Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bring On The Bubble Wrap

It's funny how sometimes you resolve to do something and then it comes back to bite you in the rear, or the toe as the case may be.  Tuesday I was talking about trying to find the happy balance for Blueberry between being active and not overdoing things.  We got a nice helping of snow Tuesday and it was my last day of break before going back to work, so we decided to take the girls to the dog park.  It's an activity that Blueberry enjoys, as do Morgan and Bunny, and she can go at her own pace there.

We arrived and Blueberry took off with Bunny.  I could tell that the snow and cool weather were a perfect mix for them.  Mr. Taleteller and Morgan soon joined us and Morgan was off to try to catch up with them.  They did several huge circuits around the dog park and it was awestriking to watch them do what they were born to do.  Blueberry was really enjoying herself and giving it all she had.  She and Morgan seem committed to helping Bunny get in shape for that big race.

The park has a section for small dogs and so the larger dog section is actually a large L shape.  Blue is particularly interested in hanging out in the back section and stalking squirrels.  As Bunny and Morgan came back around and kept up their antics, I didn't think much about the fact that Blueberry wasn't with them.  After a few minutes, though, I decided to walk around and check on her, to make sure I knew where she was and what she was doing.  When I walked around the corner, I saw her, holding her paw up and looking a bit relieved to see me.

I walked over to her and brushed the snow off her foot, figuring that the cold was getting to her.  Still, she held the foot up.  I tried coercing her into walking forward a bit.  She kept the brakes on.  Her back legs were trembling from the strain and cold and I pulled her over to lean against me.  Then I called my husband.  I could carry Bunny or even Morgan, but Blueberry is a big girl.  He huffed, but picked her up to carry her to the van to warm up.  There are a few perks to getting old.  Bunny and Morgan circled around to see what was going on and offer moral support. 

After Bunny and Morgan had run out of steam, we collected them and headed back for the van.  When I opened the door, I was surprised to see her still holding her foot up, but the van doesn't offer a lot of room to do exams, so we loaded up and headed home.  Morgan and Bunny were escorted out of the van and I turned to have a closer look at Blueberry's foot.  She wasn't having any part of being examined and when I looked down at her, without any snow on her paw, I realized that the toe was sticking out at an awkward angle.  Mr. Taleteller carried her into the house and I gave him the news.  He was not too happy.  To his credit, he did not say "I'm so glad I gave up half a day of work for this" or "You know Morgan and I are going to miss our first obedience class tonight."

It's not uncommon for Greyhounds to dislocate toes.  I was pretty sure that's what had happened.  I gave a sigh and made the call to the vet's office.  Mr. Taleteller dutifully carried Her Royal Blueness back out to the van.  We set of to have the toe examined and x-rayed.  I felt awful for her in the lobby while we waited as she tried to pretend that not being able to see her would make it all go away.

I wasn't quite sure if they'd actually be able to do anything for her, but I am glad we went.  It turns out that she broke her P3, which would be her third phalanx bone in her toe.  It's not shattered, just broken in two, possibly three pieces.  She has a splint and a nice IV bag to wear over it to keep it dry.  She won't be visiting the dog park, or hiking, or much of anything for the next six weeks.  I'm ready to go with Morgan's idea of bubble wrap suits. 

So, I guess we'll start easing Blueberry back in to easy hikes in the Spring and see how it goes.  I'm not too worried about her getting too crazy because she's pretty mellow and laid back, but I do want to come up with some ideas to keep her from getting too bored while she's on the mend.  My question is for everybody out there who's ever experienced an injury that required rest or who just happens to have any creative ideas.  What do you do with a dog who wants to be somewhat active, but is on restricted activity?  I know she's going to need some special time just for her or she's going to get depressed seeing Bunny and Morgan getting to go out and do things while she can't.  Any and all ideas will be appreciated.

This is framed in my vet's office.  It's a note he wrote to his mom when he was a boy.  His mom gave it back to him when he grew up.  Every time I see it, I have to smile!  I guess it's a good thing that we don't get everything that we wish for.

Blueberry Types for the Blog
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  1. Ahhh, the good ole IV bag for protection from the elements. Those things are almost indestructable. I still have Sadie's hanging from the hook by the back door and it's been over a year since we used it. As far as ideas to keep them from getting bored, I don't have any. Once they start to feeling better, they have a tendency to start acting a little frisky!

  2. Poor girl! I'd say lots of treats are in order. Plus some extra soft things to lie on... maybe a new woobie or two. I haven't a clue how to amuse a greyhound - buy her a big fish tank full of fish to watch? :)

  3. We're so very sorry to read about Blueberry's broken toe! Hope it heals cleanly. Have you checked out KB's blog, Rocking & Rolling in the Rockies? Her Lab, K, had a bad bone infection which eventually required amputation of a toe. She's an active dog and KB recounted lots of in- house activities to try and keep K entertained.

    Once Blueberry is healed and cleared for action, you may want to consider targeted exercise just for her. For example, when mama was a LOT younger, she used to ride bikes with the Great Danes. The Danes learned to trot beside the bike very quickly. She'd do longer, faster rides with the younger Danes and shorter, slower paced rides with the older Danes. The Danes enjoyed the one-on-one time and got the level of exercise they needed. Of course, Blueberry will still want to run with Bunny & Morgan, but you may want to restrict that to a little backyard playing instead of full bore dog park playing.

    Give Blueberry a gentle hug from us.

    Jed & Abby

  4. PeeEss: KB is at It's Romping & Rolling in the Rockies, not Rocking as mama erroneously typed above.

    Jed & Abby

  5. The study in white, black and two blurs of pink is stunning. Hope Blueberry settles into a calmer routine !

  6. Hi Blueberry, Bunny, and Family!
    I'm friends with Pip, and I see you are gonna have a race off! I'm your newest follower too.

    Hope Blueberry gets better soon. You can try mind boggling tricks to help get her mind off running about.


  7. We always envy you your dog parks - we don't have those in the UK and it must be good to let the dogs run somewhere secure!
    Poor Blueberry though - we do hope she is better soon.
    We loved the pics of Mr Taleteller doing his Mr Darcy routine!
    Thanks for the harness link - we will have a look.
    We currently have two harnesses but with bassets being an odd shape they tend to rub and cut in - Ezydog do one that does not go between the legs which might help.
    We will certainly look at the spook one too.
    Martha and Bailey xx

  8. Oh Poor Blueberry!!!
    We had to have Arrow cooped up inside for a month when he had his fractured larynx last year, that was an effort and a half!
    Treat balls are a great distraction. And when you take the other dogs out, can you give Blueberry a big bone or something to occupy her?
    As for when it comes to being allowed to exercise her again, make sure you take it really slowly to begin with and gradually increase her exercise. With Arrow our vet instructed us to start with 5min walks and slowly build up to normal length walks over a few weeks. That said, his recovery was a bit different- as we had to watch his breathing and eating, whereas Blueberry's injury is her toe!
    Good luck, speedy healing to Blueberry!

  9. Miss Blueberry is so brave to try and run with her boo boo. Just like a dog, right? Always being stoic. Glad she is portable. Best wishes for a quick recovery.


  10. Oh, I am sorry for Blueberry. This is pretty much our story now to include Pip without over doing things. We are lucky that he is small so he can ride in a stroller or wagon. Sometimes, just taking him along on rides (where one of us can stay in the car with him while the other goes in the stores) helps.

    We also sometimes give him "jobs" around the house. Like I will tell him he needs to go wake up our daughter in the morning, which he usually will do and then we reward him and he seems happy to help.

    Your pal, Pip

  11. Oh No poor Blueberry! I am so sorry that you broke your toe! OUCH!

    When one of the boys get an injury that requires restricted activity, we try to play brain games with them, this completley exhausts Leroy:)

  12. Heehee...that was a funny note. Even *I* don't want a skunk!

    And poor, poor Blueberry. I sure hope her toe heals up real fast. Can you still take her (and maybe JUST her) to the doggie bakery and stuff? Not let her walk around too much but at least she'll feel like she's being included?

    Get better real soon, Blueberry!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  13. Blueberry, we are so sorry you are down and out of action again. A broken toe sounds very painful if you ask us. We will try to think of some mental things you can do while you recoup. With such long legs I bet it is really hard to walk on 3 legs. Sending some hound drool for a speedy recovery. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about Blueberry's broken toe and hope she has a speedy recovery. I don't really know what you can do with her at home to keep her entertained, may be some tricks which don't require any big movements.

  15. Poor Blue, she just can't get a break. All that fun and freedom and now she's stuck indoors again for awhile. That sucks. But I suppose it is necessary. The more she stays off that toe, the faster it will heal.

    It sounds like a great opportunity to work on some fun new tricks that don't require a lot of standing. Does she know how to "play dead" yet?
    Hope she feels better soon!

  16. Oh Poor Blueberry. I hurts myself all the time cause I did the spilts at the dog part once and I keep pulling the same back leg muscle. But, I was getting in the tub the other day and hurt my other leg. I have to rest and it get better in less than a week. So, lots of marrow bones - playing with toys while laying down - and extra cuddles.

    woof - Tucker

  17. We're so sorry to read about Blueberry's toe. We are glad that it will mend though! We'll try to think up some suggestions!

    Love that letter in the vet's office!

    Woofs and Kisses!
    The Fiesty Three

  18. Poor Blueberry... is it her Right Front??? Beclaws in that last pic. it kinda looks like there is something sticking out at an odd angle.

    I hope she isn't in any pain now. OUCH OWIE
    I will cross my paws and send some MENDING Vibes
    VIBES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  19. Oh no.... sigh, always something isn't it? So sorry to hear she is dealing with another owie. Restricted activity...well there is always slowing her down by grabbing her collar when she wants to get going. If she is food motivated then you could stuff a hollow bone and she might perhaps work on that for quite a while trying to lick out the peanut butter (or what ever you stuff in it) You could freeze it to make it take longer to get out. There are also toys that, if she works on it, little treats come out of. Just things to keep her occupied in a little more of a subtle way. Perhaps not the greatest thing when other hounds are around wanting to take it away, but good for times when you take Bunny and Morgan and have to leave her at home.

    I hope it mends quickly...greyhounds and those long slender toes of theirs. Scritches to Blueberry! Hugs to you all.

  20. Oh noes, sports injury! But better she has restrikshuns in the winter than in the summer. We has had two fosters in the past wot had surgeries wot required strict crate rest with only out of crate on leash to potty and back in crate 24/7, one 2-year-old dog fur THREE months and a 4-month-old puppeh fur TWO MONTHS! All I rememmer is mom losing her mind trying to keep them entertained without letting them move around. Mom gathered a collekshun of toys to rival those of Busy Buttons and rotated constantly so there woz always a noo toy. Lots of safe chew stuff to keep them occupied fur long periods of time like antlerz or bully sticks. And just sitting with them and spending time with them where they be laying down and not moving. It is not easy - I has witnessed it furstpaw. It be rilly easy fur the V-E-T to say when they is the ones not hasing to keep the dog quiet! (Whoa, I think your V-E-T do has unresolved skunk ishoos with his momma! BOL!)

  21. Oh no! Poor beautiful Blueberry! I hope she's feeling better real soon! Lots of toys, kongs and bones always help when I've hurt something - but I'm usually the only dog in the house unless we have a foster. Maybe packing her up in the van just to take a ride around! Make her feel special and get her out of the house for a bit :o)

  22. I love that picture of her with her head under your arm. She knows you're her Mom, and she is looking to you for comfort. That is so beautiful. I hope her toe is better soon...!

  23. Oh little toe can just take you down can't it?? Maybe lots of rides and trips to fun places where you can kinda walk or just sit outside a cafe when it's not below 0?

  24. Oh no! We are so sorry to hear about Blueberry's broken toe. Bunny and Morgan look so concerned n the photos. I think special treats are in order for Miss Blue.

    Your vet's note is very cute.

    Get well soon!

  25. We hope Blueberry heals quickly. I'm not very good at handling these kinds of things. I usually fall apart. But I have found that these noble creatures we call dogs have a way of working it out. We know she'll be fine because she has people who love her.
    Buddy's person

  26. Poor girl! I have no suggestions. When Emmy had her spine fused she was easy, since her idea of a good time is sittine in my lap. When our Saint Bernard was in a cast, she was easy, too. All she wanted was a good pig's ear and she was in heaven. Unfortunately for me, she also like to try to sit in my lap ......

  27. EEgads. NOW I feel like such a heel. here i am saying, let her do what she wants. she'll know when she has done too much... and here she is overdoing it and breaking a toe. gosh i hope you ignore my advice from now on. she is fragile!

    as for keeping her busy, well, you can ignore this advice too (and you probably should) but
    i would restrict her normal meals to smaller portions (much smaller) and during the day, or whenever you can, do thinking games with her so she gets a food reward. using her brain will wear her out, i promise. it's not a long term solution, as for humans and dogs, everyone needs a balance of mental and physical activity. but in case of having to do less physically, i'd UP the mental parts to tons of thinking games. (like what KB did with K.) i play house games with L&J in bad weather all the time. (find it, or holding various objects with their mouths or even stupid stuff like shutting cabinet doors with their noses or picking up dirty socks and putting them in the laundry basket). they all sound hard but once you establish game rules with dogs (they understand they must play and either guess at what to do or be lured to what to do) then all those silly tricks are pretty easy to do after a while. and they're new.

    since she can't walk/run a lot then you'll have to do a lot less dinner feeding and use training as way to give the food. so it tires her out and she gets part of her dinner.

  28. Poor Blueberry! Hope she heals well and quickly!!

    Funny that you had to go looking for her instead of being alerted by the GSOD! Joy broke her tail last year and she didn't make a peep - just had that "mom, help me" look on her face. I guess GSODs are reserved for drama-queen situations only ;)

  29. Oh no! Blueberry finally gets to go and she hurts herself in the excitement! Poor baby! Trixie does the same thing - hide my face, you can't see me!

    I have nothing to offer to keep her entertained, I just hope she heals quickly. I feel so bad for her!

  30. Song is sending Blue huge hugs (((Blueberry))). We hope she will have her evey whim pampered.

  31. Blueberry sorry about your foot. We send you lots of love and licks. We hope you get well soon and please don't freak out when mom and dad leave with your siblings. It hurts their feelings to see you sad. Maybe you'll get a special treat or toy when they leave.

  32. Oh no, Blueberry broke her toe? We've never broken a toe, but our Mama broke HER toe two times, and she says it HURTS! But dogs are tougher than humans, usually. Poor BLueberry, give her hugs from all of us!
    The vet's letter made us laugh. His meanie mom SHOULD have given him that skunk!!!

  33. That picture is so funny of the note your vet wrote to his mom when he was a kid.

    Poor Blueberry! I can't believe she managed to break her toe when she got to go to the dog park! I feel bad for her. Riley's had to be on crate rest and be bandaged before. The only thing that got us through that since she's such a high energy dog is sedatives. So I have no helpful advice for you, sorry!

    We hope Blueberry feels better soon and that the toe heals up nicely.

    Elyse and Riley

  34. Poor Blueberry and poor you.

    How ironic that it happened the week that you'd posted about Blueberry. I'm afraid there are far more experienced dogs than me to give advice.

    I just hope Blueberry's feeling a bit better now. I'll look out eagerly for updates.

    Send her ALL my love


  35. Oh my! Poor Blue! One of our GSD brothers broke his toe a few years ago and even though he was old, he still wanted to swim and go for walks which, of course, he couldn't do for MORE than two months! It was tough on him but somehow he muddled through. He would still go to the swimming pond with us, but had to stay on a leash and just watch. He had a cast and he hobbled around on that with a bootie over it to keep it clean - it actually HELPED him walk better. Maybe Blue would like some of those treat puzzle things? Guess there's no real substitute for a good zoomie, huh? Wishing the best to all of you!

    FUNNY note!

    The Road Dogs

  36. We're so sorry that she's got another injury! I would suggest some puzzle type toys that can maybe keep her interested. We've never had to worry about this before ourselves.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  37. Oh we are so sorry - poor Blueberry, poor you. We don't have any good ideas for you, but we knew Wild Dingo would. We are pretty sure you are visitors to KB's blog, she would be another great source of ideas. We will cross our paws for good and speedy recovery for Miss Blueberry.

    Hugs to you too.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  38. Poor Blu Berry! You know, we found out recently that Xander broke a toe some time in the past. He limps from time to time now when he over-does it. I hope she heals quickly, and doesn't have any lingering problems from the break. Please administer a great, big hug from us! I won a necklace in Blu's auction, and think of her when I wear it. :)

  39. Poor Blue! Geez, if it isn;t always something with a hound!! Sending healing vibes her way! Love that note from your vet wrote as boy - talk about priceless!!


  40. Hi Houndstooth. I am sad to hear that Blueberry's outdoor fun will be curtailed and that she hurt that toe bone so badly. We do have some recent experience with this kind of thing, and I can make some suggestions - but I have a feeling that you already know all of them.

    Here were pieces of our strategy when K couldn't do much of anything outdoors.

    1) We kept a large supply of kongs with frozen dog food inside them. "Frozen" is key because it takes a long time for a dog to get all the food. When we had to take R outside for something fun, K always got at least one kong to tide her over. She became conditioned that when we prepared to take R outside, she stood by the freezer awaiting her kong.

    2) When possible, we had one of us stay home and play games with her while the other exercised R. At certain times of day when we did particularly beloved outdoor activities with R (e.g., the evening hike), even the kongs didn't placate K. She'd cry so loudly that I could hear her from a distance with the windows closed. So, for that hike, one of us would stay with her and play training games. We taught her the names of her toys and all sorts of utterly silly things that distracted her.

    3) We spent time outdoors without walking far. I'd take K alone for slow leash walks with stops to sit on rocks or to play little training games very frequently. I could spread an eighth of a mile walk into a half hour! K seemed to enjoy it.

    That's all that I can remember for now but I'll tell you when more things occur to me.

    I like the bubble wrap suit idea! So does our pet health insurance company. We've cost them a lot in the past year!

  41. Now yu tells da delectable Miss Blueberry to do as she has een tolds n rest dem poor tootsie, Please givs her huge cuddles from me nd everyone here. Bless she is goin frew da wars isn't she.
    Sendin her lots ovs da healin vibes n forts.

    Fank yu also fer da kind comment on my bloggy.

    xx xx

  42. Aww, poor Blueberry. Hope her little toe heals up quickly. BTW, LOVE the vet note - TOO adorable.

  43. Ouch on the toe. The hu-dad says he has personally done the same thing and he said it hurt.

    Loved the note the vet has. His mom had a great sense of humor to keep the note.

  44. aaaah poor baby. Hope your tootsies heal soon
    Benny & Lily

  45. Poor Blue! :P

    I've been lucky with Barbie so far, she had a big tumble down at the river and skidded about 100m on her back with her legs flailing in the air.... the river hasn't really been the same for her since :P she didn't do any permanent damage but she doesn't really run there anymore... she would prefer to stick to soft sand at the beach or the nice flat oval down the street.

  46. Blueberry! Oh no! We are so sorry! We will pray for her! As for entertaining her... bones and belly rubs!

  47. Oh, that's too bad to hear. I didn't realize this was something that could happen often. We hope she gets better soon, but we know in the meantime she'll be getting plenty of attention.

  48. Oh no, we're so sorry to hear about Blueberry's owie. We hope she heals quickly.

    Lots of stuffed frozen Kongs, stuffed frozen dehydrated tracheas, physically undemanding tricks and games . . . . that's all we've got now. Maybe scent games around the house?

  49. Oh dear Blueberry. Flocko has done that twice now. He has gone for several months at a time without playing ball and it does not make him happy.

    You just have to convince mom and dad that the little romp was so worth it and that a little broken toe is well, it sucks, but it will heal and you promise to be more careful next time you and bunny take off for some fun.

  50. awww, miss blueberry! i'm sorry you broke your toe! i didn't know that greyhounds were prone to those types of ouchies. pretty please take it easy and rest and of course work it for some extra treatsies!

    the booker man

    pee s -- my mama got totally tickled from reading your vet's note!!


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