I'm happy to report that my knee is much better this week. I haven't had any pain on our last two hikes, which is a huge improvement from where I was just a few days ago. While I'm still avoiding major hills, keeping things short, and still make a conscious effort at walking downstairs, I feel like I'm finally healing. Thanks for everybody's good wishes and for your concern. While finances won't allow for a PT right now, I trust myself to listen to my body, knowing what's too much, when medical attention isn't optional, etc. Right now, I feel good about my progress and know that I'm just dealing with a stickler injury that's going to take time to heal.
With Kona getting less trail time, a change in her behavior has become more pronounced. "Outside," use to be one of Kona's favorite words. It was in fact the only word that could wake her from her slumber. The yard was a sanctuary where she chased squirrels, helped garden, basked in the sun. In short, it was one place where she was not fearful, where she seemed like a normal dog.
For about a month now, Kona has been afraid of the yard. Or, probably more accurately stated, she becomes afraid when she's in the yard. So much so that she jumps up and down at the fence, trying to escape. While different neighborhood noises have always had the potential to spook Kona, she's never had this kind of reaction. Ever. It's truly been a night and day change. Kona's fears have manifested differently and to different degrees before, but I've never experienced such a drastic change in her before. I'm at a loss.
And I'm feeling heartbroken. The best way I can describe it is imagine one of your favorite activities you share with your dog. Now imagine your dog being terrified of her old favorite thing. With Kona, having so few "safe" places and things makes this sting all the more.
While this has been going on for awhile, It's been more in my face now because I don't have "outside time" to help get Kona's energy out.
*I'm trying to piece together what's happened. Kona's not afraid of the yard itself, but by noises she's hearing in the neighborhood. I first noticed Kona's panicked reaction at the end of August when new neighbors moved in three houses away. They have two young kids, and Kona would go into full flight mode when she heard them while we were outside. But, she only acted scared when she heard the kids. (While kids have always had the ability to really scare Kona, this particular reaction is far worse than anything I've seen before while she's in the yard).
*School started back in the middle of September. The elementary school is at a distance where I can hear muffled kid noises if I'm outside during lunchtime (and really stop to listen).
*During the first week of November, our nextdoor neighbor went back to work and a nanny started coming over to take care of her three month old son. (Kona only ever showed curiosity about the newborn, never fear, but she did seem concerned that a new adult was around when the nanny arrived).
*The bad, generalized yard fear seemed to start (or notch up several degrees) one morning in early November. I stood at the gate to the yard with a cup of tea in my hands when Kona turned briskly around and ran back to the back door. She looked at me with the expression she gives me when I've "done something wrong." I thought I might have spilled some of my hot tea on her. (Still not sure if I did).
Soooo...my best guess is that her fear started with the new neighbors, then with the added school sounds and the changes happening next door her fear went from specific (new neighbor kid sounds) to generalized (nearly any sound). It's so bad now that she actually paces the yard, seeming to anticipate something scary. She can't relax while she's outside.
I've been trying to keep upbeat, with my bum knee already making me feel bummy, so haven't written about this new fear change. But it's been dragging me down lately as I have no clue how to help Kona. She's so instantly over-the-top freaked when she hears something that I don't think any kind of counter-conditioning or other go-to fearful protocols will do any good.
Please send some courage to my Kona Dog.