Dahlia continues to improve after her vestibular attack. We have had no recurrences since it happened almost a year and a half ago. She is still a little bit wobbly and tends fall over if Ben runs into her too fast, but she's holding her own for the most part. Her confidence has flagged a bit and there are certain things she just can't do anymore -- like get up on the couch, roll over, and sit pretty. She even struggles with sit and we end up with a weird, crooked sit that takes her a moment to get situated in. She prefers standing or laying down these days but I'm constantly working on sit with her to try to increase her muscle strength.
Dahlia's awkward sit
But she's still as wonderful and happy and cuddly as ever. She recently had a cyst get infected on her back. I was panicked that it was something else. You know, the fear that it's really some awful evil cancerous tumor. She was treated with antibiotics and after the thing burst open (which resulted in several really gross days of cleaning the area and cutting away all the fur, it healed up. Now she's left with a missing patch of hair but the cyst is completely gone.
Frankly, she's looking pretty good.
Even if she's in desperate need of a good grooming session...
She's been doing so well that I've seen her actually leap over things. Like full on agility leaping.
Not a good picture, but look at her go!
And to that end, I got her out doing a little agility over a low (8") jump. Just for fun. Because why not? If she couldn't do it, that would be the end of it. And at first she looked a little worried. But then all of a sudden it clicked and she just looked so happy that it made my heart glad.
Picture by my husband
She's now about 11ish (and in fact, yesterday marks 9 years since I met Dahlia on a transport!) and is just forever my heart dog.
Ben is, of course, Ben. He's still a little crazy, a little mouthy, a little loud. But he's settled really nicely into our house and our routine. Every morning he goes for a decent length walk and otherwise gets to spend a fair amount of time out in our yard watching squirrels and chasing the occasional rabbit (and once even a cat!) who get into our backyard. In the evening, he can often be found goading Dahlia into a silly game inside the house.
Here's how that game goes. He starts playbowing and throwing himself at Dahlia until she responds. She comes up with a roar and he takes off running with her chasing him just partway. Now, to totally understand this game, you have to understand how our house is laid out. Here is a totally not drawn to scale idea of how part of our first floor is laid out.
I'm awesome at Paint, aren't I? So Dahlia is usually somewhere around where the X is and Ben will get her all riled up and take off. She'll usually chase him to Y. Now he has all this room to move around between the dining room and kitchen. And what he ends up doing is racing off and then sneaking back so he's behind Dahlia. She'll take a bit to notice him then turn and leap at him and off he goes again.
And you see that little space between things just below Y? That's the space between my recliner and an end table. Ben will also fly between there and Dahlia will come back into the living room to bark at him and then he'll go back through the space, around, and come up behind her. It's hilarious and a totally fun game that he has invented. He gets tired out and Dahlia doesn't have to do much but participate. Which she happily does!
Ben really knows how to read Dahlia. And it's wonderful to see. Like, take the times that we've tossed his toy and it's ended up against Dahlia while she lays on her bed. Ben knows he's going to get shouted at if he tries to retrieve it. So he goes over to her, goes into his playbow/bark routine until she responds to him by getting up and barking at him. You can imagine what he does next! He rushes right in and snags that toy. Such a smart boy and so much fun to watch. He is a happy joyful dog who makes us laugh every day. I really cannot imagine our lives without him. We're coming up on two years already this June!
He continues to rock it in agility classes. We're nowhere near ready to go to trials, which is probably good and bad at the same time. He's really doing well with handling but we're very far behind with contacts and weaves. I'm working on weaves at home and hopefully we'll nail down contacts soon. I feel ready to get him out there. I'm hoping for a fun match sometime soon!
Here are some recent videos of Ben in agility class. I'm very proud of how far he's come and how well he does! He loves it!
He's just my best little boy and I'm always so happy to come home to his precious face.
Storm watching buddies
Picture by my husband
Hangin' in the park...