Monday, June 04, 2012

Regionals Rollercoaster

No big event is without a rollercoaster of emotions. But it seems that bad luck follows me around....Friday we ran Steeplechase and Pixel was pumped and excited and pretty fast for a little Pixel. We had some weave pole popping and a refusal but a good warm up. In the afternoon we did one warm up run and Pixel tripped up the wall and did a face plant. She shook it off and seemed alright.

Saturday morning we rocked Jumpers and Gamblers. The Jumpers was awesome- fast and flowy. She looked great! The gamble was also pretty great- I had a good path with lots of points. She got the mini gamble twice AND the main gamble! Woowoo! That afternoon I was feeling the love for agility- my friends and training students are awesome. We have a great group and it was fun. Like really fun. I forgot about sad Wicca sitting at home and just enjoyed the day. The standard run Pixel tripped again up the frame (after taking missing it the first time...)- she stumbled but again continued on. We finished the run but I could tell something wasn't quite right. It isn't normal for her to have trouble with the frame.

So off we went to the on site chiropractor. Pixels left shoulder was very tight and sore. Jennifer reccomended ice and rest. And a recheck later that day. A few hours later after a recheck Pixel seemed good to go- the chiropractor suggested bringing her back in the morning after her first run. (on a side note her pelvis was also out- likely why I had been seeing crooked sits for the past little while...)

I was worried but she did seem fine. Her walk/play in the morning was normal. Her warm up great- I couldn't see anything at all. Of course Pixel refused the frame in the gamble that morning, and wasn't jumping well. I pulled her for the weekend. I am not willing to risk my dogs health for agility.

In any case there were of course some tears. I was upset that I may have risked more injury to my dog by running that gamble in the morning. I should have just pulled her. It really bugs me a lot when my dogs are hurt or in pain. And because of my past problems with Wicca I guess I am just even more sensitive about it. It left me with a rotten feeling in my gut. Sometimes I hate agility. I do understand that LOTS of things can cause injury, and that our dogs can't live in bubbles but it gets really frustrating to have injury after injury to my dogs.

Needless to say if/when Pixel returns to trials she will be in the Specials class- with a lower A-Frame. Up until this weekend it has never been a problem before but I want to minimize the risk as much as possible.

Up until the injury we were having a great weekend- she had run two classes clean and we were both having fun. Here are two of our runs from Saturday- the Jumpers and the Gamble.

Our students did amazing- LOTS of fabulous runs. Some clean, some not but each of our students rocked it and gave it their all. Running hard, digging deep, and trusting their training and their dogs. I love seeing that Relationship put to the test like that.  We are very lucky to have such an amazing supportive group.

Pixel is feeling a bit better this afternoon. This morning she was limping- whereas yesterday she wasn't limping at all. Just sore. I iced it this morning though and that seems to have helped. She will be taking it easy for a few days and if it's not better we will be off to see our vet in Calgary. It's like deja vu. :(  I do think it is nothing major. My fingers are crossed anyway.

So yeah. That's where it is at.

So send some healing thoughts our way- and while your at it send some to Gyp. She was hurt on the weekend as well. :( 

Bah. Agility. I love ya and I hate ya all at the same time.


Taryn said...

I hope Pixel is OK and back to herself as soon as possible. It sure does seem like our dogs get hurt a lot playing agility.....or is it just that we are that much more tuned into them?

I definitely know what you mean by a rotten feeling in the gut...Jimmy's last visit to the chiro found some sore spots I was very surprised (and very bummed) about....

If you hadn't mentioned Gyp getting hurt too, I was about to chalk it all up to Cardigans and what a poor agility choice they are :-(

Diana said...

Sending healing thoughts to Pixel and Gyp. I sooo feel your pain about injuries and agility. I understand your heart ache.

andrea said...

awwww I'm so sorry - delighted about your awesome runs but worried for you now too

onecollie said...

that gamble was awesome!! & I was lucky enough to see the jumpers too :)
Sorry Pixel is hurt :(

Karen said...

Those were two nice runs:)
Sorry to hear about Pixel (and Gyp), and hope they recover quickly with no lasting effects.

Cornerstone said...

Healing prayers sent your way for Pixel. Sorry that happened.

Paws on the Run said...

That really sucks and I'm sorry this seems to keep happening to all your dogs. :(

I think any athlete is going to get injuries and feel the occasional pain at times - human or canine. I know we disagree about "acceptable levels of pain" but I try and weigh the options in terms of what I would want if it were me.

My knee hurts when I hike and I take pain pills to compensate instead of just not hiking. I don't want to stop doing something I love just because I need to take a few pills that night, especially knowing I'll be just fine the next day again. As you know, I'm taking the same approach with Coulee.

Find that balance that works for you and your dogs and don't beat yourself up about it. There is no right answer - just different options and opinions. You'll never know for sure if you are doing what your dogs would choose, but you know them best and regardless of what you do, they know you are doing what you think is best for them and what makes them happiest.

Sarah said...

As as follow up to Wendy's comment - I have to come into say, that we as humans are responsible for these creatures ... we do things to there bodies that are unnatural to them - whether that is agility, frisbee, flyball, fetching - we ask them to torque their bodies - sometimes more than thy should be, and sometimes, shit just happens and they get hurt like we do from doing something minor.

My dogs are athletes - I am fit but I am not an athlete - so the care my dogs get is different than the care I give myself. Sad, but true. I would not drive 4 hours to get acupuncture and physio for myself - but we do it regularly for our dogs.

With my (and Amanda's dogs - sorry to speak for you) we take a different approach with our dogs, in hopes we aren't just making them feel better for that moment so they can hurt again the next day. We hope to find the cause of the issue and make it better - and prevent it from happening again, with as little drug use as possible. That is also the approach a human athlete would take - rest, rehab, get stronger, stay stronger, perform longer, live longer.

What I guess I am saying is pain management is a layered issue (which requires expertise and multiple modalities - acupuncture, physio, massage, chiro, supplements, rest - whatever is needed to heal the dog or human), and not something that can just be cured with meds, it becomes a band-aid. Amanda could have just doped Pixel up and ran her (I couldn't have done that with Gyp as she was VERY lame and hardly walking). But I was very surprised that weekend at how many people asked why we weren't still running them, and that is sad - that is the point where it becomes putting our wants and desires over what is best for the dog. I know I'd be pissed if Amanda me run if I was hurt LOL :) Anyway just another view on the issue ...

Paws on the Run said...

I agree with what you've said Sarah - in my case, the condition of Coulee's feet isn't something I can fix with any treatments (at least not that numerous vets and tests and treatments have found) and the underlying issue isn't something that running makes worse. Her feet go to pot whether she sits on her ass or runs a marathon. So she either lies around the house doing nothing or she has a little fun, with a short term price. I try and balance it - no matter what I do, her quality of life will never be the same as it was. When she does run and play it is nowhere close to as much as she used to but I am not going to attach her to a leash for the rest of her life. She is not doped up on pain meds every day but I'm not afraid to give her some relief when she needs it. Just like I'm not afraid to take an Advil when I have a headache.

I wasn't suggesting that Amanda run Pixel at the trial injured. I think she made the right choice. What I was trying to say was that like it or not, pain is a part of life and you have to weigh the pros and cons of any activity. Aside from living in a bubble, a dog is probably going to get hurt during their life. Let's face it, most things that are fun for a dog can cause injury. Of course you do everything in your power to prevent injuries and provide relief, but stopping the fun (I'm talking long term, not short term) to stop the risk, isn't really a solution.

To use my personal example, I wouldn't hike if I had a sprained ankle but if that ankle remained achy for the rest of my life even once it was healed, it wouldn't stop me from hiking in the future if I could easily manage the short term pain hiking caused. On the other hand, I stopped playing Roller Derby because the chance of major injury was more than I was willing to risk. The potential risks outweighed the potential benefits. I decided what worked for me and my life (which is obviously very different from every woman out there playing derby). And that is what I try and do with my dogs. If Lacey was the one with the foot issues, things would be quite different. They are different dogs that have different needs and different personalities. I don't think Lacey would mind being a plump little couch dog but it would shatter Coulee's spirit and frankly break my heart to see her like that.

I think that every person and every dog and every situation is different and you need to do what you feel is best for you and those in your care. No one else can make that decision for you and I don't think there are any wrong decisions if you are keeping their best interests at heart.

Sorry Amanda - didn't mean to hijack your post!

manymuddypaws said...

Don't worry about it Wendy- discussion is good. :)

Everyone has different opinions. And we are allowed to have said opinions. My opinion is that there are lots of different things that make my dogs happy. Wicca did LOVE agility, and she does LOVE to run around like a maniac. But she also loves to find stuff and roll around on dead stuff, and swim, and catch instead of fetch, and do tricks, and learn new things. She will never be a couch potato. It's just not her personality. She is a gritty, intense dog and I do my best to keep her brain busy. It has been a challenge to figure out but her spirit and heart are still intact, and so is her body. So it is a compromise for us.

I've already been down the medicate and let it be path. I will never be at peace with Sam's death because of that. I should have kept looking for a solution. Kept looking for opinions. Deciding to just let him be and medicate on bad days was a way for me to have peace at the time- I knew at least that he wasn't in pain for those days. But now- knowing how it felt at the end. The guilt never goes away. Ugh. Never again will I be selfish when it comes to my dogs.

With Wicca we have our ups and downs. She is realtively fine most days- even after mild exercise. If you didn't know to look for it you wouldn't even see her rear end shaking. Yes she had to give up some things that she loved, that I loved doing with her. But she is still happy- well, except when I leave her at home on agility weekends... I am the one who has taken it the hardest. I am the one who cried because she will never get to run through a tunnel again, or be her crazy self on course. I am the one who was torn up about regionals. Not her. Dogs are accepting of their lives. She is happy to do the little things we do- she is still naughty, and opinionated, and very bossy. There is no change in her. Just me.

I could be selfish like a millon other agility folk out there- just this past weekend I saw dogs that were in obvious discomfort running at a regional event. I know of people who medicate so their dogs can still play- because the dog loves it so much. Bull. It's selfish. People do that sort of thing for themselves. Not for the dog.

Those are my thoughts and opinions on the matter. Sarah is right when she said that we as their owners have to take full responsibility. We make the decisions for the dog. Like I said- everyone is entitled to their opinion. We all have different morals and standards, different thought process. Wendy is right in that you have to go with your heart- but you also need to factor in your head. It is not easy regardless of what you decide. Our dogs are more than just dogs. They are my family. My heart. And I will always do what I can to preserve my dogs. Be that by keeping them fit and in shape enough to play agility. Or by retiring them early so they can enjoy their senior years happy and healthy- not crippled or in pain.

Pixel (hopefully) won't be retired from agility but obviously I need to up my conditioning- help her to heal from this injury. But to do that first I need to find the source. We are off teo see Veronica Devall tomorrow- hopefully we will come away with some answerts, and some things that I can do to make it better.

But like I said each to their own- everyone has different opinions on everything. If everyone got along and agreed about stuff the world would be a boring place. I think in this discussion there is no black and white. It is all grey, and dependent on the individual.

Nicki said...

Hope she feels better soon. Congrats on the good runs you did have.