My name is Liz Dole and I am a veterinarian. I have also been an agility competitor with my Labrador retrievers for over 18 years. My dogs have always competed at the highest level and have accomplishments at both at the national and international levels.
In the fall of 2014, I noticed that my then 6 year old Labrador, Lexie, was exhibiting some limping of her right front leg. It hadn’t affected her agility ability—in fact, she had just achieved her Master Agility Championship (MACH) and was still running as fast as ever. I live in Virginia and took her to see Drs. Sherman and Deb Canapp for evaluation. Luckily, Lexie had helped out with a previous VOSM study on gait analysis (as one of the normal dogs) so we could compare new findings to her baseline values. Diagnostic testing showed medial instability of both shoulders with cartilage fragments in her shoulder joints. Surgery was scheduled in February, 2015. I told Sherman that my goal was for her to be able to be pain free. He told me that HIS goal was for her to win again in agility.
The surgeries were successful and Lexie came back to the agility ring as fast as ever. She was the fastest dog in the country (of any breed) competing in 20” preferred in AKC Agility in 2016. She won one of the rounds in her jump height at the 2017 AKC National Agility Championship and was a finalist at the 2018 Westminster Master Agility Championship. She even won High in Trial in Agility at the Labrador Retriever National Specialty in October, 2018. In Feb, 2019, she achieved the Preferred Agility Championship (PACH) title and retired from Agility in March, 2019 at 11 years of age.
Thanks to Sherman, Deb, and the amazing staff at VOSM, I got to play agility with Lexie for many more years. I am forever grateful for their expertise and compassionate care from the entire VOSM family.
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