Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rally, Rehab, Reflection

Prior to this whole shoulder-iliopsoas fiasco, Marge finished her Rally Novice title (finally) in AKC Rally.  If you recall from her past rally days, most of her time in the ring was in APDT Rally, so it took us quite a while to finally finish the RN title that I knew she could get if I was willing to spend the money on the entry fees!

We had a Rally trial at our training building last Friday night.  Marge has trained very limitedly in Rally over the past year and a half or so, so I'm very happy with our 4th place and score of 97 for her third qualifying score, despite the fact that she is trained through Rally Excellent.

Here's Marge with her loot.. including an adorable stuffed walrus that I can't wait for her to be able to play with.

Perhaps most exciting about the night was the fact that a whole bunch of my Novice A rally students went in to the ring for the first time - and qualified!  I've been teaching dog training classes for a few years, but nothing has made me more proud than helping these teams get in to the ring.  Here I am below with all of my Rally newbies :-)

As for Marge's first night on a restricted schedule - she's doing okay so far.  She had no issues sleeping in her crate, and was loose in the house earlier today with access to her crate (and lots of pillows blocking her favorite spot on the couch).  Luckily for me, she seems to be seeking out her crate to sleep, so I'm pretty confident she won't jump up on the couch, especially with the pillows there to deter her.  Still, when no one is home for a long stretch of time, she'll probably be crated.

She gets to go on two 10-minute leash walks a day, which I'm sure is going to help both of our sanity a little bit.

When I am home, she is glued to me.  The next couple of weeks are going to be all about my life revolving around my dog and her care - which, honestly, isn't so hard, since my life has pretty much revolved around her since I brought her home.

I AM worried about starting school again on Tuesday, since I'll be gone for many hours at a time a couple of days a week and will have to rely on my family members to make sure Marge gets out of the crate but doesn't break precautions.  I'm hoping that my classes will end early and that I'll have some time in between to stop home and check on things.

Her limp is not completely gone yet, but seems to have improved, so hopefully we're on the right track and will be move out of the resting phase on August 30.

Hopefully, there will be a lot of learning from this experience - not only learning from a veterinary/rehabilitation standpoint, but also an adjustment in attitude, too.  Because of how mostly normal she is now, it is so easy for me to forget that this dog, 5 years ago, growled at any one who approached her, could not function in a variety of settings and sure as heck wouldn't be comfortable sleeping in hotels or RVs or near other dogs and people.

At this point, she has both of her Masters titles in agility, several Rally titles, and an obedience title, too.  When I started this journey with her, I never expected any of that. She never owed me a damn thing to begin with and certainly owes me nothing now.  Every time I go in to the ring with her, regardless of the result, I need to remember that.  Yes, I have goals, but my biggest goal needs to always remain, first and foremost, letting my dog have the fun that she was denied during that year of puppyhood that she spent locked in a crate.


KB August 18, 2013 at 6:03 PM  

Those last 2 paragraphs sum up the amazing thing about Marge - how far she's come in the time that you've known her. You give me hope for Shyla... who is slowly but surely becoming more normal, but wouldn't yet be able to handle all the stuff that Marge can.

Dawn August 20, 2013 at 8:10 PM  

Marge is amazing! Congratulations on the Rally Novice! And of course on all the other titles! Mostly congratulations on how well you've brought Marge around to a healthy happy life!

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