iliopsoas

We finally got Lu to the rehab vet guy last night. He had come highly recommended by some friends so we drove the hour + out of town to the very fancy vet practice. He asked what was going on and I told him: “Nothing really, just a feeling. She walks funny, doesn’t seem free of movement, jumps weird, pace-walks often, Oh, and I noticed recently that she can’t bend.” 

So we walked up and back in their rehab area, and went in and out of some cones (and can I say, her FOCUS for this was incredible??? I didn’t have food on me, we were in a completely new place with so many distractions, and I was basically asking her to heel… and yet, she was prancing along, nipping my sleeve, jumping and bouncing… she probably thought I had treats so hopefully wasn’t too disappointed when I didn’t provide!), and then they laid her on her side to check her out (and she HATES being forced onto her side). Then BAM – found a SUPER sensitive, super painful spot.

“Typical iliopsoas sprain,” the vet says. And I instantly remember reading that these take at least 6 weeks of rest to recover. Great.

So he says we can either do laser therapy twice a week for 2-3 weeks, and rehab stretches and exercises, or do a longer period of rest and anti-inflams. I’m all for the ‘get it stronger for a permanent solution’ so I’m going rehab and laser. In the meantime, I have to try and avoid her bending – so, no wrestling with Loki, no running around off-lead… Nice on-lead walks only. Oh boy. But the stricter I am now, the faster it will heal, and given that we’re moving house in a little under a month it’s actually probably the ideal time to have to do this as I can dedicate weekends to packing or driving to the new place with stuff rather than training. 

Not that we’ve been training anyway. As I thought about it on the way home, I figured out that we’ve probably had 2 good weeks of training since January. Because she got sick in January- then had about 6-8 weeks recovery before we started anything. When we started it was only backyard stuff and only weaves. When she was able to do courses again, I sprained my calf muscle so we had about another 4-6 weeks of only light/no training. Then my calf got better and the ground has been so soggy and slippery that we haven’t been able to train very much/at all, OH! And then she got desexed so was out for a couple of weeks there, and now she needs another (???) weeks rest off. Yes, I’ve been going to the training club some Saturdays but I hardly think that once a week running a sequence once or twice and doing a dogwalk a couple of times counts as training. So, oh well. What the hell is another 6-8-10 weeks hey? Might as well try and see out the year at this rate! 

But at least now there’s something to work on – I don’t expect it will fix her jumping style, I have a feeling that’s just how she is structurally, but it should certainly help her be able to turn easier, and move freer (that’s a weird word, just saying) and maybe therefore run faster and weave better! Maybe that’s why she was having so much trouble with her weaves, too!! 

And I’m glad I wasn’t just paranoid or seeing things that weren’t there, too.  Time to do some research and take these dogs for a nice on-lead walk (except Loki, who needs to RUN daily).

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on the plus side

I hate the world and everything in it and I'm never leaving my crate ever again. Ever.

I hate the world and everything in it and I’m never leaving my crate ever again. Ever.

As I mentioned, Lu was getting (and did get) spayed on Monday. The operation went very well and I picked her up Monday afternoon wobbly and tired but happy to see me. Being Lumen, I knew instantly the effect that having a shaved stomach with stitches in would have on her so we got her home, set up a crate with a nice soft comfortable bed, and in she went. And she slept, and slept, and slept so deeply I worried she wasn’t waking up, but she woke up. And she ate with a big appetite. 

The next day she was not so wobbly or tired, and I took her into school. She slept in her crate and hardly lifted her head. 

The thing that I find funniest about her is that she’ll be fine, right, happy to be walking around, tail wagging, normal girl- and then suddenly, her stomach gets ‘activated’ and she twitches, spasms and dives for the nearest soft thing- whether that’s a bed, a blanket, a towel, a couch, a cushion, and she’ll curl up in the smallest ball and look so sad and worried. When she was sick last time she must have been feeling much worse because she was hardly up and about by this point. But we’ve been doing some games and training and went for a walk in the morning (which seems to take her mind off it)… And then this morning I took the paper tape off the incision and we’re back to 2 days ago where I have to take her harness and guide her off her bed and almost straight away she’ll spasm and be desperate to find somewhere to curl up again. 

So, on the plus side – keeping her quiet to heal is very easy because she’s quite content to curl up in a small ball and not move for a few hours. 

Loki on the other hand is going to be a real pain because he’s going to feel fine by day 2 and want to run around VERY FAST and play with Lu.

Ok, fine, but this is as FAR out as I'm coming. Now bring me food, right to my mouth. I'm not going to get up to eat or drink.

Ok, fine, but this is as FAR out as I’m coming. Now bring me food, right to my mouth. I’m not going to get up to eat or drink.

Lu just wants to be on something very soft and in a very small ball. 

last pill day party!

Today is a wonderful day. (doesn’t Javelin look so majestic in that photo? I can’t get over his majesty. Lu looks like she has broken front legs, Pan is yelling, and Badger is looking confused. Is Javelin the only one who knows how to take photos?!)

In a bit, I’ll be giving Lu her last pill!!! When I got this bag of 90 pills, it seemed like we’d never get through them. And when we first got her home and had literally 7 different types of medicines to give her all at various times (some 1 or 2 hours before food, some with food), we had little celebrations every time we finished one of them. And today, it’s the last day!

To celebrate we did some training with Penny at the park. Fun speed-circle type stuff, nothing too twisty but still getting to play with some handling. Then it was quite warm and she didn’t want to run dogwalks (ran around it, or very slowly over it) so that was ok, we just called it quits and went to the beach.

And there was lots of water leaping, and a bit of stick chasing and a little bit of swimming. And now I have a very wet pup (she does NOT try off!!! She literally got a wash about 4 hours ago and she’s still very wet) who has been curled up, small as can be on my lap. So cute. So damp. It will be very nice when her stamina is back to normal and she can really stretch out and run again. I see her trying sometimes but she’s not quite there yet.

Despite being very tired, she keeps trying to strike up zoomie-wrestly-running sessions with Mal, who had to stay at home because he’s too broken. Poor MalMal. Yesterday I did some shaping with him because he was going a little mad with lack of stimulation but my god he sucks. He just wants to lie down and put his chin on the floor and wag his tail and maybe he’ll get treats for doing that.

Also I think I’ve made a decision on Tink, but I’m seeing Amanda tomorrow so I’ll talk to her about it in person then.

tunnel call-off

I set up the tunnel at the park this morning and decided to do some call to hand stuff PAST the tunnel (eg. don’t take the tunnel).

One thing I can say fairly confidently about Lu is that she will not take the tunnel unless I’m very much telling her to take the tunnel.

I even set her up in a scenario where I did a lead out to the tunnel and called her to hand while I ran forward. Meaning, she ran past two tunnel entrances, one that was oh-so enticing. Good girly.
Of course, this comes back to bite me in the butt when I want to pull her across from one entrance (the far one she prefers, which is just weird) to the other (this morning it was the entrance closest to me)… The slightest shoulder pull and quietest “Lumen…!” is enough to take her off the whole obstacle. I’m going to have to be very careful about how I direct her when around tunnels and remember that she is anything but a tunnel suck!

Next time I might try the ‘come to hand’ exercise with a straight tunnel. They are slightly more enticing. Then a jump (she would much prefer a jump than a tunnel) and then… dun dun dunnnnnnn (dramatic music) a dogwalk.

But hey, at least calling off tunnels is one thing I really don’t have to worry about.

Don’t mind everything else. 😉

 

It’s very nice to be out running around with her. A guy turned up at the park today with 3 working kelpies- a herding judge with 2 herding champion dogs and a puppy. I even managed to get her NOT to bark at him and then she got to run with them and I actually saw old Lu-style flat-out running coming back! After seeing her not managing to keep up with the dogs on the beach the other day and just not running ‘herself’, I was feeling a bit sad, but she was looking much much better today. With a bit more stamina and a bit more flat-out running to stretch her stomach and open her stride up again, I think I’ll start seeing more and more of my old Lu-style running.

 

For those of you interested in Mal (who isn’t?!), I took him to a muscle therapist today as his limp had gotten better, then worse. She’s had a stroke and has a very limited vocab so it can be difficult to understand what she’s trying to tell you, but from what I gathered, she had some concerns about his tail (tail set maybe) and a point in his back was troubling her, and that his pain was from his back and his shoulder. When he got there he was standing VERY strangely on his front leg – it was bent sort of like #4 in this picture:

But not quite as bad as #5. Usually I’d say he’s a 1 or a 2, I guess. I think it’s looking more normal now and his limp has certainly gotten better since the treatment, so he’s going back in a week.

Lu as usual lapped up the attention as she got an ear/head massage, some work on her back, and a little on one shoulder, then was given a “Good, good!” bill of health. I’m always amazed at how gracefully she moves after a treatment there- she seems to just glide.

jumbled

It’s half past midnight, which is about 3 hours past my bedtime, but I’ve had a very full on night and lots of thoughts are racing around my head, and I find the best way to deal with anything is to write it down.

Firstly, there was a fun evening down at the dog club, meaning they set up a jumping course, you could choose whatever heights, it was a full trial environment, someone in the ring as a judge, etc, but you could have toys and do whatever you wanted. I wanted to put Lumen in on some very low bars, do 3 or 4, maybe a tunnel and celebrate. No big deal, despite the surgery. She does much, MUCH, MUCH worse fence-running at home. Got there and was told on no uncertain terms by someone who was helping organise the event (maybe?) that there was no way I would be allowed to do this. She might rip her internal stitches!!!!!!! And basically suggested I was a horrible, horrible person for even thinking of it, and that this person had left their young dog at home because she’d only be able to do a few jumps and a tunnel so what’s the point? (um, trial environment… playing when she does something good? just getting used to the idea of doing it ‘for real’….?). So anyway, I didn’t run Lu.

Then when everything was over we took all 7 dogs (Penny’s, Kim’s and my two) out the back for a run- Lu’s first run with the pack in over a month. Happy girl. We noticed Mal was a little lame but didn’t think much of it. Next thing, we hear a ‘thud’, and the most horrific screaming of a dog. It wasn’t ‘dog-fight’ screaming, but it was horrible. Pitch black, with just a little torch, we all ran over to find my gorgeous boy on his back/side, rolling around, panicking, the dogs all hovering around not sure what to do as he cried and cried. We grabbed dogs, I grabbed him and saw his front leg hanging limp. I thought he’d broken it. Kim (a nurse) checked him over. Not broken, she said, just a muscle, probably in his shoulder.

He’s very sore now, lots of limping, had an anti inflam pill earlier and got carried up the steps into the house….

But what I find most interesting is how shit fucking happens.

Doesn’t it?
Like, I couldn’t run Lumen over 3 measly jumps because maybe, possibly, she’d hurt her stitches, yet my perfectly healthy dog goes out and runs around and gets terribly injured- the most injured he’s ever been, I think. And it could have been any of them.

Stuff happens. That’s just how it is. I’m not going to stop my dogs running around just incase.

 

Ok, next. I spoke with someone today who was my very first agility instructor about getting a puppy. He was actually good to talk to in that he offered a different opinion to most people, who seem to get ‘puppy excited’ but maybe don’t stay as rational because of it? We talked a lot about expectations, about confidence, about relationships, about time. About doubt.

He suggested that if I have doubts about getting a puppy (or buying a house) then I shouldn’t do that thing. But that’s not how I work. I will always have doubts, about everything. I will always want to see if there’s better options. I will plan and plan and plan and find the most perfect (whatever) and keep looking and researching incase there’s better. If it weren’t for Nic, I would never do anything, I would just research all the time. So the idea of not having doubts is so foreign to me at this stage in my life. Maybe it wasn’t always (eg. choosing Mal: Mal sits on my foot when meeting him the first time. “I like him!” Played with Mal for a while when all the other puppies were off doing stuff. Mal seemed to like me. “Mum, can I get him?” done deal.), but it certainly is now. This is sort of similar to what Kim says which is that “your gut knows the right answer”, to which I replied that I don’t think I have a gut response about anything – I need facts, rationale, clear outcomes. Intuition doesn’t mean anything to me, it tells me nothing. But how can you apply facts, rationale and clear outcomes to something as unknown as the pros and cons of getting a particular puppy? Which is why I find it so stressful. And I think there are possible positive outcomes, and possible negative outcomes, or both. Hmm.

In the end, he seemed to suggest that it would be best if I stuck with just Lu to see how she’d go when we started competing, and I agreed to a point, but as I drove home I realised that this was coming from someone who was happy with their less speedy, less drivey dog the way he was (and look, I love Lu, but I don’t currently love how we do agility) and that was ok for him. Will that be enough for me? I’m not sure. Long story short? Still thinking about Tink, still not sure. Is anyone ever sure? Maybe people with more intuition are sure. I’ll never be sure.

I’m trying to get to the bottom of the feeling of why I’d like to win. Maybe if I can get that in words, I can move my focus from ‘winning’ to ‘feeling a certain way’ or ‘doing a certain thing’ (eg. running fast with Lu, but that doesn’t have the same effect, cos I could run fast and not win..).

Also, I was wondering if I could teach Lumen to read.

Not like, books… but has anybody ever taught a dog to read symbols? Surely a hand gesture is just a symbol. If you held up a card with a plus sign on it, for example, and cued ‘drop/down’ to your dog a bunch of times, I wonder if you could get it to the point where you could show a plus sign and it would drop. And then you could get a dollar sign or something completely different and cue a sit, and then you could show one card or the other and they’d do what the card meant. Surely if reading is just a form of giving symbols meaning, then by giving symbols meaning for your dog, they are, in a basic sense, reading. I wonder if anyone’s ever conducted an experiment on a dog like that before. Might have to google that one. I don’t see it why not.

 

And lastly, I’m finding this whole conception of introspection (is that the right word? It must be, as in intro (within) spection as in – spec (I would assume something to do with ‘seeing’, like ‘spectacles’ (glasses) but then I wonder about ‘spectacular’ unless it’s something fabulous to behold/see. And then there’s speculation which would be made up of spec+ulate+ion – so then i wonder what ‘ulate’ would mean, if you speculate something, you’re seeing the possibilities. I like words) so – seeing/looking within oneself – quite interesting. I quite like finding out the reasons my brain works the way it does – it helps me explain the way I feel the way I do and why I stress the way I stress. Mega stress over puppy possibilities? Oh, that’s because there’s no clear pathways, no rationale, no facts, no plan.

I should go to bed now. More puppy visits tomorrow. I got lots and lots of photos and some movies of tug times today so I’ll upload that tomorrow sometime. Maybe.

moods

Isn’t this funny… yesterday, I was pretty convinced that Lu had blown apart her internal stitches sometime during the day, and was slowly leaking stomach acid into her abdomen (nice visual there, hey?). She was sleepy all day and did a weird thing with her face, and was generally a bit ‘off’. It was the sleeping that really worried me, because the last time she was unusually sleepy all day, she woke up the next morning refusing to eat and had surgery. Cue flashbacks to then.

So I was moping around, stressing out, crying (thanks, hormones!!!) and generally feeling very average…

I tell Penny how I’m worried she’s about to die, and Penny calls me. Penny has a remarkable way of cheering me up because so much of our thinking is the same, so we share stories and laugh at how ridiculous our situations are… So, I’m on the phone laughing and telling jokes, and suddenly Lumen is up, wrestling with Mal, playing with a toy, bringing me her slipper, tail wagging, eyes bright. As I let go of the stress, she was back to her normal self. Funny, hey?

I suspect some of her moping/weirdness/sleepiness is due to being about to come into heat (I think) – so, add another 2 weeks of house arrest to her schedule. Woo hoo!

jump cups & frustrations

2 completely separate, unrelated topics in this post today.

Firstly, Lu went to the vet today to have her stitches out, but turns out they’ve all dissolved and fallen out anyway so they didn’t have to do anything. Left me wondering why I was back there, but hey. The worst news is that Lu isn’t allowed to run for another two and a half weeks. No off-lead walks, just gentle exercise. For another 2 weeks. Are you kidding me? One site I found said that dogs with her operation should have 3 weeks rest from the surgery so I’m thinking I bring her timeline forward by about half a week (which means gentle exercise for another week and a half) but even so, for my girl that seems like so, so, long. I definitely think we’ll start doing some Rally-O stuff outside, since heeling happens beautifully inside at a very slow indoors pace, and… not so beautifully outside. 😉

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she's sick, it's my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she’s sick, it’s my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

But in the meantime I have this feeling of frustration, I guess, and constant worry. The worry I only really noticed just now when Lu was acting a bit ‘off’, sleeping a fair bit, and then had a strange look on her face like she was going to vomit and I thought for sure she was either sick again with more ulcers for some reason, or she’d torn her internal stitches not half an hour after the vet had told me that they take longer to heal and then in the backyard she takes off running to bark at something near the fence. So now I get to keep my eye on her all day to make sure she’s not bleeding internally or something which would be so my luck, and exactly what I need to have happen. She ate her lunch quite happily, so as long as she’s continuing to eat, drink and poop, she should be ok.

And the frustration is like this deep, brooding anger that I can’t take out on anything or anyone, or blame anyone or anything or even myself for this because there’s nothing to blame- so I just want to be angry that this bullshit has happened at all and turned my summer holidays into a 3 week stress-fest which is excellent because I get to start Term 1 feeling like crap and then have to slog through 9 weeks of new preps and summer heat before I get a break again. I’m frustrated and jealous, too, that my friends get to go to the beach and train their dogs and I’m stuck in here staring at her wondering if she’s going to die any minute because maybe that time that she jumped off the couch has ruptured her stomach or something. And it’s not their fault so they can go and have fun, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be here feeling sorry for myself. Plus I haven’t been sleeping well so that’s also helping me feel really wonderful.

 

Also, I started selling jump wings and I actually got some orders, too (should pay for some of Lu’s vet bill anyway) except I don’t have jump cups and it seems impossible to figure out a design that’s affordable, easy to make en-masse, removable, doesn’t look hideous and will hold up a bar. I’m going to have nightmares about these things. I hate them.

 

 

 

 

Fucking jump cups.