Monday, February 25, 2013

We're Safe and Sound

"I could lift you up
I could show you want you want to see
And take you where you want to be

You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound" 
--"Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities

Today was an extremely special day. Today marked Lilly's first time back in the agility ring since her surgery. I made the decision to switch her down to 8" too, so this was her Preferred Debut. The timing just felt right, you know? 

Due to the roller coaster that's been my life lately, I walked into the ring with a clearer perspective. I always aim to go out there and have fun, but today it was a little more precise than just that. "No matter what happens, we're going to go in there and have the time of our lives." And you know what? We did just that.

Lilly just blew me away. She gave it 110% effort. She was just spot on with her focus. I had some very poorly timed front crosses but she took it all in stride. "She's like a totally different dog."  And she really was.  I'm sorry to say I didn't get any video, but her Running A-frame was to DIE for. She was so happy. I was grinning like an idiot and trying hard not to cry during our post-run victory dance, treats, and cuddle. This girly is amazing. 

Knight-man Q'd in standard and picked up 27 points. We had some pokish moments, but finished strong, speedy, and so HAPPY! He was such a trooper in JWW. I was and idiot and totally butchered his run. I got utterly and completely lost. I had NO idea which direction I was supposed to go in, no idea what number I was on.... so I just added a pinwheel and we powerhoused out of that ring. He went into complete speed demon mode for his finishing line of jumps out. He never knew I was lost, and left the ring believing we just won the world (or... a baggie of treats, same thing though, right?) Love this boy :)

Mia's standard... ahhhh my crazy little munchkin! I had about 2 minutes before Knight needed to be on the line across the building when Mia was up for Novice Standard. For those of you who know me, this is a recipe for stress. Mia picks up on that very easily. She was such a nut! After the see-saw she had some good zoomies. The judge was very generous with his calls for refusals and wrong courses haha. We scraped a Q with two refusals and a wrong course.

Mia was the second dog I ran in JWW. She was fantastic, but skipped some poles in the weaves. Since I was so stressed out in her standard run I was just going for attitude in jumpers. She really seemed to be putting in the effort to get all the poles, her timing was just a bit off. So we continued on our merry way and had a beautiful run! Just need to put in some more training time with 12 poles and we are solid!

I ended the day with Lilly's Jumpers run. Third dog is the charm, right? Well, it certainly was in this case. I was confident that I actually knew the course this time around haha. Lilly blew me away again. Here she is, my insane red head, back from 3 weeks of limited activity and she brought home a double Q. Most of my fellow exhibitors had no idea what a hellish month we had just been through. 4 weeks ago, I thought Lilly would never be able to play agility again due to a back injury. A week after that I found out it wasn't her back, but we were rushing her to an emergency vet clinic for surgery. I was crying and praying that she'd make it through the night. Now, I'm able to run again with my best friend. Best feeling in the world, and from the way she ran? I think it's safe to say the feeling is mutual. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Just Wanted You To Know; That Baby You're The Best

I don't have many pictures of myself and the dogs, but Selina captured this one today and I can't help but share it.

Today was the first day Lilly got to join us again on a hike. I've been staring at my screen trying to find the right words to describe just how much that meant to me.

On the drive over to the Emergency clinic, just over two weeks ago now, I was a mess. The words "medical emergency" kept echoing through my mind. The"what ifs" poured over me. Sarah had followed the whole saga on Facebook; she called as soon as she could. I didn't have the heart to pick up. I knew the words wouldn't come.

I still can't really talk about it. I'll joke around it, try to make it sound as minimal as possible. That's what I do. Everything is easier to deal with if you can trick yourself into squeezing out humor. It was too close of a call. Way too close for comfort.

The support from all my friends, Selina, Sarah, Abby and Jessica in particular, has been beyond amazing. They kept me grounded, kept me sane. Words have never been my strong suit, but I hope they know just how much their well wishes and company meant, and continue to mean, to me.

Now Lilly is off crate rest. I'm easing her over to a full raw diet and slowly adding in more activity. We still have more bumps to smooth out... but we'll get there. I know we will.

Lilly is my very first dog. She's been with me since I was 10 years old. She got me started in everything, dogs, agility, conformation, rally-o, dog training. Through her I've been able to meet all of the amazing people that are my closest friends.

She never complains about the days activities. Be it snuggling up with a book, training, or romping through the woods. She's my Papzilla, my brat dog, my wild child. She's my co-pilot, my sandwich snatcher, and my partner in crime.

I don't want to think about what my life would be like now if she had never walked into it. She's my anchor. My constant reminder that the hard work does pay off. You just have to put in the time, effort, and determination and anything is possible.

It doesn't matter how dark the days may seem... because they will get brighter.

Thank you Lilly, for being that amazing girly that you are. This year was a rocky start for you, but things are looking up.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Saving My Sanity- Little Paps to the Rescue

After waking up every few hours to let Lilly out two nights in a row, I was having some serious doubts about going to my Agility trial on Sunday. Somehow, I managed to drag myself out of bed and make it down to Dream Park. Man, am I glad I did!

Mia's OAJ! With 4.81 yps

Knight-man's JWW run with 4.01 yps

They seemed to know that I desperately needed a "good day".  With Selina keeping an eye on Lilly for me for the day, I was able to break away from all the stress that piled up the past few days. Due to a lack of sleep, my timing wasn't always the best.... But Knight and Mia didn't care.

Knight brought out his trademark goofy grin in both runs for me. Outside the ring he was really dragging his feet around JWW time. Then, our turn came up and he went at it with a passion that we haven't been reaching at 8". I didn't feel the need to have my eyes glued to him, I gave him my trust and he ran with it. Thank you so much little dude! Seeing him run SO happily is the best kind of medicine.

And then we have Mia. This was her first time in Novice Standard since I actually trained her chute and see-saw. (Yes, yes, bad handler, do as I say, not as I do). She nailed her weaves on the first try, despite the judge being so close to them, and only had one wild child moment. She picked up a wrong course with a bonus tire jump when I was a little too slow with my directional decision haha. After the see-saw it was like someone set a fire under her tail. She BOOKED it. I wasn't quite expecting that much speed, so had to toss in some distance I didn't even know she had. It was awesome.

Mia finished off her OAJ in similar form. Awesome awesome weaves, first try. A rocky rear here and there, but fantastic stuff out there. I love how we're coming together :) Excellent JWW, Here we come!

Words fall short of how much this past Sunday meant to me. Mia and Knight man gave it their all for me. With all the difficulty I've been having with Knight's confidence at drive at trials, that just means the world to me. Mia never fails to get me grinning like a fool. Just the breath of fresh air I needed. Thank you little paps :)

A Close Call

The past two weeks have been a whirl wind. I'm just exhausted now. I'm past my breaking point. I need a long weekend, a good book, and a quiet place to just curl up for a while. But we don't always get what we need.

So, I briefly mentioned in my last post that Lilly was believed to of had a ruptured disk. This week I finally got in touch with Lilly's chiropractor vet and made an appointment. We were all set to go in Friday at 1 pm. Linda is always very honest and upfront with me, one of the things I absolutely love about her. On the phone she told me Lilly's agility career was over. She might be able to do a really low jumpers course, but standard was out of the question. Linda was going to help me pick out the right stretches and skills to help build up more muscle in Lilly's rear to help reduce the chance of a disk problem again in the immediate future.

The above conversation happened Wednesday afternoon. Right at 3:00. I go onto campus for a meeting with my English Professor to discuss an upcoming paper. It goes well. I go home and my 3 days of hell kick off.

Lilly goes outside. It's raining so it's a quick outing for all the paps. I take her inside, she starts to try to poop on the carpet. Red Flag. This is Lilly, she's 9 years old, she does not have accidents in the house. Odd. I let her outside. She spends the next 20 minutes looking like she's trying to poop.

I thought she was possibly just constipated, but I wasn't in the mood to wait it out. Better safe than sorry right? Gave my mom a call to let her know I was taking Lilly back to the vet. She said Lil sounded constipated, I said "Yeah, but you know, better safe than sorry."

I give the vet a call. Of course Lilly just sounds constipated, so we get an appointment in an hour.

We get there, the Vet Tech is very nice, Lilly gets all checked out. She lost 3 lbs since her diet in May. She doesn't seem to have any poop stopped up. Vet Tech leaves, Vet enters.

"Did she eat anything that could of caused an obstruction?" -no, she's 9, never been a chewer
"Has she had any access to rawhide bones or chews, pig ears?" -No, not recently

She takes Lilly back for x-rays. Lilly is very well behaved for them. Lovely dog. "She has bladder stones."

Oh? Okay then. I listen while she tells me more about them. Lilly has one blocking her urinary tract. She cannot pee.

Then she sucker punches me with the next line. "What we have here is an emergency, we don't have the staff to properly take care of her here, are you familiar with Metropolitan?"

I'm still stuck on "emergency". Eventually I shuffle out the door and we're on the way to Metropolitan.

The staff there was amazing. They took care of Lilly right away. They let me visit her real quick before I had to leave for the night.

The Vet called us bright and early the next morning to let us know that the surgery went well. Lilly had to stay with them for another night, but I could pick her up Friday afternoon.

So, pick her up Friday afternoon I did. They hooked her up with a lovely plastic cone that she absolutely hated. Was extremely excited to see me for about 2 seconds, and then tried to use my hands to slip her cone off. Ah, now that's the crafty Lilly I know and love.

I quickly ran out to Petsmart to pick up a "Procollar" and some of those Greenie Pill Pockets. I highly recommend both products. I happen to run into the vet tech who checked us in at Metropolitan on Wednesday! Which was a pretty fun coincidence. 

She was much happier in her new Procollar. The first two days were rocky, pain management wise for Lilly. Now she's feeling MUCH better and is very vocal about her complaints of being on crate rest.

Now, a few days after she's come home, things are looking up. The gloom has past. I'm so overwhelmed by all the support from the vets who helped me through this ordeal and my friends who all reached out to lend me kind words and some extra strength. A simple "thank you" will never be enough.