Monday, May 27, 2013


One year ago this weekend, I agreed to take in a deaf Jack Russell as a foster. At first it was only supposed to be temporary - through the holiday weekend. Then it turned into something more long term. Finally, it became permanent. The little diva was here to stay.
Hokey - one year ago
Even then, she was a little cheeky

Hokey one year later - isn't she gorgeous?
To tell the truth, at the beginning of this month, I began to have doubts about where her agility training was going. Suddenly, she seemed not to have much interest in working for me. I began to ponder what I'd done to "ruin" her interest and also wondered if she might be hurting somewhere. As time went on, things got worse and she didn't seem to show a lot of interest in doing much of anything at all. I noticed her stomach was upset nearly every day; she had more interest in eating grass than doing her business every time I let her out in the yard and I found myself giving her pepcid on a nearly daily basis to settle her stomach. But she also seemed lethargic. Then I noticed her nose was running a bit and she seemed to be sneezing even more than usual. She's a sneezer to begin with, so I hadn't  paid much attention at first, but when combined with her other symptoms, I started to suspect spring allergies were afoot. There was a suspicion that she may have been exhibiting allergies when she came to live with me last year. My vet gave me a dosage for OTC allergy meds and Hokey seemed to respond, but it was hard to say for sure whether it was a response to the meds or just something running its course. Given that her symptoms were a milder version of last year, I decided to put her back on the allergy meds to see if they had any effect. I am happy to report that they worked their magic and within a few days she was completely back to her normal terrier self. I was so relieved that her behavior wasn't related to agility training.

Hokey modelling her new harness
Now that the weather is warmer, I'm spending a lot more time on cross-training. This involves playing little games in the backyard which may or may not include some agility elements, trick training, doing exercises for strength and flexibility, and going for lots and lots of walks. She LOVES to go for walks!

Here is an example of one of the little games I made up to play with her using a cheap plastic small patio table:

And here is Hokey showing off one of her newest tricks:

But best of all, I decided to enter her in her first agility trial. While I don't feel like she is quite ready for prime time and I'm still working on getting her contacts trained to where I would like them, I figured a couple of CPE runs at level 1 at a location that we had just been for some training the previous weekend would be a good way to dip our toes into the water, see what we need to work on, and celebrate our first year together. I chose to enter Hokey in jumpers and full house because a) they were scheduled back-to-back first thing in the morning b) I don't have to worry about contact obstacles in jumpers and c) full house is a make-your-own-course point accumulation game so I likely wouldn't have to do contact obstacles and even if I did, I feel like I can probably get a passable A-frame or dog walk out of her at this point (I did end up throwing in one of those "passable" frames since it was kind of on the way to the table that, in that game, stops the clock). I am happy to report that she Q'd and blued in both runs AND because those two level 1 classes are paired, she also finished her first agility title - CL1-F! I couldn't be more proud.

Here is the video of her jumpers run; her first run in a trial ever:

Her full house run didn't go quite as smoothly - she discovered the ring crew and decided to pay a visit both between the 2nd and 3rd obstacle and then again at the end as the buzzer went off and when I needed to get her to the table. However, in both cases I was able to get her back on task and was able to run the entire course I'd mapped out for her and then get her to the table, so it worked out fine. Just something to work on with my social butterfly.  

Hokey's first agility ribbons

Considering that one year ago this weekend, she was slated to be euthanized for being "unadoptable" due to her deafness, we have an awful lot to celebrate!

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome little dog. Thanks for sharing Hokey's story and well done on the training.