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It's a hot topic...

It was a year ago, in February 2022, that Lesley Pearson Simmonds had a complete knee replacement. She concedes that it probably should have been done it before, but she didn't want to miss out on any of her agility competitions. But would she do it again?

My knee problem started almost 50 years ago. I tore my left knee cartilage in half and had surgery to remove it.

Over the years, I continued to do the sports I loved - eventing, playing squash and then agility. I was very lucky never to have had pain in my knee but, as the knee joint wore away, I began to suffer severe pain in my ankle due to the misalignment of my leg.

Knee replacement
My physio, Joe Dowling, kept me going for years, but it got to the point where I was really hopping round courses. Off I went to see a consultant who said 'new knee.'

I had an epidural. One hour after I returned to the ward, I walked unaided to the toilet much to the horror of the nurse.

I was discharged the next day and had the staples taken out after two weeks.

Setback
However, I was unlucky and got an infection in my leg which my recovery. It took me six months instead of six weeks!

My physio has been fantastic. Doing the exercises which he gave me to do daily put me back in the ring competing with my large super fast collie and my small fast dog. Both dogs are now having to relearn my handling ways from being behind all the time to being with. I can run. It might not be as fast as when I was in my thirties but I can run. My knee does not prevent me at all, and I can enjoy walking my dogs as well.

Thank-you to Emily Brown for running Toby whilst I was out of action and getting him into G6 in just two shows.

My advice to you
If you are offered a replacement knee, then grab the opportunity with both hands. It has made my life so much better, and the dogs are able to go on those extra long walks and enjoy their agility.

Just done the Frittenden show for two days, and my step count has been an average of 22,000 steps per day.  Relaxing with glass of wine now.

See you around the shows.

About the author...
Lesley Pearson Simmonds started her agility career in about 1995 when she got her first dog, a GSD that she rescued. That dog played at agility training but decided she was not that enthusiastic. Lesley went on to breed several litters from her and competed with her daughters. 

As she got the bug more and more, Lesley decided that she needed to get a collie if she was to be competitive, so she rescued Polly and Meg.

Meg was a short-legged, heavy-coated girl who never got the chance to run the lower height and passed away suddenly. Polly, however, stayed Large and went on to G6 where she and Lesley had fun. Polly is now retired but is still full of beans.

Lesley's next rescue dog was Toby, a true farm collie, bred to round up sheep. He is super fast and thinks he knows it all which he does if the right person is running him. He is now seven years years old G6 and mad as a hatter.

Daisy is Lesley's little dog. She is also a rescue and is seven years old. She was about two years old when Lesley for her and she won her first competition in May 2019 and is now G6. Lesley says that Daisy is her little super star.

First published 30th July 2023

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