This is a photo of Farley, our four year old yellow lab. It was taken last summer during better days when he was fetching a tennis ball in the lake. This morning he is not feeling well at all and it breaks my heart. I noticed two nights ago that he whimpered as he was trying to stand up. It caught my attention because he's not a very vocal dog. It's just not his style. But he only did it once so I brushed it off. Yesterday, during the day he seemed fine. When Boo got home they went outside to play fetch like usual. Then, Boo and I went to dinner at a very upscale establishment, perhaps you've heard of it. Bobbie E's. Some folks refer to it as "Bob Evans." Upon our return home I noticed Farley didn't greet us at the door preferring instead to lay in the living room gazing toward the door. Hmmm, not crazy, but unusual. When he did get up Boo and I heard an unmistakable painful whimper, then he limped toward us. The dog is unquestionably lame in his right front leg. I went into horse mode, immediately feeling for heat in his leg along with a series of stretches and holds to see if I could get a reaction. He had a poker face. Nothing. Since we don't have any baby aspirin in the house I settled for icing it. He tolerated that really well although I'm pretty sure it didn't make a difference. We went to bed. This morning he is still walking gingerly and seems painful. I really hope it's just a muscle issue and not a bone/ligament issue. It seems a trip to vet is inevitable and I know what that means. Tall dollars. What ever happened to the small town vets that knew their trade and didn't want to perform every test under the sun just to gouge you in your desperate moment of helplessness?