Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Your dog's last agility run - do you want to know?

Skye hurt himself somehow a bit more than a week ago. He's been to the vet and they didnt find anything specific, and he had a visit with the doggie chiropractor at a local trial 10 days ago. His back is sore, and he apparently tweaked his front right wrist too. He could have done it during one of his 100mph blasts chasing one of the many rabbits wandering the property this year. I really dont know what he did, but he is obviously sore. The vet prescribed Rimadyl after some bloodwork and that seems to help.

So, I got to thinking that at nearly 10 years old, maybe we have already had our last agility run together. Maybe he will bounce back and be just fine, and I would enter him in a run here and there as I've been doing over the last year, but maybe not.

Would you want to know that "this" is your last agility run with your dog?

I am torn on the subject. If I knew, then certainly there could be a huge celebration with lots of favorite treats at the end, and lots of hugs and probably some tears.

When you don't know, you are just out there playing the game that you and your teammate love together, just working the course and having a good time. I hope we can all appreciate every single run that our teammate gives us, no matter whether it was a disaster or a blue ribbon Q. You really never know if you just had your last run. 

Last July, my wife tore her hip labrum. This necessitated surgery after getting MRI's and dealing with a good deal of pain. The surgery had a minimum 6 month recovery time and everything was going great, until she then experienced a bulging disc in her lower spine - a likely result of trying to do some sit-ups to strengthen her core. The disc caused sciatic pain and numbness in her leg and foot. After trying to work through this for about 6 weeks, there was some complication with the nerves that caused extreme pain in her left foot, making it uncomfortable to wear socks or shoes or even have the bed sheets touch the foot. Now she has had numerous injections in her back and upper leg area trying to overcome the latest challenge.  So here we sit, nearly 1 year later from the original injury, and she still isnt back running agility. 
Granted, she has entered the ring a few times to try and see how things were, but she isnt running right and doesnt want to do the sport halfway.

In the meantime, her now 13 year old superstar dog "Baby", who needed just 1 more Double Q to earn a PACH and PAX to go along with all her other accomplishments, has been retired from agility due to failing vision and hearing.
I actually ran Baby for a weekend back in April to try and get that last double Q. On the first day of the show, she ran great and had a smoking 1st place standard run, followed by Jumpers with 2 knocked bars. She seemed a little sore that evening, so we scratched her from the second day. On the last day I ran her Jumpers first and she missed the weave entry, probably because she couldn't see it too well, so I elected to not run her in Standard.

It turns out, that was probably Baby's last ever agility run. I wish Katrina could have done that with her, and had a big celebration for all the awesomeness of Baby's career. Katrina did have Baby entered in a show in May, but elected to not run due to her own health issues.

You really never know.

This was the last run Skye gave me at the USDAA show in Pueblo. It was a very nice Q in Jumpers. If this was our last run, I am OK with that. He is a great agility teammate, and an even better "best friend".


Karissa said...

While theoretically this could be true for any of my dogs, I especially think about it with Luke these days. He's 10 1/2 and I've started to back off a lot with him. In addition to only doing NADAC so that he can jump 12", I've cut him back to 3 runs per day max. I am very careful about dog walks with him now after he displayed some unsteadiness this winter. He seems better now, but I still limit him to one class per day with a dog walk and I ask him to slow down before doing it.

My goal was to finish up his NATCH 5, which he did at our last trial. Part of me says maybe I should retire him now, but there's still so much joy when he runs that I don't know if I have the heart to pull him completely. I struggle with being able to choose his last run vs having it forced upon me. Which is better? Who can say.

I hope Skye is feeling better soon.

Greg S said...

I had goals with Skye that I had already finished too, and that makes it easier if we end up having retirement "forced" upon us. I do still really like running him as he has a lot of fun getting all jazzed up to run. I swear he was running faster at age 9 in some runs than he did when he was younger, maybe because he hardly ever gets to do any agility.

Nicki said...

That's something I've often wondered as well. And really, I just don't know. Good and bad to both I guess.