Thursday, July 14, 2016

Best Laid Plans

And so I returned from the Nationals all excited and ready to hit the agility ring with Veto.  I had about four weeks before his first trial so I set up a couple of novice jumping sequences at home to work on and I was feeling that we were as prepared as we could be for our first time in the ring.  It was really nice to feel excited about trialling rather than anxious as I can feel with Cassie not knowing if she will run or not.  It felt quite weird warming Ve up for his turn.  The Novice Jumping course was one of the easiest I’ve seen and a nice way to get started.  He ran pretty much as I thought he would.  Not overly fast but confident and forward striding.  He listened to me beautifully, so much so that when I gave him a jump cue on a slight bend to a jump he took me completely literally and drove forward and straight past the jump I wanted him to take!  He also knocked the back of the spread when he took off a little too early and didn’t quite have the height he needed to clear it.  Which was funny when for some jumps he was jumping so high he could have made it over a 700mm height jump.  But all in all it was a great start and I couldn’t wait for the following weekend when I had entered him in Novice Agility and Jumping plus Novice Gamblers to give him some extra goes on contacts in the ring.

Veto's first agility photo!
But two days later those trialling plans came to a grinding halt when Veto managed to do himself a whole lot of damage while free running at home.  I’m still not quite sure how he managed it.  We were taking them all for a run around the property at home which we do every day.  Veto and Fizz love to chase each other through the bush and somehow Veto got a leg caught under a bush that had a small stringy branch stuck under the shrub next to it.  It looks like that has caused his whole body to flip and he’s come crashing down on his side.  I didn’t even realise what had happened until I heard him yelping in pain.  When I got to him he was on his side with one leg still stuck under the branch and the other front leg dangling in the air.  I pretty much saw the end of his agility career flash before my eyes because it really looked like he had snapped his leg.  Adrenaline promptly kicked in and my practical, sensible in a crisis side managed to calmly get him unstuck and carry my 20kg puppy back to the house which was about 200 meters away.  The poor boy was in a lot of pain as was my back the next day. 
 
What we are doing a lot of right now...
By the time I got him to the vet he was weight baring which was a good sign.  The vet went over him with a fine tooth comb and was happy that there wasn’t anything broken or “snapped” just lots of very painful soft tissue damage.   After a shot of morphine and an anti-inflammatory injection we came home.  I was very lucky that Deb Nook our wonderful dog acupuncturist happened to be in Perth and could fit him in on the Saturday to go over him and check how much damage there actually was and exactly what we were dealing with.  Her overall assessment was that both of his shoulders were really bad along with muscle damage to his lower back and his psoas on both sides not good.  Could have been much worse but a lot of work to do to fix him.  Two weeks down the track and two visits to Deb later with multiple daily leash walks and stretching exercises we are seeing some nice improvement and his shoulder extension is back to about 50%.  He is definitely feeling good and walking him on leash is getting harder and harder because he just wants to run.  My plan is to give him a minimum of 6 weeks off equipment to make sure all the muscles have had time to heal completely.  At about the 8 week mark Colin and I are off on an overseas holiday so it will probably end up being more like 10 weeks.  It will just depend on how he’s going as to what I do with him, if anything before we go away.  I’d like to think I can have him back for the Royal but who knows.  He’s recovery has to be the priority.

video
Veto's first Novice Jumping run

So we are effectively all having an “agility holiday” spending lots of time hanging out, relationship building and going for lots of walks.  He is taking it pretty well but every now and again he needs five minutes of crazy time out the back to let off some steam.  He is hanging to play tug but I just can’t let him right now which I feel very mean about but it’s all for the greater good.  I’m consoling myself with that it could have been worse.  He’s young and healthy and should heal completely with time and patience.  However there is a corner of my brain that can’t help but think it would be really, really nice at some point in the not too distant future to be able to do agility like a normal person.  It feels like that has alluded me for quite some time... 

Agility Queen