Nothing ever goes according to plan.
Like most of the world, I’m on lockdown from the COVID-19 crisis. Dog training classes and trials are canceled. Parks are closed and or allowing limited access. We don’t know what’s coming next. There’s a lot of disappointment and stress.
Fortunately (or not), I have no FOMO (fear of missing out) right now. I am where I have been for more than a year now; trying to get Kyu to feel better. His IBD is mostly under control but he’s now nursing an iliopsoas strain. We had just returned to our agility classes and Kyu was feeling great GI-wise. He was happy and willing to work. But he couldn’t pull off any turns to the right so I pulled him. Took him to the vet for an evaluation (days before we were no longer permitted to go in with our dogs) and he was diagnosed with the iliopsoas strain. I have a feeling it’s been a chronic issue for him. Something I wish I’d realized sooner. Story of my life, I’m afraid.
While we’ve been on lockdown, my focus has been on healing his injury. No easy task since I couldn’t get him evaluated by our local PT team prior to everything closing up. I was able to take an online class through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy which has been helpful in getting him on the road to healing. But it’s a long journey. He’s not ready to resume normal life yet. Especially not trialing. Most of his training has gone out the window as well as my focus has shifted to getting him stronger and letting his injury heal. Even if things do open up again for trialing this year, it’s unlikely we’ll be doing any.
In addition to his injury, his GI problems are still a thing. He decided to go off food again. I at least think I have ascertained the reason why. He really needs probiotics to feel well. He was off of them for about 2 weeks and everything went to hell. He wasn’t eating and lost at least a pound of weight that he couldn’t afford to lose. I can’t get him to gain weight at this point so I definitely didn’t want to see him lose anything! Once I got the probiotics again and started him on it, it took almost a month for him to start eating consistently again. It’s been longer than that now and he’s still not eating as much as he should. He’s at least acting okay and put back on what he had lost. But it’s a frustrating struggle. It’s been almost a year and a half that I’ve been trying to get him stable and healthy. He’s closer now than he’s ever been but we’re not there yet. I try not to let it get to me. Stressing over his eating just turns him off of it more. But it’s hard to build muscle and strength to recover from injury when you’re not eating enough calories.
I had so many hopes and aspirations for him. Just like I did with Risa. Though I’m struggling, depressed, frustrated, upset, annoyed, and unhappy with how our journey has gone so far; it doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It took 4 years for me to get Risa comfortable enough to compete and the work wasn’t over then either. There is no timeline. My focus has to be on his health. We can’t even enjoy our usual day-to-day fun if he’s not healthy.
The road together will bring us many places. It’s already taken one glorious turn: into the woods. I’d always loved the forest (save for ticks and poison ivy) but never really spent much time in actual wooded areas. There were paths that were paved through the trees and other semi-natural places but nothing like actual jumping over trees and splashing in streams hiking. While Kyu and I struggled to connect (partially because he still didn’t feel great), we started taking weekly hikes into the wooded spaces around town. This was easy to do in the winter as most people don’t venture out in the cold and snow. Plus I had no concerns about ticks or poison ivy. I wasn’t sure it was something I would continue as the weather grew warmer. . .but I have. Now, more than ever, I appreciate the quiet refuge of the forest. When everything is going to hell around me, I can connect back to the Earth with my dog. I’ve had to cut back on our hikes to allow him time to heal but I couldn’t eliminate them completely for long. I needed it as much as he did.
While Risa introduced me to canine freestyle, a sport where I am most at home and comfortable, Kyu brought me home to Nature, another place where I am at ease.
It may not have been my plan. . .but I am glad he forced my hand in the same way his predecessor did. <3