This video tape of me and Willie doing his exercises reminds me how important it is to “honor your dog.” (I think that is originally Kathy Sdao’s phrase, and I just love it.) The video shows us doing two exercises, “Flex” and “Paw,” both designed to strengthen his shoulders before the surgery. We first began doing one set of 10 reps each with very short durations, about 2 seconds max, and have worked our way up to 10 seconds duration for the first set and 5-6 seconds for the second set. But the therapist warned me to watch for signs that we were pushing it too far, and those showed up recently, which we caught on video. Watch the video first, then I’ll tell you more about it. It’s a little under three minutes. We cut out about 30 seconds just to keep it short, I’ll describe more about what is happening after you watch:
Now, watch it again, paying attention to how he holds his leg back at second 34. I wondered if that was random, but also whether it was a sign he was becoming uncomfortable. So when, at second 48, he refused to “Flex,” I felt sure he was trying to tell me something. (I should mention that he has seemingly enjoyed these exercises and offered lovely “flexes” over and over again a few days earlier.) So I asked for it again, but decreased the duration considerably, giving him little breaks in between as well. At second 125 he raised his paw (our next exercise) when I asked for a Flex, which I’ve learned to interpret as “Can we move on?” I suspect it is not because he’s bored (a possibility though), but because his shoulder is hurting. So we did one more very short one, and then quit. You’ll notice an edit at second 146; all we cut out was one more 2 second flex (as well as some later “paw raises,” just to keep the video from being too long.)
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Eight lambs and counting! All the ewes are late, but Dorothy had twin girls Monday night, and today Lady Godiva and Brittany had their lambs (Lady G twin girls and Brittany one little boy–still wondering if there is one more in there, come on, Brittany, have twins!). That makes 7 ewe lambs and one little boy. Gonna have some slumber parties for the girls… are there sheepy chick flicks?!
Willie and I just visited his physical therapist (Courtney Arnoldy at UW Madison Vet School, fantastic woman) and we have an entirely new set of exercises to do. Gotta go get some equipment before we can get started, but I’ll do that tomorrow…. And just when we were mastering the other ones (but they will come in handy, it’ll be great to be able to ask him to pick up each paw… boy is training making his exercises easier! Especially useful are Wait, Get Back, Paw, Touch. (He knew “Take a Bow” but Flex is new, is different than a bow.). Now if someone would just make me do my exercises . . .