She Jumps!

I’m not gonna lie. I have maybe spent some time worried that June wasn’t going to know how to jump. Or would be super awkward and not talented at all. I mean, I’ve never had a baby horse before. There is zero guarantee about anything. And sure, her Dad looks like THIS when he jumps:

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Photo By: Janne Bugtrup

But hey, he’s only half of her genes.

Anyway, I was gone for 8 days, and while June got out a handful of times while I was gone, I didn’t want to ride her in my lesson the day I returned. So, instead, we decided to free jump her!

 

Now, I know what you’re picturing. Huge, elaborately decorated jumps. But, let me let you in on a secret. Free jumping actually isn’t as exciting as it is in those fancy broadcasts you see with super fancy horses. For us, we started with groundpoles. And we raised the jumps to about 2’3 at the end. It was lots of me chasing June around and trying to get her into the chute. It’s not glamorous people.

But it is fun. Especially when your baby horse figures it out quickly and thinks she is HOT SHIT and gallops around every time she exits the chute.

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Clearing the groundpole…

IMO she had great form, a great brain, and was super excited about jumping! Not that I am biased.

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2’3 was about 2 feet too small 😉

It was so fun to watch and worth all the running around to catch her and put her in the chute after each go.

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Love those happy ears

Sadly the next day we were back in the round pen, with a dressage saddle, but she’s still thinking all about how great she was at jumping.

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Fraggle Friday on a Monday

This past week Peekaboo made her way to her forever home. I was supposed to drive her to NY about a month ago, but Stella’s surgery delayed the trip.

When I found out Spokane Horse Trials would not be holding a FEH 4 yr old class for me to watch this weekend, I re routed from Washington to NY.

I was not looking forward to this drive. Thirty six hours of driving is not a great use of vacation time, but I was excited to get her to her home and so we loaded up and headed east.

She didn’t help with any of the driving but was a good travel buddy regardless

It was a long 2.5 days, but Peekaboo made it as easy as she could.

It was actually nice just to spend time with her. She had been overshadowed by Stella and Siri at my house.

When we arrived and both basically unfolded ourselves out of the car, Peekaboo saw all the grass and open space and immediately did a happy dance. That blur is her running full speed..

She got along great with my Dads other two dogs and honestly, she really could not have settled in any better.

I spent the weekend showing her the ropes and introducing her to the invisible fence, a process that will take more time than I had, but I wanted to get her started on the boundary line at least. It became clear she had worn a shock collar before- as soon as she heard the beep she ran back to me. Makes me a bit sad for her but will make fence training easier.

A post about being east is not complete without at least one Dublin picture

He looked as handsome as ever and was happy to have me give him some love and apples.

He’s got to be close to 22 but definitely doesn’t look it. I was able to meet up with Amelia from Dark Jewel Designs and we both spoke fondly of these Irish horses and how well they age!

A great, quick, trip home before I head to the Midwest for work. I’ll miss Peekaboo but am so happy for her future with my Dad.

Looking forward to getting back to my two fraggles. I miss them so much!

It’s All Good

So, before I wax on and on about June, let me say this. She isn’t actually perfect. She can be pushy and impatient and sometimes tries my patience. She has serious opinions and I know I am not getting a quiet, easy, horse.

But, that said, she’s pretty amazing.

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I mean, the cutest!

The best part (in my opinion) about baby horses, is that everything is new. There is no having to retrain them, so when they pick up on something, you’re like “OMG YOU’RE THE SMARTEST HORSE EVER!!” Because, they are learning much more quickly than you’d expect. Or, at least, than I would expect.

Last week I had my first lesson on June. It was the first time I rode her in a saddle and it was the first time she was ridden outside of the round pen. She was good, in that she would woah 80% of the time and go about 80% of the time when asked. She would get a little confused, and we’d let her work it out, but she definitely needed some direction and guidance.

Three days later I rode her again, this time in the round pen, since I was alone and she wouldn’t have someone guiding her. She remembered most of what we had done and was so much more responsive. Her woah was much more solid as was her go. She even turned! I was blown away!

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Getting her to accept ANYTHING on her hind legs has been a work in progress and probably our biggest struggle. But now she lets me put on boots without any fuss. One day we’ll try for shipping boots. One day.

And then today we did some groundpole work on the lunge line. Did she do everything perfectly every time? Nope. But she was willing and learned and figured out so much on her own. I didn’t always give her the best line to the poles and it was ok, she would trot through them and get it done. And at the end, when I gave her the option of hopping over an 18″ jump, she happily showed me that this was all a piece of cake.

I feel as though once we get a solid partnership, one where we both trust and understand each other, the sky is going to be the limit. I leave today for a cross-country adventure with Peekaboo, and I know I will miss this baby horse so much. It’s so fun to be excited to go the barn every day. Even if all our homework is just to lead from the right side, or get her comfortable with walking by the ditch on the property. Baby horses are the BEST. Or, at least that’s how I am feeling this week 🙂

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Georgie’s New Beginning

I’ve been meaning to post about Georgie for some time now. But June has kept me busy and filled with content. So, here is the update you’ve all been waiting for. 🙂

I spent much of March riding Georgie, assessing soundness while I asked more of her and got her fitter. The hope was that she would be able to be half leased by a junior rider and she would be able to handle the increased level of work. During the month I went from questioning Georgie’s future to feeling comfortable with her going into work again. It’s amazing what some fitness work and consistency can do for a horse.

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She still refuses to pose for pictures. EVER

When Sarah returned from California the beginning of April I could confidently say I felt Georgie would enjoy getting back to work and doing 2′ to 2’3 jumping with a junior. Sarah had the perfect student in mind and, well, now they’re paired up and Georgie is being half leased.

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Obviously this is hard and weird and sad for me. But don’t worry, I put some stipulations in the lease (cause I can do that, as her caregiver, I guess) and it states in the lease that either Sarah or I can ride the mare once a week to assess soundness (or give her a tune up ride). Despite how strong and sound she was feeling in March, I still worried that the mare would have issue with being ridden regularly. But having ridden Georgie this past week, I can lay those worries to rest. She felt great. I took her for a walk/trot and then just let her gallop, because she was begging me too. It felt great to be back on her and feeling her want to gallop.

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Plus we got to ride with Tommy , who happens to be Georgie’s boyfriend

And while sure, this ride was supposed to be for Georgie, it helped me so much too. When I ride/work with June, I have to be thinking all the time. There’s never really any down time. It was the same with Macy. With Georgie I could just relax and enjoy it. Letting her gallop around the field reminded me why I love riding so much. Why a partnership with a horse is such a special thing.

I still hope June has half the heart Georgie does. I love watching her new rider love on her and I hope she appreciates just how special a horse she is. I’m so glad she is still at my barn, still in Sarah’s care, and that I’m able to watch over her and ride her as well. Oh, and as an added bonus, she is housed right next to June. She has already figured out that for every treat June gets, she gets one too.

So, here’s to a great new life for Georgie, and her teaching another rider just how special a horse she is.

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Fraggle Friday: She Walks!

We are ALMOST 4 weeks post surgery, and Stella is improving week by week. Her veterinarian had told me we should start to see some positive improvements beginning at 2 weeks, but she may not be able to walk on her own for 4 full weeks.

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She still looks pretty rough but sutures are out and hair has begun to regrow

Well, Stella is proving just how tough she is, and began walking on her own at 2 weeks, and now at 3 weeks is looking stronger and stronger.

She still needs help with stairs, and she is still a bit wobbly. Her biggest problem is that she doesn’t want to limit herself. I have to keep her on a leash or she will jog down the road with no concern about the fact that her back end can’t really keep up. I don’t use the sling at all anymore, just help her up and down stairs.

My house, which is completely hardwood, now has a maze of carpets and rugs so she doesn’t slip when she walks to her water bowl or to the front door.

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Siri and Peekaboo think all the new carpet is GREAT!

I’m so happy to see her progress, and hope it continues as she gets stronger and stronger. I had to check myself the other day, and remind myself that she is 14. She’s never going to walk perfectly, she didn’t before surgery, as she still has one torn ACL. She’s also still mostly deaf, mostly blind and 100% opinionated. It’s been nice to see those opinions again though. She is off all of her meds, and is back to being the dog I know and love.

In the meantime, poor Siri has been playing second fiddle. But, quite honestly, she seems fine with it. I tried to make a big deal about her made up 2nd birthday (her “gotcha” date is more of a big deal around here) and took her on a hike and gave her some special treats. She seems to know Stella needs extra attention now and plenty of attention will come her way again soon.

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Could Siri be any sweeter? That’s her head under Stella’s….

I took a video of Stella at 2 weeks post sx and 3 weeks and posted them below. The difference is subtle but she is definitely headed in the right direction.

2 weeks post sx: https://youtu.be/zrAe1CJxFzA

3 weeks post sx: https://youtu.be/O81IaPVMxaM

Yay for Stella! Thanks for all your positive vibes, they certainly helped!

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Actual Pics of Me on June

So, I realize I was all “I’m not going to ride June until she’s 4” and that is still 2 months away. But baby horse has progressed so far and well with her ground work, I was kinda like “Well, its time to hop on her.”

So one day I did just that. Sarah saw me walking her out to the round pen with my helmet in my hand and just said “Let me know when you’ve safely dismounted.” I figured the less of a deal I made about it, the less of a deal it would be.

So, I worked her in the round pen and she was her fantastic self.

I sided her up to the rail, and played around with throwing a leg over her, and putting some weight on her back. Then I removed her rope halter, put my other halter with reins attached to it  on her, and brought her back over to the rail.(I don’t have a side pull and #stellasurgery prevents me from buying ANYTHING not absolutely necessary).

I sided her up, and slid on. We stood there for a moment or two. Then we walked around the round pen a few circles, worked on turning, and called it a day.

It was the least dramatic and most exciting thing ever.

A few days later I decided to try again. This time I worked on shifting my weight a bit when we were walking and asking her to woah. She got that figured out quickly, so we did some more walking around and turning. With lots of just looking around and hanging out.

And on Kentucky 3 Day cross-country day, I decided to take a risk myself, and have her walk around the property with two other horses.

She was great! At one point, we were leading, and I asked the other two riders if they wouldn’t mind taking the lead since we don’t really know what we’re doing and they were like “But you have the best behaved horse!”

Apparently I picked the wrong two horses to go hack with.

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They were fun to ride with and DID end up taking the lead…

June got a little tight in her back on the way home, and I could tell she was feeling a bit frisky as we made the last turn to home. So, instead of making a big issue of it, I hopped off, turned her away from home and had her walk over some ground poles and a log that were set up in the jump field. The other two horses left and she was fine with it. I then hand walked her back to the barn with no issue.

I should note that I was riding bareback in running leggings and sneakers. If things had gone sideways I would have fallen off easily. But June hasn’t been ridden in a saddle since she’s been back, and I didn’t want to introduce that the day we went out of the round pen. I have my first lesson with her Thursday so I’ll be putting a saddle on her once or twice before that lesson (I have been doing this all along) so that when I get on her for that lesson she is at least comfortable with the saddle and remembers it’s no big deal.

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So many pics of her trotting…I know

The groundwork I’ve done with her has done exactly what I wanted. I’m so confident around her on the ground and feel like I know her so well, despite only having had her in my care for 5 months. I’ve learned so much about her and am really loving the horse I have. If she understands the question, she tries her hardest. It’s when she doesn’t understand that she “acts out.” And even her acting out is short lived and quite minimal. When she acts out, my first question is always “what doesn’t she understand?” And I LOVE trying to figure it out with her. She’s been forgiving of my training flaws and seems eager to see me when I come to her paddock.

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First IG pic of me on her back

That said, she’s got a strong personality and opinions. I need to work on things like her getting in my space and being a bit more responsive, but she’s still young and I think those things will refine themselves with work and time. I’m excited to start working with her and Sarah so I can have homework and continue in the right direction.

The other day Sarah said to me “Remember, she’s only in kindergarten,” and that really struck a chord. Kindergartener’s have a short attention span, they have temper tantrums, and they can be easily scared by harsh teaching. On the other hand, they’re curious, eager and very forgiving of what life throws at them. For June, I think exposing her to new things continues to be of the utmost importance as well as “having conversations” about what is expected of her. I’m looking forward to going slow with her, letting her tell me when she is ready for the next challenge. I think this mare has lots of potential and I can’t tell you how excited I am about the partnership progressing and for her to show me what she is capable of!

 

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June’s Big Adventure

One of my big plans for June when she came back to me was to take her to a localish schooling show and let her see the sights and get used to the life she’ll soon be leading. One where she’ll spend nights away from home and may have to travel long distances. She needs to be comfortable going new places and not making a big deal about it.

Honestly, I had zero expectations for this trip, other than I wanted her to load into the trailer and be ok about hauling, Beyond that, we’d see what would happen.

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I’m calling this the poor woman’s side pull. I can;t afford new anything, so reins got attached to a halter…

What was supposed to be a simple haul to show, spend the night, walk the grounds in the AM and head home in the PM turned into SO much more and baby mare handled it incredibly well.

So, from the beginning: She loaded like a champ. She was the first horse on the trailer and we had no issues. We drove to Stella’s vet appt, about 3 hours away. From there, she sat in the trailer for about 10 minutes while I checked Stella in, then we went to the equine hospital  down the road where she unloaded and sat in a stall for an hour while a horse had a lameness exam. She hung out in the stall, drank some water, and was totally calm. Then, back on the trailer, and off to pick up Stella where she stood in the trailer calmly for about 30 minutes, and then to Sarah’s trainers barn where Sarah was having two lessons and we would be spending the night. There was quite a bit of traffic, so we arrived far later than we had anticipated, so we unloaded horses, I threw June into a stall in a dark barn and helped Sarah tack up. June paused for about 3 seconds before entering the dark barn, but that was it. When I went to get her she was munching some leftover hay and happily came outside with me.

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If there’s hay she’s happy

I walked her all over the facility including out on the cross country course. She was a bit leery of the coffin (smart horse) but would happily nibble grass all around it. She was calm and happy and settled in and ate her hay that evening as if she had always been there.

I fed her early that morning and she was bright eyed but didn’t end up eating a whole lot as there was lots going on and we loaded back up about an hour later. She was a bit less eager to get into the trailer. I ended up getting my “ground work wand” as I call it, and she loaded right up. Once we got to the facility we decided to leave her and one other horse in the trailer since it was cool and we didn’t have day stalls. I was worried about doing this, but shouldn’t have been. She definitely pawed, but she was in there a good hour, and about 20 minutes in she gave up on pawing and just ate her hay.

After I read Sarah her dressage tests, I went back to the trailer, got June out and we walked all over. We watched some dressage, jumping warm up and stood at the rail to film Sarah’s first jump round. She was unfazed by all of it. The only thing she gave the hairy eyeball was the Gator four wheeler thing. What’s interesting is we have one of these at our barn. So it’s not novel in any way. Apparently she’s leary of Gators..

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Is there a Gator out there?

But then we had the only truly stressful part of the trip. For humans more so than horses.  After loading up one more time to head home, I told Sarah I needed to stop at Petsmart as I had no dog food at home. Sarah said it was fine, we could, but I hadn’t really thought the entire thing through. Petsmart is in a busy strip mall. It was Saturday at 1pm. Sarah has a 46′ trailer. It would be almost like a semi driver trying to navigate a strip mall. With turns.

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Trailer is no joke..

So, I would say it was a disaster, but it wasn’t realllyyy. I mean sure, Sarah just stopped and parked on what she thought was a not busy side street (it was very busy) and turned on her flashers, after navigating about 5 strip mall turns with her huge ass trailer. And sure, I paid for my dog food and then RAN down the street with the shopping cart like I had just stolen it so I could get to the trailer and keep Sarah from being honked at by more angry drivers. And maybe our poor ponies got swung side to side and back and forth as she navigated that maze, but in the end, I got dog food, horses behaved and so I call it a win. However, now, when Sarah needs something from me and I grumble about it, she just looks and says “Petsmart” and I know I’m indebted to her for a long time…

June got home, into her stall, and started to eat dinner.

Isn’t fazed by anything but Gators.

I’d call this weekend a huge win. Not only for June’s big adventure, but it was really fun to get out of town with Sarah and do horse stuff again. And, Stella’s recheck/PT appt went great. They were very impressed with the progress she’s made! She handled the weekend well and it wasn’t nearly as stressful for her as I had worried it would be. It’s good to have my best traveling buddy with me. If this weekend is any indication, we should be having a very fun spring and summer!

 

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June’s First Week Back

I really can’t express how impressed I am with this mare since she has been back.

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So pretty!

I figured in her first week we would take it a bit easy, and on Day 2 I brought her in for grooming and she was great.  I then put her in the round pen to see what, if anything, she remembered. Mare was 100% game and not only did she remember things, she had an attitude of “ok, now what would you like?” I’d had an issue with her not wanting to be caught  from her field last summer and so Trainer Dana had me work on teaching her to come towards me when I opened my arms, with lunge whips in each hand. If she went sideways I’d keep her from going anywhere with the whip. If she squared to me, I’d slink a little, avoid eye contact and invite her to come towards me. One step forward and pressure was released, I backed up as she came forward. It worked amazingly well, despite my  not believing it would and June never had an issue with being caught again.

On this day, I thought I’d see if she remembered any of that. I only had one whip, but I opened my arms, took a step back and June walked right up to me.

I think the best decision I made was to send her to Trainer Dana prior to letting her rest all winter. Clearly she has retained that info and is ready to move forward.

Day 3 she got off because Stella had surgery and I was in Boise. I took advantage of being unable to work her and had her get her spring vaccinations.

Day 4 we did a little round pen work, a little grooming, and then I took her to the obstacle course. As always with her, if she understands the question, she is game to do her darndest. In a few instances I got in front of her shoulder, which she thinks means whoa and we had some difficulty walking over the bridge or teeter totter. But she did everything I asked, when I asked correctly, and  her favorite is still climbing on the tires.

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What’s the big deal, mom?

Day 5 it was lunging in the indoor arena. I decided to throw some trot poles down as well as the liverpool. I walked her up to the liverpool and we walked over it with zero hesitation. This was a physically demanding day for an unfit pony. Lots of trotting, walking and trotting over the liverpool on the lunge line, and figuring out where her feet are through the trot poles. I could tell she was getting tired when she stopped and looked at me. I urged her forward and she literally threw her head and squealed! Then totally trotted forward. I appreciate the sass almost as much as how quickly she acquiesced.

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I like to watch her trot…

Day 6 she got her teeth floated. And I took advantage of the drugs and trimmed her bridle path, fetlock feathers and butchered her tail a bit. Whoops!

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She’s kinda a lightweight

Day 7 I brought her into the indoor and we worked on standing politely while being groomed, she wore front shipping boots and hind xc boots and we walked around. She was not happy about the rear boots so I left them on while I saddled her and walked her around the barn with her saddle on and stirrups swinging around. She didn’t protest about any of it.

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More tires, please?

I’m pleasantly surprised by how much she grew up this winter and how great her attitude is. We’ll begin taking lessons in May, so in the meantime I plan on just de-sensitizing her to as much as possible and getting her fit enough to begin work under saddle. It’s been great having her back, she brings much needed happiness to each day.  I’m thinking this will be a fun summer together!

 

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Fraggle Friday: Stella Update!

After spending two nights in the hospital, Stella came home yesterday! I can’t even describe how much I had missed her. I would be out doing something and think “I need to get home and let Stella out” forgetting entirely she wasn’t home. Or, worse yet, I’d wake up at night and think “I need to check on Stella” only to sadly remember she wasn’t home. When feeding the dogs I filled her bowl as well, out of habit. I’ve literally never spent a night at home without her. In over 14 years.

So, she’s home again, just this time with a huge scar along her back.

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#frankenpuppy

She’s really, really, doped up. I forgot how badly Morphine kicks her butt. She was on it for her TPLO surgery as well, and she can barely walk, and just seems a bit zombie like when she is on it. That said, it does keep her very comfortable and quiet and she slept from the moment we got home at 9:15 until I woke her at 4am for some water and a potty break. She reluctantly got up, went out to potty (with the sling, she still doesn’t have full use of her back legs) and then went right back to sleep until it was time for more meds at 6:45am.

Because I am not getting a lot of sleep and because she gets all sorts of meds at all sorts of times I created a bit of a pharmacy and log for myself.

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There’s nothing worse than not knowing what med to give or wondering if you remembered to give it at 4am.

Siri still wants to cuddle with her, which is sweet, but I worry if Stella really enjoys it, so I limit it a bit. Even though it is adorable.

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Being very respectful of Stella’s space

We’ll see how Stella does once she’s off the morphine. She’s trying to use her back legs a bit, which is encouraging. We’ll begin weaning her off of the Prednisone Sunday, according to my chart, which is a relief but I always worry she may become painful again. I took most of this week off of work, and expect that for the next week or so I’ll be in full on nurse mode.

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It’s great to have her back home, fingers crossed her recovery goes smoothly. Thanks for all your well wishes! I will say I’m excited to update you on June, she’s been doing so great, but didn’t want to leave you all in the dark about Stell. So, get ready for upcoming June posts!

xoxo

Stella, Siri and Nadia

 

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Decisions

Ten days ago, walking with the dogs, Stella lost control of her back end. She was swaying back and forth, as well as stumbling and falling down. I took my coat off, used it as a sling, took a video, and once home, with her resting comfortably sent the video to a veterinarian friend.

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Screenshot of her drunken sailor walk

She immediately called me and thought Stella may have had a “spinal seizure” or embolism. She recommended Prednisone and to see if she improved any.

She didn’t improve much, and so Stella and I took a 2.5 hour trip to see our favorite orthopedic specialist. He suspected a herniated disc, and because of her age, wanted to see if meds and acupuncture might get the inflammation down and the disc to stop being so angry.

That was a week ago and what a roller coaster it has been. Stella would get a bit better for a day, then regress. Then better to where she could take a few steps, and then fall. Then it got to where she really needed my help walking all the time, and I realized I needed to make a decision asap before she became more neurologic.

During my first trip to see the ortho vet, I was speaking to a friend and said “I need you to be the voice of reason and make sure I don’t agree to doing surgery.” When she didn’t respond I realized the connection had been cut off and she hadn’t heard me. But at the time, I was adamant that my 14 year old dog would not be having back surgery.

But, then I had a week with her. A week where she was the same, opinionated, dog I loved so much. Not being able to get up on her own was frustrating for her, but she had me trained pretty quickly. A mumble and grumble that lasted more than the time it took for her to get comfy on her bed meant she was thirsty and needed me to bring her water bowl to her. When she was feeling good, she’d try to trot and go smell things, despite the fact that I was attached to her via a sling around her back end and was asking her to go the other way. The steroids made her hungry, but she would still look at me like “this is the best you’ve got?” before voraciously eating her kibble. She patiently waited for me to get the crazy dogs out before getting her up, and she always let me know if she wanted to go out the back door or front door (front door if she had to poop because then she’d get a longer walk).

Two days prior to the herniated disc, my old dog went on a trot about with me and Georgie. She had a blast. One day before she hurt her back she was gleefully trotting around the barn eating as much poop as possible before I put her back in the car.

And while she certainly can act much younger than the number assigned to her, she is still an old dog. She tore her second ACL (for which we decided not to do surgery as she was getting along ok and had the other repaired one to lean on) and gets stiff and sore with lots of exercise. She is like an old lady that hates being out of her routine. She wants to be at home, on a walk, or in my car. She can’t see or hear very well anymore and chaos or change really stresses her out. Getting her to eat, some days, is nearly impossible. She literally won’t eat the same thing two days in a row. So yeah, she’s old. And some days are harder for her than others.

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Siri tried to comfort her as much as possible

So in the past week, I have gone back and forth about surgery. For one thing, the cost was incredibly prohibitive. I hadn’t been saving for some elective procedure, this was a surprise that I was not prepared for. But even more than that, how would an old dog do under anesthesia? Is she strong enough to bounce back from spinal surgery? Should I put my elderly dog through this complicated a procedure?

My veterinarian felt she was a good candidate for surgery. Her blood work and chest x-rays were all within normal limits. The procedure has a 90% success rate and she would be under anesthesia for far shorter a time than I had anticipated. She should feel immediate relief even if it takes her a little longer to gain full use of her legs.

So, after 10 days of my dog not doing well, and not improving, I felt I had to say yes to surgery. I had had ten days of the Stella I know and love. The Stella that rules my household and likes it that way. Ten days with the easiest patient, who trusted I would take her out to potty every four hours and make sure she always had fresh water. She was no different from the dog she had been 11 days ago except that she couldn’t use her back legs very well.

Euthanasia was not an option for me. For my dog Squirrel, who had cancer and one night was in so much pain trying to breathe, euthanasia was the kindest option. She wasn’t going to get better. Her condition was not treatable. But Stella’s condition was treatable. She wasn’t getting better with meds and acupuncture, so, for me, the decision was clear. I had to do surgery on my 14 year old dog.

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My dogs laying together does not get old for me

I was surprised by the reaction I got from some about this decision. The grimace they would make when I told them I was going to do surgery. The judgement I felt about a decision that was so incredibly personal. A decision that none of them had to be in, and I hoped never would have to be. And to be honest, if they made a different decision when presented with the situation, that’s completely fine by me. The toughest part of caring for an animal is that we have to make decisions for them. We try to make the best one we possibly can. It’s not easy, and for me, I have cried and cried and cried over it. But I believe I made the right decision.

Stella is in surgery as I write this. I am anxiously awaiting a call from the doctor in the next 10-15 minutes telling me she’s in recovery. Please let her be in recovery.

I have no idea how hard it will be for her post op. But I’ll be with her literally every step of the way. I know she’ll be in less pain and I am hoping my stubborn, tough, dog will make a full recovery and have some quality time left with me. If she doesn’t, I know I’ve done everything I could for her. I know I’ve given her every chance to keep going, and even if she can’t anymore, I did what I could.

So for any and all of you who are struggling with decisions, I’m sorry. I now understand how deeply personal they are, and how sometimes, there isn’t “the right” decision. There’s just the decision you make that you think is best. And I believe that’s all we can do for the animals in our lives.

*** I just heard from the surgeon and Stella is out of surgery and recovering in ICU well!

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