I haven’t been posting much lately. It’s been cool but humid, and our scootering has been intermittent at best. The forecast for the immediate future, though, has been cool, cool, cool and I had been getting excited for fall training.
And then one day last week I came home from running some errands to be greeted by a 3-legged Maisy. She had been a 4-legged Maisy when I left less than an hour previously, and now she was holding up a rear leg. Some of your minds will immediately go to the same place my mind went upon reading that; I’ll spare all the gory details of the subsequent few days and just say that today we confirmed that she did, in fact, tear her cruciate ligament.
The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is found in the knee. In people, ACL tears are a common sports injury. In dogs, it CAN be a sports injury but can also be related to conformation of the knee or be a degenerative process. I have no idea how she did it. All three dogs are physically separated from one another when no humans are home so there couldn’t have been an altercation, and she was normal when I left her. So I suspect a combination of the latter two categories. That really doesn’t matter for how we handle this tear now, but if the tear wasn’t caused by an injury there’s a significant chance that the ACL in her other knee will tear someday, too. Anyway, we’ll deal with THAT plot twist if and when it happens. For now, I’ve communicated with an orthopedic surgeon and veterinary physical therapist and they are optimistic that she’ll be able to eventually return to mushing. That’s unimportant and important at the same time: She’s my girl and I love her no matter what she can or can’t do, but at the same time… while it breaks MY heart that she is going through all of this, I am quite sure it would break HER heart to not be able to mush anymore. So I’m glad it’s a realistic goal.
The estimate is 10-12 weeks total (surgery + physical therapy) to get her back on her feet and in condition to restart mushing, which means she’ll miss most or all of fall training. I admit, in some ways I’m dreading this. It’s no secret that Squash aka “Nosypants” isn’t stellar lead dog material, so it’s going to be a challenge to keep his mind in the game without my Enforcer to help me out at the end of the tugline. I’m trying very hard to look at this as an amazing training opportunity for me to improve his skills. Time will tell. In the meantime, he continues to enjoy his foundations agility class and we’re doing a fair amount of canicross and off leash park visits.
I wish this wasn’t happening to her, but we have access to great care, the ultimate outcome looks good, and hopefully this will soon just be a distant memory we skijor farther and farther away from. We’ll all get through this together.