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Archive for April, 2013

We had another physical therapy evaluation. The Beagle really is doing well, and getting very fed up with all this crate rest! She’s ready to take on the world! We are at the point of having to hold her back. She feels good and has a lot of mobility back, but she’ll need some work to get to 100%.

During this evaluation the Vet looked at the notes from the surgery and told us that she has calcification on the disc between T11 and T12. I was annoyed when we heard this since the surgeon hadn’t told us this. It wouldn’t have changed anything that we’ve been doing, and they did warn us that she could have more problems. But I would have liked this information, just being the type of person I am. What happened to the Beagle isn’t just an injury, it’s an injury due to a disease — IVDD. She has it. It’s not going to change. So we have to manage it, and do all we can to give her a full life while minimizing the risks of more damage and pain.

I asked this Vet about the Beagle’s Agility career. This Vet is very much a advocate of the idea that dog’s need a job. They need to be kept active and in shape, but even she feels Agility is off the table. Her whole spine wasn’t checked with the CT, but we know one has a problem. Other discs may too.

I thought I was ok with this. I thought we’d just set new goals and move forward, but I think that was overly optimistic of me. I am still saying goodbye to the dream, and mourning its loss.

Today I competed with the Labrador. At the last trial I bought two slip leads. One for the Labrador and one for the Beagle. I didn’t like the collar on the Labrador’s so today I requested the maker redo it with a new clasp. Once I got it back I realized I could have just used the one for the Beagle, since the odds are she won’t use it any time soon, if ever. It was a sad thought.

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Perspective

At the last trial, the Labrador left my side to visit the judge.  In one class she left me to visit the judge, then the steward’s table, and then the tape on the floor between the mats.  Nothing I could do inside the ring could get her attention back.  What this told me was that there was a gap in my training.  We need to work on attention.

Last night we were in class.  Now this was actually the Beagle’s class, but due to her current situation, we were allowed to sub in the Labrador.  Labrador has taken this class several times, and has her CGC, but training around new dogs, and new people is always a good thing.  At the end of class a woman walked up to me and said, “Your dog is so focused on you!  She has fantastic attention.  How did you do it?”

I think I blinked at her, completely sure she could not be talking about my dog who happily left me to greet a judge.  I laughed and told her her attention wasn’t where I wanted it yet, but then realized it was all about perspective.  The Labrador’s attention is good.  It’s not perfect, but compared to some taking the class for the first time and just starting out training their dogs she’s awesome.

Always good to remember where you started, and how far you’ve come, even if you know you still have farther to go!

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When I got the Labrador my desire to have a well behaved large dog introduced me to a world I’d never dreamed of. I learned about Rally, Obedience, Flyball, Agility, Disc dogs and more. I began to compete with the Labrador and in the process began to have a little dream of competing with the Beagle.

I called the Breeder and asked to get another copy of her papers as we’d never registered her. He agreed, and then asked what we’d be competing in. When I told him Obedience, he laughed and said, “You realize she’s a beagle, right?” We’d taken the Beagle to one puppy class where the trainer their threw up her hands and said we’d never get the Beagle to heel.

But I’d met new people. People who believed I could do it and that the Beagle could do it, and so it began. We began training. The Beagle was learning to heel. She learned to jump on command. She ran through tunnels. We’d just started an Intermediate Obedience class to prepare for the CGC, and a Foundations for Agility course. Our hope was to debut in Rally Novice this Fall, but oh there was no limit to what we were going to show the world a Beagle could do!

And then on Sunday night she took a staggering step. Her back legs started to shake, and we knew something was wrong. Seriously wrong. An emergency trip to the Vet revealed a ruptured disc between L1 and L2. We tried a massive dose of steroids, with the hope that over night she’d improve and surgery could be avoided. Instead she deteriorated. By the morning she was dragging her back legs, and so off to the Vet School we went.

Beagle is out of surgery, and resting comfortably. Our prognosis currently is good. She has a 95% chance of recovering her ability to walk, but everyone says jumping is out of the question. Heeling, head up may be out of the question. No more agility. No advanced obedience. Possibly no Rally. 6 to 8 weeks of crate rest is ahead of us. I think the surgery is the easy part.

So now it’s time for new dreams. Dreams of snuggles on the couch, and light play sessions in the back yard. Dreams of seeing her walk again. Dreams of seeing her tail wag, and learning together about physical therapy. We’ve a new path set before us. The dreams are different, but together we’ll show everyone just how well a Beagle can recover.

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