8 January 2009
A cold sunny morning … and after a couple of dark and scary days it is most welcome.
Winter is rough on old dogs. But for Bernese Mt. Dogs, of any age… it is also heaven…IF… it snows. Which… it has not…here…so far.
Our stalwart guardian Gulliver has been struggling lately with her ageing mountain climbing legs refusing to cooperate. We have wall to wall non-slip carpets in both studio and cabin … which has been a boon for her ageing human charges as well. So, in anticipation of the ice storm predicted earlier this week, Gully and I took some extra laps around the yard to soak up the rays and limber the joints…and took one step too many and her front leg snapped. I can hardly bear to write that sentence…just breaks your heart to see a big dog come up lame…and this seemed to be a re-injuring of a fracture she received two years ago when negotiating another winter of ice storms.
With the lessons learned from that experience, and a ramp that Saren loaned us, we hunkered down for complete rest and managed to get through the next two days of ice and freezing rain and I found a harness on line, Web Master Harness , (which was originally designed for search and rescue dogs but is now being used for rehabilitation and assisting ailing pups)… and we watched and waited.
Gulliver’s job is to be my shadow, my guardian, my taskmaster, my muse. She keeps me focused, which is a huge job these days, and never lets me out of her sight. So it was hard for her to have to stay home when I walked over to the studio. OK, Harder for me.
Yesterday, when the new harness arrived she slipped into it with no hesitation, was patient while I fumbled to get the right fit, and has worn it proudly ever since. It is a wonder. Has lots of padding, a handle that allows me to lift her easily and without adding to her pain. And, with both back legs wobbly, and one front one clipped, I can take some of the strain off of the remaining solid peg. So with that little bit of extra help…she is back at her post behind my easel.
Gully will turn 10 in March. There have been lots of bumps along her road to strengthen her character and soften my rough edges. We may limp through the rest of her days but I’ll be right beside her holding on tight.
Today is a good day.
Now we’ve got to get to work.