Lack of exercise…lack of sleep!!!


Bear is alert, ready for action.

I suppose if I were to sit around the house for two days straight, sleeping away the light hours, I wouldn’t do to well when it was time for lights out.  Yesterday marked the second day in a row that Bear had minimal to no exercise.  I took him on three short walks, following the doctor’s orders of walks to relieve bodily functions, no running, no jumping.  I can take care of the first request of limited walks.  But no jumping and running is more difficult to limit.  Bear takes things into his own paws, racing around the house, jumping up on a couch or bed, completing a couple of 180 degree turns, jumping back off, and repeating the circuit five or six more times.  However, Bear’s self instituted exercise regiment does not come close to the energy expenditures needed for a seven-month old puppy.  Enter night-time, the time most mammals get some shut-eye.

Bear began the night in Dec’s room.  He seemed to be settled on his bed when I left the room, but thirty minutes later Dec had let him out, and Bear was sauntering up the stairs (another no-no according to the doctor’s orders).  And this is where the internal debate begins.  First, I think Bear simply needs to settle down, and that a couch might be a good place for him to settle down.  Of course I come to this conclusion after he whines to get out of our room.  So I let him out of our room.  Two minutes later he is peeking into the room, whining to get back inside, for some reason unable to push the door open another three inches.  Out of bed again, this time leaving the door open for Bear to come and go, hoping he will find a place to settle down for the night.

Two minutes later he is whining again, this time out by the door.  The internal debate changes sides, siding with the “Bear needs to lay down for the night in one spot.”  I lament the fact that his crate is down in Declan’s room, wanting to lock him in there as I begin to countdown the time to the alarm sounding in the morning.  Bear continues whining by the backdoor.  I get up again and let him outside.  He relieves himself, which takes longer than usual as he completes a traveling-poop that covers each corner of the yard.

Back into our room, I put him on his bed, thinking that this will settle him down, though I can hear Bear wondering why we don’t let him up on our bed the way Declan does.  Directing him to his bed does little to nothing in settling Bear down.  He is up and around the room, banging into things with his cone and attempting to scratch his ears.  One of the negative effects of the cone is the inability to relieve an itch.  Another negative effect is what it does to noise.  It acts as a gramophone, amplifying sounds.  I can actually distinguish each nail hitting the cone as Bear attempts to scratch an itch.  What futility.

And then he lays down with a “Harumph,” the signal of settling down.  I hear the deep breathing.  I take a breath of relief.  At that same moment I hear Ashleigh’s meow and scratch at the door.  Though not an old cat, or a grumpy cat, Ashleigh (he came with the name) can be extremely belligerent, bringing out the worst in people.  From past experience, I know that Ashleigh will continue his request to enter the room until action is taken.  I quickly take action in hopes that Bear will stay settled, but that boat has sailed.  Bear is now quite intrigued by the banging on the door.  I open the door enough to grab Ashleigh, take him to the backdoor, restrain myself from throwing him into the bushes, and simply let him outside (somewhat gently).

Bear is back up and scratching his ears.  This time I hear the Velcro rip and the cone fall to the floor.  I am relieved for the cease of noise, and the internal debate begins afresh in my head.  Without the cone, Bear can relieve the itch, getting comfortable and settling down.  He probably doesn’t need the cone anymore.  Can he even reach those staples with his teeth?  I’ve seen him lick it, but that just cleans the wound, right?  As long as he doesn’t snag a staple with a tooth, yanking it out, it’ll be fine.  Sure, it’ll be fine.

But maybe not.  The other side of the argument listens closely to the scratching, and licking, and gnawing.  What is he gnawing on?  Is that the staples?  I jolt up to see Bear gnawing on his back leg.

Damn fleas!  Why did we spend all that money on the Trifexis?  I don’t think it is doing anything.  It’s like a dollar a day for that medicine.  If you don’t count weekends.   We pay a dollar each business day for that medicine, which does nothing.  He is gnawing at the fleas.  Now he is licking.  What is he licking?  Is it one of the incision sites?  I bolt up and Bear is licking at the stitches, but stops when he sees me.

That’ll do it.  He just needed some redirection.  Now he will settle down.  Wait a minute, what is he gnawing at?  What is he licking?  Time to quiet the internal debate by putting the cone back on.  And maybe it is time to surrender, get a book light, and start reading while Bear strolls around the room.

Bear settles down…for a few hours.  At two he is at it again.  Whining to go out.  Up again, I take him to the backyard, making sure that Ashleigh doesn’t sneak back in.  Another traveling poop, I begin to wonder about parvo.  Can’t be, too much energy.  Back inside, Bear takes a good forty minutes to settle down, letting us know that his ears itch.

Bear takes a "selfie" while laying under the chair at the orthodontist.

Bear takes a “selfie” while laying under the chair at the orthodontist.

And then it was morning.  Though running at half capacity, I am determined to take Bear everywhere today.  There will not be any jumping or running, just a lot of visiting and traveling.  We’ll go to the orthodontist’s office; we’ll go out to lunch with Maggie after the orthodontist; and we’ll go into school to pickup and drop-off Maggie.  And we will be tired this evening.


Cone: It is showing its age.  It has two large cracks in it.  And it is too small for Bear.

Bear improving at laying under chair, becoming small.

Bear improving at laying under chair, becoming small.

Concerns with scent training: They continue.  I believe that he recognizes the scent, but signals on visual cues instead of scent.  Last night I began placing scent samples on the kids as they did homework, throwing a party when Bear signaled (many treats and vigorous petting).  I continue to do the scent training we did right at the beginning with just holding the scent and clicking when he signals.


Cone of shame

Cone_LeighDriving to a meeting yesterday I saw a “Cone of Shame” bumper sticker.  After six blocks of following the yellow VW Bug, I gave up my attempt to get a picture of it.  But several of the kids decided to model the cone in the first day of Bear’s recovery.

First it was Emma and Sam who modeled the cone.  Emma said, “It smells like Bear in hear.Cone_emma

Cone_samSam had difficulty breathing with the cone on.

When I am home I relieve Bear of the cone.  Though our human minds might think wearing a cone is emotionally straining for Bear, I am not so sure.  He certainly looked sad when I first put the dish on, but since then he has adjusted quite nicely to it.  He just barrels through the house.  He forces his way under the table.  He pushes past chairs and tables with the cone bending and snapping as he goes.  And now when I put it back on him, he doesn’t even flinch.

IMG_20121129_065641Since Bear can’t talk, I’ll speak for him.  He doesn’t mind the cone so much.  It is a bit of an annoyance, and the cats aren’t sure what to think, but because he gets long stretches with it off, it isn’t so bad.  He can lay and relax at Declan’s feet.  And the need for the cone diminishes with the scars decreasing in annoyance.

The biggest challenge during this recovery will be the low activity needed to ensure the staples stay intact.  It is day three of recovery and Bear is chomping at the bit.  I take him for short walks a couple of times a day.  This is not nearly enough stretching of the physical limits.  This morning Dec was getting on his bike to ride to school and Bear was so excited to run to school.  He ran and jumped along side Dec for half a block until I could reign him in.  (The vet warned against any running and jumping for the next 12-14 days.)

Trapped inside, wanting to run.

Trapped inside, wanting to run.

Training has continued.  In fact, the kids take part in a lot more of the training.  Emma and Sam tend to put Bear through some drills every morning.  Declan does some exercises with Bear every day.  I can tell when Declan has done some training because Bear’s collar is missing.  Declan thinks the collar is uncomfortable for Bear.  I believe the training from different people is very helpful.  It is important for Bear to receive both commands and treats from people other than me.  Not only does it condition him to “listen” to others, but it also gives him permission to signal low-blood sugars to other people.  In fact, this morning Bear signaled Dec, and he was indeed low.