When the bandage came off, I was disgusted. Not only was there dried blood soaked through several layers of gauze and vet wrap, her nail was just a tiny sliver and there was a fleshy nubbin (I assume the quick) hanging out of it. (There is a reason I majored in English and not nursing--I do not handle fleshy nubbins well.)
She was fine walking around the house, but if she ran in the yard, it would start to bleed and she come in limping. I wasn't able to let her and Rye out at the same time because every time they were out, she'd chase Rye around the yard and then stop and hold her paw up and look at me like it was my fault.
As soon as I took the bandage off on Monday, it was clear that she was not going to be ready for agility class later in the week. After talking to our trainer to see what her opinion was, we decided that it would be better not to take Barley to class--even just for some focus work and no jumping--and Rye came along instead. She got to do some socialization with another classmate who had just been neutered and couldn't jump. We got to do some relaxation work while she watched the other dogs run the course. It was a really good experience for her, but I was heartbroken.
Every week (minus a few holidays and a couple short vacations) for 5.5 years, Barley and I have gone to agility class together. Leaving her at home to go somewhere we always go together felt like I was betraying her. Most of my friends tried to comfort me by telling me they feel the same guilt when they have to leave one of their pets home alone--but that wasn't it. I don't mind leaving Barley to do things solo with Rye. I enjoy going to obedience with Rye every week. I don't necessarily enjoy--but know we need--our solo walks without Barley (and the only reason I don't enjoy them is because Rye is a monster on a leash).
Agility has been such an important part of the way Barley and I have bonded. It's the one hour a week when no matter what is going on in the world or at work, it's just me and Barley. We're a team and even though I sometimes don't do the best job communicating with her (because I'm a klutz!), when she reads my signals and we have a really good run and she smiles up at me, I couldn't feel prouder of either of us. Missing out on that part of our week felt like I was missing a part of myself.
We also missed out on an entire week of walks. My step tracker was starting to think that I'd died because I had so few steps. Barley was starting to get into things--like stealing bags of treats off the counters--because she was bored.
We were able to work in a few noseworks sessions to cure Barley's boredom--which was really fun because we hadn't broken out our scent kit since right after we'd moved into our house almost a year ago. Barley was a little rusty, but she had so much fun getting to work in some way.
It's been a while since we've done any noseworks but since we're at almost a week with no walks it seemed like the perfect time to break out our scent kit. Bar's a little rusty, and Rye kept getting in the way, but Barley was so happy to be doing something other than napping. #dogs #bordercollie #noseworks
When the temperatures finally climbed into the 50s, we had to give walking a try. I wrapped Barley's foot in a layer of gauze and some vet wrap to protect the nubbin and we were able to get a little stroll in. Unfortunately, being unexperienced in wrapping dog feet, our wrap fell of about half a mile into the first walk and there was no good way to get it back on, so we had to turn around and go home. That short distance with no wrapping irritated Barley's toe enough that I spent the rest of the night convincing her not to lick it. Eventually, I mastered wrapping her foot enough that we could get in 1.5-mile walks.
|Who can think of posing when there's fresh air to sniff?|
By the time agility came around again, Barley was walking without a wrap and running in the yard without limping or causing her toe to bleed--and the nubbin and shriveled up and fallen off (IN MY BED!), so I decided we could go to class and see what happened. I brought vet wrap in case it looked like she was bothered by her foot and we jumped her at 16 inches instead of 20 to ease her back into activity, but she was great. A little slower than usual after almost two weeks of inactivity, but she was focused and excited. When we got into the car, I started to tear up because it had just felt so good to be back with my girl doing what we love. (Can you imagine how insufferable I'll be if Barley ever has something more serious than a hurt toe to deal with?!)
I think we still have to be careful with her toe, especially on rougher surfaces than a padded gym floor, but it feels so good to be getting back to our routines again.