Love you, Koda, my frenetic, frustrating-at-times, fun little dog…
Koda and I. We’ve been through a lot together.
She was a hard-to-train puppy, who barked back at me when I scolded her. I remember the dog trainer in puppy class watching me struggle with Koda, taking Koda from me, and then I watched her struggle with Koda. Koda was an equal opportunity miscreant.
We tried walking with the group I hiked the mountain with when Pepper was alive. We tried for awhile. I eventually was too embarrassed or annoyed or probably both at the way Koda would try to herd their dogs and otherwise not listen to me. I stopped going and figured I’d get back to it some day. I haven’t. She and I – and now Columbus – hike alone with another friend who doesn’t have dogs.
When she was a puppy I also went to an Australian Shepherd dog show. Watched the sheep herding trials and was amazed at how mad people were getting at their dogs. That didn’t look like fun at all. Then I watched the agility. That looked like fun, but I also realized that it was probably harder for the human, who had to memorize the course. For someone with a bad memory like me, it didn’t seem like a good fit.
Except even though we never did do agility, I knew Koda would love it. I even looked for local training facilities for it, but always came up short. Until just recently, when one of my dog sitters told me she was taking her puppy to agility classes. And they are the next town over! In a huge barn with a dirt floor. A horse barn. She invited me to come and watch a class, and the trainers allowed me to do a drop-in session this week.
One thing Koda has always done well is jumping. As a teeny weeny pup jumping over my legs, I started saying the word “jump” every time she did it and put a patting hand motion to it. I think jump was probably the first word she ever learned. And so the jumps were a breeze. But she also ran right up A-frame, dog walk, and see saw – all slanted off-the-ground climbing apparatus. And she – knowing the word wait – waited right at the end where she was supposed to. She had a little more trouble with the weave poles and tunnel and chute, but she got the beginnings of them.
So we got to do our agility class, Koda and I. She was so excited during it that she jumped up on me while we were waiting for our turn. She never jumps on me. She was all worked up, she was. Jumping AND whining. It was fun to do something with her – my attention is so focused on Columbus most of the time these days.
Tonight, when I got home, I saw that she was licking her paw. And then I saw a big red lump on it. At first I thought she had lost a toenail. Then I realized it was adjacent to her toenails and pad. I took a couple of pictures and sent them off to Tracey. Her diagnosis? A tumor.
That threw me for a loop. She started talking about making sure they get all of the tumor and amputating her toe. The “C” word was mentioned.
I am not going to borrow trouble. I will call the vet tomorrow morning and we’ll go from there. But I must admit my mind did start going to this one place….
If, for some reason, this turns out bad, I did get Koda to agility. I knew she would love it and be good at it and she did. And was.