Great. Not only is he no longer limping, he's ready to get back out on the road. Every time Hudson and I leave, he's right there raring to go. But he still needs time to heal and we want to be absolutely certain first. So I'm shooting footage of his recovery that we'll be publishing on youtube to share with vets, our experts, and others just to be sure. He's getting better - we're just not rushing his recovery - thanks for all the emails, well wishes, and prayers.
First of all, we still don't and may never know that's what it is. The radiographs have been inconclusive and all we have is a negative diagnosis on everything else. It seems like the best guess. As to what caused it, we've ridden in the back of trucks in some pretty rocky terrain, shaken about like a couple of maracas. And since we're sort of at the mercy of the transportation of helpers and volunteers, we've also ridden with some, ahem, aggressive drivers. Either could be a possible scenario.
I scout out each leg of the journey in advance to determine how far away we are from water at every point. If there isn't a convenient store or grocer every 10-12 miles, I leave bottles so that we're never at risk of running out of water. Next, I carry in my backpack (a) a rectal thermometer, (b) two chemical cold packs, and (c) isopropyl alcohol.
On a typical day, we'll walk up until about 2pm, enjoying the cooler morning temperatures then break until 4-5pm and try to pick up another mile or so in the evening. Our present pace is 7-8 miles per day and we expect that's about the most we can travel throughout the summer months.
4. What's the strangest thing you've found on the road?
Er... a breast implant. Seriously. Since Yer Big Dog has a shovel butt (gluteous minimus), he's been considering augmentation for years and was half tempted to pick it up. But since they have serial numbers, the person who lost it might come looking for it.
5. I see you're using a walking stick now. Pourquoi?
My dear uncle, Jamie, bought it for me when I was in Palestine, TX. I had resisted using one because (a) I was fearful of developing a Jesus complex, (b) people calling me Gandalf, and, (c) well, it's like a walking cane and while YBD isn't a spring chicken anymore he still has his pride. Good thing I swallowed it cause wow, what a difference it has made... especially on steep slopes.
6. Have you ever been attacked by dogs?
Surprising only once. This had been one of YBD's greatest fears and I used to carry a can of bear mace with me. But I had serious problems with this. As a dog lover, the mace is so potent and noxious it could potentially cause permanent damage so I got rid of it. I have found that the most powerful deterrant I have is my booming baritone voice. When dogs rush us, I bow out my chest and yell "GIT!" and it stops them in their tracks everytime. The one instance that we actually were attacked, we were rounding a corner and I was paying attention to Murphy's booties and I looked up and this Saint Bernard was just twenty feet away and already almost upon us. Murphy put an end to it and it was over in a few seconds. Fortunately, no one got hurt (including the Bernie).
7. Why don't you cut your hair or for crying out loud, shave?
I know, I know it's such a cliche... I'm sure I'm responsible for putting the grunge movement back underground but my hair protects my neck from the sun and the beard, my face. But if I get compared to Forrest Gump on more freakin time!!! :)
8. It must get boring on the road, do you listen to music?
Never. I must always be alert and aware of threats from all sides. I've almost been flattened twice by cars passing behind me. This is as taxing mentally as it is physically for that reason.
9. Do you accept ride? (redux)
My previous response was absolutely not. However, we have accepted rides to and from accomodations and while it's a policy to try to return to the exact spot where we were picked up, sometimes that's not always possible and on more than one ocassion, people have dropped us off where they felt like it. We also have been given rides to stores, once when my camel bak lost all its water. Another time when Murphy first started showing a slight limp. Also, we try as best we can to avoid walking in larger cities - most neither have good shoulders or sidewalks. Add traffic and all the other urban hazards, it's just too risky.
10. You're out there working with shelters and rescues so why isn't Hudson neutered?
When I lost Malcolm, I always regretted not having a son of his so I had this romantic notion of siring out Hudson when we completed our journey. However, now that I have met and talked to so many people working with rescues and learned the extent of the problem with overpopulation, I am now a changed man. I will never buy another dog (FYI - Malcolm was a gift and Murphy was a rescue) and I plan on becoming a foster parent when I get back to Boston. This is also part of the reason I have decided to take a day off of walking and volunteer at the animal shelters in the cities we walk through. I have considered having Hudson neutered now but we can't afford to lose several weeks while he recuperates.