Thursday, May 26, 2016

Oh and Then This

Remember a month ago when Seven earned her forth agility championship? Yeah... well... Riley earned her third one... on the same day... April 22nd.  It is so Riley Greyhound for this to happen. Always over shadowed. Always the bridesmaid.
There was a time when I purposely stopped counting Riley's Double Qualifiers.  At her age, I just did not want to put unneeded pressure on us.  Once I thought we might be getting close to finishing MACH3, I updated my records to reflect all of the QQs and I started counting again. Except, I missed 2 QQs when I recounted.  So it worked perfectly. We finished with no pressure. Ha!

So I am pleased to announce that Riley is only the second greyhound to earn three Master Agility Championships. We will definitely be on the hunt for a nice ribbon and bar at an upcoming trial. Here is her secret 60th QQ:
All in all, I don't think Riley is too concerned about the oversight.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Downfall

After earning her forth agility championship, Seven started to have problems. She had a perfect day on Friday, April 22nd and then she popped out of the weave poles early three times on Saturday and Sunday. On video, she mostly looks fine, but she did not feel right.
This whole time we were thinking it was her shoulder causing the evening limping, but I am now certain it has been her foot.

I expected Seven's wrist to be her final downfall. That it would eventually become sore and arthritic, but it is a stupid pressure sore between two middle toes that are forcing her into retirement.
The knuckles are pressing firmly into one another.
They did not always do this.  I took pictures of her feet back in 2012 and there used to be a nice space between them.
But for whatever reason (compensating for a bad wrist, perhaps?), they have changed and now there is a pressure sore on the inside of each knuckle and the toes themselves are hurting. There was never an injury (sprain, break, or dislocation), but I think over time she has just put wear and tear on them and they are getting gnarly.
One sore has been there since February, but has been mostly manageable. I often could put a small square of non-stick sterile wound pads and it would stay there for hours and she left it alone.
But now both knuckles have pressure sores and Seven won't leave them alone. So now I am contemplating surgery. Fusion podoplasty. The skin between the toes is removed and the toes are basically sewn together. The ortho vet and rehab vet think it is a good idea. The only other options are amputating one of the toes or keeping her bandaged and on a pillow for the next 3-5 years.

I am honestly not very comfortable with the surgery, but we could still amputate later if it does not work. And if we could heal the sores, any kind of protective taping or bandaging on a daily basis to prevent the sores from coming back is so impossible with greyhound skin and being out on wet grass all of the time. It is just not feasible. So I think I am being forced to try this surgery. Our appointment to discuss further with the orthopedic specialist is on June 1.

All I want is for her to be able to go for walks and train on her balance discs. Any kind of running or doing limited backyard agility is probably past us.

Monday, May 23, 2016

And Just Like That...

It is over. Seven is retired. I have tried to deny, delay, compromise, and negotiate, but through lots of tears I have finally accepted it. Seven is retired.
There will be no MACH5. The Invitational invite will be declined.  We won't qualify for Nationals. There is definitely no more "just one more year". There is not going to be one more final run. Seven is retired.
We have battled Seven's soundness issues since 2012. I am grateful that we gained almost 4 years despite the first vet looking at her carpal joint x-ray and saying that she would probably have to retire soon. She did not at that time, but now....... Seven is retired.
I assumed that eventually the wrist would become too sore and arthritic, but it came down to toes. Seven has two middle toes that now rub together on her already troubled left front (I will explain more in another post).  I just wanted to get it off my chest that Seven is retired.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

MACH4 Seven

I am pleased to announce that Seven easily finished her 4th Master Agility Championship on April 22nd, 2016.  She is the first and only MACH4 greyhound!  She really has been so amazing.  My fastest AND most consistent.  She is my only greyhound to ever get 14 QQs in a row.  She is my only hound to exceed 6 yards per second on course numerous times. She is at times challenging to live with, but she is a dream come true in the ring.  Here is our last Double Qualifier.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pretzel Pup



Monday, May 9, 2016

ORKC Trial - Riley

No double qualifiers for Riley.  Knocked a bar on day 1 on Jumpers and on the second day had a WTF run in Standard.  It is the third run in the video.  She jumps a tunnel, knocks a bar, comes off the dog walk, and jumps off the teeter early.  Yikes!

Better luck next time hopefully!  Fun photo though.... all feet off the ground in the weave poles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ORKC Trial - Maddie

Maddie is so close to killing it! We just keep having one minor error each day that keeps us from Double Qualifying.  In one run, the table was not properly sand bagged and it tipped just slightly when she got on it and she jumped off. Then in another run, the chute was the first obstacle and I just should have stepped in a little more to make sure she made it to jump #2. Otherwise perfect!
The photographer also got a few shots of her that were really nice and ........funny.
Maximizing her air time with a very early takeoff


Monday, May 2, 2016

ORKC Trial - Seven

This trial was the first one after I sprained my ankle and Seven dealt with shoulder problems and started on Deramaxx.  As you can see, she does not appear labored at all.  She ran great and was clean all four runs.
There was a photographer at this trial and I thought he was especially good. Super high resolution and he got some very lucky shots.
 I see you, Seven.

 Seven landing on the table.

 Flying over the A-Frame.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fancy Yard Dog

Maddie LOVES the yard and being outside.  Never before have I had a greyhound that just wanted to sit outside and watch the world go by.  It definitely does not hurt that she sees deer, rabbits, other dogs, and people from her domain.
Maddie also loves to bake in the sun!
Our new house is great because we can supervise the backyard from the kitchen, the couch, the living room, and the master bedroom so we can comfortable leave her outside for as long as she wants, but still keep an eye on her.
Her barking is funny.  I have never had a greyhound that barked as much as Maddie. On walks or from the backyard, she will bark usually only once at people as if to just say hello.  She loves to bark and bounce across the yard at nothing just  to get Seven and Riley excited.
Maddie is still a stalker.  She stalks me and other dogs all of the time.  It is very funny!
She is a very good fetcher.  Loves to catch and retrieve Zanie Flyers.  Loves to tug too.
Maddie often has a toy in her mouth around the house that Riley and Seven like to yank out of her mouth.  I think she likes it because she continues to grab toys and walk right by them.


Maddie also loves to sleep with her stuffed animals.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Riley's Career

Riley Greyhound is closing in on her 10th birthday.  Time really does fly.  I hope she can earn three more Double Qualifiers for her third agility championship, but it would be totally Riley Bridesmaid to retire with 59 QQs.
Overall, she is doing great! Riley is healthy and sound, but every little bobble makes me wonder if it is about time for retirement.
I wonder if she will be able to handle the heat this summer.  Occasionally I have to rally her more than usual at the end of the day or if it is sunny.  But then other times she runs like a 5 year old and wins her class.
Just 3 more QQs or could I possibly hope for another whole year?  The Invitational in December is in Florida again and Nationals in March are only a 2 hour drive!  How fantastic would that be if all three hounds could compete in both?  But I definitely will not insist she keep going if she is not running great.  It has to be great.
I will just have to see what Riley says. The only thing that matters is that she is safe, happy, and having fun and she definitely still is. With all the setbacks her career has had from accidents and injuries (fractured hock, dislocated toe, bowed tendon, sprained elbow, and punctured M/P1 joint), I just can't believe she is still running. It really says a lot about how tough she is.
Travis is my only greyhound who ran agility as a 10 year old. He did for only one month.  He honestly did not appear to be anywhere near retirement, but he became ill and passed away.  So he never really retired. I am hoping for many runs as a 10 year old and then a long retirement afterwards for my Riley Greyhound.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Seven's Career

At times I wonder if Seven's agility career is in the final chapter. Her left carpal joint has always been a problem although manageable, but now she is having problems with her shoulders and the surrounding muscles.  Her exams used to uncover minor chiropractic adjustment needs, but now they periodically expose significant shoulder pain.  Our working theory is that she is compensating for the bad wrist and injuring other areas in the process. We had the lattisimus dorsi strain on the right side a few months ago and more recently there was pain just in front of the left shoulder and then near her withers.  Now the pain seems to be underneath the shoulder and against the rib cage.
For awhile, Seven was limping... a lot... especially in the evenings.  I even x-rayed her shoulder for bone cancer just in case.  So now she is on Deramaxx daily.  I figured eventually it would probably be that way. The Deramaxx has helped a lot and her limping at night has almost completely ceased.... even after training sessions.
Agility is mostly the same.  Seven LOVES it and I dread ever having to tell her no more.  It is her favorite thing in the world. She runs fast, clean, and sound. My agility friends probably think I am crazy because they never see her take a bad step. She frequently places high in her classes and she double qualifies all of the time. She never runs like there is a problem.

We recently attended a two day agility trial.  She never took a bad step at the venue, on course, or at the hotel, she ran clean four out of four runs.... and then she limped when we got home Sunday night.
The most recent visit with the rehab vet exposed pain underneath the shoulder somewhat up in the armpit. We discussed whether to really rest her for 2-3 months and try to knock it out or would that be a waste of time. If it is a compensation injury, she is just going come back and continue compensating for the arthritic carpal joint.  Plus she would be very difficult to rest. She is a terrible crater and would be even worse with no exercise.  She would probably do more harm to herself spinning and trying to get out.  And 2-3 months of rest turns into 4-6 months out of commission simply because you have to take time to get them back in shape.  My philosophy has always been to rehab for as long as they rested.  So if they have 8 weeks off, you take 8 weeks to bring back to the prior fitness level. With her being almost 8 years old, I am not sure I want to attempt resting her when she is closer to retiring than not just due to age. So we will probably keep doing what we are doing unless something gets worse.

Seven really has been an interesting journey. It is such a shame that the carpal joint has been such an issue for most of her career, but has it really?  I've learned so much about core workouts, warm ups, cool downs, strengthening exercises, supplements, exams, and treatments.  So much of that benefits the current and future dogs. And through it all, she is still the #1 greyhound of all time in AKC agility, the only greyhound to earn 3 agility championships (soon to be 4), and she the most consistent AND fastest greyhound I know of.  So with the letdowns, there have been many more triumphs.