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An Update on Sara’s Surgery and Rehab

A few weeks ago I wrote about our howling tradition. Click here for a refresher. I have to say that poor Sara has the worst voice. Meadow, Adriana, and Floyd can all carry a tune. Their howls start low and deep, then rise until they reach a rousing crescendo. Their howls reverberate.

Not Sara’s. Halfway through the first bay, her voice cracks, and she ends up belting out a high-pitched yapping sound. Eventually, it turns into the same kind of bark she uses on our mail lady. Sara doesn’t care though. No shame. She just keeps yipping away.

Speaking of our little patient, it’s been six weeks since Sara’s surgery, and she’s been leash-free for the last two. She’s doing great. We started her on a slow but steady rehab program. At first, we only walked her for a half-mile, then we increased it to three-quarters, then a mile, and so on.

Only two weeks after Sara’s surgery, we started taking her swimming. Sara may not be the best howler, but she is a fantastic swimmer. In fact, she’s the only one who does it. Meadow stands in the water, deep enough so that it hits her belly. Floyd does the same, only he never goes farther than his knees. Ade trots back and forth along the bank. She gets soaked but never loses her footing.

Thankfully, Sara loves it. She’s like a kid who won’t come out of the pool. Sometimes, we have to bribe her with a peanut butter treat to get her out of the water. Swimming is a great way to rehab a dog’s knee. It’s easy on the joints. Since we walk along the Sulphur Fork Creek, we’ve been taking advantage of all our favorite swimming holes.

Currently, Sara’s walking two-miles and swimming for ten minutes daily. I told her if she learns to ride a bike, then she can enter a triathlon. Because we all know she sure as hell shouldn’t be entering any howling competitions. 🙂



A Howling-fest at the Farnival

Last night, I was fast asleep. It was probably midnight. The bedroom window was open because the weather this week has been close to perfection, cool, sunny days with even cooler nights. Dogs were snuggled around my feet and behind my legs. It was like a cocoon of warmth inside our king-size bed.

Surprisingly, the coyotes cackling woke me up before the dogs; maybe it’s because coyote’s initial cries always sound more human than animal, or maybe the dogs were just sleeping so soundly it took them a moment to wake up. Whatever the reason, a few seconds later, as the coyote’s keening rose to a frantic crescendo, six dogs – all except arthritis-ridden Dessie and crated Tony- leaped up and bolted through the doggie door.

The dogs sprinted to the fence’s perimeter at the farthest edge of our backyard, closest to the forest, and barked, signaling something uninvited was dangerously close. Instead of retreating, the coyotes shouted back with their eerie yipping. They couldn’t have been more than a hundred yards away.

After a long minute of two packs – one wild and one domesticated – bickering back and forth, the clashing barks turned into howls and within moments I couldn’t distinguish coyote from dog. They were all howling together in perfect unison. It was beautiful and disturbing all at once.