Dog Signs Misinterpretation: When a Symptom Isn’t What You’d Think

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.

Dog Signs Misinterpretation: When a Symptom Isn't What You'd Think

Jasmine’s story

Jasmine was a senior Rottweiler girl who’s gone through many health challenges. We thought that she would get sore and tired towards the end of her walks for the longest time. Given her age and all she’s been through, it seemed a reasonable assumption.

Jasmine would start dragging her feet, carry her head low, and sometimes even stop and 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 terrible that we made the walk longer than we should have.

Trying to accommodate

To accommodate her stamina level, we started making the walks a little shorter.

We tried changing things around to no avail. Jasmine’s vet and her physical therapist couldn’t see anything wrong with her.

Cutting the walks shorter didn’t make much of a difference. Towards the end, Jasmine still looked like she was in pain. She was walking slower and slower, with her entire body lowered.

This went on until a chance event put the whole situation in a new light.

That day, I spent a day at a 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, Jasmine started lagging behind and dragging her feet on the way back. “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. So we walked up to the truck as usual, but we continued past it this time.

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 bit of hop in her step.

Then it dawned on us. No wonder making Jasmine’s walks shorter was not helping!

Jasmine was not on her last legs! She didn’t want the walk to end yet and was trying to negotiate! “I don’t want to go home yet, ma.”

Reg” rdless of the length of the walk, Jasmine continued to do that every time we got to a certain distance from the truck. But from then on, we knew better! Jasmine could go all day and still be interested in another adventure if the opportunity presented itself. But she dragged her feet when the end of the walk was near. If nothing else, she’d find some completely irresistible smell that needed investigating.

She could make the last few yards takes almost as long as the rest of the walk. But not because she couldn’t go any further. She didn’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 made us happy, and it made us laugh. And sometimes, just to treat her, we went past the truck to give Jasmine the little extra she craved.

And we learned that correct interpretation of the facts is as important as their observation.

Related articles:
Dog Symptoms: Recognition, Acknowledgement, And Denial

Further reading:
The Signs of a Sick Dog and What to Do

Categories: ConditionsDog careSymptoms

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts