It's been a very long time since I've posted a pupdate.

The short version: Tala is doing great!

You may recall that some years back, shortly after we adopted Diego, our Tala was diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome. Thus began a long, slow process of rest, rehabilitation, and experiments with medication. Our little girl's wild days of being on the move every waking hour were over. But we were determined to do everything we could to transition her into a more calm, but still active, life.

We have been so fortunate that our efforts have paid off. Tala can be off-leash at the dog park again - something we couldn't do for more than a year. She can walk up to 30 or 40 minutes on the leash, a few times a week. She can come upstairs to sleep every night, which was strictly prohibited for years. And we've been able to significantly reduce her medication.

When she comes upstairs, Tala usually doesn't sleep in our bedroom. A friend gave us this extra-big, extra-cushy dog bed, after her wonderful elderly dog left this world. Tala has claimed it as her throne.

When I think of how devastating it was to learn that Tala had a chronic, degenerative condition - one that could paralyze or kill her - and I see her so happy and content now, I am so grateful. I honestly never thought she'd come back this far.

In the process, Tala has become incredibly sweet! When she was younger, Tala was too busy, too active, to pay much attention to her humans. She liked to be pet and would submit to a hug once in a while, but mostly she was on the move, doing that famous Husky trot, keeping the yard safe from squirrels, bullying small dogs at the dog park, goading Diego into play. In her more sedate middle age, she's become so much more affectionate and attached to us. We love it.

She's also very attached to her toys! Anytime she's lying down, relaxing, she likes to have a toy with beside her. Her favourite is Mr. Squishy Bone. (Tala has bad teeth. After she had some serious dental damage, we were forced to switch from her beloved Nylabones to Kongs.) Mr. Squishy Bone exists in triplicate so there's always one around when she needs it.

Tala likes to chew Squishy, but often she just likes to hold it or have it close.

Outside, she likes to have an Orbee around at all times.

Of course, this is her favourite toy.

We have never had two dogs as attached to each other as this pair. They play constantly. (These videos are old, but nothing has changed - except the size of our backyard.)

And they do this at least once daily, often three or four times a day. (Another old video. The window has changed but the song remains the same.)

And how is Diego, you ask? He is the same as always: big, goofy, drooly, happy, pushy, annoying, not too bright, incredibly loving, sweet as can be.


Kathryn said...

So happy to read this! Tala is one lucky pup to have you and Allan...so is Diego.

Amy said...

Great to hear that she is doing so well. Does Diego treat her gently, or can she really play again?

Cassie was never a bed dog---always slept on the floor or the bed (or the couch when we weren't looking). But now she only sleeps on her bed. Funny how they sense their own limitations.

Cassie's life is so confined now. She can't hear, has cataracts, and is arthritic. She sleeps most of the time and has a hard time walking more than she needs to in order to do her business. On the other hand, she still has plenty of appetite and seems content to be a lazy old dog. Very hard for us to watch.

M@ said...

They're both real sweethearts and I love seeing them. We have been through the same process with Bean in a lot of ways, although she was fairly old when her condition got worse. But dogs are amazing in the way they can bounce back - seemingly from any challenge.

laura k said...

They are so resilient!

Also I think they are very much in the moment. Of course we can't really know, but I doubt that Tala or Cassie wonders about their former active selves and wishes they could be young again. I get the sense that they are where they are.

laura k said...

Amy, she can play full-out. She can't run and chase him in the yard - he runs big circles while she just stands in the centre and pivots around a bit. I remember our Gypsy doing the same with Clyde.

But when they tussle and wrestle and play-fight, she is right there with him. They come in from the backyard, and she leads him into the living room, where it is carpetted, so it's easier for her. You can practically see her saying, Come on in here, let's play!!!

She is more playful than he is. She is obsessed with him, he is obsessed with us.

laura k said...

Amy, it is so hard to watch our animals age! But it's fortunate, too.

If Cassie is not in pain, if she seems content and has a good appetite, then every day is a gift to be treasured. That's how I look at it.

Amy said...

That's how I view it also. I trust that she will let us know when the bad outweighs the good in her life. Our pets always have, usually by not eating. So far her appetite is as good as ever, and in her occasional peppy moments she clearly still is glad to be here. And Smokey still crawls all over her, thinking she's his mother, silly cat!

How wonderful that Tala still can be as playful as ever. It's amazing what medicine can do. So glad you guys found such a good vet and a good solution.

It does help to think about them living in the moment, not regretting their changes. I just wish I was more capable of doing that myself! :)

allan said...

I love that picture of Tala with the blue ball. I have a large version up at work. (I also have a pic of Diego!)

West End Bob said...

Oh, we do love our Four-Footed-Children, don't we, laura k?

So glad all seem to be doing so well - Thanx for the pupdate ! ! ! !

impudent strumpet said...

I'm so glad Tala's doing better!

And I know I've said this before, but I love how in those videos they just randomly stop from time to time for no apparent reason (or, at least, no reason that's apparent to me, but it's obviously quite clear to them)

laura k said...

Thank you, everyone! Meant to say that earlier. Thanks for your cheers and good wishes. :)

Imp, I know, it is so funny. I never get tired of watching them play.