Friday evening it was 52 degrees out, and I decided it would be a good time to get Samantha out under no team pressure. She and Demon needed some exercise so I harnessed them both up and hooked them up to the bike. We took a liesurely pace that both dogs felt ok with. When we got a little fast for Samantha, she pulled back, and I stopped us for a second until she felt comfortable going again, and we picked up the steady fast trot. Demon seemed minorly frustrated with the stop, but it did Samantha a world of good to know we were not going to outpace her. She became much more confident and pulled the rest of the way. We went about 1.25 miles before turning around and coming back. Both dogs were happily smiling the rest of the evening, especially after eating their frozen meat treat. Checking both their paws, they did not show any significant wear, so with some relief, I gave them each a rub down after they had finished their snack. Both dogs love their rub down, and it is one of the things they look forward to when they get back. As soon as they had both finished their snacks, they came to me, leaning on me and waiting their turn.
Having had a lot of experience with pressure points and massage (no formal massage training, but a significant amount of martial arts as both student and assistant instructor), rubbed down a lot of horses and lots and lots of time petting dogs, I've learned what helps a dog relax and loosen up its muscles after a run, and I employ this rub down after every run no matter how insignificant. It helps in bonding with them as I check for any injuries, worn paws, etc, and the dogs love it even though they don't always like me messing with their paws.
Saturday I was a bit under the weather, so didn't run the dogs, much to their disappointment, however, Sunday I felt pretty good and harnessed up the race team (Yukon and Buck in wheel, Freya and Bandit in lead) to the ATV. We went about 2 miles, turned around and came back for a total of 4 miles. The whole run was very fast, and ready to start timing them. The team had no significant wear on their paws, were happy and still rearing to go, so next run will be longer. Later on in the afternoon Bandit got to hang out with James and I as I stoked up the grill for marinated pork chops (we have a 30 foot training lead). We did some recall training with him, and he was very reliable when I called him, but not so much for James. ah well. He's such a good dog.
G'kar is beginning to worry me. He has started limping noticeably on his left hip. Because of his arthritis, I've been giving him an asprin and a glucosamine biscuit every day. Last night he had significant indigestion and this morning he didn't even want his biscuit. So I had some bones that help with digestion, and gave him one. At least he ate that, but I'm worried now that he may not be able to handle the asprin any longer. I will have to watch him today and see if it is just a fleeting thing. I may have to change him off from the food I feed the rest of the dogs and get him something with less protein and fat content. He's over 15 now, and we know he is on borrowed time. He still loves to play, but he has days where we see his age and pain. His eyes are definitely cloudy, but he still sees movement and contrast well enough to catch a tossed treat, or find his dark squeaky ball against our off-white carpet, but sometimes he loses things like his biscuit on the carpet, or other similarly colored objects. His hearing is slowly fading and when he used to hear the whisper of his name from across the yard, now we have to yell loudly to get his attention in the same room. He still adores me and follows me around like a second shadow, but every now and then he doesn't get up when I do, but waits until he knows I'm leaving the area before rising. How old is too old? I keep asking myself, and trying to find the fine line between quality of life and my selfish need to know he's there. Losing his lifemate and pal Valkrys has aged him rapidly, and even though he likes Freya and Princess, and tolerates Samantha because I tell him he has to, he just hasn't been the same. I know he misses her even though she was getting cranky in her old age, but I think he understands now why.