The idea to add Sophie to my family grew out of a bet at a baseball game at Wrigley Field while my family was on vacation. The wager was to adopt a third dog if the Chicago Cubs hit 12 homeruns. It was 1998; the year when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke world records for the most homeruns hit in a season. We returned to our hometown in Las Vegas and I went directly from the airport to the shelter.
Sophie loved to walk the 3-mile loop in our neighborhood. We clocked hundreds of miles over the years. Then on a typical walk at the end of summer in 2008 Sophie started to have a hard time keeping up with her housemates. We teased and called her an old lady, but it was really the beginning of the condition that would change all of our lives forever.
Sophie’s best buddies – Cody (left) and Shadow (right).
By November Sophie began a series of test to determine the cause of her progressive hind leg weakness. We ruled out a long laundry list of the conditions she did not have, but we never found out what really caused her problem. By June she was completely paralyzed.
During the next five years, my family learned a “new normal” way to live with a paralyzed dog. Sophie’s illness turned into a gift that taught us many lessons. It’s those lessons (some will make you laugh and some will make you cry), heath tips and resources that I share every week on Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog. I hope you’ll join us.
Related Story: The Lessons
Check out more stories on the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) – Pets Matter Newsletter