Poor Scout! I've really neglected updates about her spazzy little life this summer. And it has been rather adventure-filled! I've written about her lots on my personal blog, but I'll just jot the highlights (or low lights) here.
For starters, she relapsed right after we left for Alaska. Not two days after we'd gone, she started limping and her health deteriorated quickly. Sarah, my wonderful dog and house-sitter, called the vet as soon as she realized Scout was really sick, and Dr. Andrews had her bump Scout back up to 20 mg. of prednisone a day (she had been on 5 mg. every other day previously).
Scout snapped out of her slump quickly, but then the fireworks started. Sarah kept her on the doggie drugs we left day and night, but our neighbors are total pyromaniacs and Scout stayed in a frenzied state of frantic for days. The night of the 4th, with all firework hell breaking loose in our neighborhood, Scout was so beside herself that Sarah actually climbed in our jacuzzi tub (Scout's safe place in the master bathroom) and slept with her there! That's devotion!
By the time we returned, the fireworks were pretty much finished, Sarah had Scout down to 5 mg. of pred per day and the house and yard looked great!
After watching a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer at my aunt's house in July, I decided to tackle Scout's nuisance barking. First, I tried a citronella collar, but Scout is usually running amuck while she's barking, so the spray never actually went anywhere near her nostrils (although Greg got squirted a few times). We then tried a static collar, which shocks the dog after each bark--with increasing intensity. The manager at PetSmart assured me it was just like the static jolt you get when you walk across a rug in the dead of winter.
It's been pretty effective--as long as Scout's wearing the collar. She'll bark once, twice if she's really excited, and then usually just settled for running in circles. But she figures out real fast when the collar's not on, and barks her head off.
Oh well! She's been on lots of hikes and outings this summer--she's even jumped in the pool a few times with my son-in-law, Krispin. The only real difference I notice in Scout since she got sick is that she doesn't like other dogs very well now. I have to hold her close if we meet other dogs on the trail--she gets snarky if they get in her face. She kind of acts old and grumpy at times, even though she just turned 3 in July. I suppose her auto-immune condition takes a lot out of a body.