Taking the long view

Needless to say, like all of us, my September 2020 is different than I had planned for, hoped for, or expected. Summer vacations, family get-togethers, agility events, agility workshops, social gatherings with friends…all canceled or strictly limited due to the pandemic. While it would be easy to get depressed, pessimistic, grouchy or super stressed (and all of those emotions have visited me in short bursts), I’ve been largely successful in nurturing a positive attitude and a growth mindset as I wait for the new normal to kick in.

Maintaining gratitude hasn’t been as hard as you might think as my family is healthy, my income is secure, my community is responsible in following the “pandemic” rules and I’m hopeful that this will all be over at some point relatively soon due to the brilliant work of our medical researchers.

I’ve taken this gift of time to get better at photography, build a new website for an environmental non-profit Genesee RiverWatch (I’m a board member), start a vegetable garden, explore and commit to an online workout program (12 weeks and counting!), and unearth my bicycle to take advantage of the wonderful biking/hiking trail that is just minutes from my home.

Through all this, my dogs have both kept me sane and produced heartache. We said good-bye to our beloved Sheltie Breeze on July 15th. At 16-1/2 yrs old, he had lived a long good life. While his last year was a little tough, mostly he had a great quality of life, spreading joy to anyone he met – who said shelties are shy and reserved? Because of Breeze’s talent for agility, he provided me with all kinds of adventures, long-lasting friendships and travel to places I would probably never had visited. Czech Republic anyone?

Border collie Nick and I were having fun doing agility as the weather improved after a late spring but recurrent front-end lameness starting in mid-June brought all that to a halt by early July, just as he turned 5 yrs old. After a mid-August trip to Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine (VOSM), I knew we were in for a new, unwanted and unexpected adventure. At the end of September, Nick will have PRP/Stem cell injections in his left carpus and both shoulders along with left shoulder arthroscopy. He’ll be in hobbles for 12 weeks (!) and then rehab will follow. I don’t know of an acute injury that caused the issue, but the diagnostics indicate that the carpus had been sore for a while and the shoulder was secondary. Perhaps I would have picked up on that if I had done my regular rehab vet checks that were canceled due to the pandemic. Nick was certainly good at hiding his discomfort. It’s so sad to think of a young dog missing out on 6+ months of “action”. And yet, and yet – a big lesson to learn here – he remains a very happy guy!

Which brings me to Tai. Tai is 10-3/4 yrs old, retired from agility at age 9, and we are trying new things. We are working on Nosework skills with awesome instructor Julie Symons and he has had a few herding lessons. He’s very good at scent work but I’m not sure about herding :-). He has a long history of “don’t chase things” and I worry about him getting hurt. We’ll stick with it for a while and see what happens.  Just being able to do things with him at this age is a gift.

So what is next?  I’m taking the long view. I’m hoping to dip my toe into teaching again soon, so stay tuned for that news.  Surely, Nick’s rehab will nearly be a full time job and I’m hoping with the great team of Dr. Canapps at VOSM and Thera-vet that we’ll get where we need to be for an active lifestyle early in 2021. I’ll enjoy Tai’s elder years and who knows, maybe a puppy will be in our future. We’ll keep on plugging along with the conviction that 2021 will be a better new normal.