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Nadac Agility Trial Champion

How it all started…

Our corgi Cutter was about six months old when he was attacked at a Bark Park near our house by a full grown bull mastiff. At the time he was quite sore but it didn’t seem more serious than that. But about a year later, he was playing fetch and suddenly started crying. We took him to a vet but it was almost another year before he was diagnosed with a cervical problem. Cutter lived with the pain for a long time and developed many fears. He would not let anyone pet him – pats meant pain! He also became very reactive and aggressive towards other dogs. He developed a limp in his right front leg.

I had always wanted to do agility with him and had started with a wonderful trainer here in Delaware. She could see he had a problem and kept encouraging me to persevere and find a diagnosis.

We finally went up to University of Pennsylvania. where a doctor squeezed his neck and said that without a doubt he had a cervical problem. We tried a course of resting but the limp soon returned.


After talking with a friend, we decided to see Dr. Northington, neurologist here at MVA. He outlined our options. When a course of rest did not help, we decided we would have an MRI.

Cutter’s MRI showed a bad disc at C-2 and we made an appointment to see Dr. Nannos, surgeon here at MVA. We scheduled the surgery and dropped him off. He came out just fine and when I picked him up, he looked like a dog zipped into a Corgi suit!


The scars faded, and Cutter continued to get better and better. When he was ready we started a course of swimming to help him gain back some of the muscle tone he had lost. I also put him on a diet and over the course of a year he lost 13 pounds!

With the help of his trainer, we were able to gradually get him used to being around other dogs and allow people to gently pet him.

I continued training in life skills such as sit, stay, come and such. When he was doing a fair amount of running and playing, we returned to agility training. We chose to compete within the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC). We started with events like Tunnelers and Weavers where he would not be jumping, but later NADAC gave corgis a jump height break and he was allowed to jump an accessible 8 inches.


The end result is that on May 3, 2009, Cutter earned his NATCH ( NADAC Agility Trial Champion.) He continues to compete and as a veteran over seven, he now jumps only 4 inches at trials.

With the help of our trainer we were even able to introduce a new dog into our household. I never dreamed his health would improve to allow this and owe it all to the wonderful care given him by the vets at MVA.

Our lifelines are the pieces of advice Dr. Nannos gave us on Cutter’s last follow-up visit:

  1. Use a harness for walking, not a collar.
  2. Never let him tug.
  3. No jumping from a “height”.

What have we learned?

  • Seek medical care as soon as you see a problem.
  • Find good vets like Dr. Nannos and Dr. Northington
  • Do not let your dog become overweight.

We are so grateful for what the vets at MVA were able to do for Cutter. He is a happy boy today.

Thank you, 

Pat H.