Aspen the Agility Dog Returns to Competition

Aspen the Agility Dog Returns to Competition Despite Orthopedic Setbacks

The star in the videos below is Aspen, a 6-year-old female/intact Standard Schnauzer. She initially presented to the AMVS Surgery service in April 2010 for intermittent left hind lameness. Aspen competes in agility trials, but eventually her limping progressed to a point that she had to be pulled from a trial. Aspen was diagnosed with a Grade ¼ Medial Patellar Luxation (MPL), and a left Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) rupture.

Aspen underwent a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery to repair her left CCL, but she presented a second time to AMVS 4 months later for a partial CCL tear on her right leg. After a second TPLO, very strict rest and recovery, and plenty of rehab, Aspen returned to high-level agility training.

Now, a little less than 2 years later, Aspen is back in full-force! The videos below showcase Aspen competing in agility trials from March 2012, and she is doing wonderfully! The first video shows Aspen’s successful run for her Master Excellent Jumpers (MXJ) title, which requires 10 Q’s in the Excellent B level.

The following day, Aspen earned a Q in both Jumpers and Standard, which is referred to as a Double Q (QQ). You need 20 of these plus 750 points to earn your MACH (Master Agility Champion), which is the highest title in American Kennel Club (AKC) Agility. Aspen now has 3 QQ’s and 147 points – she is well on her way!


Although orthopedic injuries can be a huge setback for career agility dogs like Aspen, her story is proof that these dogs can come back and succeed as though nothing happened. The most important part of recovery is strictly adhering to discharge instructions. Aspen’s mom has it right when she says, “My opinion from the start was to find the very best surgeon I could. . . follow directions to a T. . . rehab rehab rehab . . .don’t try to get back to agility until Aspen was ready. . . continue to exercise and cross train.”

At Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists, our highly-qualified team of surgeons and nursing staff will work with you to ensure that your pet not only receives the best surgical care possible, but that you have all the information you need to take care of your pet after they come home.

For more information on the TPLO surgeries Aspen underwent, including detailed discharge instructions for postoperative care, please visit Client Education A-Z, or feel free to call us at 303.678.8844.

Photos of Aspen competing in agility trials, compliments of Aspen’s mom, Kathi.

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