This story was a good lesson that seeing doesn’t have to mean understanding.
Observation and facts are one thing. What one makes of them, however, can be something else altogether. That’s why you always have to question how you interpret what you see.
For the longest time, we thought that Jasmine would get sore and tired towards the end of her walks. It was a reasonable assumption, given her age and all she’s been through.
She would start dragging her feet, carry her head low, and sometimes even stop and just stare at us with a sheepish look.
What would you think?
We gave her the time she needed to get to the truck and felt bad that we made the walk longer than we should have.
Trying to accommodate
To accommodate for her level of stamina we started making the walks a little shorter.
Cutting the walks shorter didn’t seem to make much of a difference though. Towards the end, she’d still look like she was in pain. Walking slower and slower, her entire body lowered.
This went on for quite some time until a chance event put the whole situation in a new light.
That day I went along to spend a day at friends’ horse farm. At the end of the day, the guys always get a closing walk, after which it’s time to go back home.
Surely enough, on the way back Jasmine started lagging behind and dragging her feet. “Don’t worry, baby, we’re almost there,” I was comforting her.
As it happened though, hubby remembered he wanted to show me something before we left. We walked up to the truck as usual, but this time we continued past it.
It’s not what we thought
And then it happened.
As Jasmine saw us walking past the truck her posture and attitude suddenly changed. She perked right up, carrying herself strongly with a little hop in her step.
Then it dawned on us. No wonder making her walks shorter was not helping!
She was not on her last legs! She just didn’t want the walk to end yet! She was trying to negotiate! “I don’t wanna go home yet, ma.”
This was about a year ago. She still does that every time we get to a certain distance from the truck. But now we know better!
Jasmine now can go all day and still be interested in another adventure if the opportunity presents itself. But she will still drag her feet when the end of the walk is near. If nothing else she’ll find some completely irresistible smell that needs investigating.
Making the last few yards takes almost as long as the rest of the walk. But not because she cannot go on any further. She doesn’t want to go home yet!
The opposite of what we figured
The symptom we were so worried about meant the exact opposite of what we thought!
It makes us happy and it makes us laugh. And sometimes, just to treat her, we do go past the truck to give her the little extra she craves.
And we learned that correct interpretation of the facts is as important as their observation.
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The Signs of a Sick Dog and What to Do