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Whoa is Me

Posted on 02/22/10 42 Comments

I haven’t written much in the last week because honestly each time I try to write I am overwhelmed by depressing thoughts that I don’t think belong here. I have always preserved this blog to be as uplifting as possible. However, I figured maybe by writing about what has gotten me down, I can move on to being more productive. So here I go.

Encore is lame. She has been off and on lame in her front right leg since I got home from FCI Worlds in September of last year. It was never anything terribly bad. Just a slight limp after work, but enough that it did concern me. She was off enough in October that after one day of work, I decided not work her when Greg Derrett’s was at our place. It happened again the following week doing jump grids at a Susan Salo clinic. She was not herself at all at USDAA Nationals in November where she knocked 4 bars in her first run.

Each time I have a physio, a re-hab vet, a chiropractor, or a massage therapist look at her and they seem to think they have found the little thing that caused her issue. But sadly, it comes back. After USDAA Nationals she was given 8 weeks away from agility. Did swimming 3 days a week and running in the fields. No lameness at all during that 2 month period.

When I brought her to Florida I stopped to have her annual Pro-lo therapy done on her hip. He did her right shoulder as well. She then ran in two agility trials. She wasn’t her best (she often isn’t after Pro-lo) but no limping. I have done no agility training with her since before FCI Worlds in September. My plan was to build up for IFCS Worlds slowly, but I haven’t started yet. All that she has been doing here in Florida is running with Feature.

Last week she started limping again, the worst ever. Not using the leg, barely letting it touch the ground. She was like that for 3 days. As I had to fly up to Cincinnati to teach, John took her to an orthopedic specialist her in Florida. He found nothing. I am a bit relieved. We ran a full tick profile on her and we should have the results today. I am hoping that is the cause of her issues. If that is negative, all that is left is soft tissue or neurological problems.

So with IFCS Worlds just 11 weeks away, I have a dog that has not been trained in 5 months. If there is a silver lining in all of this it is for Feature. You see should I decide Encore is not sound enough to take to England for the IFCS World Championships, Feature is the first reserved dog for our team. Not convinced a dog that is still only 2 years old needs that kind of exposure, but I know we will both enjoy the experience immensely should it come our way.

Feature, is it possible she has a master plan to get herself back to visit her homeland?

On top of all of that, those pesky Americans beat our Canadian hockey team at the Olympics last night. I know it IS only a game but it is OUR game. There you have it. End of “whoa is me” writing. Now that it is off my chest I am sure I can get back to being my normal self.

Today I am grateful for all of you sending positive heeling vibes to my girl Encore.


  1. Sasha Foster, MSPT, CCRT says:
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 2:25am

    Hi Susan,

    Keep hunting until you find a solid, clincially valid diagnosis! I read very carefully through your recent descriptions of Encore’s lamness and wonder if she’s been tested for Medial Shoulder Instability. Diagnosed by measuring shoulder abduction range of motion, the biomechnical theory is that forelimb “plant and pivot with shoulder extension” causes microtears of the medial joint capsule that over time cause a ligamentous laxity. This laxity forces muscles such as the Teres major and Latissimus dorsi to work really hard to stabilize the joint…which puts these muscles at risk for strains. When going about their regular daily activities dogs will naturally compensate and lamness may not be observed. But when asked to “plant, pivot with extension”, such as a return to agility, the lamness returns. The diagnostic test takes 1 minute, dog awake and relaxed on its side, physio with goniometer in hand: If shoulder abduction is >32.6 degrees+/- 2.0 degrees, it is a positive. And the good news, rehab is a possibility. Hope this helps!

    We’re all behind you here at Canine Fitness Zone in FC, Colorado! We’ll help in any way possible.


  2. Barbara Bell says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:34pm

    Thanks for sharing Encore’s problems with us, Susan.. We’ve all been there not knowing what is going on with our dogs, and that is the hardest part. It is very worrysome when the vets can not find a solution to health problems. Sending healing and positive thoughts your way for Encore’s quick diagnosis and recovery.


  3. Mike Gooch says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 5:14pm

    Well, Susan…this pesky American wants another go at it, in the final Medal Round! 🙂


  4. Karey says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:41am

    Didn’t read your post until now. Sure hope you find out what is going on with Encore….. not know is the hardest. Sending healing thought your way.


  5. Patti says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 6:09pm

    A friend of mine had on again/off again lameness in her young BC, and none of the experts seemed to be able to diagnose after all kinds of expensive tests and were considering surgery to take a look. Then decided do an ultrasound first and they found something like bursitis in the elbow joint. I think they are pretty certain that’s what it is, and steroid shot and rest will fix it. Maybe you could check that out? I sure hope Encore will be better soon! Best wishes.


  6. Charlotte Rundgren says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 3:22pm

    So sorry to hear about Encore. Sending positive vibes from New Zealand for a diagnosis and a recovery plan.


  7. Deb Bogart says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 2:14pm

    I sure hope you determine what is causing Encore’s lameness. When something like this happens, the hardest part for me is the not knowing.

    Sending positive thoughts to Encore and to you. Please keep us posted.


  8. Kelly says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:22pm

    Didn’t catch this post until today. I’m sorry to hear about Encore’s problems and am sending my most positive vibes. I know how difficult it is when we can’t figure out what’s wrong with our canine partners. 🙁


  9. Amy says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:05pm

    Susan-play your slide show again for yourself!

    This too shall pass. The roads we think we are to take are not always the ones we are meant to be on. So adjustments that are not always popular with us happen. But we learn and we grow. Your friends and students are here to lean on, to listen, to learn with you on this part of your journey.
    Encore will find a place in the spot light. I’m sure Encore will recover and bring joy to us in ways no one has thought of.
    Feature will also. You never know what surprises are right around the corner.
    I am glad you shared with us. Know we are with you and wish you and your pack only the best. We all look forward to the lesson this is teaching us all.

    A friend in Texas USA–sorry about that loss, but well it is just a game. Sometimes underdogs surprise us. (that game took me back to 1980 winning over Russia-what a group of guys)


  10. Suzanne Wesley says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:11am

    Sending positive thoughts to both you and Encore. I hope you can get to the bottom of what is ailing her. Hang in there!


  11. Sue C. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:53am

    So sorry to read this Susan. Piper had intermittent lameness before we left for Holland in 2006 following a nail injury where the nail had to be surgically removed. The nail grew back well but compensating for his nail caused some tightness and consequently some lameness. I was horrified and was loath to tell anyone. I discussed the issue with our coach Marq (who was a rock for me) and I let him have some rest and instead focussed on my own mental prep. Luckily he was deemed healthy about a month before we left and several medals later the rest is history. Perhaps the enforced break was a blessing in disguise as I was unable to over train for the event…

    I hope that Encore has a full recovery but even if she doesn’t perhaps the fates have decreed that it will be Feature’s moment in the sun just a little sooner than you had planned…


  12. Karissa says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:09am

    What a huge bummer!

    I went through a persistant off/on lameness with my elite dog last year. We absolutely could not find any reason for it in our numerous vet & chiro visits. Most frustrating was that he would typically move perfectly every time we saw them. It got quite bad a few weeks before we were scheduled to leave for NADAC Championships. We hit him up with a round of Doxy and went through another loading dose of Adequan and propped him up with anti-inflammatories to keep him comfortable and wouldn’t you know it, he never set one foot wrong while we were there.

    Then two weeks after we got home he crashed and he crashed hard. Long story short, he has Addison’s disease. The on/off lameness continued to present itself until we got his levels stabalized — but in the months since then, he has been right as rain with not a single bobble. He’s even been able to go back to frisbee with no issues. Most Addison’s patients will present off/on lameness in the rear limbs as one of the symptoms, but a few do exhibit front end lameness.

    I know it’s not a likely scenario, but I thought I’d share my story. I do hope Encore is better soon!


  13. Christine says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9:29am

    Sending lots of ‘paw’sitive thoughts Encore’s way, and hope she’s back in fine shape soon. Perhaps she has different plans for IFCS, as much as Canada wants to see her run maybe she’s stepping aside to let her sister shine this event.



  14. Charlotte says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:13am

    Thanks for sharing Susan. I agree with Gemma, the SMART clinic rocks, my dog wasn’t lame, but jumped poorly for 5 years, she was checked by 2 chiropracters, 2 osteopaths and a physio and none of them picked up on anything. Then she went lame, and I pushed to see a specialist, we went to SMART and they found all sorts wrong in her shoulder, neck and back. It’s taken about 18 months to get her on the road again but she’s come back fighting fit. My old boy was retired from full height at 8 due to intermittent lameness for 3 years, again none of the above could find anything wrong, but several trips to SMART has sorted him out, he’s now 11, running faster than ever and hasn’t been lame in over a year. So you could always bring both your guys over for IFCS, and pop over to SMART one day, it’s not far from the IFCS venue 🙂 x


  15. Theresa says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:50am

    Wow…. SO sorry to hear about sweet little Encore. Dear, dear susan , I am praying for you both that the Vets will be inspired to find the cause, and cure it.
    You are a remarkable team . Thanks for being BRAVE and sharing your pain !
    Just look at all the love and support you all have.
    As for the hockey team…. on that particular day, at that particular moment in time….. Team US of A ROCKED !!!!!!!
    ( I do so love your country and used to summer in Nova Scotia )


  16. Kim B. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:04am

    Thanks for sharing your woes with us!! I will be sending positive vibes northward for Encore!!! I think we all know what it is like to have a pup with a nagging injury you just can’t seem to find the cause of 🙂 I am sure you are close to figuring it out, but which ever dog you go with, I can’t wait to watch and cheer you on across the pond!
    As for the hockey…it is just a game…BUT what a GREAT game it was!!!! lol I am sure the USA will see Canada again in the next round for another hard fought exciting game!!! (Canada is my reserve team if the USA gets knocked out:) )


  17. mtrebino says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:39am

    Susan, I am sending lots of warm heating pad thoughts and massages..Encores way..I know what this is like when Twist was 3 she hurt her self coming down off the dog walk rear leg though..It has been 4 years and many doctor visits and xrays, chropractors and pills and accuputure trips and nothings seems to keep it at bay for long..Zizi was my lifeline and she is so far away now..but those darn border collies are like the every ready bunny they just keep on a goin no matter what..I am also sending a great massage out for you to..margie


  18. Kari says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:24am

    I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful girl, Encore. Sending all my good thoughts your way in hopes that she is ok and gets better soon.


  19. Jodi says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 8:04pm

    I know it’s bad when I hear Susan Garrett mutter “Whoa is me” ….words never uttered from a master problem solver. I am thinking of you both knowing that you will find the best solution for her soon.


  20. Gemma Osmond says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:43pm

    That’s terrible new, so sorry to hear about Encore’s lameness. If you were in the UK I would highly recommend you visit the specialist rehabilitation clinic called the Smart Clinic in South Wales – http://www.smartvetwales.co.uk/. I’m sure you’ve investigated all possible options already, but if you could find something similar in Canada I would suggest giving them a go. I was at a seminar with them yesterday and we learnt lots about the potential injuries facing our agility dogs, and the physio treatment for helping them back to competition.

    The most straight forward, but so often overlooked exercise, was walking our dogs – on lead, and making them walk, not trot or canter, and not allowing them to pull (I’m sure that’s not Encore’s problem!). I wish I could magic Lowri Davies (the head vet and owner) out to you – she’s a expert in her field, and has made my girl even better than she was before – Ella wasn’t even showing any lameness, but she saw work that needed doing to improve her. Perhaps it would be worth getting in touch with her with video clips of Encore – sorry if I’m suggesting things you’ve already covered, just keen to try and help if at all possible. I only had to give Ella 3 weeks off whilst we worked with her, and that was quite bad enough – can quite understand your blues 🙁


  21. Tori Self says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:15pm

    Thinking of you and Encore…that’s the worst feeling. 🙁


  22. Darryl says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:02pm


    I have the a similar problem with Kiltie. She been diagnosed with Bicep Tendinitis in the the front right shoulder. She pulled up lame just after our Nationals in October. After 8 weeks of crate rest and another 4 weeks of light exercise she seemed fine. We’ve done some training without contacts and she’s been great, but added the A-Frame last week and she was worse the next day than ever before. The limp has gone away now and I’m re-training a running A-Frame.

    Wishing Encore a full recovery soon.


  23. Julie says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:45pm

    Sending lots of positive thoughts to you and Encore.


  24. Lisa says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:31pm

    So sorry to hear about Encore. I hope you will find out what the problem is so you can do something to help her get better. My positive thoughts are with you both.

    You blog is definatly, the place you should be. As I have recently been having problems with my young dog (nothing major) AND THANKS you and your blog I have been motivated to figure them out by myself (ala “What would Susan Do?”) as now you are in my head. It was funny hearing you tell people to dust off their copy of Ruff Love and read it as a day before that post that is exactly what I did. The problem is improving.

    Your recent post on teaching your dog something by shaping has challenged me to teach each of my dogs more tricks or fun things. I have managed to make time to work with all 4 of them every day for the last week to teach them different fun tricks or silly skills. This has helped my relationship with them all immensely. Thanks for the push. I even have a 15 year old who complains if she is not shaped. It is a joy to see an old dog want to work.

    Thanks to your readers and your Blog, I also was challenged to look up European “FCI” type courses on the internet. By obtaining courses from your readers and on the net, I was able to set up some very different challenges then I am used to running on this side of the pond. In doing so it challenged my handling skills and showed me “my holes” so I can enbrace them and become a better partner for my current and future dogs.

    I hope this dark time in your life passes quickly and things work out for you and Encore. Sometimes, we are all tested for different reasons by a higher power.

    I do not get to write into your Blog too often as I try to read it on my lunch at work and somethings do not get back on my computer at home. Today, I just wanted to let you know how appreciative, I am of your posts and what you share with us all.


  25. Stephanie Morris says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:29pm

    I am so sorry for you and for Cory! How awful to have this eating at you. I hope there is a diagnosis as I know it has been really tough to try and find what is wrong and come up empty handed but yet see that the dog really is hurt and limping. I have done the same with Reya with a hind leg injury that I swore was iliosoas strain and ended up being a torn deep flexor tendon. I sure wish they could talk!


  26. Mary Muliett says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:26pm

    I am glad you shared this on this space, yes you try to remain upbeat, but you have a bunch of support from all of us who read your blog daily…..make sure to tap into the energy when you need it!

    I am sending healing energy Encore’s way as I type. Good luck to you in trying to sort this out for your gilrlie.


  27. Beth N. says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 2:34pm

    So sorry to hear about Miss Encore. I assume that she has tested negative for Lyme’s disease? Front end lameness is a classic symptom. My BC girl tested positive for this twice and had vague lameness both times. Good luck and sending good thoughts for her to get better!!!


  28. pogonip and kharma says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:30pm

    You have a perfect right to feel down when your furbaby is having health problems. I think there are lots of good thoughts being sent to the Garrett girls via the blogosphere right now so keep your spirits up.

    I may be American but I find myself cheering every time Canada wins a medal! So fun for the host nation–and well deserved.


  29. Mary Lou Hanlon says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:20pm

    So sorry to hear about Missy En. Keep us posted.
    Thought something was up since you hadn’t posted to the blog in a couple of days. Sending healing thoughts your way.


  30. Taryn says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:06pm

    Susan, So sorry to hear about Encore’s intermittant lameness. I know how frustrating it can be when no one can pinpoint the cause! My first agility dog has lameness that comes and goes as well. And while we aren’t anything more than hobbyists, it is very upsetting to see him in pain, and very disappointing to have discontinue agility with my buddy.

    Sending all the healing vibes I can in Encore’s direction!


  31. Laurie says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:02pm

    Susan, my competition dog, too, has an on-again/off-again lameness that the vet, chiropractor, etc., have not been able to diagnose. I understand your frustration and anxiety. Fingers crossed it all works out for the best. I still remember meeting Encore at a seminar in Utah many years ago. She’s a keeper. Best wishes.


  32. Luiza says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:46am

    All positive thoughts going to your girly! Hope you can find the cause soon so she can have a good recovery!


  33. Linda says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:40am

    Sending healing thoughts to Encore, not knowing I’m sure is the worst part of this. Hoping for a resolution and a speedy recovery. Good to look at the silver lining, but still a bummer about not knowing what is up with Encore. Hang in there.



  34. A&J says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:26am

    Wondering if it’s something internal in the shoulder joint, like a chronic inflammation of sorts. I’m sure it’s pointing out the obvious, but just in case …
    positive (recovery) thoughts heading Encore’s way from this corner of the world.


  35. Catherine Thomas says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:58am

    HI Susan
    I am sorry to hear about Encore. I would like to thank you for the Blog, which I find very helpful in so many ways. I also want to thank you for the Celleriser, I just got it on Thursday and I am really hooked!
    One thought on Encore. A client of mine has a Flat Coat, who had a mysterious fever last summer that just would not go away. Thanks to a very persistant vet, the cause was discovered to be a virus from fox ticks. I don’t know if you have foxes on your property …. but this is something to consider.
    Sending Encore healing thoughts,
    Catherine Thomas


  36. Jan V says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:36am

    Positive energy and prayers coming your way for a solution to this mystery; and for your and Encore’s full and speedy recovery. Also wishing you safe travels home.

    – Jan & Brio


  37. Andrea says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:01am

    The positive thing is if anyone can get this fixed or figure out the best way to deal with it, it’s you. Encore is very lucky to have you and I know you feel blessed every day to have her. Phoenix and I are sending her favourite Aunt lots of healing thoughts, I’ve even forced the aussie for sustained mental focus in sending healing vibes your way.


  38. Marcy says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 9:54am

    I will keep you, John and Encore in my prayers. I cannot imagine how frustrated and concerned you must be. Hopefully the tick panel will come back positive and doxy will work its magic. In the meantime, though I am from the states, I will send good vibes for the Canadian ice dancing team of Virtue and Moir – they are AMAZING!!!
    Hugs from across the border to you and John!


  39. Dianne Spring says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 9:15am

    I am so sorry about Encore’s lameness. I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are concerned with your dog’s wellness. If only they could just tell us what is wrong! I am sure you know how many people are sending positive energy to you and Encore for her complete recovery.


  40. Louise Lamer says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 9:06am

    So sorry for you and Encore, my positives thoughts are with you. I’m sure you are well supervised by the vets you know, I was thinking about a MRI that could be done and not invasive (only anesthesia) you could have a answer before the important trial and not get the problem worst in the years. I also think about an arthroscopy by much more invasive.


  41. AJ Carrington says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 8:51am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about what is happening with Encore. I empathize with all the worry this must cause you to see your dog suffering pain and discomfort. Here’s hoping that you find out soon how the mystery of Encore’s lameness can be solved and she is on the road to recovery.
    Our thoughts are with you.


  42. Megan says:
    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 8:29am

    I just wanted to say thankyou for sharing this blog update with us. This is something very personal you’re going through at the moment. Even though I don’t have a World class agility dog I too have a young dog in the prime of her agility career that has an ailment with her right front leg. And to have you share what is happening with Encore, makes me feel stronger when trying to deal with my own precious dog.
    Maybe if we all think very postitive thoughts for everyone else out there it will come back tenfold for our own dogs 🙂
    I have my hand on my heart and I’m visualising Encore doing an amazing round with NO lameness.


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