Well, this has been an interesting week.
Not necessarily in a good way, either.
So last Tuesday The Dog looked a bit off at class to start. Not limping, just moving a little uncomfortably on the ground. Slightly awkward over some jumps. She smoothed out well by the end so I assumed the ground and clumpy grass in the one area were throwing her off a bit. Wednesday for practice she looked great, despite the heat, and was moving very well, jumping beautifully.
Then she fell off the dogwalk.
It could have been worse- she landed well balanced on all four feet with minimal twisting and did NOT hit the dogwalk support (thankfully, close call there). She was unscathed; not so much a real fall in my mind as a slip. But her mind was the one that counted more, so after checking her out and walking her around I sent her up and over once more. Her opinion was ‘NO WAY am I going to run this thing, thankyouverymuch.’ OK. Don’t blame you. So we went home and decided to ignore agility for 48 hours.
Friday we ran out and did five minutes of dogwalks and they were all perfect. Every single one. She didn’t appear mentally or physically broken so I was back to having some confidence for our one day of showing Saturday, having been nail-bitingly nervous the past two days over what damage may or may not have been done.
So Saturday. Sigh. I had three reasons for entering:
1) Try and get a GP bye for next weekend
2) See how her dogwalk looked ‘in public.’
3) Remind her how to jump and me how to handle at 22”
Really a big fat fail.
The layouts couldn’t have been more ‘helpful;’ they were lovely courses for her with fair approaches and exits to/from the dogwalk. She has trained at the facility for two years and has never had an issue with the footing; I’d say it’s historically her best surface actually.
Gamblers to start- did three dogwalks, all leaps, deceleration on the descent. Gamble was an afterthought which she got with barely enough opening points. Lucky for me she took several jumps that weren’t in the plan?
Grand Prix next- I really liked this course. I had a good plan for her dogwalk so was pretty confident. Wouldn’t you know, winning time by a second, pretty nice dogwalk actually (probably still a leap but no visible deceleration) but a bar down. An easy bar. Just…deflating.
Same story in Standard after that, one easy bar down, except in this run her dogwalk was pretty horrible. It was her bad side, but she came off towards me rather than fading away which she normally does on the right. It was ‘in’ but really weird. Hoping that the wooden dogwalk had something to do with her lack of confidence (she slipped off a wood one, and this was VERY loud in the building) and that rubber will prove more successful in the future?
Snookers was a REALLY fun, exhausting course with a crazy hard 4-5-6 sequence. She had a lovely opening- I led out through the whole course and recalled her through to the tunnel. I haven’t tried that start since February maybe and she was infinitely better this time- she ran! Woo! She did the crazy hard pull from 5a to 5b (passing by two inviting jumps) really well…and then knocked 5b.
At this point I was starting to be reminded of a few weekends earlier this year: all these uncharacteristic bars, strange movements earlier in the week, major crabbiness when playing with The Pup… shoulder? So I checked her out and sure enough it was unyieldingly tight- a huge difference from stretching out earlier. Took her for a massage and found a knot was hiding in there. It made sense; the bars were coming down on that leg.
Since she had a massage and a huge break between Snookers and Jumpers at the end of the day, I decided to run her. I waffled for awhile but she was peppy and eager and her gait looked balanced. Really bad call. She looked unnatural out there, sort of tossing herself over in a huge effort, not extending out at all. She ticked about 6 or 7 jumps and while none came down just…ugh. I felt awful for running her. Considering how much she has been enjoying Jumpers again lately it was a pretty big sign as to how she was feeling.
It was a terrible run to end on. It didn't get much better after, with me needing to ice her and her still subtly favoring her arm a day after. At this point I have really very little positive thinking left for next weekend. I’ve been telling myself ‘no expectations’ for the Regional all summer aside from doing our very best and having fun. So while we haven’t been out there training for the big win, we’ve at least been working towards our own personal ‘A game.’ If her shoulder issue has decided to stage a comeback now, I don’t think we can even do that. I'll be lucky to run her in Team I think. So yeah. I’m depressed. I don’t want to break my dog. I don’t want to break my dog right before a show I’ve been looking forward to all year, when we’ve been so careful to NOT break her and condition her to be strong and UNbreakable.
But I really, really just don’t want to break my dog. It makes her sad because then she has to rest and doesn’t get to play with the balls. And that makes me sad.
Speaking of balls though, a bit of good news... sort of? The ball that was lost over the fence the night The Pup killed the blinds was finally returned. Um… again, sort of. He just isn’t the same anymore…
He used to be a bright orange spiky ball. He was The Dog’s favorite toy that week. When he disappeared over the fence, it was a sad moment. The next day I had intended to ask for it back. However, when I peeked through, he was…gone. I figured they had tossed him back into the wrong yard. The Boyfriend went to the store and bought a whole flock of replacement spiky balls. While The Dog enjoyed Pink and Green Spikey Balls, she ignored Orange Replacement Ball. At least the girl has some loyalty.
|Replacement Ball... just not the same.|
But anyways, the other day, we went out in the yard and there he was, waiting. The Pup found him first and rejoiced. Then The Dog. But when I went to see what they were playing with, I couldn’t help but recoil a bit. Old Orange Spiky Ball was not so much orange anymore. He was totally see through. It was…creepy.
And he doesn’t act the same anymore. He just sort of sits around, not wanting to join in on Toy Basket Molestation Time with the other Spiky Balls.
|Toy Basket Molestation Time.|
|Ah! Oh it's you... you scared me!|
Naturally I assume ABDUCTION. The Boyfriend thinks he went into the neighbor’s pool and got bleached. But the dogs and I know the difference. Alien abduction. Obviously. He’s gone clear from the trauma. Or the experiments. We aren’t sure. He’s not talking.
|Staring at the pool? Or into space?|
Oh, and I got cute new running shoes (really, they ARE cute, this picture doesn't do them cute justice). So in the event that my dog isn’t broken beyond running, we can run really fast. They are as minimal as I’ll ever get. And they are PINK!