Sunday, November 25, 2012

Little Brag

Rubi has a history of being very, ah, adverse to invasive body handling. When I picked her up from her previous foster home, he told me that the only time he felt that she might bite him was when he tried to trim her nails. Which wasn't terribly shocking since she had been returned to the rescue for biting the person who alpha rolled her. After living with Rubi for so long, I can say with absolute certainty that Rubi will only bite if she feels in fear for her life. And that being physically manipulated, given her history of traumatic handling, sometimes makes her feel that people are going to kill her.

Rubi and I have worked very hard to help her overcome her fear of handling, and it's paid off in so many ways. But you can imagine that between the other dogs and the handling issues, vet visits tend to be a bit stress inducing. Last year, Rubi handled the dogs fairly well, but being handled by strangers made her very uncomfortable. We worked on this, and if I was expecting just general restraining at this years vet visit, I wouldn't have been too concerned.

But Rubi's been gimping. One walks, when we first start and before she's gotten really warmed up, she often hop-skip a few steps. It's a movement I associate with Katy, who had  severe bilateral patellar luxation. Basically, Katy's knees weren't built right, and this cause her knee caps to pop out of place. She would then do that funny little hop-skip step to get her knee caps back into place. Unless surgically corrected, patellar luxation is degenerative and can cause a lot of pain for the dog. Needless to say, I really didn't want Rubi to have this condition.

I sure do miss this little dog.
Photo by Paige.

After a thorough exam (which Rubi handled beautifully), Dr Megan determined that Rubi's knees were most likely fine. Which was immediately followed by the bad news that it might be her hips. Rubi is an active dog, so if there's a problem with her structurally, I want to know about it so that I can do whatever necessary to keep her as active as she needs to be. This meant that Rubi needed xrays to find out exactly what was going on in her back end.

Cue dramatic music.

I am so very proud to say that Rubi handled her xrays like a pro. This involved being picked up and placed on the xray table, positioned by at least two strangers, held still while pics were taken, being repositioned and held still again, and then being picked up and set back on the ground. It doesn't get much more invasive than that.

There's no ribbon for "I Didn't Bite the Vet," but I feel like there should be. It's really the little victories that mean the most when you have dogs with special needs. Moments like this are so much bigger than any title I've ever worked toward or achieved.

And the results of the xrays? Rubi has a touch of spinal arthritis, not an uncommon finding in a seven year old dog. The prescription is take glucosamine and fish oil, stay active, and stay lean. So basically, we'll just keep doing what we've been doing. It seems to be working pretty well.

Picture of the best crazy dog ever. 


  1. Way to go Rubi! And way to go mom! It really is those "little things" that make you realize how far you've come and I can totally relate to that "proud mama" feeling!