Special day for a special girl!
Today for the first time, I saw River's back legs wobble and she was losing a bit of coordination. This is so heart-wrenching! She is 12.5 years old and very special to me for some really emotional reasons. She is a connection to the past for me, and I feel like she and I really supported each other when my marriage ended. Somehow like we were both striking out, side by side, to come to Alberta and start fresh.
When I saw her having trouble walking it really upset me. I even had a big cry over it this morning (when she was not around). I trimmed her feet and then, went out to buy some little rugs for her to follow - they are soft and non-slip. River came for the ride and on the way home, we got McDonald's cheeseburgers for all the dogs. River had two! In the pictures below she is enjoying her cheeseburgers. These are the special reward she always got for a good track.
|River enjoying a cheesebuger on an IKEA lamb rug. You can see her new dark brown nonslip rug behind the couch. There are four of them in a row for her to follow and not slip.|
|Burger number 2 in her spot under the table|
River is a really solid, smart girl. And she has been my main tracking partner since 2005. She had a late start in tracking in part because I had Cancer in 2003, and from some complications from the surgery, I had a hard time bouncing back to do all the walking tracking requires. I even thought I would give it up. In 2004, I needed to get out and do something positive for myself as I was usually home alone on weekends - so thanks to River, I took up tracking again. She got her TD in 2005. Then her TDX, and in 2007, she got her UTD, basically towing me along as I was really in shock with being on my own - and poor Thorn had Cancer.
River seemed to always be there for me when I needed a dog to make me get up and out the door. Which is really funny because she was a shy dog as a puppy, and was never really into going for walks or anything very physical. But she loved tracking, I think because it is fairly solitary and she liked to get out with me one on one for some special time together. The day after Thorn died she and I walked up and down the driveway looking at his 'snow angels' - the spots where he lied in the snow to cool off, as I believe he had a fever and he was tired. She would sniff them, then look at me. She was using her nose and we communicated silently.
It was on that morning that I realized with old Thorn gone, I was free to make decisions and I started to look for work in Alberta. Now, River is the one who is keeping me home and worrying about how she is doing. I don't want her to give me any freedom any time soon. I like having her to come home to. She's like an anchor, keeping this place a home and being a great friend who is always waiting at the end of the day for me to take her for her little walks. The other dogs are young and independent and healthy. I love them all, but am very attached to my old girl.