Trial, Title and Tribulations

17 Jul 2009Steve Schwarz

Well a bunch of stuff has been going on since the Fourth of July, some good and some not so good.

Trial and Title

We went to For Your Canine for a CPE trial and Meeker got his final qualifying score in Level 3 Full House to get his Level 3 Fun (?) title which gives him his L3 title. In some ways earning CPE titles is a war of attrition, it takes a fair number of Qs to get each title, IIRC Level 3 is 24 legs, but the courses usually aren’t too difficult. It was a really long day though, I think it was 9 hours from signing in to getting our final results and there was only Std, Full House and Wildcard. The judge was pretty nice, but on the slow side, we’d have the courses changed in under 10 minutes but the trial was almost full so the day just went on and on.

I really like CPE for starting dogs and handlers, you can pick your starting level, there are games other than Jumpers and Standard, and there is a generally light hearted atmosphere. So far I’ve only competed in CPE at FYC, its our “home turf” and only 25 minute drive from home, it would be foolish for us not to take advantage of such a great situation. I’ve heard such great things about the CPE Nationals, everyone who went had fun and it sounds like they have a system to avoid ring conflicts that might make them the smoothest running of all the Nationals. Maybe some day we’ll see if we can qualify.


On the Fourth we were running the dogs around in the backyard during the day in an attempt to tire them out for when the fireworks started in the evening. Meeker really doesn’t like fireworks or thunder, so I’d had him on melatonin twice a day for over two weeks before. I had my window air conditioners set to continuous high fan which makes a good screening white noise (one reason not to go to quiet central air conditioning). On the Fourth I gave him some Xanax and that took some of the edge off. Having Milo and Petey around also distracts Meeker from the noises. We did a pretty good job wearing them out. They were lying on their beds when Nancy and I went out for an early dinner so we’d be home when it was getting dark.

When we came in the door Meeker got up from his bed and wouldn’t put his left rear leg down. He hopped around three legged and would only occasionally dab his leg down. Crap, crap, crap! I figured he had reinjured his hamstring, which had put him out of action for 4 weeks earlier this year; apparently those injuries can become chronic. I couldn’t feel anything wrong with hamstring and he didn’t react when I went over it or any other place on his leg… So we put him on crate rest, Traumeel and Ascriptin for the remainder of weekend. I took off work on Tuesday and got him into Tops Vet Rehab where Dr. Christine found that he had injured one of his gluteus muscles.

Signed him up for four laser treatments to speed the healing and leash walks only, no rocketing around with his brothers. So figure 2-4 weeks of rest and he’d be fine. Well not so fast. Nancy came by a week later with the Milo and Petey and was playing with them in the backyard. Meeker was making a big fuss in the house so she let him out and put him in a down. That worked fine for a while, until apparently it was just too much for him. He took off with a running leap and stole a Frisbee destined for Petey out of the air. That was enough for him to set himself back in rehab for at least another week. So I’m scratching him from this weekend’s AKC trial, and I didn’t sign him up for the next two USDAA trials.

Even with his injury I guess I should count my blessings, two different doctors have told me that I was lucky he only pulled his gluteus, normally dog’s blow out their knees instead… I’ve always known Border Collies (and especially Milo and Meeker) won’t protect themselves from injury but it looks like some new rules will have to be put in place when Meeker plays with his brothers. He is really “working” and at the proverbial 110% whenever Milo is around. So from now on he’ll get a ball with only tosses directly to him, just like we do for Milo, so he doesn’t rocket and leap at full extension (even if the Frisbee is only a foot or two in the air).

The other tribulation I encountered I did to myself. Somehow, and I still don’t really know how, while I was getting out of my car my computer bag slipped off my shoulder and I ended up closing my car door on my right index finger. So my finger had a 3/4 inch cut that was pretty deep, but I needed to let Meeker out, so I just wrapped it up and took care of him. I knew there was hospital a ways away, but since I just needed a couple stitches I figured I’d find an immediate care place. So I called 911 and they were all ready to send out an ambulance. No thanks, just tell me where an immediate care place is nearby. To which the dispatcher replied “I don’t really know, we just take people to the hospital”. Don’t really know?!? Then I remembered where one was a couple miles away and just drove there.

It wasn’t busy, so a couple hours and $900 charged to my insurance company later, I had three stitches, a bandage and splint on my finger. Let me tell you, as a software developer having to type without using your index finger for a couple of days was really a drag. Then for 7 days afterward my finger had a bandaid on it. You don’t realize how important your fingers are until you can’t use them properly. So the stitches were removed last Friday and now I’m all healed up. Just a dumb accident.

So hopefully Meeker will be all mended up in a couple weeks and we can get back to playing and training again.

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