My Life Philosophy

6 Nov

Playing Ball with Suzanna, Geoff and Mya (photo credit: Morgan/Porter)

” …I am still a dog of the moment, seemingly incapable of self restraint.  If there is a jump to be made, or a greyhound to be chased — I throw caution to the wind…”

- KayaDog on his challenges implementing what he knows is best for him.

A Fine Balance

Some time ago, I wrote a post about wanting to be a therapy dog.  I wrote it before I re-injured my knees and before Mum learned that I had ripped my cruciate ligaments in both knees probably more than once in my previous life.  Aiming to be a therapy dog was really just a way to measure the improvement of my temperament and address some behavioral issues I developed in my previous home. I still have those same goals, and another many of us could embrace:  To enjoy life.

Me, perched on the couch contemplating my life philosophy, the universe and everything

While I have been quite open about my battle with separation anxiety I have been less comfortable discussing my injured arthritic knees mainly because it was even more traumatic for me and those close to me than the separation anxiety; and we were just figuring out how to handle life.  But now I can tell you what anyone who has lived with chronic pain can tell you:  There is an intimate interplay between our physical, emotional and social well-being.  To be effective at living a full life, we must manage them in concert.  They are all aspects of the self.   It is a fine balance,  and the stakes are high.

If I overdo it at the park, I have to stop going for a while and my physical and social needs become harder to fulfill.  Less exercise can lead to increased inflammation and pain which leads to a grouchy dog who has a harder time exploiting opportunities to be social and to maintain his physical strength which can lead to further inflammation and pain and a grouchier dog… The cycle demands attention.

Leaning on a tan line footed Mum for Support

Managing Me

There is no doubt that the way I relate socially with humans and dogs is deeply affected by whether I am in pain. While I understand this in principle I am still a dog of the moment, seemingly incapable of self-restraint.  If there is a jump to be made, or a greyhound to be chased — I throw caution to the wind.  In these moments my power to self limit appears non-existent.  I therefore have to rely heavily on Mum.

Here are some of the things we have done to manage my situation:

Body

Overweight Kaya

Me, before moving to my new home. As you can see I had packed on the pounds. I am about 95lbs here (43kg). At my heaviest the last guy said I tipped the scales at 110lbs or 50kg.

  •  Maintain my weight at about 77lbs (35kg).
  • I take Glucosamine and Omega 3 fatty acid supplements with my food.
  • I am on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory called Metacam to manage my pain. (I write more about Metacam in an upcoming post).
  • Mum gives me very gentle body massage to promote overall circulation.
  • Dr. Gewarter treats me with acupuncture. He also stimulates my leg muscles with electricity.

Conditions on Activity

  • No chasing young whippersnappers at thepark. Mum invokes my decent recall.
  • I now play with the ball for short periods of time — and not every day either.

    Svelt Kaya

    A Svelt Me, chilling out last week. I weight about 77lbs (35kg). Keeping my weight down helps a lot when you have arthritis

  • The ball is lobbed slowly at me so I can catch it while I am running at a casual pace.  This way I don’t have to break (hard on my knees).
  • Balls are thrown only on flat ground.
  • Balls are thrown along side me, so that I don’t have to jump to get them. No Chuck It or Frisbees either.
  • Mum watches me like a hawk; she monitors my gate …at the first sign of a change, –I am back to walking on lead.
  • Mum has discussed the importance of observing some guidelines of my activity with my dog walkers.

The long and the short of it is that I am working on managing my joint pain.  This lets me do work on my overall temperament and the behavioural issues I have been carrying around from my previous home.  I am doing what I can to live life to the fullest.  But maybe above all I am simply enjoying all the things I have in my life.  I am truly blessed… and Mum is a pretty kick ass retirement plan taboot! BOL :-). ♣

Reggie cat (shelf cat)

My buddy, Reggie Cat. See his comment below.

6 Responses to “My Life Philosophy”

  1. brentgarnett November 6, 2011 at 17:10 #

    Hey Kaya,

    I understand the balance you are currently struggling with, the urge to live life to its fullest and the need for moderation to compensate for your arthritis. I too chase young whippersnappers (my cycling companions in their 30′s) when my hands and hips are begging me for a breather.

    You`re lucky to have someone to augment he common sense we often lose track of. You will have a much higher quality of life in your `retirement years` because of her.

    • ginsing November 6, 2011 at 17:29 #

      Hey Brent,

      An upcoming post discusses some other things that I am doing to take care of myself that you might enjoy… (some killer pictures too). Stay tuned and thanks for your continued support.

      Also, I have not had a chance to meet you in person Brent. I don’t really make fast friends and can be kind of growly and prickly, but it is good for me to meet new people and I’ve heard you really like wolves (like Mum) and it might be worthwhile to meet with you if you are up to it. Maybe we can arrange to meet you outside your work one day…I know my good friend Lev works there too. Let me know what you think.

  2. Reggie Cat November 7, 2011 at 00:19 #

    Kaya — Based on your appearance in some of the photos on this blog, it would appear that you are, indeed, enjoying life!

    • ginsing November 7, 2011 at 22:50 #

      Thank you for the comment Reggie Cat. I am. Part of enjoying life is eating your succulent cat food as soon as you walk away from it. I know your two legged doesn’t like me doing that, but as I say in my post… I am a dog of the moment…Self restraint is not my strong suit!

      For those of you reading this thread and who don’t know Reggie, he is a 16 year old black cat who was found as a tiny kitten in an alley way backing on to ImageWorks close to King Street and Spadina Ave in Toronto –a real alley cat. I have spent time with him when I have been at Lev’s house. He is in great shape for his age. He is a real inspiration to me. Reggie still climbs up on the roof to get in the second floor window through out the year.

      Reggie, please send me a picture of yourself or update your avatar. Thanks.

      Update: Please find a photo of Reggie Cat at the bottom of this post. His computer skills are impressive. He sent his photo to me while standing on the “Enter” key, as he has been known to do. He is also adept at creating .pdf’s and has discovered software bugs that have made grown men cry with joy.

  3. Sage November 12, 2011 at 10:12 #

    Hi Kaya
    Sometimes us older ones just have to relax sometimes… watch the whippersnappers run by and know you could run around like a maniac, but don’t have to.

    Try to be patient when your human is out of your home. They are much slower and need time to do things during the day.

    Hang in there.
    Sage

    • ginsing November 12, 2011 at 12:21 #

      Hi Sage,

      Thanks Sage, I am honoured to hear from a lizard on my blog- a leopard lizard at that! Thanks for the words of wisdom. I will keep it in mind. — Cheers Kaya

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