Sunday, November 28, 2004

Jake's Last CPE--and Last, Period--Trial

The cake came with two flowers and a yellow border. I did the rest All By Myself onsite among course maps and curious competitors.
I've done it--I've retired Jake. I made an announcement at the CPE trial in Elk Grove yesterday and provided cake for all 80-or-so people there to confirm the deed. Jake was running so nicely, though, it's hard to remember the times and places where he just doesn't do things that he used to do or those days or weeks when he's in pain.

I suppose it's still legal to enter him in maybe a run a day or so. The question remains what will I do with him on agility weekends--leave him home or take him with us? I've never taken any of my dogs anywhere without the others along. This is a mistake--take my advice and often do things separately with your dogs so that they get used to it from the beginning. I don't think he'll be happy about being left behind, but he'll probably be fine here hanging out with the housemate (I wouldn't leave him here unattended, certainly).

Will I be fine leaving him behind? If there's noplace at a site where I can run him off leash to play frisbee, it seems silly to take him with me. But he's still so active it's hard to really picture him being retired. And I still haven't decided whether to keep taking him to weekly classes.

We met with a dog chiropractor at the end of the trial. She had watched him run and asked why I was retiring him. I gave her my list of Whys and she said that I know my dog best and have to make my own decision, but be sure to keep him very active because that's the best way to keep the arthritis at bay. She suggested, for example, any exercises that involve his back legs, including simply walking backwards. That's no problem for Jake--who, at the USDAA nationals, did his best to walk backwards in front of me all the way from the far inside corner of the crating building, across the parking lot, down the stairs, and across the lawn. Down the stairs was a bit of a challenge, but in fact up the stairs would be a good strengthening exercise. We'll see--

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