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My German Shepherd is Six!

This morning my Facebook News Feed was saturated with pictures of kids on their way to their first day of school for the fall 2012 season. I don't have human children (that I know of) but at Casa de Danks we're talking about another milestone: Zada's birthday.

That's right – my fur baby turned a year older today. Six, to be exact. For a German shepherd, that's not "old," per se, but she ain't no spring chicken, either. In fact, we had some rather sad news this weekend...the vet found arthritis in her left front paw :( In addition to the hip dysplasia and spinal arthritic changes they found early this spring, it's been a bit of a tough year for me...her exercise/activity will have to be managed moving forward.

Don't get me wrong, managing this condition in an "older" Zada is going to be MUCH easier than trying to limit her activity when she was younger, but's killing me to know she can no longer run to her heart's content – we'll have to constantly watch her for any signs of limping and back off her exercise and give her an anti-inflammatory.


BUT, she's been managing pretty well up to this point (i.e., the diagnoses) so on one hand I'm sad to know my girl's getting older but on the other I'm relieved to know what's happening so I can treat her properly moving forward.

She does SO love her active lifestyle: playing fetch endlessly; swimming as much as she can; going on long hikes; chasing cats and {ahem} deer (she's a dog...I can't control everything); playing with her best dog buddy; playing more fetch; heading out on the trails with us when we horseback ride; going with Dad whenever he drives the Gator anywhere; playing even MORE fetch...

And I'll still allow her to do all those things – I'll just have to watch her closely so she doesn't overdo it. Which, I guess, is what we all have to do at some point – animal or human, we all get old. Correction: we all age and need to redefine our limits. 


Besides, there are many other things I can still do with my four-footed friend:

So, all things considered, my lovely Miss Z is just entering into another phase of her life. And I'll be there every paw print of the way :)

Happy birthday, pretty girl!