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Being that we go to Boulder to visit family we have a few traditions. One of them is that regardless of the time of the year (winter, summer etc.) we go to Dot’s Diner for a late breakfast and then on to Walden-Sawhill ponds to go bird watching and for a walk around the ponds.
We usually run into friends and acquaintances of my husband or father in law’s while we are there. We’ll have something to eat, several cups of coffee and spend our time hanging out writing a group poem with whomever happened to join us.
Once we had our fill of food and coffee it was off to Walden-Sawhill for a walk around the ponds.
I love going to Walden-Sawhill also because there are some pretty views for landscape photos. I think over the years I’ve likely amassed hundreds of close-up pictures of cattails and tree bark.
Because we came after “breakfast” we were there later in the day when the bird watching is not typically as good. I know hardcore birders don’t like having dogs along because they fear they will chase away the birds but CB and Kona are quiet and the birds that were there did not get scared off because of them.
We did see a Snowy Egret among the rare Canadian geese and ducks as well as some woodpeckers. I don’t know my birds well but my father in law is an expert birder and really good at identifying the birds we saw.
I really wish I had brought my telephoto lens along. I think I could have brought these guys in a bit closer. I think the Egret is one of the white lumps in the photo below.
This time of the year the ponds are also lovely for photographs with how tall and green the cattails are.
Even though there has been quite a bit of rain the weeks before we went to Boulder, the water level in the ponds was quite low. As low as I’ve seen it in years with severe drought in the Boulder Area. I think this made for some pretty dramatic photos, especially with the thunder clouds rolling in.
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My husband is a former Boulderite. An original Boulderite he likes to say because he grew up there when it was full of hippies, artists, writers and musicians. Kind of like how it is today but with less Yoga.
With his family still in Boulder it was time for a road trip. It takes about 16 hours of driving to get to Boulder from Calgary. Fortunately CB and Kona travel well and sleep in the car while we driving.
Boulder also happens to be a pretty dog friendly place to visit. There a few places that don’t allow pets, for example the Pearl Street mall, but there is plenty to see and do with you dog and plenty of nice neighborhoods to walk around. You might end up seeing some pretty cool houses; not sure how many of you would recognize this one, it’s known locally as the Mork and Mindy house. Nanoo Nanoo!
You might run into something like this at the back of someone’s yard.
There were a number of events happening while we were in Boulder including the Ironman 70.3 Boulder so the hotels were pretty booked up. We were able to find pet friendly accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express in North Boulder. It was a relatively quiet place to stay despite the fact that the hotel was full over the weekend with triathletes. Too bad the guy with the Cervelo team didn’t know how to park his trailer.
I would stay there again even though it’s on the outskirts of town. We’ve normally stayed close to Naropa but this place is more than fine and it had a decent breakfast as well. Plus you drive by Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery on your way from and to the hotel. Conveniently located for those ice cream emergencies. I have to admit we stopped more than once.
We had a pretty busy 6 days there and spent most of our time visiting with family and friends. We did manage to get in some nice walks with CB and Kona in town and I’ll post about those next week in Boulder Part 2.
Now that Kona’s rehab is done we are back to training. I took Kona down to Lundbreck Alberta to meet with an Obedience trainer (Judy) to work on teaching him to retrieve a dumbbell.
She’s helping me shape the behavior and already I saw much more progress with this than the other methods I tried earlier this year. I guess when it comes to dog training its not all Black and White.
Its truly a lovely drive on Highway 22 and we stopped at Chain Lakes on the way home. I was hoping there would be nice walk there but there isn’t a lake shore around the reservoir. Great place for kayakers, rafters etc. but not so much for more than just stretching your legs.
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Turns out we had a busy spring and summer with some nice rewards to go along with it; CB has some new titles, 3 of them as a matter of fact.
In July at the Evelynn Kenny show he got his 3rd Rally Excellent leg for his Rally Excellent (RE) title. I entered CB on a whim since I was going to be there showing a friends pom but then didn’t really have a lot of time to practice. I do practice the stations here and there but didn’t dedicate time to it. Seems that that is they way I need to work him. A little bit here and there to make sure he knows everything but then just leave it alone. He rocked for me – was peppy and bright and had fun. Our score was just enough for a Q and we got cheers from friends and hugs as soon as our score went up on the board. It was a great moment.
CB has also been doing much better in agility. I’ve figured out how to get him to run a little faster and he got his Agility Dog of Canada (ADC) title this past weekend. This one has been a long time coming and he got the Standard Q he needed to get the title. I didn’t think it was going to happen as I rolled my ankle during our Jumpers run and the delay from me slowing down not only cost us a Q but the days outlook for me being able to run didn’t look good. Fortunately my husband was able to come and finish off the trial and got 2 standard Q’s with CB. I’m so proud of them – CB ran really fast for him on the first standard run and it was so fun to watch.
The third title CB received this summer was from the Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA). We were traveling down in the US and I had learned about a TDAA trial that was happening while we’d be south. I’ve been kind of curious about the smaller equipment and tighter courses so we went to check it out and entered. Unlike AAC or CKC trials where CB has often been the only dog entered in his class, there were many dogs entered in his jump height category and when CB Q’d we didn’t necessarily place first. It was nice to see so many little dogs competing.
This was a lot of fun and the all the people there were so nice and friendly. CB got his three qualifying beginner standard runs at that trial and we can now add TBAD (Teacup Beginner Agility Dog) to his name. There are definitely some added challenges to a tighter course but the two pieces of equipment where the smaller size made a difference in time for us (as in faster!) were the weaves and the chute. For some reason the smaller barrel sped CB up and with the tighter weave spacing he could “bob” between the weaves instead of having to run around them. It was a great time and the folks were all really welcoming if not confused that we had come from Canada.
The last set of ribbons is actually from earlier in the summer. Because AAC nationals was in Leduc, Alberta this year I had a good number of friends going to Regionals this past June at Rivierre Qui Barre in hopes of qualify for Nationals. I ended up being talked into entering so CB and I went.
I had no goals other than to see what Regionals was about, to have fun with CB and cheer on my friends. CB’s class (6 inch specials) was small at 5 dogs and he was the only one in that class that is not competing at Masters level. In the end we left the weekend with a score of 279.82 points. Not enough to qualify for Nationals as you need 350 points to do that, but pretty respectable in my humble opinion for a first time handler and first agility dog.
It also turns out we do better at Master’s Jumpers courses than we do at Starters. Who would have thought. Perhaps the tighter courses are more fun for him and me? It’s a curiosity.
Our first day was a little bit chaotic we had an OK Jumpers 1 with CB stopping to attack a spider in a tunnel but our Standard 1 was pretty good even if we spent too much time in the weaves. The second day was better, we had more speed and almost made standard course time for Jumpers 2; off by four seconds but good enough to get us a Fourth place finish out of 5 dogs and we also got a fourth place finish in Standard 2. If we could gamble we may have broken 300.
What thrills me most was to see the trial photos. CB is now extending over jumps. We’ve worked a lot on this and it’s just awesome to see the results. It’s definitely helped to improve our course times. Doesn’t he look like he’s having a ball in these pics from our Jumpers 2 run. He used to just hop over jumps; He is now in flight.
My last Black & White Sunday post hinted to today’s post. I have not been blogging for the last few months because I did not want to be writing about what was going to be coming up for Kona; especially because it took us several months of thinking about this surgery before we decided we were truly going to do it, and I was also a little superstitious about it all too.
WHAT DID WE DO?
In a nutshell Kona underwent an ulnar Osteotomy and a radial wedge Osteoctomy of his left front forelimb. Essentially his bones were cut, a wedge of bone was removed and his paw was rotated so that his wrist and elbow joints were parallel. It honestly took us months of weighing the pro’s and con’s of this as well as looking at the ongoing expense we had in rehab from complications of his leg break in 2011.
We have been very lucky – the end result has been very good. Kona’s leg is calcifying and it is now straight. He still needs recovery time but he continues to weight bear on it, gains strength and as the fur grows back the surgical scars will not be noticeable.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Last year I noticed that during training classes (obedience, rally, agility) or after long walks that Kona would be limping and would lose drive. I soon realized that he was hurting his back, was having leg spasms and was sore in his rear end and sometimes would not eat. We were doing regular chiro, water treadmill and physio exercises so there was a lot of concern as to why this was the case. We hadn’t done a follow-up x-ray of his front left leg since the plate was removed last year and what we found was saddening.
No amount of physio and rehab was going to fix this. Either we operated on Kona or we left him as is and continued with treadmill and rehab therapy indefinitely and hoped that his leg would not get worse. As it was we stopped training and focused on building leg strength and muscle mass in the event we decided to go forward with the surgery.
In September of 2011 Kona’s radius and ulna were badly broken in an accident with a dog walker. The condition of his leg was severe and two surgeries were required to put him back together again.
He healed up well but with time we started to see that he was down in the pastern of that leg and his foot was starting to turn out to the left, and more so with time. The turn-out of his foot was noticeable even without an x-ray. Although it didn’t seem to bother him unless he over did it.
The x-ray’s we took earlier this year showed us that his leg was far worse than we imagined. The amount of angulation was shocking. Especially since at the time that Kona’s leg was operated on in 2011, the post-op x-ray’s showed the leg was straight.
A possible complication of a leg break with puppies is that their growth plates can be damaged. Kona was 7 months old at the time of the accident and was unfortunate in that is exactly what happened to him, but we did not realize it until earlier this year. The pre-op measurements showed that the leg had deformed to an angle of 25 degrees from the elbow to the foot. Seeing that x-ray was as heartbreaking as the day his leg was broken. The twisted look of that leg haunted me for months.
Not only was it a problem that his leg was bent, he was not weight bearing and walking correctly on his front end and we also saw that he was putting too much weight on his back legs and was standing odd to spread out his weight.
The ortho vet we saw was fabulous. She simply explained that we did have a surgical option. She could perform an Ostectomy / Osteotomy to straighten his leg. She’d done many of these surgeries on small dogs that had experienced broken limbs as puppies just as Kona had. This sounded good in theory but we had to weigh out the pro’s and con’s and we took our time with it.
– successful surgery would leave Kona with a straight leg
– he would be able to weight bear on his front end and take the excess weight of his rear end
– there would be less impact to his back and shoulders
– would no longer have as limited range a of motion in his wrist
– Kona was often in pain after walks or play sessions and was becoming pain reactive towards other dogs
– there’s always a concern with anesthetic and small dogs – expecially when the time under anesthetic is longer
– the surgery may not work and we still have a bent leg
– the bones do not calcify and we lose the leg
TIME FOR SURGERY
In the end we did the surgery on June 6, 2013. The surgery went very well and the post op x-rays showed that the bones were straightened and the wrist was now in line with his Elbow. So far so good. The surgeon had used a permanent plate with six screws to hold everything together but we had a long road to recovery.
His leg was splinted up and now came the hard part. Keeping him calm and making sure the bones were able to heal but we also had do to range of motion exercises to keep his wrist from getting too stiff again.
The first two weeks were really tough. Kona was in a significant amount of pain, had a poor appetite and we struggled to keep him fed. We kept him confined during these early weeks and he was not allowed to do stairs, walk for more than potty breaks and no playing with CB.
At two weeks post op the suture was removed and we started water treadmill.
Once we got past those first couple of weeks his recovery has been tremendous. It’s now been just over eight weeks since his surgery. The last x-ray’s looked really good and showed re-calcification of bone. He has been moving really well and the way he stands looks different – more balanced. So much so that our vet has informed us that our rehab is done. We had our last water treadmill session last Monday.
Unbelievable. He is now back to this. A happy little dog that just wants to play.
Am I glad we did this? Absolutely but I hope to never have to make a decision like this again.
Don’t be worried about Kona, he is doing just fine but this is why it’s been so quiet around cbandkona. An explanation will be forthcoming and the result is really good.
I just don’t know what happened to March. It flew by and was very busy. I attended an out of town show, have been training CB in agility and doing a lot of Pilates among other things things. Even though I’ve been busy CB and Kona have still been getting their walks in and we’ve finally had some nicer weather.
Here are some things that have kept us busy of the last couple of weeks in no specific order….
March has had mostly miserable weather but it finally has started to warm up and we’ve been able to get out for some of our longer walks. We also explored a couple new parks; Bowmont and Baker.
As well as hitting our favorite place for walks – Edworthy Park. The ice formations are pretty awesome right now and make for some interesting photo ops.
A couple weeks ago I went to a show in Camrose and we drove out from Calgary during treacherous road conditions. I went to help a friend show some poms and her friends chihuahua’s and also entered Kona in 1 Pre-Novice trial and 2 Rally Advanced runs to try and finish his Rally Advanced Title. I didn’t do so great in the conformation ring with the Chi but did better with my friends pom (Remmie) even though I didn’t get any points on him.
Kona did well and got his first Q in Pre-Novice and got his 3rd leg in Rally Advanced for that Title and is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RA. Woohoo! It was a little too close for comfort running between the rings and on the Saturday I ran from the Rally ring to the conformation ring with about 5 minutes to spare. Missed getting Kona’s Q ribbon from the judge (and third in class ribbon) as I left when right as we finished our run but I was able to pick it up after we were all done.
Last weekend it was really nice and I found a Canine Good Neighbor test to take Kona too – he pass it easily. It was a lot less stressful for me doing the test with Kona than it was with CB last year, I guess my confidence has also improved over the last year.
CB and I have been spending our training time together focusing on agility. I’ve done 3 agility training seminars this month and one of them was with Kathy Keats. It was interesting to do her seminar with a faster dog this year. One of the skills she helped me with was pulling CB through threadles. His speed has picked up but we slow down when the handling is a little more complicated such as where I need to wrap him or bring him through a threadle.
Kathy has such great insight and the time I got to spend with her was even more amazing than it was last year. I have a better idea of where I need to be to pull CB through a threadle quickly. It was so worth the time and Kathy and a couple other participants remarked how much quicker we were than last year.
This weekend is going to be a little busy. My agility club is hosting a two day trial and it’s also the weekend of the Red Deer show. I love the Red Deer show, CB has usually done well there but the agility trial is my priority. He only needs one Rally Excellent Q for his title so I entered him in the Friday in Red Deer and then we’re in my club’s agility trial Saturday and Sunday. And I’m also helping in conformation and showing Remmie again. Fortunately the show schedule is working out much better than it did in Camrose as I’m in one ring in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
This weekend is probably going to be too much for CB though with how long we’ll be in Red Deer. I think it might be too much for me…. The weather is supposed to be crap too so the drive to Red Deer might not be that great. Oh and did I mention that I’ve been focusing on agility? When we’ve been practicing our Q ratio has been about 50% with Rally at this level. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes and I hope he (and me!) won’t be too tired on Saturday when we are in the barn.