Chispa blog – full stop

This will very likely be my last post in this blog. It's difficult to even write this post, but I'll do my best.

Chispa is an incredible puppy. She is everything I could have wanted in a puppy. She is happy, she is bright, she is VERY into me, and of course I am crazy about her. She has all the makings of a talented jumper. Her running contacts are coming along spectacularly. Her weave poles look amazing. In my mind, we are already world champions together.

A few weeks ago I noticed some lameness that was worse after our training sessions. She'd had some slight lameness a few months ago that resolved with a few days of decreased activity, and so I didn't really think anything of it. But when it cropped up again, I got worried, and suspicious.

In short, Chispa has been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. She is currently in a crate, where she's been spending her life for the past several days, and she is on mild sedation, because being in a crate so much is not something either she or I are accustomed to, and neither of us are dealing well with it. She is not wanting to eat, and is, like me, depressed. She has a CT scan this upcoming Saturday to determine the severity of the issue, and then some sort of surgery, in all likelihood. However, surgery for elbow dysplasia simply delays the onset of osteoarthritis and makes a dog comfortable as a pet. Even as a pet, Chispa will be hard on her body. She will very likely not be able to be an agility dog of any kind, barring some sort of miracle at Saturday's appointment.

This is not something that was on the radar with any of her family members. Maybe it's my fault for letting her have more freedom than any of my other puppies – she's always enjoyed jumping off everything.  The bed, the couch, me. Regardless, our very bright future together as a working team has now gone dark, and I am just absolutely devastated. I try hard not to collapse into a quivering pile – it freaks her out when I start crying halfway through any sort of interaction with her. She's right there, looking bright and happy, and confused, because she wants to jump and run and play, and now, I have to say no. It is a small death every time I have to tell her no, we can't play, we can't run, we can't bounce around.

I hope that the news on Saturday is good – I'm not even sure what good news would look like at this stage. Yes, Chispa will live. Yes, after months of rehab after surgery she will likely be comfortable and live a long happy life as a pet. But obviously, that is not why she came in to my life, and I certainly wasn't prepared to mourn the loss of a working partner before we'd even managed to stretch our fledgling wings properly. This, hot on the heels of Frodo suffering a traumatic CCL tear and a subsequent TPLO taking him out of commission for several months has got the wind knocked out of me, and frankly, I wake up most mornings not knowing how to proceed through my day without crying.

Clearly, this is not how I envisioned the end of this puppy blog turning out. I was all in on this one, and this loss has absolutely crushed me. Hug your agility puppies and enjoy every moment with them, because you never know when your agility journey will be cut short.