I feel cursed.
On Tuesday, Kyber was playing in the yard with Kyu. He bumped into Kyu as they were running in a straight line towards me, lifted slightly, and landed screaming on three legs. We tried for x-rays that day but were unsuccessful. He went home with pain meds and instructions to rest him. If things didn’t improve, I was to bring him back for more x-rays with sedation.
Things did not improve. He still refused to put any weight on that leg. We went back for x-rays Friday morning and my worst fears were confirmed. He’d broken the growth plate in his right knee and needed surgery.
I’ve wanted to do dog sports with my dogs for a long time. I fell in love with agility in college and enjoyed attending events after I graduated. I wanted to do agility! Once I was finally able to get a dog of my own, I sought one who would be interested in sports.
We all know how that went. I adopted Risa, a fearful mixed breed who had all the aptitude for training and none of the proper temperament. I spent 4 years working on modifying her behavior and helping her feel safe and comfortable in this world before I even considered competing with her. We did it, though. It was always a ton of extra work. Management at every event. Constantly working on training her to realize she is safe in addition to the required behaviors for trialing. Then she blew out her back and I worked my ass off on her physical therapy to get her back to a relatively sound condition. I was less concerned with her return to sports but she did. She competed for another 1.5 years before she retired. I got to do sports with her but it was a long, difficult journey to get there.
Then I got Kyu! He had so much potential. None of the environmental concerns Risa had; he was a confident little shit! He also showed amazing aptitude for training. Until Risa died. Shortly after we had to say good bye to the Awesome Dog, Kyu started having severe gastrointestinal problems. He’d always had them. I’d simply been ignoring them in the hopes that I was just being paranoid after a decade of handling Risa’s GI troubles. Now they were so bad they couldn’t be ignored. A multitude of tests. Several diagnoses. Finally IBD suspected in July 2019. Treatments began and everything yo-yo’d. Two years trying to get him to stabilize with no luck. Finally a confirmed diagnosis of IBD via endoscopy in January 2021. Throughout it all, he struggled to enjoy training. He felt yucky so he didn’t want to participate. I can’t blame him even though it took me a long time to realize it. Risa had simply never been so obviously affected by her GI issues. Kyu very clearly was.
In March of 2020, Kyu strained his iliospoas muscle (again–I believe he initially injured it as a young puppy and we just missed it). I spent 9 months rehabbing the injury and again had to put most training on hold. The injury is healed and his gut is stable enough we can train successfully again. However, he is underweight and I’m struggling to get him back to a version of normal that is safe for heavy activity. His future in dog sports is in jeopardy.
I was determined to get an easy dog this time. One with all the potential and the ability to capitalize on it almost immediately. Not a dog who I had to prepare for 4+ years before even stepping foot in the ring. Not one plagued with behavioral or health issues. A nice, solid, healthy puppy with his potential easy to tap into.
Enter Kyber. I could almost feel it. This time. This time it was all going to be okay. He was going to be healthy, dammit. He was going to be sound. He was going to be amazing. I was finally going to catch a break. And then I did. Literally. He broke. Complete freak accident.
I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s scheduled for surgery on Monday and I have a great physical therapy team to help me with his rehab. They’ve helped me with each of my previous dogs. Risa coming back from her serious back injury and Kyu successfully rehabbing that challenging iliospoas strain. I have a lot of the knowledge needed as well having gone through rehab with his predecessors. It’s just frustrating, though. I am still pretty numb about it. I had hoped, for once, it was going to be easy. To just have to deal with the training struggles involved with figuring out a new dog and what he needs in training to be successful. I hadn’t planned on another roadblock on our journey.