Monday, August 8, 2011

The sometimes rough life of a canine athlete

This weekend was a rough one for our little Nar-thlete! 

It was the NC USDAA regionals in Chicago. Nari had been training hard and was looking great leading up to the trial. We had a fun team lined up - our friend Jill and her rat terrier Bozo from DC (we've done team a couple times with them before) and Tracy Sklenar with her young border-staffy Matrix. 

Friday morning Nari was looking good - seemed just a little slower than normal but almost managed to get a Masters Gamblers Q (I totally messed up the weave entry in the Joker). Next she ran Team Snooker - I ran it a little conservatively but we still managed to get 7th/Q - we were beaten by all the fabulous world team people who were awesome to watch. Then Nari started to slow down a little and I noticed that her weaves were pretty slow so we missed the Steeplechase finals cutoff by 1 second. Then Saturday was a disaster - Nari slowed down and refused to do the weaves - she NEVER does that. I had originally thought her slow speed was mental - I was afraid that she just didn't want to do agility with me anymore. 

But our friend Jill said that I should have a chiro check Nari out to make sure it wasn't something physical. So we found Angie Benacquisto (who is an amazing handler, loved watching her) and she introduced us to a chiro who could check Nari out immediately. The chiro looked over Nari and found that Nari had some pain in her vertebrae near her shoulder - Nari even had trouble turning her head to the left. The chiro did some adjustments and Nari had some of her flexibility back so I ran her in the last two team events for the day. Our teammate let Nari borrow their Back on Track coat and Nari was looking pretty happy:

I'm pretty sure Back on Track should use Nari as a model - doesn't she just make you want to go out and buy that jacket? She is seriously cute in that thing! And she would totally just work for a free jacket (cause those jackets are $95!?!). 

After the adjustment was team gamblers and Nari was back to running fast and happy on the dogwalk but still a little slower in general (she was still short striding somewhat) but team standard was a disaster. Not a disaster like we got an E but she was slow and refused the weaves on the first attempt. After that run I took her back to the TOPS chiro team and they worked on her for an hour and shot some lasers at her. (This is kind of random - but when I got into the chiro room they were working on Gator from the Full Tilt BC gang but I was too worried about Nari to say hi or anything...). After TOPS was done with Nari she seemed tired so we took her back to the hotel, gave her some pain meds and put heat on her neck. 

Nari felt much better the next day, still slow, flexibility was okay (not great) so I only ran her in Gamblers, Team Relay and the Grand Prix Finals and pulled her from everything else. Gamblers - she got the Joker but we were over time (totally my fault, wrong place when the buzzer went off!). Team Relay - I just did a couple jumps with her and then passed the baton to Tracy. Grand Prix - she was slower than normal (7 seconds slower than her typically GP times) and she popped the weaves but she was happy. I was just glad that we were both able to end the weekend with a happy run. 

Nari was such a hard worker this weekend and even with her injury she was still the highest scoring dog on our team. Hopefully my happy agility girl will be back to normal soon. I'm always worried that she'll just want to stop doing agility with me someday or that she'll get hurt... 

It was so great to be able to watch all of the awesome handlers going out for IFCS at the trial and we even got to see some of my favorite handlers that I've only ever seen videos of! 


  1. Awwwwww what a trooper, it is amazing what our dogs will do for us, you know they are not excited they got a Q, LOL, Love the back on track jackets, I have one for Breeze

  2. Poor Nari! Do you have any idea how she got hurt? :o(

    It is always my worst nightmare that my dogs will get hurt at or before a big event. Usually it's the big dogs - Kaiser just seems so resiliant that I tend to not pamper him the way I do the others (massage & stretching). Partly because he hates it. ;o) But I am trying to make a point to do more of it leading up to October.

    Hope she is feeling better!

  3. Kathy - when do you use the back on track jacket? Do you notice a difference when you use it?

    Karissa - Not sure how/when she got hurt. Nari has always been fine in the past but I'm not sure what happened this time. Will have to see what our vet at UT has to say.


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