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Getting back, up and running, can be scary…

August 27, 2015 1 comment

It has been a long time since Krypto and I have done any “serious” agility, that is trialling. We had stopped last November because of Krypto’s injury due to some scar tissue adhesion that had deteriorated his jumping. We had reached the point where he would refuse to jump the double, spread and tyre. And stutter step more and more frequently.

Then it was my turn. I was not injured, but I underwent surgery to get a second total hip replacement. This time I got a brand new left hip.

Then, at the very end of my convalescence, I discovered that a very small mass on Krypto’s chest (left-hand side), which I thought was gone since I had first seen it in February, had actually grown a bit. In February the vet that had seen him (unfortunately mine was on holiday) had sworn it was a histiocytoma (benign) and that it would normally reabsorb within 4-5 months. I brought Krypto to see my vet, to get her opinion on the mass, and decided to have it removed as it was growing, even if very slowly. That was a good call on my part as it turned out that mass was an early grade 2 mastocytoma, that is a cancer. Luckily we got it in time and my vet was able to remove it completely, so Krypto did not require any further surgeries or chemotherapy. But it was a huge scare for me, and of course we were off any type of activity for an additional couple of weeks.

After my surgery and before Krypto’s, we just had the time to do a couple of Gamblers runs at a small local trial. We did well, but Krypto popped the weaves in a very costly mini-gamble, which is very unusual. I did not think much about it, but after his surgery, he kept popping the weaves in training and at agility class. A visit to the chiropractor explained the issue as he was “a mess” and even his toes were out of alignment. He hasn’t popped them since.

Between Krypto’s surgery and his visit to the chiropractor, we managed to go for a One Mind Dog workshop held by OMD coach Jessica Ajoux in St-Lazare, to learn the techniques. It was mostly young dogs, and we were pretty much the only “old” team, and also the only one who did not know those fancy moves (I think…). It was an extremely hot day so even if we could have worked longer with the coach, if we got things right at the first attempt, we stopped there. It was fun, but I also got a bit self conscious watching these speedy handlers, with their young dogs, doing impressive handling, while I considered it a success when Krypto and I got the German turn or the double lap turn right!

And now this is it. Saturday we have our first trial in a long time.  If I do not consider those two Gamblers runs, it has been roughly ten months.

The one on Saturday is a small local trial at our club, More Dogz. Four runs: standard, challenge and two jumpers. It should not be a big deal but it is becoming a big deal for me. I am concerned about what we’ll be able to do. I am not really fast on my legs. I think I can get better once my left leg is stronger, but now I am so so as far as speed is concerned, and I lack endurance. Not that I will ever be fast…but…

And I see all these young people with legs that go up to their necks, run so that it looks so simple. And they are oh so coordinated. I was never an athlete (and never will be…), let alone coordinated!!

I think I need to get my act together and just trust that my adrenaline will keep me breathing till the end of each course. And go in the ring forgetting about young people with great legs and beautiful smooth “international” handling skills. Remembering the course and what I need to do both in terms of handling and in terms of verbal cues is what I must do. And I’ll be ok.

But,most of all, I must remember that I do not care about the Qs. I care about being as one with my amazing little border collie, to play and have fun together. Then everything will be ok, no matter what.

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Our 2014, from when we left the blog to December’s “revelation” and more…

January 19, 2015 1 comment

Our agility year (2014) continued pretty well as Krypto succeeded beyond my expectations. We became a better team and brought home several titles, and finally one sunny day of July, at the Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club, Krypto and I succeeded in “conquering” the last Masters Jumpers Q we needed to obtain the ATChC! Not only that, but we also earned the Bronze Award of Merit (10 Masters Standard Qs + 25 Masters Games Qs)!!

with judge Wendy Beard, showing off our ribbons

with judge Wendy Beard, showing off our ribbons

Before that “epic” day (for me), we had competed at the Quebec Regionals and with 507.95 points and a 10th place in 22 regular we had qualified for Nationals. Again, something I had only dreamed of!!

However at Regionals one thing started haunting us again, after some time we hadn’t had that issue. Krypto was stutter stepping before jumps. But, it was not consistent. Outdoors things were going better and the stutter stepping was minor. Krypto also started taking off very early on for a jump, and I started worrying. However it was hard to work on this issue since it was not always present and I could not figure out its cause.

At the Quebec Regionals.  Photo by Jacques Beauvais.

At the Quebec Regionals. Photo by Jacques Beauvais.

Regardless, off we went to our greatest agility adventure: the AAC 2014 National Agility Championships, that were held in Sussex, NB. I still remember discussing things with our trainer/coach/instructor/friend J.L. and telling her the same thing I had told her about my strategy for Regionals. I was going to give it all and push our limit. We’ll go for it. Playing conservatively when there were other 96 dogs in our category was really not an option. And I remember her agreeing with me.

So off we went, with a friend and her dog. And we had the grandest of times! We ran our heart out, we rose to 11th place after day one, then an unfortunate run under the downpour and my mistake brought us down to 33rd place after day two, but we managed to keep our cool and to climb back 6 places to finish 27th out of 97 dogs! And we even brought home a 7th place ribbon in Gamblers. I was on cloud none, and thinking of it, I still am. That was the most amazing competition ever. Before our first run I could barely breath! I had so much adrenaline running in my system that I had a hard time sleeping even if we were waking up every day at the crack of dawn! I learnt so much and I am so so proud of what we accomplished for our first time playing with the “big” dogs!

7th place Gambler 1

7th place Gambler 1

Once back home, things started deteriorating. Krypto’s stutter stepping, almost absent at Nationals (although I think it cost us a clean Standard 1 and 5 points in Standard 2), came back with a vengeance. Not only that. After an accident with a small non-breakaway tire, Krypto started refusing this obstacle. I spent lots of time training him, reading jumping books by Linda Mecklenburg, Chris Zink, Susan Salo and Suzanne Clothier. I started thinking that what was gong on was due to lack of confidence. But our trainer convinced me to go see a canine rehab therapist. And what she found was amazing! 
Krypto’s neutering scar, which is a tad different and a bit bigger than a normal one as he had an undescended testicle, has adhered to the underlying tissues, e.g. the fasciae. This is exerting a pull on his muscles and is causing a lot of discomfort, and a tightness in Krypto’s left psoas. The pull has gotten worse over the years as has the tightness and the pain.
This could be the reason why Krypto takes lots of small steps instead of a couple of nice strides before jumping, why he has started tucking his back paws under his back when jumping while he used to extend his paws backwards, and also why he tries to avoid certain obstacles…He may be trying to protect his leg while still doing what he loves to do.
Of course this is not necessarily the only cause of what he does, but may certainly be a contributing factor.

Krypto underwent therapy, the adhesion is almost completely gone, and last Saturday we went for the first training session since we have found out about this injury. I must admit that I was very concerned about not seeing any improvement, especially since after over a year of jumping the way he did, he may have created a habit that may be difficult to break.

We did extension grids, set points and speed circles. Krypto was extending beautifully doing grid work, but he kept tucking his back paws under while doing the speed circle…until we were almost done and he started extending his back paws back while jumping! Now, this may not mean much, but I am really hopeful that he may have understood that his muscles do not hurt anymore and it is ok to kick his paws back!

And this is it, in short, what we have done since our last post. In the next months we’ll keep working on Krypto’s jumping skills and try to break his bad habits. Until then, no trials for us…

An agility-less week-end, or almost

August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

This is definitely not Krypto’s best Summer. First he had the worn pads issue, then the BCC, and now, thanks to my vet, a broken claw…

It all began on Tuesday, when I went to the vet to have the boyz vaccinated agains the kennel cough since they will soon go to a kennel during my vacation to Nova Scotia. They needed a booster since the kennel wants the intra-nasal vaccine done every six months. Of course they will not simply do the vaccine. To justify the cost of a vet visit, they do a general check-up and also trim the dogs claws. When it was Krypto’s turn, the vet noticed how short his claws were. I should have said that he did not need a nail trim, but I did not say a word. So he got his nailed clipped.

Everything seemed fine until Thursday, when one of his claws got caught in the A-frame. This is, the vet did not probably notice but one of the clipped pieces of that claw did not come off when she cut it, but remained attached to part of the claw. So when it got caught in one of the slats of the A-frame, it tore off completely, taking with it some parts of the claw, peeling off so to speak. Of course it covered the nerve and started bleeding. And of course the vet had also cut so short that even the minimum wear would uncover the nerve and make it bleed…

I tried to put some “new skin” on the claw, but while it is effective to prevent bleeding, it does not withstand Krypto’s wear and tear. Well, the little bugger really uses his claws to propel himself and be as fast as possible. Conclusion: no agility since Thursday afternoon! What a bummer.

I tried to keep Krypto quiet, but it is almost impossible, so today I brought him and Pongo for a run at Dogz. I wrapped his paw so that he would not wear out the claw that is starting to grow back, and I am happy to report that we managed a whole hour without any bleeding signs!

The highlight of my day, apart from the walk at Dogz, was going to ADSC to meet with Janet and get a crash course on how to transition directionals to agility obstacles! I can’t wait to put it in practice!

Categories: Varia, veterinary

Border Collie Collapse (BCC)

August 15, 2012 2 comments

On Saturday after training Krypto for a few minutes, perhaps 10, with some short pauses to move between “stations”, we stopped, he drank water, lay down and started panting furiously. Then he got up, and his back paws very very wobbly. SM and I cooled him down right away – I poured a bottle of water on his head and some more on his belly and chest – and he recovered quickly. I then brought him to the small kiddy pool, and we wet his belly again with the cool water. And that was it.

Then on Sunday off we went to Janet’s Masters clinic. We worked, but not for long stretches of time. And I forfeited several minutes of my time for not risking another episode of BCC. As soon as we stopped working Krypto went in the pool, I wet his belly since he does not like to lie down in it, then put on his cooling coat, had him drink, and gave him a few ice cubes to eat. No wobbly legs and no hyperventilation due to excessive panting.

So after worrying all Saturday evening, on Sunday I realized that despite this issue, we can still work and perform. I just have to manage all our activities, especially during hot days, so as not to have him collapse. I think I can manage this one too.

Categories: Varia, veterinary

Of ants and pads

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday afternoon I discovered that a bunch of ant were having a walk along the window frame in my basement bedroom window. They were frantic, and they were lots. Then I noticed that between the screen and the glass of the window there were oodles of small winged ants as well. Off I went to get my very chemical ant killer, and I sprayed and killed the beasts. Then I sealed all the holes I could see with caulk, and used tape to seal the small opening along the perimeter of the screen/window frame. Then I went outside and noticed that the bloody beasts were also outside the window, same types, in very large numbers. So I stayed them as well, and I sprayed all the perimeter out there. I kept checking the basement room and no alive ants appeared up to the next day, when I came home from work to find them on the top left corner of the window frame, and in between the folds of my venetian blind. Crap. I sprayed them again and killed, then sprayed the whole window, all the baseboards in that room, all the outside of the window, and closed the door so the boyz would not go in and get the fumes of the poison. When I went to check after a few hours, again there was nothing alive, but I noticed some new specimen. Big winged ants. I collected a sample and compared with online pics of carpenter ants, and I found out that what I had been killing for two days were the workers (small unhinged), male reproductive (small winged) and female reproductive (big winged) ants. Ok, time to call the exterminator. Not a nice ecological one. One to kill. Everything but humans and animals. He is supposed to come today at 1 pm. I am counting on that. I will be poorer, but bug-less!

Then last Sunday was the agility clinic at Janet’s. Advanced level. Krypto and I had a working spot. Right now I am too drained and worried about ants and exterminators to go into the details of what we did. Suffice to say that the clinic was excellent as always, and I learnt a lot. However, Krypto burnt his pads again, on the tough very dry grass, just by doing 4 exercises… THe pads were not bad as the last time, but still, enough to pull from the afternoon drills of the clinic, and question our going to this incoming Thursday trial at ADSC. Crap again.

If I were religious, I would go to be blessed, because this last two months have been pretty full of negative events…

Categories: Agility, Varia, veterinary

Week-end full of dog activities

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Treibballing on Friday

Our week-end started on Friday evening, when Pongo and I went to our first official Treibball class. Luckily the weather was a bit better than the previous days, and we did actually enjoy a nice breeze during the whole lesson. We met some new dogs, some new handlers, and had lots of fun. We repeated pretty much what we had learnt two weeks before, but Pongo was not as receptive or willing to work as when we had our little private class. I bet a field with new dogs and new people kind of made for a very “happy go lucky” Pongo that did not quite see the point of shaping to target a specific point on a mat placed perpendicular to the ground, or that preferred to lie down next to the mat rather than on top of it.

Regardless, he had great fun, and so did I. Pongo played “chase me” with Stevie,met a gorgeous Chesapeke Bay retriever puppy, and learnt from Merlin that not all dogs want to play with him.

Busy fun Saturday

On Saturday Krypto, Pongo and I went to Cornwall. Krypto had his check up appointment at the chiropractor. Good thing we went, since his front left and back right paws were quite off. The chiro fixed him up in no time and we decided that it would be a good idea to go back again at the end of next month, to fix whatever he may have off place after our two next rials.

Then off we went to Gray Creek Conservation Area and took advantage of the gorgeous deserted paths to have an off leash experience in Cornwall, while waiting for lunch time.

At lunch time we met with our friend Lyne and off we went to lunch in a beautiful park overlooking the St Laurence river. I had a great time with my friend, and the boyz posed for Lyne’s promotional photo of  poop bag dispensers LOLL

Then, after dropping Lyne off to work, we headed back towards Ottawa, taking a detour towards Merrickville and Waggalot, Michelle’s place.

Once at Waggalot, Michelle, Sue and I had lots of fun watching the dog swimming, and I managed, with my friends’ help, to teach krypto to dive in the pond. Once he got it, he enjoyed the diving so much he did not want to stop.

Pongo’s style, on the other hand, never improved. I believe Pongo prefers swimming to diving…

Sunday’s fun match

Then on Sunday morning we woke up and Krypto and I went to the Dogz fun match. The weather was crappier than expected, very humming, and we even got interrupted, in the early afternoon, by a nice storm.

Despite the rain, we had lots of fun. Krpto run fast, but did not run clean! As always I was a bit off with my timing and he knocked 2 bars in the first standard. Also, he did not stop at the AD to do his 2 on 2 off contact…but at least he did not creep down it neither! I’d rather fix the contact position, than fix the creeping down which which we have been struggling for quite a while.

His weaves were beautiful, but we still struggle with our entries, and I already have a plan to work this issue.

Overall a fun week end, with my dogs and my friends! I could have not asked for more!

At Waggalot – Krypto diving and Pongo trying to imitate him

Leaking fixed, paw pad healed!

June 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Krypto the leaking border collie does not leak anymore:

Oh yeah, I had not written about the leaking border collie issue! I think. So here it is in short:

Krypto had started dripping urine while sleeping. As if his penis was a broken faucet! We went to the vet, did a urine test, and it turned out he had a urinary tract infection. He got antibiotics and special food. And in two weeks the infection was gone. He had to keep eating the special vet food for another month but we stopped after another week because he started showing signs of food intolerance…Krypto appears to be allergic to fish, and in that food there is fish oil…Apart from this, the leaking border collie was still leaking.

What to do, what to do?

Option 1: Keep the leaking Krypto confined to his crate while I am at work and during the night.

Option 2: Try the chiropractor to see if there is something affecting his ability to control his bladder.

I chose option 2 and went to see the chiropractor on May 26. And, surprise surprise, all Krypto’s lower back was out of place! Both his spine and his pelvic bones! It took the chiro about 20 minutes to find the issue and put everything back in place. She did not know whether this would work, but hey, he had never leaked until a could of months ago, so it could really be something went wrong with his bones, especially considering that he is a bit wild and falls and rolls off agility equipment more often that I would like.

And here we are, 6 nights after, and not one leak!! It looks like Option 2 worked for us! yay for the chiropractor!

Paw pad:

Paw pad is like brand new, the skin is just a bit soft and I need to be careful when working Krypto on rough surfaces. So here we are, able to train again and getting ready for next week’s trial!

Categories: veterinary