Peanut’s Snoopy is cute, quirky and highly intelligent. But he’s just a cartoon. Or is he? Much of what he does I’ve seen dogs do. They think about things, they dance, they care, they have opinions, they communicate.
Katya was making unhappy sounds under my bed. She got up, went to the doorway, turned around and looked at me and said my name, or her version which is kind of a rumbly tone in the cadence of my name. Then she signed “Come-Come”.
I asked what she wanted and she repeated “Come-Come”.
I got up and followed her out to the main room where she went over to Hanno, another of the dogs, who was sleeping on a cushion. She pointed at the cushion and then at me and pointed back towards my bedroom. She wanted a cushion to sleep on like Hanno’s.
There weren’t any other cushions so I got my work suit and spread it on the floor. She investigated it and then pointed again at my bedroom. I moved the suit into the bedroom. Katya went in and immediately laid down on it.
The floor was cold, she wanted a pad to sleep on and she wanted it in my room. She knows what will fix the problem of sleeping on the cold floor: a pad. She has an opinion about where her bed should be: in my room. She uses sign language and pointing to make clear what she wants. She knew how to fix the problem and how to communicate quite clearly what she wanted and where to put it.
We have communications.
Outdoors: 50°F/26°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 57°F/61°F
Daily Spark: As you may have learned in school, a solid is incompressible and does not flow. A liquid is incompressible and does flow to level. Can you think of a gas that is not compressible but does flow?
Today your bedroom, tomorrow running the farm. Did she read George Orwell’s Animal Farm ?
She would probably enjoy it. Kathya enjoys listening to music and movies. Sadly, Katya has very poor eyesight and can’t read. She’s gradually going blind – I think because of the selenium deficiency she had as a puppy since none of our other dogs in all their generations have ever gone blind.
Poor thing, going blind must be so scary. When/if she truly starts to struggle with navigating her environment, a “halo vest” might help to give her confidence and save her from bumping her face on things unseen.
Fortunately she has whiskers. What we have been doing for her is giving her a flashlight to use when she goes outdoors at night to go pee. She has always loved playing with flashlights – she’ll pick them up and carry them in her jaws. Her night flash light is actually a head lamp with the lamp adjusted so that when it hangs around her neck it points forward for her. It’s as if she has headlights.
She is losing her night time vision first which is how we noticed the vision loss. It is worse in the winter at night because then our entire world is painted white – there isn’t much contrast. She asks for the light to go outside at night but doesn’t ask for it during the day and then asks for it to be taken off when she comes back in.
At this point when we do math together she often touches my fingers with her nose to count whereas previously she was able to just look at my hands to count. This was the second place that I noticed her loss of vision. If she has good bright light it helps her see better.
Walter, if you saw a post farrowing 12 month old sow with 7 two week old piglets on her demonstrate significant increasing in coat curling (like you picutred of Selenium Deficiency) in a short time frame (2 weeks). Is that pathognomic for selenium deficiency or would you be considering other causes?
My first two thoughts would be mineral deficiency and parasites. A fecal test would determine the latter. Adding kelp to their diet would help with the former.
All the pigs are on kelp, have been since piglets, and it is mixed 50 lbs per ton of peas/barley.. also kelp is side dressed occasionally along with BOSS. I took your advice on Kelp starting out with piglets (one of which is the sow in question). They mostly forage diverse, oak savannah pasture, in a selenium deficient river valley of Southern Oregon. I’ll check her feces for ova, but have you ever given swine a selenium injection? I’ve already been down the kelp road (in hopes of avoiding this), but feel its time for something other than kelp, as far as fortifying her with minerals in the short term. It seems like the lactation is what really took it out of her, timing of coat change coincided as such.
I haven’t ever used injectable selenium. If you do, please let us know how that worked. For us the kelp works in the winter to deal with the hay we get which is low in selenium. However, you might have a lower level of selenium making it more of an issue.
I am a people doc, not a vet, but I have thought Katya’s eyes have looked hazy in some of the photos you have posted including this one. Maybe the angle of the light, but maybe cataracts. Probably worth a conversation with a vet; likely you have already but thought I would mention it. I can’t help wondering how much Katya’s interspecies communication abilities have developed as an alternate outlet because of her physical issues. Analogous to humans with sight loss increasing the brain space used to process touch, especially on their Braille reading finger(s).
Another thought: sight impaired humans often benefit from a canine service companion. Conversely, Katya has you….