Wednesday, November 18

Popper Gets Benched

Yesterday, I received news awful enough that I wasn't able to blog about it until today. Now, with a good night's sleep and time to mull it over, I'm just happy it wasn't worse.

We believed Popper had injured himself in some way, when last Wednesday I told the lead agility instructor about his sudden refusal to do weave poles. She had me feel down his spine, and when I got to his lower back, he jerked away from me and would not allow anyone else to even look at his back. She suggested a visit to the chiropractor.

Yesterday was his appointment. As it turns out, he has pulled his groin muscle on the left side. Apparently, that's a fairly common injury in dog agility dogs, but it takes a while to heal. She suggested 6-8 weeks at least, and estimated the injury occurred a couple weeks ago. Since we've already had a week of pretty much nothing except some short little walks, I'm counting that into his recovery time and anticipating that we'll be able to return to agility class in early January. I had to pull him out of two upcoming trials, as well as the class he's currently enrolled in.

I had been trying desperately to finish his Level One title before the year is through - we had only needed a single qualifying run in Jackpot, and we were finished. After I got over being selfish, and being ashamed for being selfish, I'll wait with Popper as long as it takes for him to get back to 100%.

This 6-8 weeks of rest entails NO running whatsoever. He can't even play ball in the backyard. This, alone, may kill my dog. Watching his brother Merlin go to classes while he has to stay at home - this also, may kill my dog. Walks cannot be longer than 25 minutes or so, and that's assuming there's no running and no PULLING! It's going to be extremely rough on Popper to participate in absolutely nothing. He's an extremely active and athletic dog, and being a cattle dog mix, if he gets bored (or angry, for that matter), he starts destroying things, barking incessantly, and other bad behaviors that are normally cured with exercise. Agility has been huge - HUGE - in controlling his bad habits. To say that he enjoys it is an understatement. Therefore, if we can only manage to go to class and walk beside the obstacles, I want to do that. I certainly won't push him into doing anything he is not 100% healthy enough to do, and I'm sure come January I will make the call whether we go to class or not. He's going to go to the chiropractor with Merlin regularly now, and she will monitor his progress.

However, Popper is a very healthy, young dog, and as I intend that he will get the long rest he requires, I'm sure we'll be back in agility class for the next session, in one format or another. Even if we need to skip the first class or two.

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