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

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.

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

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.

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

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

Categories: ConditionsDog careReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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