Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bentley's Weekend

This weekend we went to a local trial.  I was a little apprehensive about going.  Of course I was excited about Bentley coming back from his injury, but I was also feeling really sad.  I couldn't believe that for the first time in over 2 years we'd be going to a trial without Lexi.  I just knew it wouldn't be fair to bring her along and not let her run, so she stayed home.

But my little buddy made it worth it.  He got his MAD!  (Master Agility Dog).  I was so proud of him.  Leave it to my little man to make me wake up and realize how much I love this sport.  Part of me wanted to quit a few weeks ago!

Anyways, here are his runs...

Masters Gamblers:
My little non-gambling man...he really tried!  I have been setting little goals for our gambles (or it gets kind of depressing) and this one was just for him to take the second jump.  He took the second jump AND turned the right way.  And then he went back out to complete the obstacles.  No Q, of course (didn't take that third jump) but I was really happy.

Masters Standard:  Q and MAD!
There was a time when I never even dreamed of getting Qs with Bentley (didn't even know what a "Q" was!), much less titling across the board and getting closer and closer to an ADCH.  Bentley is such a trooper, and I could just feel his enthusiasm at being out there with us today.

Masters Gamblers:
Again, I try to set little mini goals, and I honestly didn't think Bentley would even get into the right end of the tunnel.  But he did!  I better start giving him more credit!  That in itself felt like a victory.  And then, he went back WAY out and took the last jump.  Again, I was so proud!  The teeter was just too far and at too much of an angle coming from the tunnel for him to even see it, but I'm not worried about that.

Masters Standard:
Not the best run...but I like to blame most of it on Jonathan.  It's just been awhile since we've been working with Bentley and his commitment point is so late!  Jonathan's decel and slight lateral motion caused a refusal in the corner.  I thought his rear cross heading towards the table was really nice.  Jonathan wanted to make him hold his a-frame since the run was blown, but of course B wasn't even close--haha!  Dogwalks are looking good, though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Words Only Wednesday

"But we owe it to ourselves to try, 
So we aim and ignite...
It's not often that I understand
The ins and outs of what's wrong and what's right
So don't think of tomorrow tonight."  

Monday, August 20, 2012

The News

I’ve been waiting to make this post for a couple reasons.
  1. I have been feeling so many emotions that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write them all down.  Also, if history has taught me anything, it’s that I should try to take time to digest all the information that I have rather than immediately expressing my emotions (and trust me, I have a lot of them!)
  2.  I guess part of me was hoping that it would just go away.  Writing this post makes it all real.  And I wish it weren’t.

I’m making this sound incredibly bleak, and it isn’t that bad.  So instead of starting this post with the negatives, I’ll start with the positives.
  • Lexi is healthy.  She does not have cancer.  She does not have any other disease that will shorten her life.
  •  Lexi is happy.  My girl is happy being with us every day; whether she’s playing fetch or sitting on our laps, she is happy.
  •  I have had the opportunity to learn so much from her, that I know no matter where life takes us, she has so much more to teach me.
  •  I love Lexi no matter what, and she loves me.

Now for the ONE negative.
  • The vet walked back into the room to speak to me and her first words were “How much do you like doing agility with this dog?”  I broke into tears. 

I know, I know, that doesn’t sound so bad—she’s just hurt.  But it was really upsetting for me to hear for a variety of reasons.  But I guess I should get to emotions later.  Here are the facts.

Lexi has a luxating patella on both knees.  We already knew that!  But, this vet seemed to think it was the cause of the problems.  She took x-rays, and stated that her leg looks perfect (no bowing to compensate, no abnormalities, etc…) “except for when it doesn’t” as she said.  Basically, when it pops out, it’s all wrong.  But when it’s in, no problems.

Unfortunately for Lexi, her patellas luxate both ways.  Apparently it’s very abnormal for the patella to be able to be luxated both medially and laterally (in and out) and that makes surgery a lot more complicated.  I guess when they do surgery they build up one side to make it so that the patellar tendon does not want to move one way, and therefore just stays in place.  So the surgery is complicated, and is more of an “art” as described by the vet (ack! Scary!)

And now to the emotion part of the post.  We don’t know how serious it is.  The vet suspects that the other vets that saw her weren’t able to luxate it as much because Lexi was so tense.  She sedated her for a second evaluation, and still told me it felt like a Grade I.  Grade I’s typically aren’t corrected by surgery because they manifest infrequently.  (Side note:  Vet wrote “Grade II/IV” on the take home sheet, which I find confusing). 

But Lexi is an agility dog.  She may never be able to do agility again.  I know it’s selfish of me, but it absolutely broke my heart.  A week removed from the news I can talk about it without crying (ridiculous, I know), because I know that Lexi loves agility because she loves me.  She is a happy dog without agility.  But I’m sad.  And I feel like a bad person for feeling upset about her not being able to compete ever again.

The vet sent us home armed with some knowledge and a great deal of sadness.  But our homework is to observe her.  Let her be herself (craziness and all!) How often does it luxate?  What causes it?  We were to take detailed notes of any incidents.  The frequency of the incidents would help us to make a decision regarding treatment (surgery?)  But I couldn’t help but think that I don’t know what I want to do.

Jonathan and I decided that if Lexi wasn’t able to be herself—crazy, fun-loving, nothing-at-a-walk Lexi, then we would get the surgery.  I just couldn’t bear to keep her quiet and crated for her whole life.  But what if the issue only crops up when doing agility?  Am I so selfish as to put my dog under the knife, a painful surgery, through several months of rest and serious rehabilitation just for a hobby of mine?  The answer is I don’t think I would be able to.  But it breaks my heart.  And again, I feel awful about it.

So what have we observed over the past week?  She’s done a lot.  And I mean a lot.  She still does nothing at a walk.  We’ve been playing fetch with her (that includes some turns, some somersaults), letting her chase the cat and zoom around the house (which includes stopping and turning on a dime, leaping off of furniture, jumping on the cat) and do whatever she wants.  We even went hiking this weekend!  (Don’t worry—I carried her most of the time, and got a lot of grief for it from strangers.  But there were a lot of steps!)  We saw NOTHING.  Until today.  I was taking Bentley out in the front yard and Lexi ran out (naughty girl).  She went into the yard to find a place to go to the bathroom.  She was not sprinting, but she was running.  And I noticed that she was sort of skipping, and there was a definite hitch in her step.  She went to the bathroom and I called her back in.  She ran (faster than when she ran out) and the limp was gone.  She just finished tearing around the house with the cat.  I can’t figure it out.

So, we don’t really have any answers or a solution.  We have an appointment at TOPS Rehabilitation facility for September.  I am really looking forward to what they have to say, and am just trying to take everything one day at a time.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


This is what happens when I get up early to feed the dogs and let them out...

They're back in bed as soon as they've eaten!

(And yes, there is an elephant in the room, figuratively speaking...but I'm not ready to talk about it yet.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How Much Do We Love Our Dogs?

I came home to find that my husband had taken our bed apart (a tough job--it's a big, heavy, wooden sleigh bed) so that Lexi can sleep on the bed with us and we don't have to worry about her jumping down.  He said putting her in a crate at night was "too sad"!

But no, we don't love our dogs... :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Attitude on Injury

We've been watching a lot of the Olympics recently, and I find myself comparing it some to our agility journey (of course we're on a much smaller scale!)  Today I was watching running and heard them mention the defending Olympic gold medal winner, Lashawn Merritt.

In his qualifying heat this year he pulled his hamstring and couldn't complete the race.  The defending Olympic champion had to pull out of all of his races for these Olympics.

I couldn't help but think about Lexi and her injury.  I know, she's not an Olympian, but I've been feeling sorry for her and for myself thinking "we were going to Regionals" and "she was doing so well" and "we've been working so hard".  I've been feeling frustrated, guilty and impatient, to name a few things.

But this man, Merritt, has been working his entire life, all 26 of his years, for this Olympic moment.  And now he is injured and can't compete.  Lexi has hurt herself and may have to wait a few months before she is ready to run again.  But that's nothing!  There are Regionals next year.  But Merritt will have to wait another 4 years to the Olympics to come around again--and at that point he will be older than the majority of competitors and will have to work against what is considered an aging body for a competitive runner.

And Merritt, had this to say, "It's very disappointing.  I'll regroup.  It's not the end of the world.  The Olympics will come around again.  Next year is a world championship.  It's just a matter of getting healthy"*.

And he's right.  I'm disappointed.  But the opportunity will come around again.  Right now, it's just a matter of getting Lexi healthy.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lexi's on Lock Down

Previous set up...
Well, Lexi thought she had it bad before...
We have been keeping her in the x-pen when we're home.  But today she took off and ran across the yard (totally my fault) and immediately started limping.  It was slight, but it was a hitch for sure.  I'm so frustrated with myself.

So, sadly for her, she's on pretty much total lock down now until our next vet appointment (not for 10 days!)  We replaced the x-pen with her crate, and unless she's being held or we're taking her out, she'll be in the crate.  Unfortunately, Lexi has one speed--up up and away!  When we go to pick her up she ALWAYS jumps up to help.  It's cute and helpful when she's not hurt, when she's hurt it's hard to get her to stop.  So she's always jumping a little bit.  Also, she tends to jump and spin some in her x-pen.  Naughty girl.

She is very unhappy with us, though she has been enjoying a variety of frozen items in her Kong (banana, green beans, peanut butter, yogurt, kibble, treats, you name it).  Doesn't taste as good as freedom, though.