How to Keep a Good Dog Down

The irony is not lost on me.  The previous six months of blogging revealed my truest desire. I’ve been obsessed reading, thinking and doing everything I could to make Zola the ultimate running companion.   I did everything but teach her not to run out in front of a car.   That seems like a million years ago.   Now it’s no running, no jumping, no climbing stairs.   According to our orthopedic surgeon, we have officially entered the critical stage.

Zola’s surgery was three weeks ago, for her this nightmare is becoming a distant memory. Even though her leg still requires five weeks to completely heal, Zola doesn’t know it.  In the meantime, it’s our job to keep her from anything that might re-injure her leg.   It’s a daunting task, but we think we’ve narrowed it down to three simple rules-of-thumb – confine, amuse, and chill.

Confine

For eight weeks Zola goes no where without one of us by her side.  Inside the house she’s kept in whatever room we are in by a series of cleverly placed baby-gates.  When she needs to go outside, it’s on a leash with a gentle-leader to prevent sudden lunges at unsuspecting rabbits.  At night, and on the rare times that we can’t be with her, she’s in her crate.

Why’s this puppy behind bars? She’s proved to us that left to her own devices, she’ll be climbing, jumping and running circles around the house.  For eight weeks, there will be none of that.

Amuse

Confining Zola is only the beginning. She has to do something during her waking hours and we need to help her figure out what that something will be.    As it turns out, there are plenty of things for Zola to do.

First things first, Zola’s got work to do.    Ever since she was she was about six months old, Zola’s been greeting clients and sitting in on many of Carla’s massages.    She was back on the job just a couple of days after returning from the hospital.

Next, Zola’s getting a refresher in the fundamentals of obedience training.  We are keenly aware that a well executed “down” or “come” might have made a big difference in the outcome of Zola’s little fender bender.    These days a swift response is rewarded big time.

We’re also making up 400 variations on the “where’s the cookie” game.  Yeah, we know that Zola’s olfactory ability would allow her to sniff out explosives and drugs, track criminals and find missing children.  However, she doesn’t know that we know this.  We do everything we can to treat her like a genius when she hones in on the treat cleverly hidden underneath a shoe.

Finally, the power of a frozen Kong or an Everlasting Treat Ball cannot be over emphasized.  Training and games are finished before you know it; a Kong, on the other hand, is good for a whole episode of Dexter.

Chill

The most important thing for Zola to do is to chill out.    We thought she would have a serious workout routine for rehabilitation, but no such luck.    The doctor prescribed Acepromazine for weeks 3 & 4, and we can see that rest is what she really needs.   We’re looking forward to the day that she can be her old self, until then we’re doing everything we can keep this doggy down.

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