Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bad Feeling

Do you ever just have a bad feeling that something is wrong, but you can't really pin point it? I feel that Katie isn't quite right, but I am not sure what it is. About a week ago, she briefly cried out 2 or 3 nights in a row while laying on her bed for the night. I have no idea why or what she had done other than pick up her head. I think that the weakness in the left hind leg has been worse over the last couple of weeks. She is crooked when she should be traveling straight and if she does anything quickly, her rear end swings wildly to the left.... more so than before. Then while fetching a stuffy toy the other day she cried out and came to a halt. Again, I couldn't find anything wrong with her and haven't seen anything since. She has an old broken toe with a huge knuckle on the right hind leg. It has never cause a problem until recently. For one, the knuckle is much larger than before and there is some additional swelling. It now rubs against the other middle toe and has a blister on it. Katie, of course, never complains. I think that when her left hind leg was paralyzed, her right hind compensated and aggravated the gnarly toe. (Katie is 2 years old and still wearing SEGA blue in upper left picture)

I still find myself grieving about her retirement. It probably sounds kind of silly, but work/play/train is what we did. I hope that I can preserve forever how it felt to walk into a ring with her. She did everything quickly, smartly, and happily. She never quit. When Katie earned her first CDX leg in Open obedience, she did so with a very good score. Later, a man with a Golden Retriever (a popular breed for obedience) was very complimentary and asked who I trained with. I explained that I wasn't working with a trainer at the time, but that I clicker trained. He was like "Clicker what?". I smiled. Clicker training wasn't very popular for competition obedience a few years ago.
I am becoming more afraid that I am going to hurt Pumpkin (yeah, that's her nickname) if I allow her to be too active. I try to do more hanging out, snuggling, walks, and so on with Katie. I hate to whine about it, but its almost kind of insulting. She needs something a little more mentally stimulating than that. I have thought about teaching her some silly tricks since that would allow me to shape a behavior with a clicker. If you can think of a creative trick, please let me know. (Katie is 9 years old in the lower right picture)

My friend, Anne Jones, lost her very special Ridgeback yesterday. Beckett was the only Ridgeback to have earned a Utility Dog Title and the Master Excellent titles in agility. He was also a conformation champion and the sire to many other champions in both conformation, agility, and obedience. As I look down at Reagan at my feet, I can't help but think "Katie and Travis, don't leave me alone with her!" That poor little brat has a lot to live up to.
Anyways, I'm being sentimental and that is my complaint for the day.