Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Wag of the Tail

Popeye has never lifted his tail before. We think he has at least some feeling there based on the pinch test that a physical therapist performed, but movement-wise, his tail has always remained limp. At most, the base has only twitched spasmodically.

But last week, as I was finishing up expressing him, his tail started wagging. Not in the same side to side motion that you associate with wagging tails, but it was definitely what I'd call wagging. He still doesn't do it very often and the few times have always been after I've just finished expressing him. I don't think he has any awareness or control over it, as the wagging doesn't seem to reflect excitement or any of the usual feelings that dogs have when they wag their tail. But just the fact that it actually lifted is pretty amazing.


LSS said...

Popeye you continue to amaze me! You are one incredible boy. I wish we could bottle your enthusiasm for life and spread it around.

Wild Dingo said...

I'm sorry, but that tail wag looks like a direct response to your praise to him! I don't think it looks random or that it wasn't out of excitement! maybe he feels better now w/o dead weight of useless legs?

fosterdogblog said...

That's what it looks like in the video because you only see him wagging as I'm praising. But he started wagging before I said anything (and before Tyler got the camera out), and I only began to praise him to see if it made any difference. It didn't. I've since praised him a number of times in different scenarios and never any wagging. He only does it after I've just finished expressing him, and so far only a handful of times.

I don't think he is cognizant of it, and the wagging doesn't seem to be in response to anything. Tyler thinks something about the amputation led to it, while I think possibly the acupuncture or bicom did. But who knows?

Wild Dingo said...

oh, i think it's the accupuncture. for sure. for my dingo maggie, it relieved so much inflamation and pain, she was able to walk again afte not being able to walk due to a very inflamed liver pressing on her spine.

Sugar said...

You know how some dogs make a giant poop, scream "yes!" (okay, maybe in my imagination....) and start running around like a maniac? Almost as though they're relieved that there's no more uncomfortable pressure in their body? Popeye's tail wag reminds me of those moments with Sugar.

Of course, he starts REALLY WAGGING that tail in response to your voice. I know, I know, it's a timing issue with the camera, Tyler, etc... I still think his tail moves faster, as you praise him. Geez, I have to put you on mute, otherwise Sugar goes ballistic at the sound of your voice! She hears you say "good boy" and her tail starts wagging, her ears go back, and she's whining at the computer screen. Face it, Judy-- Popeye LOVES YOU.

fosterdogblog said...

That's an interesting comparison--the part about how dogs get excited after pooping. I think that's a very plausible explanation. Of course, he doesn't do it every time he poops though, so maybe it also has to do with the way I stimulate his organs when I'm expressing him.

And believe me, the tail has absolutely no response to my voice or to anything else. The video only shows me praising him the entire time, but he started wagging crazy like that for about 30 seconds before I said anything. And it continued to wag after the camera was turned off and I shut my mouth.

I still don't think Popeye is "connected" to his tail. The tail just wags on its own once in a while (always after I've just expressed him), with no awareness or control from him. It doesn't depend on his level of excitement or anything because it's like a whole separate entity from him.

I would say out of all the foster dogs we've had, Popeye (aside from a dog named Prince) loves me least!

Seeds of Love said...

Popeye is certainly making love-eyes at the person who is taking his photos and I assume that is foster mum. I can't imagine Popeye not adoring foster mum.

Wild Dingo said...

I can attest to the dog wag or jumping for joy after a big poop. Mine do it. in fact, sometimes, one will refuse to play or run until s/he has had the morning "coffee" poop. Ha-ha... then after the poo, it's like they're very happy and they go run nutty. It could be that Popeye just had a great poo?

The fact that his tail wags at all is a good sign, no matter if its sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system.

And ya, I get what you mean about loving you least. Popeye is a dominant dog. I can see that. It's hard for a dominant dog to fit in an existing and permanent pack just right no matter how much the foster works at it. They just know they are not the pack leader. I sometimes feel Juno is bummed because she is not dominant though i treat them exactly the same except in play because they play differently. (Loki is prey/tug driven and she's ball-chase driven.) Loki likes to play more too so we end up playing a little more with him than her but usually its by her choice. she's a husky after all. independent. She has been MUCH better with Scott when he treats her exactly as he treats Loki our dominant dog.

But I still think Popeye loves you just the same. He's a cool little guy!