I have been away from the blog for the past week or so — mostly a forced absence.  My back decided it was a good time for me to “take a break.” My back has dictated forced “downtime” in my life in the past. Of course with this lay up coming only a few days after my week of fitness fun, John blames me over working it in the gym. I am convinced that was not the cause. My back, when it “goes out” can often be traced to an emotional cause –stress related– more than a physical issue.

Truly you could say “It is all in my head”, in my opinion. Neither icing nor drugs had any effect on the pain and discomfort and the painful spots would move around. Plus I felt it come on gradually while I typed at the computer; hence my conclusion it was a mental rather than a physical issue with my dear old back. Either way, it was trips to the chiropractor and my osteopath with energy work by Carol Smorch adding the final touches to the healing process at the trial.

It likely didn’t help that during the month of August I was at the computer a lot for my e-course. Some days up to 16 hours without a break. Not the norm for me and certainly that could have played a role. Whatever the reason, my incapacitation had John dressing and undressing me everyday for the better part of ten days and I had to resort to using a cane to get around the house.  There was no comfort sitting or standing so I spend most of the last two weeks lying in bed. Forced bed rest – – I was not amused!

Very frurstrating since I have FCI Worlds around the corner and last weekend had the USDAA Regionals. In spite of the fact I could not break out of a walk on Thursday I convinced John to drive me to Michigan so I could try to compete.  He was not impressed and after watching two classes on Friday he announced “you are screwing up those dogs trying to handle them around a course when you can’t even break out of a jog.” Of course he was right, luckily I only entered those two classes on Friday. By Saturday I was much better and could run; albeit without much extension of my legs in front.  I felt like a well dressed lady from the fifties in a tight A line skirt trying to run for a bus.

I think I would have been okay had it not started to rain on Saturday:(. Cold and rain not good for an ailing back. My goal in going to the regional was to get some handling under pressure before worlds but really I was hoping to get a “bye” in Steeplechase and Grand Prix for Feature for the USDAA Finals in October (Encore already has hers). Sadly, I we did not get our “byes” – – just not meant to be for Featchy and I. She had a perfect Grand Prix finals — the fastest time and I have watched and re-watched the video and still can not see where she touches a bar on the double, yet one fell down:(.

However I still think it was a good weekend.  Since this was the last regional event of the year, there were competitors from all across the USA (and some from Canada as well). Even with me running half speed (and if you have seen me run, half of my speed is close to going in reverse!) we managed some nice runs. Feature and Encore came first and second in Team Standard, Feature won Team Jumpers, Encore won the Steeplechase finals and Feature (with our teammates Terry Smorch with Presto and Kim Cullen with Recess) won the all around Team Championship.


This week as I add the final touches to our preparations before heading off to Germany for the worlds, I get so emotional thinking about my dogs. I always do during final prep for the worlds.

How much I love them, how grateful I am to own each of them, how far they have come since coming home with me when they were 7 weeks old.

How much they give to me and what they tolerate . . . especially during weekends like this one where I was limping around the courses– relying on my dog even more than normal.

Wow, do I ever love my dogs. I can’t imagine a life without a dog, can you?

Here are some highlights from the weekend, with me running like I have been hobbled and my dogs doing what they do so well.

Today I am grateful for Encore and Feature, not because of what they do inside of the agility ring, but because of how much each of them add to my life outside of the sport of  agility.