The Sergei Foundation


The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog


Pinups for Pitbulls



Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.


LD Logo Color

No! No! No! He’s too young to be old

Ace has been stricken.

With exactly what, I don’t know. But in the past four days, he has taken to yelping when he gets up from a long nap or makes a sudden move.

At the dog park this week, he has plodded along lethargically, showing little interest in other dogs — even when he ran into this little white fellow who shares his name. How’s that for a pair of Aces?

I have poked and prodded every inch of his oversized body, but I’m unable to pinpoint what particular spot might be hurting him.

So today, we’re off to the vet.

My first thought was the hips. That’s based partly on the simple fact that he’s very big. Then, too, some of you might recall, when I took Ace to an animal communicator three months ago, she told me he was having some mild discomfort in that area. Add in the 10 months we’ve been traveling, and all the hopping up into and down from the back of my jeep he’s been doing, and the hips seem as good a guess as any.

I knew the day would come when the jumping in and out of the car would need to cease, and given his size, maybe that practice should never have started. Chances are — at age 6 — that day is here, earlier than I expected, and not without some accompanying guilt on my part.

Yesterday I ordered a ramp.

Then again, it might not be his hips at all. Although he’s hesitating to jump into the car, he’s not yelping when he does so — only when makes a sudden movement, usually after laying still.

I’ve pushed on his paws, rubbed the lengths of his legs, looked into his ears and down his throat, poked his belly and prodded his hips. None of that seemed to bother him. He didn’t yelp. He didn’t do that thing he does where his eyes get big, which signifies, to me, anyway, rising alarm on his part. That would have told me I was getting close.

The only time he yelped was when I lowered his head, making me think maybe the pain is in his neck, or spine-related. A half hour massage followed, which, though it might not have helped at all, he seemed to appreciate.

I am puzzled, too, about how much of his current “down-ness” is physical, and how much of it might be emotional.

Twice, I’ve come home to hear him howling — not howls of pain, I don’t think, but howls of loneliness. Twice I’ve left the video camera on, to try and capture their onset, but he didn’t howl those times. And the times he did, he immediately cheered up and ran around when I walked through the door.

I’m pretty sure Ace is less than in love with our new basement quarters, though he likes the upstairs and yard just fine. He has shown a distinct preference for being outside, content to lay at top of stairs, keeping an eye on the kitchen window of the mansion owner, who gives him a daily biscuit.

Something about the basement bothers him. And friends I’ve talked about it with have different theories. Maybe he was mistreated in a basement in his puppyhood. Maybe the old mansion we’re living under is haunted. Maybe, with a firehouse around the corner, the sirens are bothering him, though they never have before — and we lived in Baltimore, where sirens are background music. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight, or he’s getting arthritic and the cold and dampness of the cellar aggravate it.

He’s moving slowly, lethargically (except when the treats come out), and rather than circling twice before laying down, he’s circling about eight times.

Yesterday, working with my theory that it might be his neck, I took a treat and moved it around in front of him — from side to side, then up and down. There were no yelps. Either it caused no pain, or the thought of getting food superceded it.

So, with fingers crossed, we’re headed to the nearest veterinarian, with hopes that whatever is bothering him is something minor, something that will pass or doesn’t cost too much to fix,  something unrelated to all the traveling I’ve put him through — 21,000 miles of it over the past ten months, something that is neither chronic nor old-age related.

Because he’s too young to be old.


Comment from JillyBean
Time March 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

Hope everything turns out alright!!

Comment from Tracy Santos
Time March 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hoping this is minor and that Ace is feeling better soon!

Comment from Kelly
Time March 16, 2011 at 9:05 am

Poor Ace!! Get well soon, bud.

Comment from Nancy
Time March 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

Hope he’ll be fine. Maybe try some joint supplements and fish oil!

Comment from Nancy
Time March 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

John… have you thought about the animal communicator again? That might help, too.
Might be able to pinpoint the area of pain.
Just a thought. Please keep everyone informed.

Comment from jonathan gilbert
Time March 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

How is his eating and pooping?

Comment from Meredith
Time March 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

Poor Ace. I hope he’s feeling tip top soon. I second the fish oil suggestion. It’s also probably time to take a few pounds off the boy so his joints don’t have to work so hard.

Comment from Cyndi
Time March 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Aw, poor Ace (and you) I sure hope Ace is feeling better and you’ve got some answers by the time you read this! it can’t possibly be old age!

I’d look into the possibility of lyme disease, too.

Comment from Mary Schmidt
Time March 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

Good for you for getting the ramp–that ought to help stave off further problems. I hope things go well with the vet. My dog started eating Science JD diet this winter after limping some. The vet diagnosed arthritis in one leg. Dog time goes WAY too fast. Best wishes to you and Ace.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time March 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

Poor Ace! Dogs will sometimes yelp like they’re being tortured when it’s something minor–maybe a splinter or other boo-boo. I think the ramp is a good idea. Please keep us posted!

Comment from Michelle
Time March 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I have an older pit bull and he has been showing discomfort and favouring his back left leg. We’ve done x-rays, tests – you name it…nothing conclusive. Vets cant seem to figure out what is causing it…no cruciate tears, no hip displaysia. He does have some arthritis but nothing that would have made him like this overnight…SO I have been turned on to a wonderful animal chiropractor who has worked wonders with 2 of my friends dogs. 1 dog in particular had a grim prognonsis before going to the chiro – turns out it was a pinched nerve and now that dog is fine! Worht a try? I figure it is! Maybe seek one out in your area. Good luck!

Comment from jwoestendiek
Time March 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

He is prolific at both ends.

Comment from Brenna
Time March 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

My theory, he is homesick for Riverside, his friends, his dad’s friends & Baltimore in general! He has heard the rumors of us getting official off-leash hours at the park and wants to enjoy them first hand!

That being said I hope he is feeling better soon! And you as well! We miss you of course!

Comment from Valerie Brooks
Time March 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm

John, please feel free to call us at any time. Mark would be happy to consult. Love to Ace.

Comment from smoketoomuch
Time March 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Judging from his recent photos, I’d say that Ace is a fine (and handsome!) specimen, and though “large” is certainly not overweight. (I particularly like the shot of him descending the winding stairway to the basement in “Tales of debasement”.) The ramp is probably a good idea though. Better to be safe.., as they say.
Hopes for a speedy recovery!

Comment from BeckyH
Time March 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I have a rottie that loves to play ball. Sometimes if she misses catching the ball she will put on the brakes and quickly turn. At some point last year she did that and tweaked her back. She also would whine a bit when she got up and look a bit stiff as she walked at first. She had a herniated disc. She is on a holistic treatment and has had some adjustments. She is doing well.

I hope Ace just tweaked something and will be feeling better soon.

Comment from marilyn
Time March 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Do you think the basement could possibly have some dampness that maybe you don’t feel, but he might? and consequently makes him move a little slower? But if it makes you feel any better, I’ve gone through this kind of thing with Browser from time to time over the years. He’ll yelp when getting up for no particular reason, as if he had injured his leg or paw or whatever. But in the end I was never able to determine what was going on. He was back to normal in a couple of days. Just one of those mysteries…I sure hope Ace is OK.

Comment from BanBSL
Time March 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Poor guy – my pitty showed the same symptoms and ended up having hip dysplasia. Hoping for the best.

PS – I hope you don’t take him to Falls Road Animal Hospital.

Comment from Tom
Time March 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

My dog is 6 going on 7. I feed her the best diet and she get’s lots of exercise and joint support additives. We enjoy a weekly off leash hike and she loves chasing sticks and playing Frisbee.

In the last few months she developed a front shoulder limp so off the vet we went after giving it time to heal on it’s own.

I was told that she is not an athletic breed and her ‘fly dog’ antics are destroying her body. I felt so guilty; yet, she just loves to run an jump.

So how do I switch a energetic, full of play, hike buddy into a low impact ‘senior’. It’s tough, her mind isn’t as old has her body, and I feel guilty for encouraging activity that has been so hard on her body.

She’s only 6 and I hope to have her around for many more years. I hope her spirits stay high without the high impact games.

Comment from Wild Dingo
Time March 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Oh my, i hate it when doggies yelp for no reason or for any reason. it sounds vaguley joint realated. stiff joints perhaps? all over stiff joints and inflamation? doggie chiro and accup work wonders, of course after any vet rules out the obvious things. My 3 year old sibe has severe hip displasia, however the hips are still not bad enough to have surgery. she got too fat and not enough exerrcise and started yelping after laying down too long. her joints were way stiffer when she gained weight and didn’t ge formal exercise. (dog park doesn’t exactly count at this point as you will find out soon) the more weight she loses AND the more “jogging” (not running, not walking) she does, is doing wonders for her. it’s truly amazing. the jogging helps move her in the right position (forward and back motions of the legs versus running like a rabbit or swinging her hips to walk) while not being a full out run, so she also goes “aerobic” and burns calories. i do this while riding a bike because i’m no jogger! she loves it. i started at 10 minutes with a break at 5 minutes and we worked up to 40 mninutes now a few times per week. the RIGHT kind of exercise is crucial but finding what that is may take the right kind of vet and/or physiotherpaist. she also does underwater treadmill 2x/week and eventually will go off of it, and probably will return to do it on winter months only (when i can’t ride a bike). exercise and diet are crucial to relieving stress on the joints if there are any issuses with the joint in general. (if you suspect hips). but it’s important to get a recommendation for what kind of exercise is best for ace, rather than just nilly willy figuring it out… it all depends on exactly what is going on.

hope you find out what it is. i sure hate to hear this. of course it could be over-used muscles too (the best scenario of all!)… i have another dog with a limber/limp tail because of all the exercise i started with them both… it was too much too soon for him causing his tail to over-work! so he’s off this week until his muscles are recovered. go figure.

good luck. i hope to read soon he is better and it is nothign serious.

Comment from jwoestendiek
Time March 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I’m not sure he, or I, will enjoy them as much when they’re official — but best of luck to all that are pushing for them.

Comment from Starla
Time March 17, 2011 at 12:34 am

Hope Ace is feeling better soon!

Comment from Arnie Sherman
Time March 17, 2011 at 1:41 am

John, I continue to be concerned and look forward to hearing that the problem is identified and solved. All the best

Comment from Jae High
Time March 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

It is so heartwrenching when you love them and they are hurting and unable to tell you what is hurting….love on him as much as possible while trying to find out what is wrong, the very best of luck.