08 September 2009

What's the matter with Otterpop and cheesy dog show philosophy.

So before a bad run, Otterpop gives me this look. Hateful, spiteful, and mad. Saw that look on Sunday again, but also saw her left hind looking hinky and limpy and not what a dog hind leg that needs to go out and run and jump and climb should look at. Several people stopped me, and asked if she was ok. Now I don't know. Poor Otterpop. It's like deja vu of Ruby all over again.

Ruby was an erratic dog. She could be amazing to run, lightning fast and quick to turn. She could also pull weird stunts out there, stop and sniff the ground, fly off the teeter totter or table and sprint across the ring, slow down in her weave poles out of the blue on a fast run. She was my first agility dog, and I chalked up everything she did to my erratic handling and crappy training. But off and on for years, she'd come up lame, get rest time, and vague tendonitis diagnosises from the vet. I'd put her on drugs, give her vacations, try to run her, moved her to Performance, with varying success. But ended up, in the long run, with a dog that just doesn't hold up to do much in agility. Flat out, I broke her.

Otterpop has always had subluxating patellas-dog stifles are like our knees, and the patella slips and slides on hers, and it's been getting worse. I see her kick it back in a lot now. When she was young and it first started happening, surgery was the idea from the doctor, and I shrieked in a hyperventilating voice, "HOW MUCH to pin a dog knee back together??" and that was the end of that. At the time, couldn't fathom dumping all that money into a knee from a scrappy, mean little dog I picked up on the side of the road. Now I worry that at age 5, she might be blowing out her joint and some of her weird behavior is because, goddamn. It HURTS. And I still tell her to go out and run.

It's hard to know. Hard to see if she's running around after the frisbee one minute, then kicking it back into place the next. I suspect jumping, not the greatest thing. I tend to practice her with low jumps and do minimal a-frames because of it, but always have hoped for the best. But I'm really wondering if this weekend was her trying to tell me something, as clear as a dog can, about her pain level.

Sorry Otterpop. We'll have the doc look at it as soon as we can. She ran manic to the whale skeletons last night, pine cone in her mouth the whole time, flying around with Gustavo and barely saw any shaky kicks like I did over the weekend. It comes and goes, but has been coming lately more than going.

She had one good Standard run on Sunday afternoon, but was a wreck in her runs in the morning. Made me feel better to hear from some of you, people I didn't even know, come up to me at the dog show, tap me on the arm, tell me about your erratic dogs and issues and you feel same as me sometimes. Pissed off and frustrated because you just can't fix something. No one has a magic glitter wand to wave around around the fairy bubble pops and out fartlicks a thousand butterflies that makes your dogs just DO the agility the way it was in your dream.

Gustavo had 2 runs. One would have been his last Starters Standard Q. But the teeter totter was early on, and I just decided to do a sacrifice run to build up some collateral in his teeter totter bank. In the world of collapsing economies and banking debacles, I'm building up his little guy savings account. So he held his startline, came around 4 or 5 obstacles to the teeter, did it, and I just ran him out to a delightful reward of Gary's leftover carne asada and that was the end of that. Some day, he'll be out of Starters Standard. What the hell. I'm in no hurry with him. A sacrifical run here and there, seems like a good thing to me.

He had a great jumpers run. Although was sort of a freebie because I couldn't fathom running him in Masters at a trial like this so chickened out and left him in Advanced. And he became and officially, full measured 12" dog. Was painful and breath holding because he's been on the cusp this whole time and his Certified Measuring Judge, known for sticklerness to rules, futzed and twiddled that measuring device and finally gave an exasperated sigh and said he could be 12". Because for some reason, my little dog just won't stand up straight under that measuring bar. Hmmm. Wonder what ever gave him that idea? Now will get his very own little plastic yellow card to keep in his wallet and we'll see if he uses it to try and get into bars. Proof of his shortness forever.

So the big Regionals, kind of just like another day at the dog show. Some ups, some downs. Some sitting around, some running around, keeping a game face on when the day felt shitty and jumping up and down and braggy happy howling when something went right. Dogs all got some treats and a frisbee game at the end, but were pretty happy to just go around and chase rabbits at the whale skeleton at the end of the day. Really, it all comes down to that.

Might hold the dogs up to the squinty eyed microscope of WHY, WHY, WHY, but then you step back and extract head from ass and remember, oh hell. This is just a bunch of fun with my dogs, some of those little details just don't seem as important as everyone running down that path in circles, chasing after a bird, with the sun dropping fast in the sky. Always going to be another dog show. No matter what happens, got to enjoy every moment of them. Precious Moments. Wait. I think those are little plastic doll with big, weepy eyes. Those things all deserve to be chew toys. You know what I mean. A lot of dogs we know, famous and not so much, passed too quick and too early over the last few months. Could happen to any of our dogs. So no matter what happens, we just take it in stride and keep plugging along.

1 comment:

Elf said...

Jake had the luxating patella entertaining thing. Kicked his legs out to fix it more and more as he got older. He ran agility until he was fifteen and quite happily, too.