Motivation vs Pain vs Anticipation of Pain

People who know Buzz and see him regularly know that he hasn't been "right" since early spring. He lost the spring in his step, he plodded along and only went out to potty, he had occasional good days mixed with mostly okay days. I bounced a lot of ideas off a lot of people as to why this might be happening. We speculated about a lot of things and we tried a few theories out. One thing I didn't really think about until very recently was the possibility of the anticipation of pain impacting his quality of life.

I only thought about this because Gabby recently broke my toe with her tree trunk of a front leg. My toe is healing wonderfully with some tape and a little TLC. A couple days ago I realized that I expected my toe to hurt if someone stepped on it or I bumped it. The reality is that while yes, it was uncomfortable, it didn't make me want to die anymore. But I anticipated the pain to be greater than it actually was, and that impacted what I did.

I know that Buzz loves meal time more than just about any part of the day. He is a downright obnoxious jerk while I'm preparing breakfast or dinner and pretends he has no idea of "stay!"

So I tested the theory that with sufficient motivation, Buzz could actually move at a trot or canter.

And my theory proved to be true. This video is from Thursday morning. I did the same thing Thursday night where he only trotted. I tried again on Friday morning and he cantered into the kitchen! Friday night he TROTTED outside and wanted to go for a walk, so we took a very short one (where I fed him for any attempt to maintain pace with me). When we got inside I set up the same situation asking him to run down the hallway for dinner. And he did. (I tried to get that one on video but unfortunately my Flip froze!)

I don't know if my theory will continue to hold true but I can't believe how easy his canter is. He does drag his right rear at a trot and he appears to always be on a left lead when he canters but we'll see if/how/when that changes. For now, I'm going to cherish the fact that my dog is moving faster than a turtle again!


Third Dog

The geriatric household added a new member. Except she's not geriatric, nor is she a puppy! She'll be eight years old on November 30.

Meet Gabby!