Monday, June 30, 2008


Several years ago, in route to an agility trial 5 hours away, my passenger and fellow agility competitor asked what I did to relax. "This" I replied referring to the early morning weekends, lugging around crates, coolers, and dog stuff, lots of waiting, and staying in terrible hotels.... all for just a few agility runs and socializing with some good friends. What could be more glorious? So once again, I embarked on another weekend vacation. This time to Murfreesboro, Tennessee with 3 greyhounds and 4 Ridgebacks. Anne was especially determined to enjoy her "vacation". She is a dog trainer by trade and teaches obedience and agility classes, gives private lessons, and board trains. What better way for a dog trainer to get away from it all than to head out of town to a dog show :-).
We stayed at a Motel 6. Motel 6 is great if you travel with too many dogs. They tend to not ask you how many pets you have. When asked if you have a pet, you simply say "yes" and forgo offering any sort of a number. They also do not charge a pet fee. Unfortunately, I think this was the smallest hotel room I had ever stayed in. The beds were all the way against opposite walls. It was quite a squeeze with 2 humans and 7 large, red dogs. Luckily, the are all pretty well behaved, low key, and get along well...... one big slumber party.
One night we went to dinner and left the dogs in the room. Reagan and Anne's 9 month old puppy were crated, but the other 5 were loose in the room. Travis was being a little grumpy and was sleeping alone on my bed. Katie and Falco (intact male ridgeback) were on the floor. The other 2 female ridgebacks were on Anne's bed. As we were leaving the room, I thought "I hope Falco doesn't try to get on Travis' bed." Well, he did...... we caught them looking quite cozy when we walked in.
The agility trial was a good distraction for me as I waited for test results and for Monday to arrive when more tests can be run. It was kind of weird to wonder if this might be our last agility trial. At first I was desperate for his runs to be videoed, but my camera did not cooperate with my willing volunteers. Later, I decided that if it was our last trial, I probably didn't really want videos of him running while he was sick anyway. I know, I know, I should not be pessimistic, but I am realistic and don't like to be caught off guard. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised. Here is Travis' first run of the weekend in Standard. We didn't qualify. I didn't clearly send him into the tunnel and he hesitated to make sure.

Travis ran Friday and Saturday. I think he qualified in Jumpers one day and Standard the next. I really did not care. Having the opportunity to watch him so carefully, I confirmed that he is indeed drinking a ton of water. Probably 10 times more than normal. He also was abnormally tired in the evenings especially on Saturday. Normally after a day of agility, we search for a local park or a lake for some extra exercise and recreation. I left Travis behind and took Reagan and Katie for the evening outing. Later that night, I laid next to Travis and watched him breath while he slept. I counted 59 breathes in a minute.... much too high for a healthy, athlete. He was his perky self Sunday morning, but I had already decided not to run him. So now, back from vacation and back to normal work days. Today, Travis was set up in the kitchen with pee pads, but he did not have an accident.

This afternoon, Travis had the bile acid test done and tomorrow he is scheduled for an ultra sound. The bile acid test consists of a blood test after a 12 hour fast. He was then fed a large meal of fatty chicken backs and extra chicken fat. Two hours later, blood is drawn again. The test reveals how the liver is functioning. Hopefully we will have some answers by tomorrow evening.

To end on a happy note, I must brag about Sharron Lane and Bridgett. Bridgett is a little, almost 4 year old, brindle greyhound that has been a closet agility super star. Sharron started doing agility with Bridgett to help her build confidence. Sharron says she runs agility brilliantly at home, but she doesn't like to showcase her talents in public. Well, finally on Sunday, Bridgett ran the entire jumpers course perfectly. It was awesome. Its very frustrating when you know your dog can do what you are asking, but instead runs around the ring or is simply non-responsive or tries to leave the ring. So Way to Go, Sharron!