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Hypopetria questions

Walkin'

Pearl and I treated ourselves to a walk in the woods after a fresh snow last week. The day was sunny but temperatures were only slightly above zero so we were the first and only visitors in the park. As the wind gradually picked up, puffs of snow plopped from the trees, and Pearl gave merry chase as they plunked to the ground.
A mix between a Poodle and a Labrador, there’s nothing Pearl likes more than a walk and she finds cold and snow extra invigorating. A good girl, she doesn’t pester like my old male dog Buzz did, instead she sits patiently outside my office waiting. If I walk out and start putting on my shoes, however, she goes bonkers with anticipation. If I dare say the word “walk” all hell breaks loose as she scampers about, nails scratching on the hardwood floors. Just lately I’ve figured out that if I want her attention, yelling “Pearl” or “come” is not as effective as yelling “walk.” She can be a quarter mile ahead of me ignoring the first two shouts but when I yell, “walk” her head snaps around and her body instantly follows in a gallop. Poor girl, she just doesn’t make the connection that she’s already on a walk.
It’s a little like viewers of Fox News: it’s what you want to hear but it makes no sense if you think it’s news.
Technically, the area we were in is an area with leash rules so I guess that makes both of us scofflaws, but if no one sees us has a law really been broken? Besides, with my newfound command she’s under voice, if not leash, control.
Sabra says that Pearl has been favoring one of her back legs and that she may have a torn ACL. I don’t see it, but if it continues, Sabra may take her in for an X-ray and/or an MRI. If the injury is confirmed, her walking will be restricted. Speaking for Pearl and myself we don’t want to find out.
I’m beginning to think that my dear spouse is a bit of “hypopetriac,” a person who believes there is always something wrong with her pets. Besides knee troubles, Sabra is sure that Pearl has allergies because every so often she finds Pearl licking her own feet. You have to understand that Pearl is a dog that thinks the kitty litter box is the canine equivalent of a cookie jar and loves nothing better than finding a “poopsicle” under the snow. If she’s licking her feet maybe it means she stepped in something really good?
Also, Pearl has ear problems made evident by her vigorous shaking of her head. The cure is earwax-busting drops and a canal cleaning that involves jabbing your finger with a gauze pad cover into her ear. With humans, it’s said, don’t stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear; but with canines it’s okay to probe away with whatever is handy. I did it once while Sabra was away and swear if I had longer fingers I could stick them through to the other side. While this goes on, Pearl sits oblivious. My question is: could the treatment be causing the problem?
The attention Pearl receives is nothing compared to what our chickens get, however. As I’ve detailed in this space, nothing is too good for our hens including treats of dried mealworms, which cost nearly $50 a pound. The big thing lately is keeping them healthy in this abysmally cold winter. The latest is smearing coconut oil onto their combs to keep them warm. I can see this having applications in the industry: chickens ready to fry and you don’t even have to put oil in the pan.
I try to be a supportive spouse, but it isn’t always easy.
Another thing Sabra read was that putting a little apple vinegar in the watering dish helps keep it from freezing and also provided some sort of nutritional boost for the birds. We only had white vinegar on hand when she first heard this, and I suggested it would be an adequate substitute. Sabra would have none of it. It said apple vinegar and that’s what her birds were going to get.
So on my next pass through a grocery store I picked up a bottle thinking that she would be pleased with my effort.
Wrong. It wasn’t organic.