When Laika was diagnosed with arthritis I was upset, I’m sure the term overreacting would come to my vets mind. In my mind I thought we were doomed. I envisioned having to help her up the stairs, take slow walks, and having to help lift her up onto the couch at night. I’m glad to say it’s nothing like that. If I hadn’t just told you she had arthritis you’d probably never know.
Managing Laika’s Arthritis
To be honest there’s only one thing I really miss about our routine before the arthritis diagnosis – our games of frisbee. Every day when I came home from work we’d hurry up into the backyard and start playing. After being alone for hours I found it to be the easiest ( and quickest ) way to let her get rid of some of that excess energy.
We said goodbye to rigorous activities like frisbee and the flirt pole. Now we spend our time doing more nose work, tug, obedience, walking and lots of indoor activities. With a few glucosamine supplements, leg massages, and low impact exercises I’m happy to say she’s thriving. You’d never know she has arthritis. She still acts like the happy go lucky energetic dog I’ve always known.
I don’t miss the flirt pole or games of fetch in the backyard. I don’t miss the DIY lure course or jumps. But I do miss our games of frisbee.
I Miss Playing Frisbee With My Dog
We don’t play frisbee anymore. We’ve traded in those rigorous activities for low impact exercises. It’s been months since I’ve picked up one of those frisbees from the garage – and I still really miss them. I can tell Laika does as well – when we walk past the bench that they’re on she still pauses and waits for me to pick them up.
It’s starting to get easier, I find myself walking right by those frisbees now without even giving them a second glance. Laika doesn’t seem to mind as much either as we walk past – as long as she knows I’ve got something else planned.
I’ve Always Loved Frisbee Dogs
Growing up our neighbor had an awesome dog that loved to play frisbee, and I was obsessed with that lovable fuzzy dog. Being 5 or so I was probably the perfect age for it; I’d play with him endlessly and continue to be entertained each time he brought it back.
Being young my throws weren’t very good or strong enough to tire him out so the game would go on forever. I never tired of it, and I swore I’d get myself a frisbee dog of my own when I grew up.
The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic. – Henry Ward Beecher
My First Frisbee Dog
When I was in my teens my dreams finally came true, I got my very own frisbee dog. He was a Aussie/Border Collie mix that I knew would be a great frisbee partner. Honestly how could it go wrong? What sort of Border Collie doesn’t love frisbee? He was my first frisbee dog, and he was going to be awesome at it.
But he wasn’t. I couldn’t even entice him to play a game of fetch. He was young and lean, but miraculously lazy. From a very young age he developed the habit of stopping during walks. He’d lay down in the shade and just relax. When I threw a frisbee for him he’d trot after it and bring it back once. The second throw ended with him walking off, completely disinterested in my silly human games.
Thinking something might be physically wrong we had him examined many times by vets. They never found anything wrong, his official diagnosis was being lazy. I loved him dearly, but he wasn’t my perfect frisbee dog.
And Then There Was Laika
Laika took to frisbee right away. Bringing it back into my hands was another issue, but she did run after each of my throws. After awhile she got really good at it and was even able to jump up and catch them. After a lot of practice my throws got better, her catching skills increased, and we both looked forward to our daily game of frisbee with great enthusiasm.
After awhile she stopped dropping it 30 feet away from me. She learned that bringing it back correctly made the game go much smoother. She became my perfect frisbee dog. Every day she was just as excited as I was to get out there and play. Rain or shine, she didn’t care and neither did I.
Both humans and dogs love to play well into adulthood, and individuals from both species occasionally display evidence of having a conscience. – Jon Winokur
The Arthritis Diagnosis
If I had known that we wouldn’t be playing frisbee anymore, or that it would have been for such a short period of time I would have gotten some better pictures. I really thought I’d be able to get some good ones while throwing a frisbee and aiming a camera at the same time. That really didn’t work out well.
Out of all the things we’ve eliminated due to arthritis I don’t know why I miss frisbee so much. Perhaps it’s the effortlessness of it, or because it feels like a real team sport. Maybe it’s the reminder of summer, or the awesome big smile she had when she was playing. Or maybe it’s simply the reminder or being young and active. Whatever the reason I know I’ll always love frisbee dogs, and I’m glad I finally got one of my very own.
I’ll always miss playing frisbee with Laika, and I know she misses it too. But I’m happy to say I did finally find my perfect frisbee dog; and though we don’t play anymore I have a few blurry photos to prove it.