#smallstone: Play

The growls are softer now, when they come, and there is more play, tail wagging. Sam grooms Ringo’s neck and chest, his teeth biting softly on him the way I’ve seen monkeys do. Ringo rolls on his back, belly exposed, sometimes biting Sam back.

The playing and the biting is causing more episodes of what we’ve been calling Sam’s “itchiness.” He’ll shake his head and his back leg will cramp up like he wants to scratch something but isn’t sure what or where. No one can explain it, not our vet, not the specialist, other than maybe it’s some kind of nerve damage in his jaw. None of them have ever seem anything like it. It doesn’t happen all the time or last that long, and seems instigated by excitement, and he doesn’t seem like he’s in pain or suffering. And yet, for us it’s hard to watch. It’s tempting to interrupt, to stop the playing, to keep them from it, but what is a life without play?

7 thoughts on “#smallstone: Play

  1. Misty

    Your photos are wonderful 🙂 And indeed, what is a life without play? I need to remind myself of that.

    Sam’s jaw issue – I know you are busy, so I can go dig through your blog. I’m curious what his jaw symptoms are.

    Reply
    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Misty, basically when Sam gets really excited, he shakes his head and sometimes one of his back legs will cramp like he wants to scratch. You can trigger it also if you press on, touch or pet his lower lip or chin, or try to force his mouth open, all three more likely if he’s already excited. We have him on a medication for nerve pain because that’s as close as we can get to explaining what it might be. It could be a nerve injury, maybe from tugging too hard, but we really can’t trace it to a source or event or cause. He is NOT in pain, and doesn’t have any other symptoms, eats fine, can open his own mouth wide without triggering anything. etc. We’ve stopped short of doing an MRI, which would cost $2000 and require putting Sam under anesthesia and might not tell us anything anyway. We are making the assumption that anything really bad would be getting progressively and quickly worse, manifesting other symptoms, so as long as that doesn’t happen, we are sticking with we don’t know and we’ll wait and see, as long as he doesn’t seem to be suffering. I am taking him for an acupuncture session this week to see if that might help.

      Reply
      1. Misty

        Thank you for explaining. I totally respect how you’re handling it; I won’t put a dog under anesthesia on a “maybe”‘either. I was curious about his symptoms because Sundance has had a sort of jaw “palsy” for years. Excitement triggers it. Our vet doesn’t have a good answer, but he’s had it for years with no ill effects so we just watch it.
        I’m sorry Sam has this mystery syndrome, but glad to hear it really doesn’t bother him. I know that has to be hard on Mom and Dad though. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my nosy question 🙂 I apologize if it was intrusive – I such a dog lover that sometimes I lose my filter :-/

      2. Misty

        Forgot to mention that acupuncture has worked wonders for Sundance’s hip – can’t say enough good about it.

  2. slm1711

    I’m so happy for you, for your precious little RIngo Blue, for play, for dogs, and even for the questions about Sam. So happy for you, and therefore, your happy comes along and shimmers on me, too. xo

    Reply

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