Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sunday 2/19/12, double Q #19!

 I can't believe I am writing that! #19! I don't even care anymore, if she gets #20 I will be over the moon, if not, I don't care in the slightest.
We started adding up the double Qs on 9/29/07. I clearly remember her first double qualifying runs. I had traveled to this trial and was staying with my dad in Pocatello, Idaho. The morning of the trial it was snowing so hard that they canceled it until further notice as it was an outdoor trial. We checked back later that day and they said to check back in another few hours. Finally at around 2:00 pm it stopped snowing and the snow on the ground had melted off so they put on the trial! The sun was coming through the clouds at just that right angle to light everything on fire and it was COLD! I can almost still run that whole course in my mind, it was the second one of the day. She had qualified in Standard and we were running jumpers with weaves. She was feeling good and running FAST. I put in a front cross that was probably a second too late and she turned in mid air and landed on her neck and shoulder trying to go the direction I was going. It was one of those moments where you realize what your dog will do for you. She wasn't hurt but the people watching went Oooh!

Anyway, we had a wonderful couple of runs this past Sunday and a videographer was there filming every run and selling them. They are really high quality videos and I thought it would be fun to have these two runs on professional video.
First we ran the jumpers course. I think I should have crossed after the weaves to make the ending a tiny bit easier but it worked out ok. Can you hear the "tick" on the white panel jump?

Then we finished the day with Standard. A rather challenging course, especially that bit surrounding the A-frame. Fun! I cannot describe how much fun it is when your dog is running fast and happy and you are there with her and everything goes smoothly.
I didn't run this quite as I had planned, I wanted to cross after the chute and in between the last two jumps but I didn't feel I had time.
What a dog!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Agility in February

We had a really fun weekend! On Friday Amber got double Q # 18 with two second place runs. She wasn't running super fast but she does have several different speeds of which I've never really been in control. Our judge for the weekend is going to be judging at the Nationals coming up in a few weeks and said she threw in a few courses to prepare teams headed that way. We are not going to nationals but enjoyed the fun courses anyway. The jumpers with weaves was fairly straight forward.
The standard wasn't anything too weird until we got to the end. That last jump, taken from the back side was rather hard. When I walked the course I didn't think it would be that big of a challenge but running it was different. My husband filming wasn't sure we had made it and spoke a dirty word on MY video. If the dog was too fast and far ahead of you they could easily see that jump and take it from the wrong side. It sure seems like they know what that last jump looks like, they can see the laser eyes for the timer, and somehow they know. Our ending was a little awkward but we did qualify.

After we run the course I put her leash on and run back to her crate and she gets a little taste of everything. This time I brought canned beef tripe, hard boiled eggs, string cheese (delivered piece by piece from my mouth which makes Amber's pupils get huge), and canned mackerel that I baked in the oven until it was almost crispy. She likes!

On Saturday on her first run of the day, Standard, she started off so slowly that she knocked the first bar. That's not normal for her! I guess I needed to work a little harder at revving her up before running. You'd think after all the time we've spent competing together that I'd know how to get her going. She and I made several more errors on that run but she sped up in the middle and it ended up being a very fun run!
Her Jumpers run was a slower start too but we did qualify. I am going to start practicing two jumps and stopping for a jackpot, three jumps, jackpot, back and forth mixed with a full course, to see if it improves her speed at the start.

Sunday was pretty awesome and I bought a video of her two Sunday runs which I will post when they email them to me.
Three day agility weekends tire us both out! So hard to go back to reality after a wonderful weekend spent with my dog and my dog friends.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The saga continues

On Tuesday we were finally able to do Amber's cystoscopy. The Dr., two vet techs and myself were all involved in the procedure. I started with the job of "hold the tail up". The Dr. went in with the scope. On the tv screen we watched the pink walls of the urethra and then the bladder. We saw some polyps in the urethra and one area of concern, also in the urethra. A white-ish lumpy looking thing. We also saw lots of mucusy, bloody fluid floating around.
Then it was time for the taking of samples for biopsy. The Dr. asked which one of us was the most coordinated. I was nominated based on the fact that I am "the one who does agility". I did not nominate myself but since no one else was raising their hands I figured I'd try. While the Dr. held the scope in position I inserted the tiny biopsy forceps. A long narrow rod with about 1/4 inch of grabbing teeth at the end. I pushed it in until you could see the forceps on the tv screen. I was told to open and then close the tool on a piece of the urethra wall. I did that and then pulled it out but there wasn't anything in the teeth. I tried twice more but neither time was I able to get a grip on the tissue. So I went in one more time. One of the techs says "grab like you mean it!". So I squeezed just a little bit harder this time and "snap" we all heard a cracking sound. I pulled the forceps out and found that they had broken. The open and close mechanism had broken and no longer would open and close. SHIT.
That was the end of that, we removed the scope and woke her up. I sat with her while she came out of the anesthesia. She seemed a little painful that night but by Wednesday afternoon she was back to this

So the plan is to get another tool and try again another day. I am pretty disappointed and still worried but at least we got to look. The bladder wall looked healthy which was what he was worried about based on the ultrasound. There is a concern that whatever is in there will grow large enough that it will constrict her urine flow so I am watching her pee every day to make sure it hasn't changed.
Our Dr. approved her running in the trial this weekend so we are running! It brings a whole new meaning to that quote " The real joy is in the privilege and ability to step to the start line with your dog by your side, not in the crossing of the finish line, victorious over others."
These shots are from this morning's hike on the Red Cliffs trail.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The frisbee

We love this frisbee! It's made by Kong and so far is indestructible. Both dogs tug on it with me and have ripped it out of each other's mouths roughly and it doesn't have a hole in it yet.
Rye is funny with toys. He has no interest in them most of the time but if I'm playing with Amber he sometimes will all of a sudden decide that he HAS to have that toy. When that happens Amber will not chase it anymore, it belongs to Rye. He's kind of a bully. He will only chase it for about four throws and then no more.
I love his little hop/run. He reminds me of a young horse, frolicking.
Amber is going in this coming Monday for the cystoscopy. We were going to do it at the beginning of this week but the scope was not sterilized yet. We are borrowing it from our sister vet clinic and they said they were waiting for a full load to run the autoclave sterilizer :( I was really hoping to get it over with!
Amber is still feeling good, eating like normal, playing, running, snuggling.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


A few months ago Amber started peeing a lot more than usual. She even peed in my car. So I brought her to work and we ran a urinalysis on her. It showed blood in her urine and the dr. thought it was probably a uti. Antibiotics for a few weeks didn't clear up the blood so we did a urine culture which showed a bacteria that is normally found in humans. The culture showed what antibiotics it was sensitive to so we put her on Baytril for three weeks. Then we had to wait a week after being off the antibiotics to test again. On Tuesday this week we did another urinalysis and again found blood. The infection is all cleared up though so it's not blood from that. So of course, the Dr. needs to know where it's coming from.
We also did an ultrasound and now the dr. sees a slight thickening of the bladder wall on one side. So next week we are going to do a cystoscopy with a tiny camera on the end of a probe, up the hoo ha, and if the dr. can see a mass he will take a biopsy of it. I am very afraid!
She is still acting herself though.

We have an agility trial coming up soon, mid February, and I am hoping she'll still be able to run. The scope shouldn't hurt but depending on the results, we might be putting her on drugs to slow the growth of whatever is in there. I just wish this would all turn out to be nothing. I am freaking out a little.