Sunday morning, bright and early, we showed up at the Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney, Texas for measuring for a USDAA agility trial organized by Dallas Dog Sports.
We had entered three classes – standard, pairs relay, and jumpers. There was a wait between measuring and our first class, so I volunteered, assuring the volunteer coordinator “that’s how we do it in New Hampshire.” Besides, I wanted to be a good representative of New England agility.
There’s video of the runs, but I can’t get at it right now, so I’ll summarize. The first run was Standard, and as is often the case, I had a bit of a wild-child of a dog, who wasn’t doing me any favors for the first half of the course. When we left the ring, the leash runner said “Nice closing.” He was right. Once Chico did his full five second down on the table, we had the communication thing down and nailed the last five or six obstacles. He had two faults (10 points in USDAA), so no Q, but a red second place ribbon. In Pairs Relay, we were partnered with a German Shepherd named Breena. Breena’s owner/handler was as unconcerned about Q’s as I was. My goal was Chico letting me steer him, and him not getting involved with Breena. We met both goals.
The day before, at a rest stop walk, I had the sense that Chico had a sore paw, maybe he’d picked up a sticker. I explored and couldn’t really find anything, he licked at it for a bit, but then left it alone. After the Pairs run on Sunday, he was favoring his left front foot a bit. We went into the ring for Jumpers, started the course, and within just a couple obstacles, I realized that he was not having any fun at all, he was doing it because I had asked him to and because he loves agility. I pulled up, and told the judge, “I’m sorry, my dog’s paw hurts, I’m going to pull him out,” and the trial was over for us. It was the right thing to to do.
I gave Chico a doggie aspirin and he took a nap. After a bit, I probed the sore paw. I got a snarl of sensitivity, but found no foreign object or wound.
In the morning I called a vet my Pairs partner had recommended. They could see Chico the next morning, so I decided to hang out for a day and see what was up. The paw seemed better, and I started to wonder if it was a soft tissue injury, and I called my vet back home. “I know you can’t see or touch this, but here’s what’s going on.” She suggested that I “might not need to go rushing off to vet,” and I decided that a few days rest, with careful observation, was the best course of action.