Agility Spaz

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sponge Bob and Mister Peanut

Rehab makes for odd relationships. In the last weeks of her reconditioning program, Viva made the acquaintance of two very special celebrities: Mister Peanut and Sponge Bob Square Pants. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Sponge Bob. V had been working out weekly in the underwater treadmill at the University of Minnesota's Center for Veterinary Medicine when her rehab therapist, Lin, decided it was time to add resistance training. It was not enough for Viva to walk on the underwater treadmill, or trot on the underwater treadmill, or walk or trot on the underwater treadmill going uphill. No. We needed Floaties. Viva initially got Floaties for her hind legs. Decorated Floaties. Bright yellow -- can you see where this is going? Sponge Bob Square Pants Floaties.

Viva has been a really, really good sport through all of this. And I have been there for her through thick and thin. But Sponge Bob Floaties? I was laughing so hard I nearly needed Square Pants of my own. The following week was worse: four smiling Sponge Bobs, one on each leg. We got video footage of the event, which I will try to post here. In the meanwhile, imagine a very earnest, hard-working Icelandic Sheepdog, normally not a fan of water, taking step after step on an underwater treadmill, four Sponge Bobs at her side. Strange allies.

Mister Peanut, an enormous blue Physioroll, makes Viva far happier than does Sponge Bob. For one thing, there's less water involved. For another, well, this dog is a born circus dog. I figured it would take her a week to get acclimated to Mister Peanut. Nope. One day. She scrambled up the side of the ball and planted herself on top of it like a little kid on a water bed. We've graduated to all kinds of activity on the ball. No matter what we're doing, she looks comfy. Who'd have thought a gigantic blue peanut could become one of a dog's best friends?

Viva graduated from rehab at the end of August and resumed agility classes in September. She has been trialling since the beginning of October, and so far the knee is holding up beautifully. Her jumping actually looks better than it did before the injury, probably because of her gains in core and hind-end strength. We continue to do hill-walking daily, and alternate between ball workouts and stair workouts in addition to our normal agility training rotation. Assuming that her trial fitness holds, Viva will be representing her breed at the AKC agility invitational in Long Beach, California, in December.