PACH Ticket

This weekend, Ticket earned her 20th QQ in Preferred, and her Preferred Agility Championship. My blue monster has overcome so much in her life, and I’m grateful every time I get to step to the line with her…I know it could have gone very differently.
In November 2012, just after finishing qualifying for the 2013 AKC Nationals, Ticket had surgery for a partially torn cruciate. She had the same surgery on her opposite leg in 2011, and recovered beautifully. Little did i know what would follow was 2 years of surgery, rehab, and doubt about what the future would bring.
For a reason we never determined, Ticket’s bone just wouldn’t heal after her TPLO surgery. She went to rehab one to two times a week. My house became a canine gym. Her hardware was removed, and then replaced. The new screws broke, and the hardware had to be removed again. The site was still completely unstable. She ended up with an external fixator, but it still wouldn’t heal. Finally, as a last ditch effort when we were beginning to consider knee replacement or amputation, her surgeon was able to find an alternative treatment–a bone morphogenic protein previously used in people to try to stimulate healing of the bone. Her leg was again plated. To be maximally safe, it was also splinted.
The bone morphogenic protein worked, and the bone finally healed. Unfortunately, because of the duration of the injury and the length of time she spent in the splint, the range of motion in her joints was completely altered. Again, we pursued physical therapy to see how close to normal she could get.
At that point, I knew she might never do agility again. I was thankful she still had 4 legs, and was finally recovering after 1.5 years of fighting. But out of all my dogs, Ticket was the ONE who lived to work. She would retrieve the ball 100 times and come back for another throw. She would run herself into the ground to play agility. During those months and months of crate rest, she was always her normal, happy self. She never complained, or was depressed. I knew we had to at least TRY to come back.
So more rehab, and then, oh so slowly, we started to add back agility. The hardest thing was trying to keep Ticket safe from herself. She only has one speed, and it’s not slow. She doesn’t know how to be careful. My heart ended up in my throat many times, but oh so slowly, my confidence came back. Ticket had never lost it — she’s pretty certain she can fly.
2 years after that first surgery, she returned to the agility ring in preferred. It’s been slow going, but we’re a team again. Yes, her startline stay is terrible. She has more one bar QQs then clear ones. Her contacts are still phenomenal, and she still only runs at one speed. But we get to play this game together, and I will be forever thankful for that.
If you’ve read this far, then I’ll add that I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect song for her PACH video. This one really spoke to me — I tear up in the opening every time. Ticket wouldn’t give up, and I owed it to her to do the same. <3 <3 <3 my blue monster, my honey badger, my bionic blue badass girlie. 🙂

Posted in Agility Ticket by agilityvet. No Comments

World Team Tryouts 2017


World Team Tryouts.  My favorite event of the year.  I LOVE running these courses.  And Trek was simply amazing.  She has come so far, and I’m SO proud of her.  We were so close to pulling off the unbelievable.  The closest we’ve ever been.  I think I now may be a true believer–she could really do it.

I realize everyone comes out of an event like this thinking ‘if only.”  If only this had gone right, or this had happened, the results would be different.  Afterwards, I realized we had 3 different moments that, if one small thing had changed in ANY of those runs, Trek wins a spot on the world team.  It’s both heartening, and heartbreaking to realize how close you really were.  Round 2 JWW she handled great, but I failed to recognize a spot where she could go straight/long out of a tunnel, and didn’t cue the 90 degree turn until it was too late.  Round 3 she missed her dogwalk contact.  And Round 5, she missed her aframe, and I saw it and was late with a threadle cue,  causing an E.


One year ago after world team tryouts, I started down the road to running contacts.  I knew Trek needed every advantage I could give her, and she’s done very well.  Unfortunately, they fell apart about 4-6 weeks ago, and they’ve been hit or miss (haha) since then.  Obviously getting them where I want is my #1 priority heading into December EO Tryouts.  But I’m actually MOST disappointed about that Round 2 JWW, because *I* failed to SEE that there would be an issue coming out of a straight tunnel.  I saw it (and even made a comment out loud) for the large dogs, who had a similar sequence.  But for Trek, I thought she would be reading a turn.  Instead she carried straight, looking at an off course tunnel over 20′ away.  One simple call, and a rotation of my shoulders, and she is on course.  I hate that I didn’t recognize that spot, but I will continue to try to get better.

Overall, I’m ecstatic about the handling, which is why that one mistake is so frustrating.  Her wraps, backsides, and threadles were phenomenal.  Her speed was excellent.  She is really growing up — she handled a flight, new environment, etc, like an old pro.  So, I choose to be optimistic about where we are, and where we are going.  And I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Here are all 5 runs from this weekend, in order…


Posted in Agility Trek by agilityvet. 1 Comment

No rest for the weary


My favorite event of the year, AKC World Team Tryouts, is in just 27 days!  After getting ready for Nationals, there’s no downtime, just time to start prepping for something completely different.  Of course, we think about this event all year, but there’s definitely extra focus in the next month.  Lots of work, and still need to allow time for rest days.

It’s been 1 week since coming home for Perry, and we’ve built and run two courses from AWC Judge Mirja Lapanja.  Her courses require the ability to commit your dog to an obstacle and leave, trusting in that performance.  There are technical portions, followed by a speed section, and then another technical section.  I’m really enjoying running them, but they are definitely outside the norm for us. I feel like we have the skills for each section, but the real trick is keeping it together the whole course, and being able to get to your next spot. 🙂

Skill-wise, I’m trying to beef up a couple of things.  I’ve been very happy with our running dogwalk, but I’d like better hits on the aframe, so I’m getting more aframe reps in for the next month, and playing with a couple of things to help her drive downwards better.  I’m also proofing the weave poles.  I especially would like for her to drive ahead of me independently better, so I’ve pulled out the channels and we’re working on that.

On the Lapanja courses, I’m focusing on getting my verbal cues out faster.  I’m trying to trust Trek and leave, moving onto the next thing.  Because I end up further ahead, I’ve been able to do more blind crosses.  And she is running fantastic–I really feel like she’s peaking at the right time.  I also know it’s impossible to run every course and every variation.  So I’m making a point of pulling up her courses and thinking about how I would choose to handle them, and visualizing it.  Before running a few, it was tough, but now I’m a lot more comfortable making decisions about what I would want to do, and feeling like I can get there to do it.  I trust Trek’s skills, now we just need to get out there and execute.

Are you going to World Team Tryouts?  What are you doing to get ready?


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