Among the behavioral changes we’ve seen since Lilly developed meningoencephalomyelitis / meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) is a resurgence of attention-seeking behaviors. It makes getting any work done pretty hard, and it makes taking a walk on our road interesting.
You see, Lilly is smart. She recognizes patterns in my behavior and that of other people.
When we first began walking again to build up Lilly’s strength, neighbors — who knew about Lilly’s near-death experience — often stopped to talk to us and check on her progress.
This happened again and again.
Cars slowed. Cars stopped. People fawned on Lilly.
A pattern was born.
Now, Lilly thinks EVERY car contains one of her admirers. I think you can see the problem with that. So, walking on the road is more challenging these says as our suddenly spoiled girl thinks she is belle of the rural dog-walking ball.
I’m also having trouble getting Lilly to walk on my right side. From her agility training, Lilly was once comfortable working to either side.
On our walks, I try to keep myself between Lilly and any passing traffic (cars, dogs, horses), so that often means moving her to the OTHER side to keep her safe.
Lately, Lilly resists being on my right, and I have a new idea why.
I think Lilly’s vision in her right eye is worse than in the left eye. I think she likes to keep her STRONG eye toward any oncoming traffic — rather than have it potentially blocked by having her left eye closest to me.
Since Lilly remains weaker to the right than the left, it makes sense to me that her vision might be affected the same way too.
The idea came to me after seeing this Australian TV piece about factors known to lead to guide dog success, including being LEFT eye dominant (since that’s the eye closest to the world while always working to the companion’s left). It’s an interesting video, if you have the time.
So, even something as simple as taking a walk, isn’t as routine as it once was, but I remain grateful that Lilly is around to take walks and that she can walk at all.
Have a great weekend!