I Tore My Iliopsoas Because I’m a Border Collie

I have really, really bad news.

I can’t play fetch until September 15.

Do you understand how long that is?

That’s the same amount of time since we left Denver.

That’s a quarter of a year.

It’s one-sixth of the time that I’ve lived with Kayla and Andrew.

I went to Gallatin Animal Hospital yesterday (for the second time in two days) so the orthopedic surgeon could look at me.

Kayla fed me lots of treats while they pushed on my back, pulled on my legs, and pressed into my tendons. I actually didn’t mind much until they started pulling on my right back leg. That hurt. I tried to pull away, and the vet let me go.

Then he told Kayla what’s going on.

I’ve been walking a bit funny because I hurt my iliopsoas. This is the hip flexor muscle that’s involved in jumping, running, and other quick movements.

You can kind of see how it works in this diagram of a horse below. I borrowed this image from Canine Muscle Works.

Image result for iliopsoas dog

My symptoms were really subtle. I just wasn’t kicking my hind legs out very far when I ran. My toes turned out a bit on that right hind leg, turning my knee in. I did this because it doesn’t put strain onto that muscle, so it felt more comfortable.

The vet says I’m only at a grade 1 out of 3 tear, so I probably won’t need a lot of extra therapies. The vet assistant gave me some laser therapy while Kayla fed me more treats, and then they talked for a long time. I fell asleep.

barley laser therapy

I’m not going to be able to play fetch, sprint, jump, turn, or twist suddenly for 12 weeks.

That’s a long time if you ask me. Fetch is my life. I wake up and I put a toy in my mouth. I fall asleep with my chin on my squeakies. I could run backward with sticks in my mouth for hours. When people ask if they can pet me, I shove a wood chip (or whatever I can grab) into their hands first. I’d do a backflip for a frisbee.

Fetch is life.

In fact, maybe that’s the problem.

Maybe I jumped too high for the frisbee, or I exploded with too much enthusiasm after a ball. Maybe it was one of those times I lept over a log for a stick.

How can something I love so much be what hurt me?

I guess I’ll admit that my leg does hurt a bit. I’m feeling kind of stiff today. Kayla has already started working on some physical therapy with me, and those stretches feel good.

She made a big spreadsheet of my stretches and progress to keep herself motivated. If that helps her, that’s great.

I just want someone to throw the damn ball.

We’re currently taking a Fenzi Dog Sports Academy TEAM Training class, and Kayla says we’ll work on nosework and trick training more. The vet said that I’m ok to go with her on short, leashed jogs as long as we walk the hills and I don’t jump over anything. Not exactly the marathon training of last year!

To be honest, I think she’s more bummed than I am.

barley loves fetch

Always Look on the Bright Side

Well, it could be worse. I could have hip dysplasia or a spine issue. I could have a worse tear or another injury that takes even longer to heal.

And hey, I’m in Montana with my people. We’re going on (short) adventures all the time, and there are lots of amazing sniffs here. After meeting with the Executive Director of Working Dogs for Conservation, Kayla is going to find some fox scent soon. She said she’s going to teach me to find fox poo!

The last few weeks have been amazing. Even if all my activity might have made this injury worse, I’m glad we got to do so much hiking and running in Jackson and Casper. It was a blast!

I’m pretty excited about all of the training we’ll get to do. Maybe there’s some massages in my future. Kayla is even talking about finally getting me a CleverPet, Pet Tutor, or Furbo. So maybe being injured isn’t so bad, after all!

Paws crossed.

Because you know what?

Life is Still Really, Really Good

As I said, Montana is great. Since I last wrote, we’ve been to Minneapolis, Casper, Jackson, West Yellowstone, and Bozeman.

Jackson was amazing. We went for a run almost every day. I went swimming and rolled in the wildflowers. I slept in the sun and ate leftover ground beef.

Andrew’s friend Taka and his roommates played with me a bunch. Maybe I hurt myself in Jackson. I just don’t know exactly when this happened.

We camped in West Yellowstone, which was also really fun! I was outside for days straight. I slept in the tent and Kayla put her vest on me to keep me warm at night. I borked a lot during Andrew’s 5k and Kayla’s half marathon. I even crossed the finish line with Kayla!

I hope we can compete in canicross once my leg feels better. It’s so gosh-darn fun.

Why would you visit a volcano?

Yellowstone was lame. I mean, the humans loved it.

But I stayed in the car the whole time, except for some walks. They couldn’t leave me at the campground, but I’m not allowed on trails. After we saw a bunch of bison and a few bears, I guess I see why. They said that the sulfur I smelled was from a VOLCANO, which to me means we should LEAVE.

But they just wanted to go look at the stinky water with the weird colors. Not sure what the point is, since you can’t drink it or swim in it. And it reeks.

I’ll never get it, I guess.

Bozeman has been great, too. We’re leaving tomorrow for Helena, then Missoula, then Glacier. I guess I won’t get to hike as much as we’d hoped, but I’m excited to keep seeing the west. Andrew says I can probably swim in the ocean once we get to Seattle. That’ll be good!

Keeping my chin up and focusing on the good sniffs in life.

Author: Barley The Dog

Barley is a four year old border collie who absolutely loves fetch. His zest for life keeps Kayla and Andrew on their toes. He’s also really, really, ridiculously good looking.

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