence.
I had to wonder if he was silently thinking "YES-Payback"

                                                                 June 23rd

I am encouraged by these little baby steps of progress and so we will keep "walking" forward and try to avoid the obstacles in our path..

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stubborn, Rotten Boy

AP here:
Walking for the boy this weekend was crappy. This video is of him walking on Saturday morning.
Sunday was not a whole lot better and he was up several times trying to get comfortable.

The week did not start off much better and Monday night was a disaster
We went for a walk with his friends Nala and Duke and when he got tired I went to put him in the trailer. I did not have it secured enough and it rolled forward when he went to step in which caused him to fall. I got him up and we attempted to get back in the trailer. he stepped in and I lifted his back end up. I put my arm behind him to help him sit back and he pooped as he sat which ended up on me and in the trailer. So I got him back up and out and then got most of it up before putting him back in.

Once we were home I got him cleaned up and then broke down the trailer and disinfected it. Thankfully the trailer is a cinch to clean.

I am sure he really put himself out of sorts when he fell because he was up all night trying to get comfortable. The problem is he wants you to sleep on the floor with him and snuggle which works great for him but not so much for me. So with not much sleep both Sunday and Monday night I must have been a sight because everywhere we went on Tuesday people told me how tired I looked.

When we went for a little walk on Tuesday morning he was dragging his foot so I shortened our already little excursion and when we got to the house at our corner he put on the breaks. He can be so stubborn (if you own a Pyr you know) and will refuse to go forward if he thinks he has been cheated on the walk. He was so shaky I couldn't just pull on him so I let him off the leash and sat down on the curb about 8 feet in front of him and just started to cry. Now it takes a lot to make me cry so I really was very tired.  Next thing I know there is a cold wet nose in my ear. The rotten boy had walked up beside me and then proceeded to lick my ear and the side of my face.
How can you stay upset or angry with a Tonka Dog giving you kisses?
I got up kissed his head and we staggered home.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tonka's Trailer (Cycletote)

AP here:
People always ask me about Tonka's Cycletote trailer. We have posted about it before we did not get into specifics about how he gets in and out. Obviously at 134lbs I cannot lift him and I was worried when I ordered it that we would have trouble getting him to use it. The good thing is he  listens so well that teaching him did not take long. We have created a short video to show you  (please pardon the appearance of my posterior in several of the scenes).
We shot this after a walk with me pushing him home for a mile and a half on a hot afternoon. In hindsight we should have done it another time when we were not so tired.

The back of the trailer frame is a little lower right under the handlebars so that is the entry point.

I have the chocks in place so that the wheels don't move forward. The wheel chocks are a yoga block I sliced in half and then cut out a space for the wheel to sit in.

These help stabilize the trailer when he is getting in and out. I also hold up on the handlebars so when he steps in the back does not rock back and flip the front up. Once he steps in I lift his back end up and into the trailer. I shift him as far forward as he can go and then have him sit.
I use a treat to get him to lie down and then I put the chocks in with him and away we go.

When we get to our destination I put the chocks back on the wheels and give him the command to get up. I put my foot in to weight the front and to keep it steady while I help lift him to a standing position. Once he is standing I take my foot out and put my arm under him to help him when he steps out. He takes a minute to get his bearings and his balance and then he steps up and out to the left. When his front feet are out I then lift his back legs and swing them up and out.
The last thing I do is sure his back feet are where they should be on the ground before I let him start walking.

To carry things I started out with one big bike bag attached to the lower bar but then found it cumbersome and in the way when going up and down curbs. I found some little bike bags (Goodie Too) made by a company called Detours.
The bags use a special mount called the minibug that adapts to almost any handlebar size. I have two down low on the frame that carry spare tubes, tools and air in case we get a flat and two up on the handlebars for poop bags, treats, keys, cell phone and any other misc. stuff.
The trailer is very well made and is really easy to push and maneuver. The customer service is excellent and every trailer is handmade. Is you are looking for a trailer for your pets or kids I would definitely give them a call. I talked to several different companies but once I spoke to Sue at cycletote and told her my dilemma she was the only one to respond back with  a positive, "I think we can help". She even pulled up this blog to get an idea of how big Tonka is - that is customer service. A few phone calls later and we were ordering the Tonka trailer. I sincerely hope that in the near future we have no need of the trailer for our daily walks. If that day never comes, I at least know I have a product that will last. The frame has a lifetime warranty, all the fabric is CORDURA® which is very tough stuff and the back wheels are full size with narrow bike tires making for a smooth ride with less rolling resistance. It can be converted to either stroller or bike mode and if/when he recovers and we don't need it for walks I will use it to pull him on the bike trails.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


AP here:
I have started and stopped a new post over the past 2 weeks more times than I can remember now. I have been finding it hard to write about Tonka since he has not been doing well.
I think I am still very lost in my own head without a diagnosis for him. I research everyday and try to brainstorm (read grasp) for a reason or a solution to his inability to walk correctly.
Is the fact that both sides have now been affected relevant? Why is this side behaving  different than the other did? Is the cause one single event or did he have 2 separate events?  The list of questions is endless - all without answers.
He has been in therapy about a month now for this side and instead of making progress he is slipping backwards.
He stays in his house most days even if someone is home with him and the crate door is open. Maybe the coolness of the canine coolers feels good on his leg.

Lazy boy

I climbed in his crate for a kiss
He still wants to go for his afternoon walk with his friends but we cannot go very far without putting him in his cart.

I am trying very hard to stay positive and keep in mind that it took 3 months for his other side to come around..

Today I got an email from a friend who always has a positive outlook on things even in the face of extreme adversity and I was reminded that our problems are very small in comparison to some.

Perspective - its a wonderful thing to have but a hard thing to keep when you are caught up in the day to day stuff.
I need to keep the following in mind:
-he is not in pain (although I think his leg feels strange to him - perhaps pins and needle -ish)
-he can still walk (just not well or far)
-he can still make it outside to go to the bathroom
-he still loves to eat
-he still loves to be fussed over
-he does not have anything life threatening or anything needing surgical intervention
-there are many out there without a home or without the ability to walk at all or that are fighting cancer

So the problem is mine not his. I am the one that feels bad for him when he drags his foot or sits down so slowly and awkwardly when his leg won't bend. I am the one that grieves for the things we cant do anymore, he just accepts whatever the day brings.
I have learned this lesson before with the other leg but obviously I did not learn it well. We have all heard that we should count our blessings every day and if you really think about and stop to do it your troubles do seem to shrink.
I have to go hug my huggable now!