Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 2 - And more thoughts on Walter as a soon-to-be vet

Sinus cold continues, but not too bad.

Gamblers was first. An okay opening including the jump/chute/jump mini gamble, but Walter went into the wrong tunnel in the main. Didn't call him off the wrong tunnel since he was going out of his way to go to a far tunnel, a good thing!

Next, Jumpers. It felt like a nice run, and it was a Q, but in watching the video back I like yesterday's Jumpers run better -- Walter seemed more into it and I seemed less bossy. Anyway, here's today's Jumpers:

Last, Snooker. Like yesterday, went for four reds to avoid the #6 weaves in the closing. But unlike yesterday, it wasn't quite as smooth, and three of our four obstacles of choice were three-obstacle combos, so we ran out of time just before the #5 in the closing; no Q. There were a couple of awkward snookerish moments in there, so I wouldn't have felt that great about the Q anyway.

Ok - here's where I get all wordy and whiny - long blog coming up!

Walter had a massage today by the very popular local canine massage person who had a booth on site. She noticed he seemed tight in between his front legs, and it showed on his face when she manipulated him there, perhaps a knot. She asked if he lands heavy when jumping, which I think he kind of does. She showed me a stretch to help with that area, which I will add to our routine. But, this really confirms three things for me: (a) he'll be started on a regular massage regime; (b) he'll be started on a regular chiro routine; and (c) more and more I'm thinking of dropping him to 16" vets before his sixth birthday, probably in January just because it's the start of a new year though I could do it any time.

That last one is a subject that's been tugging at my thoughts since Walter turned five in July, becoming eligible for vets. The thought of Walter as a vet forces me to accept that he's getting older and to think about his mortality. Also it would suck that there would not be any further height drops to look forward to when he gets OLD old. And, quite simply, I enjoy watching videos of Walter athletically jumping 22" -- seeing him over 16" jumps is just not the same thing. These must sound like pathetic, selfish reasons for delaying putting him into vets, and they are. But in a nutshell, what gets to me is that, in my mind, I can't help but think that dropping Walter to vets is the beginning of the end of his agility career. [sniff... boo hoo... WAAAAAAH!! okay I need to get a grip!]

BUT. As a 16" veteran dog...

Would Walter be unhappy or somehow feel a lack of satisfaction? Nuh uh.
Would he enjoy and be more comfortable jumping 16" instead of 22"? Safe to say, yes.
Would his body undergo less wear and tear and hopefully allow him to keep doing agility well into his senior years? I hope so. I would love love LOVE for Walter, who wasn't bred for agility and doesn't have the world's best structure, to still be doing agility five years from now. Dropping him to 16" soon is probably one of the best things to make that happen, along with stretches/massage/chiro and putting forth a more focused effort to cue smoother turns for him.
I am definitely very grateful that the AAC is so welcoming of its veteran dogs. Not only do they offer a vets class, to begin with, but also, dogs who drop from Regular to Specials to Vets don't have to restart their Q counts for titles. Plus, as of this year they've dropped the "S" and "V" prefixes on all titles. Pretty darn cool eh.

I know there are far more important things going on in the world and who the heck cares about something as trivial as this. Still, it brings a tear to my eye to think about Walter as a vet. But, once the deed is done I'm sure I'll get over it quickly and will have no regrets! And will stop whining about the whole thing here on my blog :-)

P.S. I hope it's understood that I have no judgement toward people who keep their dog in Regular or Specials for as long as they want. Every dog is different. I just feel that for Walter, this is the best thing.


Johann The Dog said...

Nice little run there!!! I say, as long as you get to do agility, doesn't matter where you are :) You'll make the best decision.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Thank you! I like your philosophy and whole-heartedly agree :)