Friday, March 30, 2018

Silver Linings

On Tuesday evening, I took the girls for a walk. We'd just rounded the corner from our house when Rye started limping. We stopped for a second so that I could get a better idea of what hurt, but Rye always holds up a paw when she's still (seriously, if you watch the video of our first agility trial, she holds a paw up while she waits at the first jump in most of our runs), so she kept lifting different paws.

The go-to position when we're being still.

She's always underfoot, so I thought I might have stepped on her toe and we tried walking a little farther to see if she'd stop limping after walking a bit. She didn't.

Our only option was for me to pick her up and carry her home. She was so relieved to be carried that she snuggled right up under my chin and kept trying to kiss me. Barley trotted alongside us and kept looking up at me like I was crazy. Silver lining #1: this happened to the little dog--because we would have just had to stay on the side of the road until the vultures came for us if it had been Barley.

When we got home, I got a warm washcloth and wiped all of her paws. She didn't put up a fuss. I didn't see any blood or anything stuck to her paws, so I figured it must be some sort of muscle or joint problem and decided to just let her rest. She went in her crate and Barley and I went out to finish our walk.

Rye kept limping and eventually I caught her licking one of her paws. I couldn't see anything at first, but once I had her on the bed and under a light, I saw a little sparkle. She had glass in her paw.

When I was about 12, I stepped on glass at my friend's pool party. Her mom tried lots of different ways to get it out of my foot. She soaked my foot in warm water to see if that would soften the skin enough to pull the glass out. She used tweezers to try to get the glass out. When that didn't work, she tried to put some duct tape over it to see if we could pull it out that way. In the end, I had to go to the doctor and they numbed part of my foot and then cut the glass out with a scalpel.

Since that was my only experience with getting glass out, I decided to try the same things. First, I wrapped Rye's foot in a warm wash cloth to try to soften the paw pad up a bit and then I tried to use tweezers to get the glass out. Rye has never liked having her paws touched and she especially didn't like this. She never growls at me, but that night she did. Of course, that upset Barley, so she had to go in her crate and that made her bark, which made Rye more upset. Eventually we had to give up because I couldn't get her to hold still.

She forgave me and then decided to sit on me so I couldn't get the tweezers again.

We woke up the next morning and made it to the vet's office minutes before they opened.

When we got in, the receptionist told me that I might have to leave her and they might have to sedate her to get the glass out. Unfortunately, I was thinking about how easy my own experience was and I'd fed her breakfast that morning, which would complicate sedation. Silver lining #2: Rye behaves better for other people than she does for me and she let the vet poke around in her foot for about 20 minutes and they got the glass out without sedation.

The glass was about the size of a sesame seed, but it had been difficult to get out, so her paw pad was pretty bruised by the time they were done. They bandaged her up and sent her home with some antibiotics and a couple days of pain medicine. 

She wasn't happy about having to wear a boot over her bandage to keep it dry in our mud pit of a yard. She wasn't happy about not being able to chase squirrels. 

She really wasn't happy that I wasn't going to let her go to agility class and jump while she was doped up on pain pills. Silver lining #3: our trainer said there were plenty of things we could work on in class while keeping Rye on leash, so she still got to go to class and use her brain. We did all kinds of exercises with the other dogs in class on each of Rye's turns to practice reactions to distractions and ignoring other dogs that were in close proximity. 

Silver lining #4: one of our classmates had invited a coworker and her children to come observe class. We also had the children act as distractions and got Rye used to working around kids who were running and playing. We don't have a lot of kids in our life, so it's not easy to get in good training around kids. I'm also not super comfortable hanging out with kids, so that doesn't help the dogs feel relaxed around them, either, and it's not like you can just go up to people with kids and say, "My dog's never around kids and I have no idea how she'll react to them, can we borrow your kids for some training?" This was the perfect controlled environment to work on their reaction to kids. Rye even let both kids pet her at the end of class--and she usually doesn't let people pet her at all.

Silver lining #5: this only lasted a couple days. This gave me a taste of how difficult it is to keep Rye still. When I first brought her home, she'd just been spayed and was supposed to have limited activity--and that was impossible. She flew around the house and I was worried she'd ripped her stitches on several occasions and even took her into the vet to check once (she didn't). Even though she's older and has more self control now, it was almost impossible to keep her from tearing around the house without putting her into her crate. I'm thankful that we didn't have to deal with a long-term recovery because we might not have survived that experience.

Silver lining #6: there was just a teeny tiny puncture from the glass and some bruising, so she's almost 100% back to normal now. We have our next agility trial in a week and when she started limping, I was worried that she was seriously injured and I'd have to pull her from the trial. She's been running around like a crazy dog playing with Soth again, so it looks like we'll be ready to run on Saturday.


  1. Glad it didn't turn out to be something really big. I have a knack for injuring myself right before nose work trials. I'm a baby and won't move around, so I'm easy to care for. So happy it all worked out well.

    1. Not moving around is not in Rye's DNA. Even when her paw was still too bruised to walk on the road, she was getting zoomies in the house and the backyard, so I kept having to tackle her :) Thankfully, she seems back to normal and we got in our first walk in days today!

  2. Phew. I'm so glad Rye came through that OK, and it didn't slow her down for long. If at all - LOL. I love her high energy!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    1. I'd been binge watching ER on Hulu and I was so sure that I was prepared to take care of it at home ;) She's still growling when I touch her paw, but I think it's mostly her just being mad because she's never liked having her paws touched and she doesn't growl if I ask for a shake, so I'm pretty sure she's back to normal!

  3. Oh my gosh, poor Rye. I had something in my foot, and apparently my body decided it would grow around it. It made like a little cyst, and every so often I go to the podiatrist and he digs it out with a scalpel, thankfully he's pretty skilled and it's only uncomfortable for a few minutes.

    I can't imagine how hard it was to keep Rye and her puppy energy still.

    1. It was not easy to keep Rye still! Thankfully, it wasn't a bad injury--just like us a big splinter, so it was mostly just bruised badly. She couldn't walk on the hard ground for almost a week, but she was tearing around the yard and chasing squirrels within a couple days.