As much of a high as I had from LaMesa's weekend at the Derby City Agility Association trial in Louisville, things weren't as happy with Dally's weekend.
Remember my post earlier about battling age in Dally? Well, Thursday morning as I was taking the girls out for a walk, Dally came up limping...again. So we made another appointment to see the chiropractor...again. And I worried about possibly pulling her out of the trial...again.
At the appointment, it was discovered that she had a swollen disc in her neck. We think it's a combination of Dally jumping down from the bed, plus the slight tugs on her collar when we're walking. (I don't jerk on my dogs, ever. However, when I take the Stump Kids for a walk, Dally will be behind me and sometimes suddenly stop, causing me to accidentally jerk a little on her because I'm not aware of her stopping, since LaMesa is leading the way.)
The chiropractor recommended not taking her for walks with a collar, but with a harness, and rest. But in order to try to get her ready for the trial in a couple of days, we did some adjustments to her neck/spine, cold laser therapy, and then added Traumeel every four hours to help with inflammation. I also held ice packs around her neck for 10 minutes a few times a day Thursday-Sunday.
Friday morning, the chiropractor stopped by for another laser therapy treatment, and she was already improving, so we decided to give the trial a go. If she took any lame step, I'd pull her.
However, I didn't account for how hot the facility would be. While Dally would warm up and be excited to run...her runs were so slow. They were actually reminiscent of the "old Dally"--the one that wasn't confident or fast. We qualified in all the runs we did, but they were slow--we maybe got 9 points in Masters Standard on Saturday, 0 points in Masters Jumpers (she stopped the clock at 50.3, standard course time was 51) on Saturday, and 3 or 4 in Masters Standard on Sunday.
Saturday's Masters Standard 4" run:
Saturday's Masters Jumpers 4" run:
I talked to so many people Saturday night about what I should do with Dally. I took her home and let her relax in the air conditioning that night. I kept on the half a Traumeel every 4 hours, and iced her neck two or three times that night. It was decided to play it by ear on Sunday--hopefully the place would be cooler and she would be better.
I couldn't determine if it was the heat or her neck that was bothering her. I felt like if her neck was really bothering her, she wouldn't have been jumping around, chasing her tennie, and barking for treats like she was. Would she? I didn't think she would. I mean, if you're hurting, you avoid what hurts you...right?
Sunday dawned with lots of hope. She seemed peppier than Saturday. The facility felt cooler. So, we gave it a go.
Sunday's Standard Masters 4":
We only earned three or four PACH points... A far cry from the 25-28 we usually earn in standard.
I let her rest, then later I took her for a walk to go potty. When she came out of her crate, she took an odd step--I wasn't sure if it was a limp from her neck, or a limp from awkwardly laying on her frozen water bottle I had in her crate. She walked it out after a while, but I wanted a second and third opinion. I had Merinda and Jodi watch Dally walk towards and away from them--she was moving straight. But once I turned her in a sharp 180, she bobbled and took another limping step. That was it--I pulled her from jumpers.
It felt weird walking the Jumpers course for only one dog--LaMesa. It felt weird watching my fellow 4-inchers get ready to run and not have Dally. It felt weird not having my agility partner of 5 years with me, apping for her treats.
But then I felt horrible for the weekend--did I make the wrong decision to continue running Dally? It was the perfect storm of issues--disc problem on Thursday, worry about that, extreme heat inside the facility, lack of air flow... Who knows if Dally was reacting to the heat, or her neck. The chiropractor felt that the heat probably didn't help the disc.
She's since recovered from the problem, though she's on one more week of rest (as prescribed by myself). I'll probably write a little more about the disc problem in a proceeding post.
Have you ever had to make a difficult decision at game time?