Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"The detour, of course, became the actual path; the digressions in my writing, the narrative." Gretel Ehrlich

My beloved little maniac, Lucy, at four months

The above quote is from one of my favorite books of all time, a book that has shaped me as a person and as a writer: The Solace of Open Spaces. I quoted it in my masters thesis eight years ago, and I find myself coming back to it today.

This blog was started in 2006, and since then, I've published over 400 posts to it. Often, I digress. Yes, the blog has its roots in my life with eleven dogs. But, it includes so much more: pain and healing, sorrow and joy, thoughts and feelings, photography and hopefully, underneath it all, beauty. And gratitude.

I've toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, one specifically for musings. But, I am loyal, and so, loyal to the idea of keeping things in one place.

The dogs are always underneath everything I do. They have shaped my life, as I build my life around them. We are constants for each other, orbiting each other like moons. They ground me, teach me, and love me, and I do the same, I hope, for them.

In bringing myself back to focus on the dogs, one of my biggest fears for Lucy was confirmed at her recent 4 month vet check. She has always been narrow in the hips, with the left hip sort of jutting out a bit. So during the rabies shot visit, I asked my vet to x ray her.

Within minutes, I saw what my heart had known all along: Lucy has hip dysplasia.

I've read and been told lots of encouraging advice: she's young; it is possible to be fine with dysplasia without surgery with proper diet and exercise; use this great supplement to help.

But, my initial reaction was devastation. This little tiny pup I'd saved and bottle fed almost from day 1, who has grown into the most beautiful, spirited little dog, will potentially face a life of pain.

Lucy at 3 weeks of age, still being fed goat's milk from a medicine dropper and only weighing about 16 ounces

This diagnosis seems particularly sad for a sleddog, because they are born and bred to run.

And run she does! Lucy's all smiles when she is running full-throttle through the grass.

Lucy smiling

She is totally fearless, prancing up to any living thing on our puppy runs, be it person or animal. She's wild: I caught her trying to chew on a light bulb and later, a thumb tack! If one of the adult dogs in the yard barks or growls at her, she will bark right back in their faces. And, on the trail, she charges ahead, undaunted.

In other news, Lucy's brother, Kerouac, who we affectionately call "Ker bear" is a gentle giant. He already weighs 35 pounds at his 4 month vet check. It's hard to believe little "Ker bear" once fit in my hand.

Kerouac at only a few days old

Kerouac at 4 months

Everyone is plodding along, settling into time off from running and getting ready for our move. We start building kennels at our new property this coming weekend, and should be moving within two weeks.

My digressions are only wanderings on paths that always, always come back to the dogs.



  1. Hey Shannon-I had a golden retriever with hip dysplasia who loved to run and never exhibited any problems. We kept her trim and exercised.
    We never even gave her glucosamine chondroitin but would have if she had had any problems.
    Don't despair - Lucy can probably still be a great sled dog - she just might retire earlier
    than others...

  2. Beautiful post, Shannon. By the grace of Dog, Lucy will reach her full potential!


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