Saturday, November 14, 2009

Buster Cube

A "Sunny Seizure" is a bad way to start the day. These aren't full on eyes rolling back, tongue hanging out kinds of seizures, but I'm sure they are no less scary to my little guy, when the pain in his bionic knee is so bad that he lays down shaking, limbs rigid and eyes dilated. I think the most I can do for him now is just sit with him and help him ride it through. It's only a few minutes before he is back to normal.

This had been coming on for a couple days, possibly the result of a long walk and his rough play (limited though I keep it, he only has one play level - super intense), colder weather, and maybe even the crazy scratching he does with those rear legs. The cause of increased itching? Possibly colder weather leading to more heat/drier air in the apartment. Maybe food related, as we try to find a food that helps his itchies without using carcinogenic preservatives.

This was the third "Sunny Seizure". I wasn't there for the first, but his other foster family described it well, so when he had his second one, I didn't totally panic, but I did call the vet and take him in for a visit. This time I was not surprised at all; his first walk down the hall when we got out of bed this morning looked very uncomfortable, and he succumbed almost immediately.

Since I had been observing increased discomfort in that leg over the past couple days, our ball play was on hold, necessitating other forms of recreation. Our trainer had been promoting puzzles for dogs, so we headed out to shop. We settled on the Buster Cube. Knowing that each new non-tennis-ball toy only holds his fascination for a short time, I worried about the value of this purchase, but so far it is working. However, I am concerned about the safety of the plant on the wobbly table in one corner of the room, and the DVD player on an overturned dog food box in the other.

The Buster Cube, if ya don't know, is a cube with one exterior hole, and some interior magic. I pour a handful of treats in, shake it up to get them into the magic, and put it on the ground. Sunny then has three maneuvers which he applies to the cube to get the treats back out. First he pushes it around with his nose, eventually getting it to roll over. Sometimes he kicks it with his foot, quite energetically as you might imagine. He also pulls on it with his foot, to make it roll back the other way. Sometimes he also tries to pick it up with his mouth, but that doesn't really do much except hyperextend his jaw.

Proceeding this way, he chases the ball around the room, getting extra work when he has to pull it out of a corner. He also periodically leaves the ball to retrace his steps and make sure no treats got left along the way.

Watching the adventure this morning reminded me of Harvey Wallbanger, my childhood pet hamster Harvey who, when put in the plastic ball designed for the purpose, rolled around the house banging into walls. My mother must have loved that noise.