Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The dog who broke his wag (again)

Our yellow lab, Micko, loves hanging out at my dad's cabin, especially when there are other dogs about. Like most labs, he loves to swim, and has been known to criss-cross the lake in pursuit of a fishing boat (usually mine). He also loves bounding up and down the hill, chasing assorted vermin, shaking his muddy coat next to outdoor diners and sunbathers. In short, there's a lot for a lab to do.

Too much, it turns out. Sometimes, a lab who overexerts himself in the water can develop a condition known as "cold water tail" or "broken wag," in which his tail droops lifeless between his legs for a few days. It's usually associated with cold water, and he first developed it after an October weekend at the cabin. This past weekend, though, the lake couldn't have been much below 75 degrees.

This isn't a great picture, but it shows Micko looking very alert, except for his tail. I think he was watching some people in a boat near the shore, and his big beefy beaver tail should have been as perked up as his ears were. He's so pathetic when his wag is broken; it's as though he's lost his most important means of communication. Today, his tail looks much better, though it still seems to have a kink in it about halfway down.

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