Laev took a nasty tumble Monday night. It was no one's fault, just a combination of factors.... She had been working on a very frustrating control exercise and was higher than a kite as she worked through the challenge. She'd been working on several different helpers and had developed a bad habit of using her feet as she bit to accommodate the different styles she was seeing. We inadvertently set up the next exercise so that she was running into the artificial light, with the helper backlit and visibility poor. The grass was damp with night dew. All this together, she missed the sleeve, hit a helper in the back and took his legs from under him. He could not but fall on top of her, and he heard a crunch and I heard a canine scream.
I called her immediately -- I didn't want her accidentally biting in fear and pain while the helper was on the ground -- and she ran to me, but she didn't want a foreleg on the ground. I calmed her (she was quite agitated) and checked the leg for obvious breaks before beginning to walk her out. I confirmed verbally that the helper was fine.
After several minutes, she was using the leg almost normally, so we gave her an easy bite so she could leave the field with the sleeve and a good feeling. I returned after crating her and we re-hashed the scene; again, it was no one's fault, but safety always has to be first. There will be additional lights mounted to minimize the effect of direct lighting.
I brought Laev out for a second session of easy work; I didn't want her ending on a bad note. We didn't want her straining her leg, either, so we set up a few easy hold and barks. She was perfect on the first one, but filthy-dirty on the second -- probably some spilling stress! I pulled her out for P-. She was good again on the third, and she went back with the sleeve.
That night I gave her a small NSAID dose, just to fight any inflammation, and the next morning she showed very little soreness at all. The following day, she was 100% normal. So it seems there was no serious injury.
We do, however, need to clean up her habit of using her feet, no matter which helper or style she faces. We'll add that to the fact that I'm still recovering from screwing up her blind search after unaccountably dropping half my cue for two weeks....