At our trial the other weekend we were able to speak to a few people about Lexi's issue. We've also had time to hear stories and thoughts from our family, friends, trainers, etc...about Lexi's condition.
I have truly appreciated all the support, anecdotes and information that people have shared. I've also been a little overwhelmed. Every story, every incident, and every dog is different. I'm a black or white kind of girl and I wish it were that easy. But hearing everyone's stories only makes me realize how unique each and every situation is.
I've heard encouraging stories about dogs doing serious rehab, building muscles by doing balance ball work, underwater treadmill, rear-end strength exercises, etc...and never needing surgery.
I've heard encouraging stories of successful surgeries where dogs were back to their usual selves (including agility) in six months to a year's time.
I've even heard stories of dogs that have retired and become "just companions" (I put that in quotes because I know what an important job that really is!) and are perfectly happy.
But I just don't know where we fall.
I've also worried myself sick over what will be best for Lexi. She is very sensitive, and I don't want her to ever associate agility, fetching, running, or being enthusiastic with pain. I don't ever want her to have to hesitate to do something that she wants to do. I've, unfortunately, seen a dog or two who have run injured (in pain, or compensating for injury) and have learned to deal with injury but aren't enthusiastic anymore. They are usually slow, and unmotivated. There is nothing wrong with slow dogs--but that's not Lexi. I want her to always be able to be herself and don't want any selfish decision of mine to change her.
When we came home from the trial, both days, SHE WAS MAD AT US. I couldn't believe it. She wouldn't fetch her ball, wubba, or any other toy. She would run after it, but not bring it back. Do you know how many times she has done that? Like zero. I was worried for a minute that she was hurt, but she would chase Bentley all around like a nut, but actively avoided us for a bit (reminds me of the one time that Jonathan yelled at her and she refused to hang out with him upstairs...just watched him from downstairs). I know it sounds silly, but I don't think I could leave her home while we trial for the rest of her life. It was too sad--she loves being there with us so much. And running.
And then I watch her run around the house (see below) and I think...this is way worse than what we ask of her in agility! (Don't watch these if you get motion sick...I couldn't keep up!)