again, so glad it's not cancer. Post-surgery, you will need to find a way to rig up a private place for Miko. Probably an Ex-Pen or or large crate at first, as he's very likely to need to be on crate rest for a while. Definitely shouldn't be with other dogs while he recovers.
I keep the bag open on the floor in the living room, and he'll go in there on his own and hang out from time to time. We had a heavy wind storm last night and I found him curled up in his bag. The small spaces are comforting.
We are home from our big adventure, safe and sound. Buddy finished 33rd in the nation, and I'm quite proud of my old guy. I had hoped to make top 50, and we certainly did! For a brief moment we were in the top 10, then some glitch caused Buddy to refuse a jump in his final round, and that cost us a lot of points.
I'll share more photos when I have a chance to move them from phone to computer, but here is a link to the live streaming video that was archived on YouTube. If you fast-forward to 1:59:01 you can see one of Buddy's four rounds. I don't recommend trying to watch it from the beginning, it was a live feed with lots of down time.
AKC Rally National Championship Live Feed
I'll probably linger at the airport till around 10...take some time to clean up after the overnight flight, have a slow breakfast, let Buddy have a lengthy visit at the pet relief area, etc. Traffic doesn't scare me, but why jump in the middle of rush hour if I don't have to?
We are now less than 46 hours away from our departure. I have started the painful process of adjusting Buddy and I to EDT...woke him up at 4am today for a little training session. Tomorrow we will do 3:30am. He liked the early breakfast part, I'll say that!
We arrive in Baltimore about 6:30 Thursday morning. I sincerely hope the ice and snow from Tuesday's storm is gone by then. This California girl doesn't like to drive in that stuff! Did it in grad school in Colorado many, many years ago, but I'm out of practice.
Update: a couple of weeks of limited activity, and a visit to a chiropractor, and Buddy is back at 100%. We have been polishing up our skills, practicing loading up in our Sherpa bag, and planning out the little details for our trip.
Also, a local TV station has picked up the press release about our trip, and will have Buddy and I on during the morning show this coming Thursday, to talk about our journey, and to demo some of the Rally exercises in the studio.
After doing extensive research on carrying a large-ish small dog in cabin, I determined that I ran a risk of Buddy and his carrier not fitting under the seats in the tiny regional planes that fly in and out of Bakersfield, and at the other end, in and out of Harrisburg. So, we changed our itinerary. In doing so I lost my seat in First class, because on the larger planes there is not any room under your seat...it's all taken up by electronics. So we are back in Economy. I'll drive down to LAX, fly non-stop to Baltimore, then drive the 90 minutes to Harrisburg. On the way back I'll drive back to Baltimore, fly to Denver, connect back to LAX, and DH will pick us up. This plan keeps us on larger (757 and A320) aircraft that I have found under-seat measurements that will work for us.
Here is Buddy in our preferred carrier, the Large Sherpa on Wheels. Preferred because it is one inch longer than the other bag, which makes a big difference in his comfort. Also because it has wheels and Buddy weighs nearly 26 pounds. The disadvantage is that it is technically one inch above the airline requirements. It does "squish" some, and should work just fine.
This is a Large Sturdi Bag. It is one inch shorter than the other bag, but also an inch taller at the top. But, because of it's springy design, it flexes down a lot easier. Buddy can go in and turn around in this bag, but not as easily as the other one. It will work in a pinch, if we get a persnickety Flight Attendant, or if my seat has any electronics under it that compromises the available space for his bag, and the other won't fit. I am going to bring it, with my "carryon" items stowed inside in a duffel bag. If I need to put him in the smaller bag, I can quickly pull out the duffel and switch it to the other bag, making it my "carry-on". United is one of the few airlines that does not count your pet carrier as your carry-on bag.
One more photo, just because I have my Photobucket account open. This was Buddy last week out at the ranch, working sheep. A friend had arrived early for her lesson, and snapped this photo of Buddy on the Outrun, where he is sent out in a "loop" to gather up the sheep and bring them toward the handler.
Be careful what you feed with the pill. Cat food tends to be very high protein and hard on dogs' kidneys. High-fat cheese, etc can sometimes trigger pancreatitis. My dogs get peanut butter in small amounts with no problems, but I wouldn't let them have a lot.
Luckily for us, all the corgis will eat anything without asking any questions, so I can usually just drop the pill on top of their kibble in their bowl and not worry about it. When they need a dose between meals, three small pinches of lowfat string cheese (before, hiding the pill, and after) like the double-treat method works pretty well.
If that doesn't work, ask your vet if the medication is available as a liquid, and give with a syringe.
Great news! Had a re-check at the vet today, and Buddy is cleared for normal activity again!
He will go to agility class tomorrow, an agility trial on Sunday, and start up herding again week after next. And, our training regimen for the Rally Nationals is now in full swing!
A month ago, we had low temps in the teens, which is really cold for us. Corgis don't generally need coats, but I made Buddy this coat to wear at an agility trial that weekend, between runs, to keep his muscles warm. Last week it was in the high 70s. Can't we have a happy medium.
Silly me I didn't realize how large Harrisburg's airport is (12 gates). However, there are no non-stop flights from CA which could mean a plane change (lugging carry-ons) in Chicago or Atlanta.
I had to use frequent flyer miles for my ticket and had a very inflexible timeline to work with, so I am stuck with multiple connections. That's just how it had to be.
The advice I got from many folks experienced with flying a dog in-cabin was to fly first class to avoid being hassled by gate agents and flight attendants.
The best itinerary I could get that met my schedule, let me use my miles, AND was on aircraft that had sufficient under-seat space for Buddy's carrier was...
Bakersfield to Los Angeles
5 hour layover
LA to Chicago, overnight flight
90 minute layover
Chicago to Harrisburg
Harrisburg to Dulles
Dulles to st Louis
St Louis to Denver
Denver to Bakersfield
Each return leg had roughly a 2 hour layover
Certainly not perfect, but the best scenario we would get.
Over New Year's we received the exciting news that Buddy had qualified for the 2014 AKC Rally National Championship! It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us, so we are going.
The event is in Harrisburg, PA at the end of March. Since we live in California and I can't take 3 weeks off from work, we are flying. Fortunately Buddy is small enough to be a carry-on pet. Our entry has been confirmed, plane tickets purchased, hotel and rental car reservations made.
Here is where I could use some positive energy from the collected group. To make a long story short, about a week ago Buddy found himself on the losing end of a little altercation. He tore a little but of muscle in his right thigh, and pulled his hamstring. After 5 days of crate rest he is able to just hang out loose in the house and go on short walks, but still can't train, herd, or play, for at least two more weeks. The good news is that our vet does believe that, with proper rest, he will make a full recovery with just some meds and leash walks as PT. He is on Novox (generic for Rimadyl) for the pain and inflammation. At 8 years old, we have to be careful. Please send us positive thoughts for a full and complete recovery so we can get back on a training regimen and resume all of the other activities he loves to do.