Let me start out by saying that this “wordy” Wordless Wednesday story shouldn’t be read by anyone with a weak stomach or anyone who has never changed a diaper. This story deals with doggie poop! As you’ve probably (hopefully) read in earlier Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog stories, when our dog Sophie became paralyzed she also became incontinent. At first, her bladder leaked so Ken (husband) and I used doggie diapers. Later in Sophie’s disease, her body went in almost the opposite direction turning her muscles to concrete. That’s when we threw out the diapers and learned how to push on her bladder to express it. Even our veterinarian was perplexed by the restrictive nature of her bladder. I remember being told that most paralyzed dogs had weak muscles and that is why they leaked urine. [Read more…]
Giveaway of sample products and informational materials for handicapped pets and pets with disabilities and special needs.
I live in the desert so having plenty of water on hand at all times for people and pets is very important. Visitors to Las Vegas routinely end up in the emergency room because they didn’t stay hydrated. Making sure Sophie drank enough water became a central theme in taking care of our paralyzed dog because she couldn’t walk herself to the water bowl. It was up to my husband and me to “keep the water coming.”
Our new “normal” lifestyle with Sophie was actually one of constant change. As soon as Ken and I would become accustomed to a particular way of helping of her, the paralysis would take over more of her body and we would have to make adjustments. One of the biggest changes came when Sophie lost her voice. Did I ever mention that somewhere between year one and two of her illness, Sophie lost the ability to bark?
Adding a third dog to our family grew out of a bet during a baseball game at Wrigley Field. In an attempt to keep me interested in the game, my husband made the wager to adopt a new dog if the Chicago Cubs hit 12 homeruns. He thought he was safe about winning the bet, but he didn’t take into account that it was 1998; the year when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke world records for the most homeruns hit in a season. I returned to our hometown of Las Vegas and went directly from the airport to the city shelter. That’s how Sophie came to be part of our family.
Sophie fit right into our household and thoroughly enjoyed being the “baby” of our canine family. One of her greatest joys was going with her older housemates to run at the dog park. She would approach a group of dogs minding their own business and stand in front of them challenging them to a contest. Once she got their attention she would turn her back to them and take off running as fast as she could. Of course they chased after her and she loved the idea of leading the pack in a race. Ears flopping out to the side and her tail straight up, Sophie became the fastest runner in the dog park.
During a walk one day in 2008 Sophie’s back legs gave out and she fell on the sidewalk. Soon she began to slip and fall on a regular basis so we went to our veterinarian. After a long series of tests and no diagnosis, we took our little girl home. By summer 2009 Sophie was paralyzed from her mid- section to her hind legs.
Our family started a new “normal” life that included taking care of Sophie’s needs 24/7. We learned many life lessons from this journey that lasted nearly 5 years. Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog is a tribute to Sophie and to all pets with special needs. It wasn’t a sad journey; in fact some of it was downright funny. I hope you’ll follow along with Sophie’s story at Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog.