That exception being the former Naughtiest Puppy In The World, Gracie, who, if you rashly try to scold her, will respond with a Travis Bickle impression.
A few weeks ago I noticed Gracie was acting as if her hips hurt her. Oh no, I thought. Can a twenty pound dog have hip dysplasia? (Yes. Uncommon but possible.) One night, she couldn't get up without help. Rushed to the emergency on-call vet. He said she was having a muscle spasm in her back, gave her an anti-inflammatory and recommended rest.
When the meds ran out, Gracie was only slightly better. I had obsessively cruised every canine hip dysplasia site on the Net, looked up muscle spasm in dogs (another horrific problem) and tortured myself with thoughts about putting this sweetheart, naughty pants of a pooch to sleep.
Off to our regular vet we go. This vet says it seems more of an injury than a disease process and recommends xrays to check and a different anti-inflammatory med. She noticed that Gracie's neck was stiff. We found two separate sore spots on her back. I was so focused on a potential hip problem (for which there is no good outcome) I hadn't noticed her neck.
The xrays were clear. No hip dysplasia. Nothing wrong the vet could see. We're sent away with a new med, trial bottle of Glucosamine and orders to make her rest. The vet thinks Gracie reinjures herself as soon as she feels a little better.
We wonder, what the heck happened to this dog?
Woodpeckers made a nest in one of our trees and weakened a four foot section which broke off and fell in the yard after a rain. Did that land on Gracie? We found her barking at the fallen tree limb afterwards.
Mule deer move through our yard every night in their grazing pattern. Most of them are new mothers this time of year. Gracie thinks the deer should play ball with her. Did a deer kick her?
One of our Golden Willow trees has a trunk slightly slanted that every dog we've every had at this house has learned to climb. Gracie likes to use this tree to surveil the neighborhood. Did she fall out of the tree?
We don't know because we have never once heard her cry out in pain.
If a tree fell on me, they'd have heard me in Nebraska.
The new medicine works better than the old one, but that makes our job more difficult as now she feels good enough to play. We've hidden all the balls and she gets this look on her face that I recognize. I know I put those car keys right there!
The last time I saw my ball, it was next to the bird bath. Who moved my ball?
She's not her old self yet. Still stiff in the morning and she sleeps more now. In three weeks she's scheduled for a recheck. I can tell how she feels and when the medicine kicks in. I wish she could tell us what happened.