Loss comes in many forms. We’ve experienced a lot of it this past month. The weight of it all is just starting to really sink in.
The first loss was that of my main performance dog’s ability to perform. We’ve now had 3 visits to Dr Julia. I already wrote about the 1st. I can’t recall the 2nd one except that she was still sore. At the 3rd one she said Vada had made progress and she is close to being able to do more but she wasn’t quite ready. If we went on long walks (2 hours) and then did obedience – heeling, sits and down – she would come up a little lame. We did get more exercises added on – a leg stretch and some ball work. She feels good while doing her exercises so I am hopeful that we’ll get a good report at our appointment this week. She’s been running around with Letty too so she’s getting more exercise but not coming up lame. The ball exercise is to get her to spread her back legs apart – something she NEVER does – they are always close together actually. We are making progress but very slowly. The other day I remembered a video from Puppy Peaks of Susan teaching Swagger to crawl under her legs and her main goal was to get him to do frog legs. I started doing that with Vada. We’ve only done a few sessions but she’s already getting the idea of what I want. Vada’s last rehab – for her wrist – took 3.5 months and Dr Julia said that this one will be longer. I don’t think she’ll be able to jump full height again either. I’ll just be happy if she can play again and not be in pain. I think I can start doing more with Utility exercises too and polish up her Open exercises and do some obedience trialing this winter. I clipped her nails the other day and she was very stable so she seems to be getting good core strength from her exercises. Twice a day is a lot of work! Vada’s allergies have kicked in for the fall too. She was on allergy meds but I put her on pred already. Poor thing. Seven is bad this year too.
In July I entered 1 day of the FKPS CPE trial. It was held in Rochester at an indoor soccer place. I was skeptical as my last 2 indoor soccer experiences were not that great (1 was horrible). I entered Seven, Letty and Narc. Letty broke every single start line to stand up. I went back to have her sit. She was on fire! But that lead to no stopped contacts either. Seven ran well and nailed his weaves and picked up another Standard Q – 5 more for his CATCH I think. I’ve love to finish it at OTR this winter. Narc ran pretty well too – considering. He and Letty both finished their CL2-F titles. I was super happy with the turf. I will definitely enter trials there again. I did not see 1 slip. The lighting was low but my guys didn’t seem to have any issues.
That week Copper and Rally started having problems. Well, Copper’s were getting worse. He had been having troubles with his bum being inflamed and sore and bleeding. I first noticed him having problems pooping on the 17th. It seemed like it was getting better with the treatment we were doing but then it got worse. Dr Jina did a scraping and sent it in and it said not cancer but I really don’t trust those things any more. He was licking his hips as they were easier to reach then his bum and getting hot spots on them. Rally wasn’t feeling good either. He was getting quieter as the week went on. He was still happy and could be energetic but not until things got really exciting. Saturday we took Rally to see Dr Jina, who did xrays and then she sent us to the emergency vet. There they drained over a liter of fluid from his lungs. He felt so much better since he could breath again so much easier. They also gave us permission to take Rally to Duluth for a USDAA agility trial – the last trip we would make with 2 vehicles.
Sunday we loaded up all the dogs in the van and Karl’s car and made the trip to Duluth to play some USDAA agility. We did not enter the first class but we still had to get up at 3:30am to make the drive up there. I was stressed from the health issues of Copper and Rally and it was the first trial I was at where Vada was not entered. I think Letty totally picked up on that. She would not stay on the start line and even walked out of the sit. In the last run she left me when I was setting her up and went to visit a little dog in line. I got her set up and barely lead out and release her. She shot off the line, took the first jump and ran out of the ring to go see someone she thought was Karl – a trend that I am noticing with her. Seven did not finish his weaves (although he did get to 10) and then he leapt off the table during the count. In Snooker we had a good run going but I had not put up my hair and I lost him behind me a few times. After that day I was ready to throw in the towel on agility.
Thursday I got Copper in to Blue Pearl. I was grateful that Karl met me there and helped me process the information and make decisions. The basically said it was rectal cancer or Crohn’s disease. They gave me a prescription for pred and a drug that targets the colon and relieves inflammation and has pain relieving qualities like IBU. We talked about doing a biopsy to confirm/deny cancer but doing the enema sounded pretty painful and we would not do surgery so I chose not to do the biopsy. I gave him a pill once we got home and in less than 2 hours I noticed a totally relaxation in his body. He felt so much better. His anus returned to normal and he was able to walk normally and poo normally.
Friday was Rally’s Blue Pearl follow up appointment day. This time he had fluid in both sides of his chest – totaling just over a liter of fluid again. Unfortunately, after they drained him he was not feeling better like last time and he was still having trouble breathing. They kept him overnight to watch him and gave him some medication for his heart to see if it was heart related. We were able to bring him home on Saturday with heart meds. Saturday night Rally spent some quiet time in the livingroom with me and Vada and Letty watching a movie.
Karl brought Rally into Blue Pearl on Tuesday. As soon as he walked in they could see he was in critical condition and they took him in back. They had to put him in an oygen kennel so he could breathe better. They kept him overnight to monitor him. They also removed more fluid from his lungs and sent it in for a biopsy. Sadly, on Wednesday the results came back as cancer. On my way home from Vada’s rehab recheck I met Karl at Blue Pearl and we said goodbye to Rally.
Thursday Copper was feeling great. He even wanted to go on 2 pond walks! On Friday he was very tired. I figured that he had just overdone it on Thursday with so much walking and outdoor time. Friday night he would not get out of bed for dinner. When I tried to help him up he started trembling. We rushed him to the emergency vet. Halfway there he stopped trembling and started breathing normally again but was still very weak. They did bloodwork and xrays and found nothing. They gave me antibiotics in case it was a virus. He could hardly walk out the door so I carried him back to the car. I laid with him all night. In the morning it became clear that he was not getting better. It was time to say goodbye to him. I think he was already on his way. We just helped him along so there would not be any pain. He wanted to get up to go outside so I carried him out. He walked around and went potty (good boy!) and then laid down in the grass. The vet came out and that is where we said goodbye. His batteries just finally ran out of juice.
Sunday we were entered in the TIM USDAA trial. Letty and Fringe were signed up for Pairs with partners we had planned on playing with in advance. So that got us out of the house to go play agility. We only needed 1 vehicle as all of the dogs now fit in the van. It was a good distraction and it was nice to be around friends who understand. My dogs ran better. Seven weaved brilliantly and I didn’t care when Letty ran off the end of the dogwalk and looped around to see if the person outside the ring was Karl. I got her back and we continued on. We had planned ahead for this trial too and didn’t enter the first class.
Monday night we went to the Twins game with the Lupus group. It was fun. They won too. We seem to bring them luck. We took the Northstar train again too. Tuesday Letty had a lesson with Terry, Kristin and Cooee. For the first time traffic was not horrid and I even got there a little early. We have 1 more session next week and then we are done for the summer. I was able to get Letty signed up for weekly classes at OTR with Nancy. I wasn’t going to go back to class this soon but there was only 1 spot left in the new session starting next month and it’s probably better for a baby dog to have weekly lessons. I haven’t signed Seven up for classes again yet. Not sure what I’ll do with him. We’ve been able to have all the dogs out together too. We’ve been doing pond walks and we’ve also had them all loose together in the house a few times. Then I got lazy and just had Letty and Vada out to give myself a break from the constant monitoring. But they are making progress and relaxing around each other. On the last pond walk Seven and Letty were totally fine with each other – it was like neither existed for the other.
Saturday was Karl’s birthday. We entered a few classes at the CACM USDAA trial. We weren’t going to as I was feeling the need for a break but we heard that if the club did not break even then they would drop this outdoor trial that we love. So we entered 5 dogs for 8 runs. We were there 2.5 hours only. 🙂 But it got crazy at the end. We had 3 dogs in P1 Jumpers and Letty was supposed to be in that ring and P2 Standard! Once we got in the Standard ring (there were delays) she got wrapped up in the chute and pulled the fabric off the barrel. Once we got her out I partied with her and then went and tugged with her. They fixed the chute and we put her thru again with no issue. She had already jumped off then back on the table so we had already NQd. We went right from all of that directly into the jumpers ring – they had to reset the bars to 22″ for her. I didn’t do a start line – just a nose press and run to make it fun. She was running well but slow. I couldn’t get her to drive ahead on the line at the end where I was going to rear cross so we had a bar down. Not too bad. Seven ran Jumpers brilliantly! I was just out of position for 1 jump and pushed him past it. Fringe ran in Masters Jumpers for her first time and almost Qd. The judge called a refusal that was questionable but they did awesome for their first time in Masters Jumpers. Fringe picked up her 2nd Advanced Standard Q too. One more and they’re totally in Masters! Sonic ran well in his first ever USDAA trial and picked up a P1 Jumpers Q. Prozac ran well once she quit trying to bite Karl’s shoe and focused on the jumps. They were clean but over time. Not bad for their first time running together at a trial. She never left him either. Vada and Narc were the only 2 that didn’t get to play. I can’t run Letty and Narc in P1 Jumpers at the same trial. Letty has to get out of it first and she’s only got 1 Q so far – we keep knocking 1 bar.
We got home so early Saturday that we got to take naps! Then we took Vada and went to watch a drive in movie – Bourne Legacy. It was fun. And 1 movie was perfect since we still got home at 12:30am.
Sunday we went to my uncle’s house for a family get together. Then off to Half Price Books so Karl could pick out some birthday presents.
We just keep moving forward creating a new “normal.”