Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December Update

Here is a Miller PT update. I am tirelessly doing all the PT exercises that the PT prescribes. I will admit, some times I feel overwhelmed with all of them. I did email her and see if I could leave some out and we did come up with a plan that is better for my schedule. Before I was doing a full session of PT in the am after I got up, a full PT session when I got home from work and then a full PT session before I went to bed. I was feeling like all I did was work on miller. Now, I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong and I know Miller enjoyed it but the poor puppy was getting 0 amount of attention and the hubby was getting pretty neglected as well. Now, with the shorter sessions, I have more time to mess with the puppy and more time to play GH!

Overall, I think Miller is doing better. He seems happier and has gotten more use to me messing with him. He did jump up and put his front legs on my legs the other day which made him support his full weight on both back legs and he did so with no problems. My biggest fear at this point is that we are going to re-injure the injury or that we are going to fight this for the rest of his life. I am just not going to think those thoughts, just be positive and roll with the punches at this time. He is due back for another PT visit but I haven't had the extra cash flow and time off to go back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back from the PT again and good news

Okay so this is an update to my earlier post. Miller and I headed back to KC for a post-national check up. I am happy to say that although he is very tight, we are making progress and looks like after 6 more weeks of rest, we should be cleared to compete again. I had originally set the January 1st USDAA show as our come back but have now moved that back to the January 23rdish AKC show in Lawrence. It is an AKC show so two runs a day which should be easier on him for sure. I am so pleased that we have a plan of attack and am looking forward to getting him back to 100%. In addition to our stretches and massages, we are adding a magnet therapy that is new. I have found that the easiest way to handle the magnet is to use an ace bandage, especially for the treatment on his back. I am really hoping he responds well to this therapy as it is so easy to administer and I don't have to find a PT locally to do ultrasound. We are going to do this for ten days so this is day one.

Some one asked me what my goals were for Miller and I had to really think. Well, he is 10 so I have to start being realistic. I would like to finish my P3 titles in USDAA but we only do a handful a year so that might be tough. For P3, I need three legs in standard and one leg in each of the games and I have one leg already in standard and in jumpers. I could just do a few shows with just jumpers and standard and then just do gamblers and snooker but it will be tough since we have so few shows to even go to. My other goal for him is to do better than we did last year at AKC nationals since we are qualified. I want to have more than two clean runs and five would be the icing on the cake. Not sure about qualifying for nationals in AKC at this point. I have heard that they are going to move it to FL in 2011 and that is too far for me to drive him. If it happens that he qualifies, I will be happy but I am not pushing for it this coming year. I would LOVE to qualify for nationals in USDAA again this coming year but again, it depends on where it will be. If it will be held in KY, I want to go for sure but if it is on the east coast, not going to go. I will just stay local and go to the local USDAA shows in Lawrence and Columbia unless Lori needs a traveling partner. Another MACH is not a goal as I don't like running for the Q so if it happens great, if not then no big deal. I am at this point not thinking about running him in preferred. The jumps are lowered but the a-frame and dog walk are not and I do think the climbing is harder on them than the jumping. I will cross that bridge when we get there but I don't think we are there yet. My biggest goal is to run him and have fun doing it and for him to have fun running and be pain free and make myself a better trainer and a better handler. If titles or MACHs happen along the way, then great. I am lowering my expectations for sure but we will have fun anyway.

Taking Miller back to the PT today

Miller and I are headed back to the PT today in KC and of course it is raining. I can't catch a break with weather and driving but at least it is rain and not snow or ice! Am anxious to hear where she thinks Miller is with his injury. Ran him in class the other night, just a couple of runs and he did awesome. I saw my old boy but I was afraid to run him anymore. I do think we are in the point of his career where I am going to have to tone back a little bit. Gone are the days of doing 6 runs a day in NADAC or USDAA. Sucks though because I really want to get his PD3 title in USDAA and since we only have 3 or 4 local trials a year, will have to be super consistent and pick and choose what classes I do at what trial instead of doing them all. Guess it will save me money for sure! I wish USDAA would hurry up and announce where they are going to have nationals. I will go if it is in KY but not PA. It is looking like I will not be doing the USDAA trial at the beginning of January as I cannot find a teammate. Oh well, more money saved I guess.

I am getting alot of emails about my running him and I do appreciate everyone's concern. However, every dog is different and every injury is different. Protocols are written in general and I am going to do what is best for Miller. I will rest him and then see where we are at. He isn't three legged lame and it isn't consistent so it makes me believe that it isn't as bad as some of the other dogs we have seen with this injury. I think this is an injury I will probably have to manage for the rest of his agility career. I could rest him for 6 months and then bring him back and he could re-injure it the first run back. I am weighing all my options here for sure. He is 10, we think, and he may not have a ton of career left so I really don't want to rest him forever and give up what little career he has left. Saying that, he may run for another 2 or 3 years just to spite me! I do not think moving him to preferred is a solution I am going to explore yet either. Having had a dog that had an ACL tear and repair and then rehab and back to showing, I can tell you that it wasn't the jumps that got her, it was the climbing. Miller just got done doing multiple runs at nationals and never knocked a bar and that was at 22 inches, 2 inches over his normal height. When the time is right and I feel like he is ready, we will move down to 16 inches or just retire. My last run at nationals proves to me that he isn't ready to stop. He ran like he had a fire under his ass! You would think after 3 days of multiple runs he wouldn't have any gas left in the tank and I think that was his best run!

Well, I will post later on what the PT has to say. I am making the Sunflower trial my come back trial and we will go from there. I don't see any thing wrong with making a goal and then changing it if I have to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Post Nationals Questions

Okay so we have been back a couple of days and I am trying to decide what to do with Miller. He seems okay but if he is injured still and covering it up, I don't want to injure him further. I am going to miss the local USDAA show this weekend but can't miss too many since we only have a couple a year. There is one late december that I went to last year and loved so I really want to hit that one but only if he is ready. I have to decide if I am going to rest him and then slowly get him back in it or spend the money and get him back to the PT in KC. He is acting totally normal right now, jumping like normal and acting like normal but I am also not watching his every move and babying him. I think he likes that way better than me hovering over him constantly. I am going to start his PT over today as I have been lax in his stretching and massaging but I feel like he totally hated the stretching. He had some almost 100% runs and he was so happy running so hate to not run him if he wants to. I don't have an AKC show until January but would love to do USDAA in late december. I am going to make that my goal for sure and then see how things fall from there.

Once again tons of decisions! We probably won't have tons of classes since we are officially in winter now and we train outside. I don't do much outside training with him but do need to keep him in shape for sure.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last blog about nationals

Okay so we are on the road and I thought I would go ahead and put my thoughts on paper so that I can upload them later to the blog. The drive is long and boring and mom is driving so I can type. Okay, overall thoughts about the trip first. Had a ton of fun. USDAA nationals really is the most fun nationals that I have been to. So much to do and see and buy for sure that you never get bored. Dock dog diving, flyball, disc dog, herding, and of course agility to keep you busy. Great times with your friends, multiple runs a day, and challenging courses make USDAA nationals so great. I love the international flare that we see on USDAA courses, with a mix of tight and trappy to wide open and running full out. I LOVE strategy games, especially when you have a teammate to help you plan and strategize. Even though our team didn’t finish in the top, we did end up in the top half of the teams and I think that is quite an accomplishment with miller being injured. I truly felt like the refusal we got in jumpers, in snooker, and in PGP semi finals were because of his injury. Miller does not refuse obstacles so he had to be hurting enough to not take some obstacle that I tell him to take. I am not so sure that him running past the weaves in the gamblers was also because of his injury. He had just done two a-frames, two teeters, and two tunnels plus multiple jumps and chute before he had to go weave and he could have been hurting.

Onto feelings which are many as usual. I am very glad we came, I think I would have regretted not going and I did have a ton of fun with my mom as we always do. I don’t see mom except for at national events now since we don’t go home for either thanksgiving or christmas so it makes national events so much more special. Some times I think my sadness at events ending isn’t really that the event itself has ended but yet that mom will be leaving for another so many months. At least for this, I get a week of her before she heads back to TN. You know last year, I had all of these mixed emotions about nationals including the fact that I felt like I needed a border collie if I was ever going to do anything at nationals. I am happy to report that I don’t feel that way anymore. I am disappointed that every dog in the finals is a border collie and that there were a lot more dogs in performance that were border collies this year. Makes getting into steeplechase finals very hard, even in performance but I no longer feel that need to have one. I saw hundreds this weekend and they just don’t do anything for me. I have my baby deuce and even if we have to do performance because he measures into the 26 inch height group, I don’t care. I don’t see the fun in knowing you have no chance in hell in making any of the finals because your class is dominated by border collies. It has to be about me and my personal goals. If I set certain goals for myself and I meet them, then that is good enough for me. I just don’t think I can have a border collie ever (yeah famous last words right?).

I am human so I am disappointed that we did not make finals again this year. I do feel like his refusal in semis was either because he was hurting and could not make that turn or he just didn’t know what the heck that tire was. Their tire jump is a huge almost car tire thing on a weird frame and I am not so sure he didn’t even know what the heck it was. I do think it is very weird that he ran to the outside of the tire for his refusal but what is done is done. I wish our team could have done better but again, I think the majority of his refusals were his injury. I do wish I had done better in snooker as that is my favorite game to play with him but for whatever reason, my brain blanked and we sucked it up and it is over with. I think Tammie and I are going to team at a couple of shows this year before nationals again next year so we can get more practice together. I think Buzz and Miller complement each other style wise and they make a great team.

I am very proud of our group for the few that did make it into the finals. This year was Patti and Bailey’s first year even being here and she and Cassie with Roxy made it into the finals for team which is awesome! We have a ton of very talented dogs here in the KS/MO/NE area and I think we represented well. Cassie even won steeplechase for P16 against some very tough competition! We should find out soon where they are going to hold next year’s nationals. If it is in KY, we are there and if it is in PA, we won’t be making the trek. I did feel like this could be miller’s last nationals but am feeling that maybe the big red boy isn’t done. He had some great runs despite his injury and I do feel like we can overcome this injury. I don’t think he is ready to be done and I am not ready to retire him. I just hope we can find enough USDAA shows to get qualified since we will be missing our local USDAA trial and possibly the December USDAA trial in St. Louis.

Okay getting off of here, getting ready for Meade KS and the most awesome onion rings you have ever put in your mouth!

Nationals Trip Day 7 and part of Day 8

Sorry, haven't been keeping up. We decided after my gamblers run on saturday to pack up the RV. We could either pack up it and turn it in on saturday or wait till monday. We did have one of our group in the finals on saturday night and possibly two teams in the finals on sunday but we have been to the finals before and so we had been there, done that. Miller's gamblers run was awesome! He did two a-frames and two teeters and two tunnels with a bunch of jumps in between. He did not get the gamble, which was jump weaves jump, but I didn't care. He ran like my old miller and I was so excited! We had to pack up all the stuff from the crating area and drag it back since we couldn't bring the car over to that area. Got everything drug back from the crating area and started the mad dash of cleaning and packing. Had to go get a cooler at Walmart so we could keep our food that we bought. Headed back to the RV place and got everything turned in, no problem.

We decided to go back a different way to see some different sights so headed back up to flagstaff and then onto I-40. We were so tired and hungry by the time we hit flagstaff that we decided to just stop and eat at the cracker barrel there and stay for the night. Got up to 25 degree weather which was not what we expected! I think mom and I had one sweatshirt and one jacket between us. Stopped at the meteor crater on our way. That was probably the best thing I have ever seen!!!! I could have stayed there forever and ever! I love meteors and anything to do with them. Tony and I go and watch meteor showers all the time and he actually asked me to marry him during the November meteor shower. We had heard that there was a bad wreck on I-40 and that the road was closed but we decided to head out anyway and try our luck. Well, they were wrong there was a wreck but the road was not closed. Made it all the way to Tucumcari with a few more stops on the way. Got some souveneirs for my girls at work and a shot glass for tony.

Heading out this morning and looking at snow in KS! Will blog later about how I felt about everything. Need to get in the shower and head out!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nationals Trip Day 6

Alrighty! Well, morning started out very early. For some reaon I was up at 6 am this morning and wide awake at that. Deuce and Miller both slept with us last night and we all slept really good. Got up, walked the dogs and then fed them. I had three courses to walk today, team standard, speed jumping semi-finals, and peformance grand prix semi-finals. I found the results of the quarter finals online and out of 20 dogs that Q'd, Miller was 17th. Definatley alot slower than last year as he came in second place last year but still not bad for a dog with an injury. I was so excited because the semis were in the big ring this year and I had never run in the big ring before. Got my courses walked and got ready for my first run of the day which was team standard. Miller ran very well, almost back to his normal self, which suprised me for sure! He had great contacts and great weaves and I felt like I handled everything really well. I will be interested to see how he feel in the P22 standard standings. I know he wasn't his normal speed but he still ran faster than he had run all weekend.

Next run of the day was PGP semi finals. This year I felt like I was a ton more focused and more relaxed. The big ring has really huge clunky equipment including a teeter that is mammoth and a huge tire jump, bigger than any he has ever seen. I did felt like he ran a little slower than in standard but still was doing okay till about mid course. I felt myself getting ahead of him and I felt like I was having to cheerlead him on alot more than any of the other runs. The dog walk was near the end of the run and he practically walked down it and I knew something was not right. His bark had gotten a little bit higher but not as bad as in Lincoln. I did a front cross to bring him over the tire to me and he ran around the tire to the outside. I am not sure if he just couldn't jump it or didn't know what the heck it was. We have never seen a tire like that and I will try and take a picture of it so you can see how odd it looks. I decided to just finish out the course and run out so he didn't take a jump and we got an E but at that point it didn't matter. You have to run clean and he had the refusal so who cares. I decided that it wasn't worth it to run him in steeplechase semi finals if he was hurting so I scratched him so that maybe we could run tomorrow in team gamblers. Our team was sitting in 74th place but we both had clean and fast standard runs so maybe that will bring us up in the standings. Unfortunatley, I don't think any of our group made it to the finals tonight so we will probably not go and watch since we have no one to cheer on.

After we got done running, Mom and I took Miller back to the RV and massaged him and tried to stretch him. He wasn't very receptive to stretching so we decided to ice him down and let him rest. Grabbed Deuce and went back to the field to cheer the rest of the group on in their runs. Deuce got a new tug toy and got to play with another little red merle puppy. He also got to watch some dock dog diving and some flyball and disc dog. We let him play in the puddle again and I am going to try and get it on video as it is the funniest thing I have ever seen. He gets the butt scooting zoomies when he gets in water or weird surfaces so running him in agility is going to be an adventure. Bought some pictures that Tien Tran had taken of Miller that were really good and did some other shopping. I am such a whore to vendors at dogs shows!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nationals Trip Day 5 Competition Part 2

Okay so now on to the competition part. We had jumpers first and as I had previously stated, it was a very fast, very straight forward course. I did run with and the funny part was as I released him, he stayed there! I had to convince him to come with me. He was a little bit slower than usual but barking his head off and very excited! I was having to cheerlead alot more than usual and his distance skills seemed to have vanished for some reason but i managed to run the course with him and go fairly fast. I did have one refusal on a 180 after the weaves but that is okay in team stuff. I went to do a front cross and thought I had sent him to the first jump of the 180 but he came with when I moved laterally away. Kept my head about me and just had him go again and finish the course. I was so pleased that he seemed okay and gave him lots of cookies for sure!

Our next run was Performance National Standard Quarter Finals. It was a very tricky course with a very tough opening line to the a-frame in my opinion. I did shape the line a bit and I do think his a-frame was a little slow but after that he seemed to be doing well and running well. We had to have a clean run to move on to the semi finals so I held his dog walk contact a little bit. I did have an o shit moment towards the middle of the course. We had a very tough line of about 4 jumps that either required two rears or a rear and a front or double fronts. I had planned on double fronts but got out of position for the second front and had to do an ugly rear. Thank goodness he saved my ass and kept the bars up. After that it was pretty straight forward and we got through it no problem. He was a tad bit slower than normal but I thought he ran faster than he did in jumpers and I did see flashes of my gold ole red dog!

Next was snooker, my favorite class! We had a good plan and I was going to stick to it no matter what. I did have some contingency plans just in case he knocked a bar because we were going to do quite a bit of turning and wrapping. He got the first snooker with a one and a five, no problem. I did a double front cross and caught another one and a five and did a nice blind after the tunnel part of five to pick him up and go over another one with another front cross to pull him around the 6 combo I didn't want to do. I had planned on going to the 7 and then heading for the closing but for some reason, my brain shut down and I headed back for the five again. I was still okay but was rattled that I was lost. I headed for the last one and then a 2 to start the closing and had to wrap back around to get the 2 again to start the closing but he ran past the number 2. There are no refusals in the closing so we got whistled off with no closing points:( I only got 21 total points but my teammate got tons more so we should be good to go.

Overall, I was very happy with today. Miller ran great, was happy and was almost his normal self. I am very optimistic about this weekend. You know what though, even if he doesn't run the rest of the weekend, I am very happy with today. I love my big red boy and he loves to do agility and I am very happy that he has had a great time running today. Am still waiting to find out if we got into the semis but if we don't, it doesn't matter. Okay, off to the shower house, I stink!!!!

Nationals Trip Day 5 Competition Part 1

Well, the day started out bright and early. I learned last year that if you don't get down there extra early, you don't get a course map. The only map I really wanted was snooker and that was today so I went down right after 7 to get a map. I had woken up very early and laid in bed for a while just praying that Miller will be okay to run and will have a good time. I think I had myself so worked up that I had a sick stomach but as soon as I got down to the field, I felt great. Walked jumpers first and it was very straight forward. No lead out advantage so I can run with him and start really far back. I am hoping this won't confuse him but I think it he has a running start, that will help him. He seems to warm up after a couple of jumps and then he is fine and one through three is pretty straight forward so that should help him to prepare for the rest of the course.

Next we walked Performance Grand Prix Quarter Finals and boy what a tough couse. I think they post the courses on www.usdaa.com so go over there and check it out. What a tough entry to the a-frame and no way to really make it better. Jumps 10-12 are also going to be hard as I am going to do two front crosses but alot of people are going to do serpentines. The course has lots of options which makes it a very tough quarter final.

The final walk through was snooker and wow, what a tough snooker course. Tammie and I just planned a course that is the best for getting points for our team. I hope I can keep my head about me if he knocks bars. Snooker is our best game as he is so handler focused but he has to keep his bars up to play the game.

I don't run till 10:30 so I have had tons of time to rest and to work on Miller. He stretched out nicely and has been very happy so I am hoping we run well today. I will blog part two after we run!

Nationals Trip Day 4

Okay so I started talking about day 4 but I didn't finish cause we hadn't done anything yet. Got set up and got to see everyone as most everyone else in our group drove two days so they drove straight to the trial site and set up. I didn't even walk the course as I didn't want to be tempted to run it. We were getting ready to watch everyone run when Joan told me I should at least work on my stay or do jump dog walk or something to get my monies worth. Sure enough, the course was jump, dog walk, jump, so I decided to just do that. Since I hadn't walked the course, I had no clue which way it went after that anyway. Ran back to the RV and got both doggies and headed over to the crating area. We had plenty of time because there were several heights before us.

I have to admit, I have never done an extensive warm up with Miller. Early on I figured out that the more that I messed with Miller, the more hyped up he got and the chances of him just running crazy increased. Currently or should I say pre-injury, I just walked him and trotted him and then just did attention exercises. We would go up about 4 or 6 dogs out and get ready to go in. Now, I feel like I need to do alot more warming up so we did lots of walking and running prior to our run. I also did some stretches but not too much because I have always been told not to do stretches until you are totally warmed up. I had to find that balance of warming up and not doing too much. He did seem confused as to why I was messing with him so much. I did a few jumps at 16 inches and he did stutter one but then was fine after that. Unfortunatley when I got him in there, he knocked the first bar and then was slow on the dog walk but as soon as I released him to the next jump, he was fine, barking and running like crazy. I pulled him after that, much to the judges confusion and ran to the exit. I really hope that Miller didn't think he was in trouble because he did a great dog walk contact. He did go back up the dog walk as I was telling the judge thank you and I had to pull him off but I think I did the right thing. He was very happy and seemed to stretch out nicely afterwards.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

day 3 Nationals Trip

So once again the dogs woke us up at the crack of dawn and I couldn't go back to sleep. Guess that is why we have a crate in the bedroom for those times when you need a few extra minutes of zzzs and the baby thinks you are wrong LOL! We headed out of Holbrook AZ and desended on the mountains and the forest. We passed through the Sitgreaves Forest and Tonto Forest to go all the way to Mesa to pick up the RV. The scenery was as usual breathtaking and the steep grades weren't too bad. I let mom drive again so she has pretty much driven the whole trip but on her own accord. She is a control freak like me (got if from her for sure) and I think she likes it better when she is driving anyway. So far she has driven over 1500 miles! We got to the RV place at the pick up time and got our RV. We watched the video on how to use the RV this year but pretty much knew everything we needed to know from last year. Mom did a great job of driving it, only almost ran over someone once but it wasn't her fault, jerk tried to undercut her. We got to the campground and got set up fairly quickly. Mom and I waited till the air conditioning had cooled down the RV and headed out to Walmart to get all of our meals. We ate a quick dinner and then hit the hay early after taking the dogs out for a nice long walk. I truly love the desert, at night only of course. The weather is so nice and pleasant for sitting out under the stars. I think this is my favorite part of being here, the great weather and just spending time with Mom and the dogs.

Deuce has done really well with everything, other than leaving him in the RV last night while we went to Walmart. I think he had his fill of being in a crate and I don't trust him enough to leave him loose in the RV. Although there isn't much for him to get into, he does like to scratch on the door and on the windows when I leave the RV, and I can't afford to pay for damages to the RV. Our neighbors were very nice and said that it didn't bother them and I have his kong and peanutbutter to keep him occupied from now on.

Day 4 we get to set up our crates and they run European Standard, and the VENDORS OPEN! I was entered but I think I am going to give him one more day of rest before I run him. He seems a little stiff still and on the opposite leg now. I am doing lots of massaging and stretching which seems to be going well. I am still not so sure it is his illeopsoas. To me he seems to be stiff in his hock in his right leg but this could be a spill-over from his original injury, who knows. He still isn't visibly lame and I am sure I am over analyzing every little detail of his walk and his jumping and his just being. I never watched him this close before and am afraid this may be the way it is going to be from now on out. He is 10 and he has had a good 5 years of running so this may be the start of things to come. I hope not!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 2 Nationals Trip

Had a great day for sure! Left from Tucumcari NM around 8 or so and just took our time. If we saw something interesting, we stopped and checked it out. Most of what we stopped and looked at was not as interesting as the billboards claimed it to be. We decided to stop and go through the Petrified Forest. It is a really cool trip as it is mostly driving but you can stop periodically at overlooks and take pictures and read signs about what you are looking at. This landscape is so vastly different from anything we see in KS or in TN that it just takes my breath away. Most of the stops had paved walk ways that we could take the dogs on so we got them out alot and Miller seemed alot less stiff. We took lots of pictures that I posted on my FB site and will try and post when I get on a better internet connection.
We are again in a Motel 6 in Holbrook AZ, but the internet is free so it is a bit slower. Went to bed early but Deuce still woke us up early again. I did make sure to have the alarm off so that we did get a little bit more sleep, but deuce was up at 6 and did not want to go back to sleep. I haven't been dragging his crate in but when we get the RV and get set up, he will be in the crate for sure. We haven't really gotten lots of sleep but we have been taking our time and having lots of fun. Last year we had stopped at a jewerly store on Route 66 and they had told us that there was a guy in Holbrook that had a BBQ resturant that was from Henderson which is in TN near Jackson where I was born and raised. We decided to go eat there last night but unfortunatley, he was closed for the night when we got there. We ended up at a place called Butterfield's Steak house which was very good. They actually had 1554 (New Belgium Beer) in bottles and good margaritias and add that plus us being tired equals some good laughs. I think they thought we were having way too much fun but everything turned out to be funny and we were laughing so hard we were crying.
Today we are picking up the RV in Mesa AZ and heading to the campground to set up. We are going through the Sitgreaves National Forest and the Tonto National Forest and the mountains so we should have fun and take lots of pictures. Time to go shower and get on the road, mom is getting antsy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 1 Nationals Trip

Thank goodness my mom has a laptop! Paid for wireless internet tonight so I could get on here and update everyone. We are currently in a motel 6 in Tucumcari NM. We decided to just drive an 8 hour day and boy I am glad we did. Miller came out of the crate super stiff so mom is massaging and stretching him while I type. We didn't get to stop as much as we had planned today. The drive once you get into OK and TX is so desolate, so stopping was limited pretty much to road side stops and we didn't feel safe doing that when it got dark. We stopped in Great Bend for lunch at a Long John Silvers and the dogs got to get out then and stretch their legs. We had decided to drive until we got tired but we really wanted to make it at least 8 hours so that we can do 8 hours again tomorrow. We are looking to get to Payson but may not if we stop more. Deuce did great but he always does in the car. He is like a baby, as long as we are moving and he is in the car, he sleeps, but when we stop he is up and wanting out!

Mom decided to drive all day so I may be driving tomorrow as long as we aren't in the mountains. I can't believe she drove all day today as she drove all yesterday too from TN and we went out last night to Mel's and listened to my favorite local band VSC. Mom listened but was not really into the music but got to meet alot of my friends. We got in around 12 and both crashed. Speaking of crashing, even though I just sat in the passenger seat, I am super tired. I am still getting over a stupid cold and i think it has me zapped. Didn't take any pictures today so nothing to post. Will probably take some tomorrow for sure!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Getting really excited but still cautious

I am getting so excited to go! I am still working really hard on keeping miller pain free and sound though. I am taking him on saturday morning to have another ultrasound treatment. The PT that worked on my leg has actually agreed to work on Miller's injury and he charges a heck of a lot less than taking him to KC. This should be very interesting to say the least. It takes alot for miller to trust someone and he is not a dog person so we are going to have to take a lot of cheese or maybe even chicken so they can build a relationship.

I think for so long I thought we weren't going that it is just now kicking in now that we are. I have not even started packing so will probably do that all day saturday while mom is driving in from TN. I also would like to give the house a good cleaning before I leave so that it may be okay when I get back. Tony is a typical man and not very observant to details so there could be a dead body on the floor and he would probably just step over it. He is also battling a cold and now I have it too. I have an awesome immune system so I am hoping my body can get through this quickly. Being sick really hurt me at AKC nationals and I need 100 times more brain power for this so I need to be 100% healthy by next thursday.

We got our run and walk orders via email yesterday and I almost threw up! I get so nervous before these big events but when I get there, I seem to calm down. As I said in my previous USDAA nationals blog from last year, you get so stressed there that you don't have time to be nervous. Don't get me wrong it is a ton of fun but the pressure to do your best is high, especially when you are surrounded by so many great handlers. This may possibly be Miller's last USDAA nationals so I want it to be his best. I just hope we can run like I know we are capable and I hope the injury doesn't make me even more nervous. I hope I can just plan my runs like normal and not even think about the possibilities. He has responded so well to the PT and has been so happy that he is getting to more agility stuff now. After nationals, we will probably take a huge break from showing and start back up in January with the sunflower trial. This is going to mean missing at least two USDAA trials that are local which means qualifying for next year might be tough. I like to get things like qualifying out of the way early as I think it really affects my running when I am trying to reach a specific goal like nationals or like a MACH.

What really excites me more than anything is that Deuce is getting to come with us. This will be his first big show and I think he is going to love it! There is so much to do at nationals for sure! Dock dog diving pools to swim in and jump in, lure coursing, herding, and tons of demos to watch to name a few. Tons of training opportunities and tons of new sights and sounds to encounter await little Deuce. I will be taking tons of pictures so look for those and more on my facebook or my puppy blog. We will probably take tons of pictures on the way to and from AZ as well. We are going to make the trip out longer so it is easier on miller so we plan on doing alot of sight seeing and stopping. Mom has her laptop too so we should be able to upload pics fairly regularly and also blog. I felt like I was going to explode last year and I think blogged to the wee hours of the morning so it will be easier to get it out a little bit at a time instead of all at once.

Well, better get back to working! Just wanted to pour a few thoughts out here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AZ bound

Boy has the been the hardest decision i have ever had to make. After much thought, I decided yesterday to get miller out and let him do some agility and see where we were at. I really needed to know where he was in his rehab and had to risk possible injury to know. If he was lame or got lame, there was no point in taking him to AZ. I had a break in action at work so I hurried home and got him and deuce and headed out to Alice and Lori's house to do some work. Alice had some jump chutes set up at 16 inches with some nice easy pin wheels at the end so after warming him up via walking, brisk walking and jogging, I did some jump chute work at 16 inches. Not only was he happy, he was running full out and wanting to do more. I also did one dog walk and one a-frame and he strided correctly on both. I decided to also do one set of weaves just to see where he was and if he was using both back legs to push off and he was. I was so excited!!! I didn't want to push anything so we stopped and he roamed around the agility yard and played with the puppy and rolled around. He was so happy, it took several hours for him to stop smiling.

This was the answer I needed to decide whether to go or not for sure. I will probably still be cautious and worried but between all of my friends and my mom, we should be able to keep him loose and limber. If he shows any signs of hurting, we will stop. Thursday will be our biggest day with three runs planned for that day. If we can get passed that, we should be okay for the rest of the week with two possible three runs on friday and one possible two runs on saturday. Mom is bringing her laptop so we can hopefully keep my blog and FB updated with how things are going. We are going to leave early on sunday so we will be on the road an extra day which will be nice for me and mom! Okay off to work the puppy who thinks I have totally forgotten him since miller gets all of the attention right now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

more confusion

This is what adds to my confusion with Miller for sure. I did his stretches and massages this am and he was very good. After we got done, he was so excited! He was jumping around and barking and smiling so I know he feels good. It makes me want to take him for sure but it changes day by day, hour by hour. Miller also let me ice him last night which is so weird because he has been fighting me tooth and nail over icing him. Go figure! Just wish he could talk, would make this so much easier!

Monday, November 2, 2009

back from KC yet again

I am back from KC and as confused as ever. The PT says there was improvement which is awesome and I am excited for. We are still on the fence as to what to do about nationals. I really want to run him some this week to see where we are at, she doesn't think that is a good idea. I think it would give me a better picture of where we are and I am going to do it. I feel very good that he is improving and don't want to mess that up at all. She did say that he could tweak this again as soon as we get back into agility so I may be fighting this for a long time. My gut is telling me not to go but I don't want to not go and regret it. Either way I think regret is going to be a part of this for the better or worse. Miller was very happy after his treatment and is really starting to relax and trust. I almost want to call the animal communicator again and see if she can ask him for sure. I know it sounds hokey but she did almost figure out what was wrong with him (right area, wrong diagnosis but miller had never heard that word so how would he know that word anyway). I can't seem to find anyone local to do the ultrasound treatment on miller either and I can't afford to take a day off every week and head to KC. Not only is it time off, it is gas, and 75 $ for a 8 minute treatment. I was hoping to find someone local and then maybe just go to her once a month or so for updates on progress. She said she could send me exercises via email so that would be way easier on me for sure.

I guess for now I am just going to wait and run him this week and see how it goes and then decide. I HATE this kind of decision. The really bad part about this is that it is causing some major tension in mine and tony's relationship. He thinks I should just not go, and he is not being very supportive at all in my decision to possibly go or even to go to a PT. This makes things not fun in the Coleman household for sure!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not so sure anymore

URGH! I have this little feeling something isn't quite right with Miller. I think he is almost more sore today than he has been in a while. I go back to the PT tomorrow and I wonder if he is going to worse somehow. I can't explain it for sure, just weird little things have happened all day. His first stretch and massage this morning seemed good so I was really happy. His second stretch and massage also went well. We spent alot of time outside today so he was roaming around in the yard alot and he decided to jump on our agility table. Before I could stop him, he was up on it and he jumped on it so weirdly. He jumped with all of his front end and then pulled his back end on which to me is a sure sign his hind end still isn't right. This really bothered me but did he jump this way because it is in the backyard? He hates doing anything in the backyard and will practically walk the fence so he doesn't have to step in anyone's potty area. He is very particular about his feet so maybe he was trying to avoid a potty? Not sure but it sure scared me the way he jumped. The second thing that happened was he was on the deck and I had sat down in my lounge chair and he tried to put his front feet in my lap. Now usually what he does is he jumps up and stands on my legs with his front feet (all of his weight is on his hind end) and then the sniffs my face. He came up to me and acting like he wanted to and then stopped and did that two times. He finally did put his front feet on me but he rested him weight on his elbows instead of standing up. This to me means his back end is still pretty sore. When I just did his stretching and massaging, he was not very happy about anything I did. This means to me that he is not going to be able to do an agility course, let alone three or four a day.

This brings me to my next quadry which is how do I know he is okay to go? I feel like he is unsure too. I want to run him towards the end of this week and see how he feels. We have to let the RV people know four days in advance of picking it up that we aren't going to come, so by Friday or Saturday we need to know for sure what is going on. I feel like if I run him say on thursday night and he is lame, then that is a good indication that he is not going to be able to go to nationals for sure as he would only have one week left to rest. I really think if he can't run and do a course by this week then all bets are off. I am sure resting him right until we have to run will be the best but then is he going to come up lame on that very first run at nationals? Wouldn't it be better to know now versus waiting? I am so confused and so conflicted. I want to go but want to do what is best for him and if letting him just rest for several months is the best, then that is what i want to do. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Miller is making me down in my back!

Ok so I am wondering when someone is going to massage my back and stretch me out? LOL! I am trying to keep up with all of Miller's therapies and hope I am doing them right. The problem is I am getting very down in my back which will not help me when it is time to run! I have to do range of motion (ROM) stretches on both of his back legs which he absolutely hates. He is getting better and I can tell a big difference in the injured leg versus the non-injured leg but he still is not thrilled at all about doing this exercise. It makes it hard to tell when he is hurting versus when he just doesn't want me messing with his foot and leg. I still can not do abduction with either leg so am just doing flexion and extension and holding for five or so seconds. I do ten of those per leg. I try to massage first on his back in the loin area as he loves that part the most. I will break it up and do 10 minutes per side but he rolls over as he likes it so much so I am not sure if I am getting enough in on each specific side. I really worry that I am not doing things right or that I am hurting him. Tomorrow we get to add in another set of stretches including weight shifting. I am not sure that he is totally pain free so am not comfortable moving into full out stretches until the PT sees him on monday and lets me know he is ready. I still haven't found someone local to do ultrasound on him so I need to get on that. We added in a 10 minute walk today and hope to get that in tomorrow as well. He seems very happy to be getting so much attention and truly loves the massage part. I am really looking forward to taking him back to the PT to see if we have made any progress. Then I will probably have to head to the chiropractor before we head out to AZ. I am so ready for mom to be here because she really has the touch that miller loves. I have had to get tony involved too in the stretches as one has to be done 10 reps 5 times a day. Each rep consists of a bend to left hip, right hip, left back toe, right back toe and each of these stretches are 10-15 seconds. This is what is killing my back. Tony tried doing the stretches sitting down but my arms aren't long enough so I will probably have to remain standing.

My fear is that I am not doing enough or not doing something right. I hope Miller is going to be okay since we have made the commitment to go to AZ for sure now. I really, really don't want to go all of that way for him to come up lame on the very first run. I notice things now that I never noticed before about the way he walks or the way he jumps on the couch or the bed that probably was there before but I wasn't looking good enough. I feel like I over analyze every little thing that he does. I hope this isn't the beginning of Miller being constantly having little nagging injuries. I know I need a better warm up and cool down routine for him so will be working more on that. Miller stresses up so I try and not do too much jumping and getting him riled up because he does that on his own. We are going to have to change that somehow and get him more warm and limber. I currently just walk him around about 5 or 6 dogs before we are suppose to go in but that is not enough. I am hoping the PT can help me to plan out a good warm up and cool down that will warm his body up but will not send him over the edge.

Okay, have written enough for now. Need to go get ready for another night of metal!!!!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Miller update from KC part two

Okay sorry I didn't get an update done last night. We worked on miller last night and then I had to work with the puppy. I am going to be one busy person! The other dogs can't seem to understand why Miller is getting so much special attention. I try and take him upstairs and put him on the bed and he seems to be the happiest there. We are currently doing ROM on both of his hips and using cookies to have him bend and flex to his hips and to his hock. I am SO sore though! I only did one session with him last night and man my back is not happy at all! I need a massage for sure! He LOVES the massage part but will really fight me on the ROM part.

Okay so here is the lowdown. Got to KC an hour before my appointment but that is fine. The weather was completely crappy and I wanted to be able to drive 50 mph if I wanted to and I did some because of the rain. The clinic was super nice and fancy, really up to date and clean. Receptionists weren't the nicest and kind of got sick listening to them answer the phone with a frown on their face but whatever. Got to go back and meet Dr. Shulte and went over the time line of events. She went over him a little and watched his videos. Then Dr. Wilson, the orthopediest came in and went over him. He was super nice and I really, really liked him (really cute too). He ruled out miller's back, knees, hips, and spine. He also looked at Miller's x-rays and said they were beautiful! BUT, he didn't know what the heck was going on at all. Dr. Shulte showed him what she thought was wrong, his left ileopsoas (groin muscle) and they did find something on the x-ray that concurred with this diagnosis (i didn't see it but i am not a vet). She did alot of work on his neck as it was screwy too and then did lots of stretching and ROM exercises with him. We did ultrasound on his ileopsoas, and then showed me all of the exercises that I needed to do for him every day. Let me tell you, the list is very daunting so I am trying to get them all done and they add on every 2-3 days. The problem is they didn't exactly say that I could go to nationals but they didn't tell me I couldn't. Dr. Shulte said that it would set his healing back and that he wouldn't run up to his normal self but we should be able to manage his injury and then attack it full force when we got back. He is currently on a muscle relaxer for five days and two natural anti-inflammatories. We are going to have to make our trip down 3 days instead of 2 which is better for mom and I for sure.

I am happy but cautious. I don't know why, maybe because I have had so many different diagnoses? I just have this nagging feeling that we aren't there or that we are missing something but I do trust Dr. Shulte and boy do i know how long injuries take to heal. This week is probably the first pain free week I have had in a very long time and I was injured back in August. I just hope that what we do gets him fixed and that we don't fight this for the rest of his career but I am afraid we might. He is very happy right now so I know what we are doing is helping. I just need to let it go and go on and be happy that we are getting to go and run. This will probably be his last USDAA nationals as he turns 11 in 2010 and I don't know if I want to drag him to all of those extra shows and run him in every class. We only have 2 local USDAA shows so everywhere else we go has to be either in Chicago or MN or CO. It would be nice to cut back on USDAA but I LOVE it so! I feel like it is more challenging than AKC and I love the strategy involved. Okay so I need to get in the shower! More later!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Miller's specialist appointment

Okay so this is going to be quick and I will update it later. We are heading out at 8 am for our appointment at Mission Med Vet. I have miller's bloodwork and x-rays just in case. Of course the weather is super crappy and I HATE driving in rain so this may take forever. I will update as soon as I have news. There has been a report that a fellow competitor is coming to the show that has a dog with Lepto so I am fairly nervous about going now. Even if miller is vaccinated, who knows what serovar this dog is carrying and shedding. Also I had planned on taking the puppy and may have to leave him home with daddy. From what I am hearing, USDAA is saying they don't care, not their problem but enough people go forward and complain, maybe they will make it their problem. I have heard that people are going to boycott. The really bad thing is that it can affect people too so I am worried about mom getting exposed to something as well. URGH! Anyway, going to get dressed and head out into the raining mess!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another update on miller

Okay so I took Miller to my vet and had him gone over for his referral and we decided to do hip x-rays. Hip x-rays and blood work all came back normal so we are now trying to figure out what direction to go in. We were having trouble getting into any of the specialists at KSU and I had a friend who suggested that we try Mission Med Vet in Kansas City. I called and the PT called me back and we are heading over there Thursday October 29th. I went into great detail about the time line of injury and what had happened and she said tentatively it sounds like the ilieopsoas muscle. Now I know this is a popular diagnosis right now, especially in agility dogs but it makes sense, especially what is written up in literature. If it is this injury, we will have to rest miller quite a while and try stretching, icing, and heat to combat the injury. That would mean no nationals and no agility probably until January. I am at peace with this decision and will rest him as long as I need to so that he can come back and be competitive again. I feel like he still has a couple of good years of competing left in him if we can get him over this.

Now to the touchy feely part of this. I have been basically told I am being negative and giving up too soon about nationals. Well, here is my response to this. First of all, I have been working for a solid year on getting him qualified for every event at nationals. To imply that i am giving up after I worked so hard to get him in to the big show is like a slap in my face. I have been trying so hard to keep my emotions out of the decisions I am making for him and trying to keep myself out of the pity pool I so desperately want to drown in. I want to run him, I want to go, I want to win, but what good is it to have these feelings if he isn't sound. What sense does it make for me to go 22 hours and hope that he can perform or that I can get a few good runs out of him when I could be doing more damage to him. He is 1o years old and injuries are going to affect him differently now and are going to take a heck of a lot longer to heal. I am not rushing into any decision but I am being realistic here. I am trying my damndest to get him to every vet and specialist I can so that we do have a diagnosis and we can fix this, no matter how long it takes. For someone to imply and I mean imply that I am not doing all I can really, really hurts. I hope I don't ever make my friends feel as shitty as some people have made me feel about this whole situation. I am doing everything I can in my power short of selling my soul to the devil to figure out what is wrong and fix it. I have said over and over again that I will not make a decision as far as nationals goes until I know what is wrong. Then me, my vet, and whatever specialist I am working with will make that decision. Rest assured it won't be made lightly. I hope that everyone can understand this and if you can't, i am sorry that you have your head so far up your own butt that you can't see this. I am being selfish here because this will directly affect my teammate and having gone through this last year, truly, truly hate it for her. I am thinking about my dog and his career and his longevity. If that is wrong, then whoever has issues with this should put themselves in my shoes and walk a mile. Everyone in this sport has had a dog with an injury at some point and has had to make decisions just like this one so I know this isn't a new thing for people to understand or deal with. I say to them, think about how you felt when your dog was injured?

Okay I feel better now. Part of the problem with all of this is that I do blog and I do facebook about his issues and what I am doing so I get lots of comments. I need to just pull back and not tell people I guess. I think they are probably saying things that they think what is best for me but all it is doing is really hurting my feelings and really making me mad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Miller update

So i took Miller to the chiropractor yesterday. He watched him walk alot and said he looked alot more lame than the last two times (he seems better to me) he saw him. Worked on him for a while and of course adjusted different things which is good, not the same adjustment every time. The other vet Dr. S did some chinese medicine with him and some acupuncture on his knee. Not sure why they think it is in his knee as they don't think it is ligament or joint but they don't know what it is. I called my vet last night and we talked for a long time and he is going to call some vets up at KSU today and see what they can figure out that we need to do diagnostic wise. He was throwing around words like MRI or CT-Scan and I was about to pass out! Those cost a ton of money to do! At this point, nationals is not in the picture at all and we might be taking at least 2 months off, if not more. Dr. J, my vet, also knows someone that has a nice clinic in Mission KS that could do some work on him as well. It would be great if I could get him in at KSU and do some physical therapy there. If it is a soft tissue injury, we need to be doing PT right now. I can attest to how much soft tissue injuries suck and am still battling mine! I will do everything in my power to fix him and get him better so this may be a very long and interesting journey.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wanted to update everyone on Miller's back. I talked about it on my puppy blog but needed to update things here. I took Miller back to the chiropractor after week off. He seemed okay and did a course fine so we were very hopeful he would be ready for the KCGRC show (this weekend). We had class like normal and he started out great. Unfortunately, 4 or so runs into class, he came off of the line silent and was favoring his hind end again. I decided to not run him anymore and cool him out. He was really off and I knew in my heart this weekend's show was a no go. I tried to call Dr. Perkins who is a miracle worker, but she was out till next tuesday. I tried to call Dr. G, the chiropractor I have been using since he is local but he wasn't in. I have an appointment on Monday but also want to see if we can do acupuncture and maybe some chinese medicine too while I am there. I will call first thing monday morning as well to make sure I can get everything I want for him to get. I also called an animal communictor. I had heard that they were good about telling you where the hurt is so I thought, what would it hurt? Even if it is all false, at least it would be entertaining!

The lady I contacted is in Manhattan and came highly recommended. She first had us do some deep breathing and then she started. She did ask how old he was and what breed and his name and then she told me he was red. Okay, lucky guess? Even if she knew aussies came in red, they also come in red tri, blue merle, red merle, and black tri with blue merles and black tris being way more popular. Anyway, I did tell her that he was off but we didn't know where and she told me that he had arthritis in his hips and wanted an x-ray to show me. Okay, he probably has some arthritis, he is 10 so this could just be a generalization. She also told me he had something that we could diagnose with a blood test and it comes and goes and can be treated by antibiotics. Interesting for sure! She also told me something was wrong with her throat and at that time, he choked on his rawhide he was chewing on. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. She also told me he thought of himself as star, as Michael Jackson. Okay, I would prefer Michael Jordan but whatever. She did ask the ages of the other dogs and said berry was a female and was the rock of the family (true), and that harley was called a female alot (true, was called a female today). She also said the puppy is so excited to be doing agility (could have figured that out from the fact that all of our dogs do or have done agility). She also asked if I dressed the dogs up and I usually do for halloween and she said the puppy really wanted his own costume the is year (wasn't planning on doing that this year). All in all, very intriguing and maybe right, who knows. Cried a couple of times (she says he has been telling me he was in pain), told him that I loved him and didn't care what we did that he has given me everything and more and all I want for him is to be healthy and happy, even if he never does agility again.

The next step for miller is going to be another chiropractic assessment on monday with hopefully some acupuncture. I am going to rest him till probably the week before nationals and then try to work him and see how he does. I am not driving all the way to AZ for him to come up lame so want to be dead sure he is okay before we get in that car. Maybe do a few runs at the local NADAC trial the weekend of halloween to see how he is. I really, really want to go to nationals this year since I think this will probably be his last. I am keeping my finger's crossed, doing some healing prayers, and taking him to every available vet I can to get him better. I will do whatever it takes to get him back good, even if that means missing nationals and taking a few months off from agility. I will sorely miss it but we are still teaching and you never know when there might be someone there that needs me to run their dog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Miller's back

Thought I would update my faithful readers on miller's situation. Basically, he needed a big adjustment in his back and pelvis. I am hoping this is all that is wrong, but he was not ouchy on any muscle or any joint so we ruled out alot, just didn't rule in any one thing in. We were there for over an hour adjusting so I know he feels better. My normal vet also gave me some deramaxx just in case and told me to give him one a day for a few days. I decided not to walk the past couple of days but may take him out this afternoon if he feels like it. It is so hard because he doesn't show any obvious signs of being hurt till he actually starts running a course. My fear is we are going to do all of this waiting and then sunday when we get to do a course, he is going to come up lame again and we are going to be back to square one. I don't know why I can't be happy with the diagnosis other than I just hate not knowing exactly what is going on. Lori had a good point and I am trying to remember it. She said that when they get to miller's age, the little things start bothering them alot more. I am hoping she is right and this is just a little thing. I am not ready to retire him for sure!

Here is the video of his last run:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

GlOC weekend

I guess I should have known this might not be a good weekend. I should have known when we were having 40 mph wind gusts that things might not be good. Ended up leaving super early as I was really worried about the wind and of course the big grain trucks on two lane highways since it is harvest time. Got to the site super early and got unloaded and set up. I think I was the third person in there to set up as the place was pretty much empty when I got there. Went to the hotel and got checked in, no problems and headed back to the show site. Our first run of the day was standard and the course was pretty much straight forward. The judge was kind of odd, never had him before so didn't know what to expect. His briefings were very long and detailed and he made a point to let us know that he kind of thought we were backwards since we didn't have electronic timing. He mentioned several times that he ran fast border collies, so many times that i think I gagged a couple of times. To make a point here, we do have electronic timing in our area and the man that invented it is from our area. This club just can't/doesn't want to purchase electronic timers which isn't out fault. Anyway, ran harley first since Tony was at work and boy did we muck it up. Tony is still undecided about what he wants in the way of contacts (i prefer 2 on 2 off) so he told me to let harley do whatever. Well, that is exactly what harley did! In fact he did his best superman impression on a couple of contacts and even jumped off of the teeter again (this is becoming a habit for him). I was told to let him so through gritted teeth, I continued to run. Harley and I are out of sync so it was a "hot mess" as sara pointed out to me. I had to run Miller next so got him out and warmed him up like normal. Got on the line and started out and Miller took off silently. Weird, I thought, but whatever, he has been running silently in class too. About four obstacles in, I heard him make a yelping noise and as I sent him up the a-frame, I noticed he was three legged lame. I had him come down and stopped the run. Of course the judge said he thought he injured his neck and the timer said she saw him stub his toe, and someone else thought it was his back. He walked back to the crate fine and I walked him out and had several people look at him. Nothing was very obvious, he wasn't ouchy in any areas so I put him up and decided maybe it was a cramp or he had stepped on a rock, as there were lots of rocks in the dirt. Got him out before jumpers and put him over the practice jump and it was very clear that something was not right. He wasn't driving to the jump and was either stuttering or refusing to jump it. I decided that it wasn't worth it so put him up and ran harley. Harley had a better run, only taking a bar down and having one wrong course. I took Miller back to the hotel and really went over him with a fine tooth comb and could find nothing wrong. Decided that maybe he would just benefit from a rest.

Saturday, I got Miller out and warmed him up as usual. He seemed to be okay, was barking at me and carrying on as usual and jumping normally. Decided to run him and see how things went. He started out slow but okay, barking his head off. Got about half way through the course and I noticed his bark changed. He refused a jump so I quit. I didn't want to run him if he was hurt. The pain seemed to be in his back leg and it was evident by the video, but he wasn't sore on touch or manipulation and didn't have heat in the leg that he seemed to be favoring. There was a masseuse there so I took him to her, but she did "sports massages" which he loved but i don't think really could have pointed out soreness. He didn't seem ouchy on anything she went over and really seemed to enjoy her touch which is very weird for him. He is usually very weird about strangers touching him. Scratched him from jumpers and decided to scratch him for the rest of the weekend. This morning he seemed a little stiff and didn't really want to jump in the crate in the car. Other than that, seems fine which is so weird.

Am so worried about him and not sure what to do. Am going to make an appointment for as soon as possible to see what is going on. Will probably go to my topeka chiro first since he is close. If he can't find anything, will head to Dr. Perkins in KC. We have less than a month before USDAA nationals so need him to be okay by then. Have two trials coming up before that but will pull him if I need to. Can't get my money back for the one in two weeks but could probably get my money back for the one at the end of the month. I don't want to prematurely pull him though so may just have to loose my money on that one too. He is a very stoic dog and a very laid back dog so crate rest is no problem for him. He would rather be in a crate than be out. I can also sleep downstairs so he doesn't have to climb stairs. I guess the chiro will probably help me make decisions. No more walking in the am or pm, and i know that will really confuse him. I just hope this isn't something that is career ending. He is 10 so any type of major surgery is going to be hard decision. Hope he is just off in his back as he does have a part of his back that needs to be adjusted alot. I will do whatever it takes to get him back. I am not ready to retire him and have so many plans for us as a team.

As for the weekend, Harley had great jumpers runs, with one bar or one mistake each run but both runs very controlled and very nice. Tony and Harley are really getting so close to getting back to qualifying. Standard is a disaster. Until there is some consistency in contacts, they are just going to get worse and worse.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Triune weekend Part 2

Well, I have to say this has been the best NQ weekend I have ever had. Had an NQ in both standard and jumpers on sunday. Very happy with the standard run though. Had an awesome dog walk contact, got the pull to the opposite end of the tunnel, and he got his tough weave pole entrance. I also did a very fun blind cross off of the a-frame which was a great challenge accomplished! I did have one very sloppy front cross that brought the bar down but very happy with the run overall! I really like it when I can keep the mindset of screw the Q, feel good about the handling and the run. Like i said before the only Q I got this weekend was a crappy run! I feel way better about two of my NQ runs!

Tony did good this weekend but harley is still not running very well. I think Tony has realized that he needs to practice more which is good. I can tell him something 100 times and it doesn't sink it but if he figures it out on his own, it has way more value! Hmmm, kind of like dogs, if you lure and shape and help them figure something out versus them figuring it out on their own, it doesn't stick as well. Harley also stresses so tony has to be creative on warming him up yet keeping his brain focused and not putting too much stress on him. I could tell when they were warming up for standard that he was stressing as I could see across the arena that he had his nose on the ground and was sniffing and eating dirt and not paying tony any attention. Tony does not use treats to warm harley up which i disagree with but Harley is now only his show dog and not mine so I am keeping any comments to myself. I did suggest to tony instead of pulling on him with the leash which stresses him, to have him touch his hand with his nose or do a specific behavior. Harley ended up totally stressed to the max and jumping off of the teeter. Tony forgot that he couldn't re-attempt the contact once the dog had four paws on it so he had to be whistled off. He was really upset and of course all of us women where throwing suggestions to him when all he wanted to do was stew by himself. Managed to get them all to leave him alone long enough that the could blow off some steam and calm down. They did have a much better jumpers run so I am glad that harley bounced back. I did see tony warming harley up for jumpers and he was using touch to get him to get his nose off of the ground. Not sure why harley is still so mental but am thinking this is the way it is always going to be:( Just hoping tony can overcome and not get discouraged and quit.

My jumpers run was not good and had poor handling that caused miller to run around not one but two jumps. I didn't support a jump on a nice long distance arc that i needed him to take so I could get a front cross in so he came in and took the next jump. Once I watched the video, I saw that my hand dropped and he just followed it. The second jump was my fault again but I wasn't really handling well so it was my fault. Hate ending the weekend on a bad note but miller got lots of cookies for at least following what I told him to do! Other than one run with a blown dog walk contact and one run with popped weaves, he had great contacts and great weaves so am very proud of the miller man! Here's to no more safe runs!!!!!

Here are my two favorite runs of the weekend. Tony's jumpers run on saturday and my standard run on sunday!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Triune weekend Part 1

Drinking, unwinding and blogging. What a weird weekend for me. I have been for the most part very happy about my runs this weekend yet not alot of q's and the one course I did Q on, I didn't like the run! SO WEIRD. I was really worried because I had let miller get away with some really crappy dog walks at USDAA regionals, all in the name of speed. When ever I really push Miller, he jumps the dog walk contact and he needs to get over this. I need to be able to push him at times and he has to keep his head. I really love USDAA because there is no such thing as safe runs so I am trying to keep that thought while I run AKC. The first run we had on friday was standard and I decided to try and really push him for all I could. Well, we got through some really tough stuff and I was really running for the dog walk contact and he baled. I had just gotten a very tough weave pole entry that was way off-set and the judge had a tunnel that was very close to the dog walk. I think had I layered the tunnel, he probably would not have baled but I think because I was pushing so hard and I was so close to the bottom that he reverted to old behaviors. I did continue to run, which I shouldn't have but human nature took over and I just wanted to finish the course. Many people commented that our time was really awesome, I have no clue what it was but I do know we were running really hard. In jumpers, I had a pretty good run going and had to go deeper into a pocket that I had anticipated which put me out of position for a crucial front cross. When i realized that i couldn't get there, I had no plan b other than run like hell and push the line. It worked, wasn't pretty but he was 12 seconds under course time which is very awesome for a 10 year old dog! He was 5th or 6th in placing which doesn't matter. I was not happy with not getting my cross in but I think that if I had tried to get it in, I would have been late and caused a bar to come down.

Saturday came way too early, but Tony was entered Saturday so at least I had someone to drive with. He was running behind as usual but we had separate walk throughs and it was small to tall so didn't have to be there really early. I ran first in standard and had a great dog walk. He drove to the bottom and popped down into position and I released him quickly but then it all fell apart. He was weaving and for what ever reason skipped two poles. I decided to start him over as he has been doing stuff like this lately and it might be a rule soon and then my plan was blown. We had a jump and then a sharp turn to the a-frame and I was going to do a front cross but again was out of position, sent him over the off course jump and around the a-frame. I picked him up at the table which was the next obstacle, caught my breath and my brain and finished out the course with a nice front cross and a blind cross out of a tunnel. Even though a had a minor train wreck, I felt like we got it back together and finished nicely. Tony also had a good run but harley did not hold his dog walk contact and took an off course tunnel in his haste to go. He also missed the a-frame so will have to tell harley to stop watching miller! Tony did go back and get the a-frame and did make harley hold his a-frame contact and he got a sit on the table YEAH! Sometime when tony makes harley hold a contact, he will start to stress on the table so I was very happy to see him be able to get a sit.

Next was jumpers with a nice free-flowing running course. I had decided to try a rear cross on the end line to just practice since that is our weakness. I figured I would get ahead of him and could have problems as it was a straight line and then a turn but I wanted to do it anyway. I also decided to work some distance so I could get my front crosses in smoothly. I posted the video of the run as I am very proud of it! We did get a spin when I asked for the rear cross, not what I expected and did get a call for a refusal but had a great run regardless. Tony also had a very awesome run with Harley, just had one little bobble and also a refusal. They are really gelling as a team and I am doing a better job at keeping my mouth shut when he runs. I am videoing all of his runs and then we download them and watch them together. He usually figures out what he did wrong as it is alot easier to see on a big screen so I am not having to say anything. We shall see what tomorrow brings! I really like Lavonda's courses and always enjoy showing under her!

Monday, May 25, 2009

MACH Miller

Wow, so much has happened this weekend that I don't think my feet have hit the floor! We had the Truine show in Lawrence this weekend, which is kind of our home turf. Went into the weekend needing two QQS for my MACH. Had been in this position the past three shows and hadn't been successful yet. Started out the weekend with a great day on friday. Got QQ number 19 which was also my 6th QQ I needed for AKC nationals. I was pretty relieved because I had gone three shows without a QQ and I was beginning to get frustrated. It really helped that my trainer was also there to keep my head screwed on straight. It is so funny, she can say things that totally calm me down and really put things into perspective. Saturday had a very technical first standard course, but Miller got through it no problem. Got in jumpers and he popped the poles but boy was I nervous. I am sure I was holding my breath or micro managing the poles and he felt pressured. Everyone was hugging me telling me not to worry but I wasn't because I knew we could do it eventually.

Day three came with standard being first and yet another very technical course. Miller qualified and the pressure was on. I think I was more nervous the day before because I thought the jumpers course was easier on saturday. Sunday's jumpers course had alot of front crosses with the weave poles being near the end of the course. If my timing is off on my crosses, he brings bars down so I knew I had to be very smooth and very quick. I had also asked my husband to come to the show and bring our other aussie just in case we were to get our MACH that day. I was hoping he was going to be our good luck charm. I went into the ring and took a big deep breath and took off. I think this was probably one of my best runs in my life! Very smooth, very flowing and very fast for a ten year old dog. I think I stopped breathing in the poles but made sure i was laterally away from him so I didn't crowd him. Two jumps and I was done and the crowd went wild! They had put the bar in the ring and i ran over and got it and went out to shake the judges hand. Well, I guess Miller thought I was going to hit him with the bar and he was very confused as to why we were still in the ring, so I had to cut my victory lap short to leash him up. With AKC's new rules about dogs being off leash, I was terrified that I would loose my Q if he left the ring. Someone yelled, "run around", so i ran in a tight circle and got out of there! Of course all of my friends were there giving me hugs and lots of them were crying. You know it is so funny, you think, "oh when i get my MACH, I am going to this and this" but I was just so in shock that I couldn't do anything! Someone grabbed miller and took him to get cookies and I finally got to hug my husband tony who I think was also in shock! I cannot believe we finally got to this point! I have been dreaming about this day for so long and am still not sure if I am awake yet or not!

My friends all had presents for me which was all so sweet! My All Star agility family had bought me an engraved picture frame with MACH Miller on it and then had put in inscription on the back "Congratulations from your All Star Agility Family. May you always RLH (RUN LIKE HELL). Some of the other ladies had a magnet made up for me that is purple and says MACH Miller. Joc gave me a new leash and I got a new shirt too. WOW, agility friends are the best. They are there to cheer you on, cheer you up, and hug you when you need it. They are also there to celebrate with you and commiserate with you. I can't believe after all of these years and all of the problems we have had with the dang dog walk that we finally did it. It makes all of those shows and all of the friends we have made so sweet!

Someone asked me, "so what now?" to which I replied "on to MACH 2". We still need points for AKC nationals (less than 100) and one more PNS Q for USDAA nationals. I am going to keep running him till he tells me he is done. He still pulls me to the ring when it is time and he still seems to love it. I will keep him in great shape and keep him going for as long as he wants to do it. Miller has been such a unique dog and has such a unique past.

Miller was a rescue, one that I didn't think I needed. I had a friend who worked at the local kill shelter and she called me to let me know that they had gotten a red aussie in. I currently had a red aussie, Strawberry, that I did agility with and I was a grad student, so I really couldn't afford another dog. Terri was insistent that I come and look at "bear" as they were calling him. I even made one of my fellow grad students go with me and told her under no circumstances was I to leave with this dog. Well, I took one look at this poor scraggly dog and realized I couldn't leave without him. Even though he was cowering under my friend's chair in the visitation room, I could see in his eyes that he needed me. I took him home the next day with permission from my husband, who was then just a boyfriend. He was going to move in with me from TN to help split costs and to be in KS instead of TN. I figured he would say no because he had a dog of his own and I had told him that we didn't need two dogs so he was giving his golden up to his brother and parents.

The first few days of having miller was very trying. He wouldn't eat and wouldn't come out of his crate. I had to drag him out every morning to get him to go potty. I tried every delicious food I could possibly think of to get him to eat. He was skin and bones, so skinny that the vet wouldn't even neuter him. I was teaching at the kennel club so I took him to classes with me and my kennel club friends helped me groom the mats out of him and tried to help socialize him. Terri thought he was around 2 but we weren't really sure. I also tried to start him in agility once he put on some weight and was neutered, but he absolutely hated it. He would do one jump and go and hide or run into the tunnel and not come out. I had really given up on him as far as agility because he seemed to not like it all. I had decided that I did want to continue in agility so we needed a dog that liked it so we found an aussie puppy from a great breeder in MO. About the time we started taking Harley to agility classes, Miller all the sudden decided that he wanted to do agility too. Tony took harley into the beginning class and I took Miller.

Miller was a very funny dog because he had alot of space issues. He didn't want anyone touching him and making him do anything, and at that time, two on two off with target training was all the rage so that was how we were training him. The problem was, at that time, if they missed the contact, you had to pick them up and put them back on, something he absolutely hated. He had alot of problems with the aframe because he saw no reason to stop. It was out of frustation that we examined his aframe and said "wow, he has natural running aframe!" His dog walk was another story. We battled constantly on it because he did not have a natural running dog walk! Teeter was easier for whatever reason but for years we did battle on the dog walk contact. I finally started taking him off if his dog walk contact was not perfect and I really think that is why he has such a great dog walk contact now. Wish I had done it sooner though and maybe this MACH journey could have been a little shorter! Miller also liked to bark on the course which is very un-nerving. We at first wanted him to run silently, but we found that reprimanding him for barking shut him down. So we decided that as long as he was running forward and going, he could bark, but if he stopped to bark, he had to stop and not get to play anymore. He is such a character now and is famous for barking and running! He is one of the most handler focused dogs I have ever met and loves to run in snooker because of the handler focus. I love him and hope he lives forever, but know that he won't. He has been an awesome agility dog and will continue to be for a few more years I hope. He has taken me to AKC nationals and USDAA nationals and has helped me meet some of the best friends in the world. Strawberry and my friend Barb got me into this mess but he has been my best agility partner for 5 years now and will continue to be until he can't run anymore. Love you MACH Miller!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

AKC Nationals, Concord NC, 2009

Well, back from AKC nationals 2009 and stuck at home due to ice and snow and have time to blog. WOW, is a word that comes to mind when discussing my experience this year. Huge highs, huge lows, crazy weather and sickness all happened at the same time. I had so much emotion both good and bad but I will start at the beginning.

I left KS on tuesday driving in an RV with my friend and four dogs. We took another friend's dog with us as she flew and we had his wife's dog as well. I have never ridden in a big rv so this was my first experience with that and let me tell you, I really liked it! Nothing like being able to get up and potty or take a nap and never having to pull off the road. We had a great trip up, despite the constant cross winds and then the rain and fog in the mountains. I just want to say that i would rather be in an RV anyday in the mountians versus a car. Can you say "air brakes" or "exhaust brakes"? It also helps to have an expert driver! Anyway we got to the show sight in two days and got hooked up and set up on wednesday. We got to set up our crating area on thursday and everyone flying got in that day too. We had a ton of fun decorating as all of our group brought something to add to the KS theme that included a bunch of sunflowers, bees, KS flags, blue and yellow streamers, and stars. We hands down had the best decorations of all the states and should have won something for our efforts i think! Anyway, we got to check in and get all of our goodies and go check out the vendors. I ended up buying some wateproof shoes since it had been raining for days and all the potty areas were muck. Mom got in that afternoon and we got settled in the hotel and got to visit with my aunt who flew with mom.

Day 1 is the ISC team competition in which we do an ISC course for both standard and Jumpers. The courses were tough, but nothing we had never seen. I am very lucky to have a trainer who is always vying for a spot on the world team so she has us do a lot of ISC courses and threadles, serpentines, and broad jumps are common to us. I had jumpers first and had a clean run. Well, clean on paper but not a good run for me handling. I left out a critical front cross and ended up on the opposite side of where i needed to be. I had planned on doing a rear cross to cross and was already on the side i needed to be, but miller anticipate a rear as I think i stepped into his line and turned left inside of right. He managed to do a spin, not take the bar down, and not back jump the jump and caught up with me (thank you miller) and finished the course great. We did the threadle great, but I had really been working threadles so that didn't even concern me. I came off the course elated to have a clean run but disappointed in my handling. I can walk to the line completely calm and focused and somehow those hidden nerves seem to come out when I am running. They either cause me to revert to rear crosses or forget the course. I hate this and wish I could somehow not do this, but I am guess I am human!

Now, let me back up and bring in a detail i have left out. I started getting ill on monday night before we left. I had thought it was allergies but as the night went on, I realized it wasn't. I had a horrible sore throat and tons of congestion that seemed to reside in my head. I felt like pure dog crap the first day of our trip, even though i had drugs to help me feel better. I had to take benedryl at night so I could sleep and always woke up feeling drugged. I would like to blame all of my poor handling on my sickness but I don't think that would be fair. I know the benendryl hangovers helped calm me in the am since i felt like i was in a huge fog.

So our next run was standard and I felt confident that the nerves were done and i was ready to get to business. Once again, the course was pretty fun, with a serpentine and a pull through to the dog walk which had tons of options of how to handle. I went to the line once again very confident. This was in the big building and was the ring where the announcer announced. I was excited to do well in front of so many people. Once again, I walked to the line very confident but my nerves came out at the third obstacle. Everyone had been doing a front cross and running on the opposite side of the line, but since I had a running a-frame, I had to stay on the other side to manage the set of jumps after the a-frame. Well, I guess after watching so many people do the front cross, I headed to do the front cross and realized that was not what I wanted to do, but was so far in the pocket that I made miller miss the tire jump all together. I just went on and the run seemed to fall apart, although he did get the serpentine with the pull through and had an awesome dog walk. Once again, my nerves had come out and gotten the best of me, even though I had walked to the line very confidently. I was really down, I felt like I had handled like crap and had let our team down. By not completing all the obstacles (he ran around, the tire, the double and something else I am sure of) we had added a zero to our team score. Thank goodness we ended up 17th out of I think 24 but i guess we could have ended better had I gone back and gotten all the obstacles. Everyone told me to shake it off and I felt like I did or so I thought. I did hear the announcer say that miller was a rescue dog but I didn't hear the rest. I am hoping that in the video I bought, I will be able to hear the announcer better and see what she says.

The next day was the start of the actual competition. We had two runs that day, standard and jumpers. I felt confident that we were going to shake off the disaster that was our standard run from friday. We had standard in the big ring again and I was a little concerned. I had previously gotten miller out really early because I was worried that I wouldn't be over to the line in time because of the congestion to get from the stalling area to the main rings and I think that contributed to Miller' crazy run (i didn't help matters for sure). Anyway, I decided to wait until about 15 or so dogs before I came over and I do think it helped, but our run ended up not good anyway. He ran around the third jump! I am anxious to see the videos to see what caused him to do that because he ran around the outside of the jump. It was a very odd thing for him to do as he had to go out around the jump which was pretty far away from me. There was a dummy jump that he could have locked in on and then ran past the jump, but the video that my cousin shot with her digital camera made it look like he looked at me, barked and then ran out around the jump. I was so puzzled but went back, completed the jump and then continued on the course. I had decided that since I had NQd, I wanted to do the double rear cross at the end since it looked so fun, but he didn't read it and got another refusal so I know what we need to work on, but finished the course with some dignity left intact. Everyone watching from my group said it was just a fluke so I just shook it off and went on to my jumper's run. The jumper's course was a very nice flowing course, but there were a few essential front crosses that had to be done and of course as I was going to the end, the nerves reared up their ugly heads and I missed a very very essential front cross and he got a refusal because my only option was a rear cross and he didn't read it as go over the jump and then turn, he read it as turn. I came off of the course feeling like a total idiot because I had three jumps to go and I couldn't believe that yet again, I had let nerves get the best of me and screw my run. I felt like I had not showed up as a handler and I felt so disgusted with myself. I wanted to just go somewhere and cry but I pulled it together, went out and cheered my group on, and then went back to the hotel and had a good cry. I am so concerned that for whatever reason, I have a mental block when it comes to nationals. Let me digress a minute and go backwards to explain a few things.

I have been to a few national events, aussie nationals (which aren't that big a deal), nationals the year before in tulsa (ran someone else's dog), and USDAA nationals. While I felt like I performed well at USDAA nationals in team, I do felt like the crazy nerves got me in the semi-finals for PNS. I had three obstacles left to go and screwed up and did a blind cross which did not need to be done at all and took a wrong obstacle. I was so defeated!!!!! I also for the past two years have royally screwed up aussie nationals. Now in my defense the first year we went was my first time in excellent and the second year miller had just come off of a major shoulder injury so they may not have been the best ever. I have run my miller a total of 13 runs at aussie nationals a total of 13 times with one Q to show for it. I have both times cried the whole 6 hours home. I have this weird mental block that seems to come out at the worst times. I hope that I can learn from this past nationals and correct whatever mental issues I have and move forward but it is so hard to put it out of my mind. The good news is that I will be going to aussie nationals again this year, with only three double Q's needed for my MACH and all of my friends will be there to support me, walk the courses with me and keep my spirits up. I made it my mission this year to get as many people from my area with aussies to go and I think it is going to pay off. At least we will have a really, really good time, even if none of us Q!

Round three was sunday and I had nothing to loose. At this point I had no Q's going into the final round, no chance of anything so I thought why the hell not go out and run the course like I know I can run it. I went out there and ran balls to the wall and of course got the Q no problem. I was elated but then came the disappointment that I knew that I should have run like that all weekend. I do feel like my standard run was just a fluke but the dang jumper's run should have been in the bag. I finally got that little ribbon i had so wanted all weekend and for what? I really was disappointed that the handler I know I am had not shown up. The rest of our group did really well with several of our members gettting into the challenger's round, which was so exciting. We cheered each and everyone of them on! In the end, nobody made finals, but we had a great time cheering in the stands for finals.

My mom flew out monday morning and John and I headed back to KS. It was such a bittersweet trip as both of us felt like we could have done better. You live and you learn and go own with your life. I felt like I had been on horse and had been thrown off and I justed wanted to get back on. I had entered a show the very next weekend and even though I was super tired, i was very glad that i had entered. Of course i went 3 for 4, one double Q, a single Q, a third, a fourth, and a fifth place with 43 speed points. I just wish that handler could have show up at nationals! Even the Q I didn't get, I pushed him and had an awesome run, despite the mistake. Oh well, there is always next year. See ya in Tulsa in 2010!!!!!