That big sad-eyes look that Cappy gives me every morning when I leave with one or both of the other dawgs for a 90 minute hunt. He doesn't whine and carry on like he used to, but THOSE sad Lab eyes just about do me in.
So ... I've been "planting" a dead duck somewhere in the yard within 100 yards of the garage each morning as we're pulling back up the drive to the house. Cappy can't wait for his "hunt" when I bring him outside and tell him "DEAD BIRD, fetch em up, boy."
There are only 4 or 5 "usual" hiding spots, all near the base of pampas grass stands, and he trots to each one until he finds his bird and then trots proudly back with it in mouth. He's pretty well tuckered out when he gets back to me ... but oh so much happier.
BTW, I wasn't aware of it until a couple JL members pointed it out ... Laryngeal Paralysis often begins with a wasting of the muscles from the back end of the dawg first. Cappy has lost nearly half of his former thigh muscle mass. It's very apparent in that last pic.
Last edited by Cappy_TX; 09-21-2010 at 06:40 PM.
♣ Laura ♣
Aw.....so bittersweet, isn't it?
Oh, Jim, my heart is breaking for you and Cappy. One thing I forgot to tell you the other day was that I modified Mick's activities so he could still do them. I thought of it as aI was driving home from work today. (((hugs)))
I am worried about Cappy having feathers in his mouth for fear he sucks one into his lungs. But I can almost guarantee you that if he couldn't at least do this, then he wouldn't want to continue on. Imagine for a moment if you can, that for 11-1/2 plus years, every single day of his life has been duck hunting or training for it. It's not just an important part of his life ... it IS his life.
Hhmm- I wonder if you could put Cappy's bird in an old nylon stocking? That might help keep the feathers out of his mouth.
Also- I'm assuming Cappy loves to swim. I found Outward Hound's life jacket to be a Godsend. I clipped a long line on it so that if Mick got tired I could pull him back to shore.
Jim, that's a wonderful thing you're doing for Cappy. It is definitely bittersweet, but I suspect to him it's pure "sweet" with little to no "bitter" at all.
Ahhhhhhh you are right it is his life and he deserves to continue to have it. I argree could you use a mesh bag or something on the duck to keep the feathers out of his mouth.
Karon and Cinnamon
Ashes to Ashes, sock to sock.
Here he was as a nine week old pup learning to pick up live pigeons that had been placed in an old sock. Pin feathers will often discourage a young gun dawg from retrieving naturally and that's way too early to even think about force fetching. Therefore, in an abundance of caustion, I usually "sock" the fist dozen or do live birds when starting a new pup off.
As far as the swimming is concerned ... I have been severely cautioned to avoid Cappy going in the water. More than half of the LP deaths are associated with injestion based pneumoia or other similar infections. Here's an excerpt from the Vet's e-mail to me ...
"LP surgery can be very curative and give great quality of life but !!! a dog is NEVER I mean NEVER allowed to swim again, no matter the depth of the water, no fields of grass above the ankle, no excessive outdoor time etc etc. Because the natural mechanism of the protection of the vocal cords is gone (because they are permanently tacked back to cure the disease) and so all grass seeds, pollen, water, moisture, etc will cause life threatening infections and death, MOST owners of older labs that need it are hunters or have water play time and refuse surgery because of the drastic change to the lifestyle of the dog and psyche. The diagnosis is easy, a little propofol and watch the vocal cords while he breaths, it's obvious and quick and easy diagnosis. The rest is up to you and again, only a board certified surgeon should do that surgery.
Last edited by Cappy_TX; 09-21-2010 at 07:42 PM.
Awwwwww - such a sweet thing to do for him - it is SO HARD to watch them get older and have health problems.