On August 31, 2002, Olive had just gotten her nails cut at the vet. She went outside to use the bathroom when I noticed that she just sat down. When I took her home, I saw that she could not get up and I knew something was wrong. I had just watched a program about animals with back problems. We rushed her back to the vet's office. She had severely ruptured the T12-13 discs and was given about a 10% chance to ever walk again. We had no second thoughts about what to do. Olive was in surgery within two hours of her injury. At first she had some deep pain sensation, but that went away. We began our journey of recovery. On Labor Day I took her home and sat on the couch with her for the next week, just holding her and crying. The next week my husband stayed home with her. You see, Olive is our only child and we love her with all our hearts. This was just tearing us apart inside and our hearts were breaking for her. She never seemed to be in any pain, but did not have any bowel or bladder control. We quickly learned to deal with that.
Olive had learned to scoot around and was doing pretty good, but still not walking. I had made ramps for her to go down into our sunken living room. On Christmas Eve, Olive was sitting on the floor in the bedroom. Something scared her and she went down the ramp and walked, yes I said walked, across the living room floor! We just about fainted. That was the best Christmas present that we could have ever asked for. We called everyone we knew. She didn't walk any more after that for a long time. It was about six months before she had any control over going to the bathroom, but she eventually got to where she could hold it until we took her to her pad. She had always used pads to go to the bathroom. We tried to keep everything as normal for her as we could.
Olive has a K-9 cart to use when we go for walks in the neighborhood. She loves to visit all of the neighbors and they all love her. They've been through this ordeal with us and have supported her all the way. They are amazed at her determination and will. When she is in the cart, her tail is wagging the whole time and her back legs move as if she were walking. It's great exercise and gives her a little feeling of freedom.
We started Olive on a daily exercise routine as soon as we got the ok from her vet. We pump her legs every day and make her stand up to build strength in her legs. This has kept her leg muscles from deteriorating as much.
She loves to be with us where ever we go and whatever we do. She goes boating and fishing (she loves to fish herself with practice plug). We go to Sanibel Island, Florida, every year. Olive had the best time walking down the beach in her cart. She was the hit of the beach this year in her cart!
Here it is now two years later. Olive still has no feeling across her hip area, but she can control her bathroom and wags her tail. Olive takes walking in spurts. If she is excited or distracted she will get up and walk like normal. She has a lighted ball that she absolutely loves and she gets up and walks and runs after it. It still makes our hearts skip a few beats each time she walks because we think "Is this it, is she going to start walking now?"
Olive is a very happy and healthy little girl. She is loved so much by her family and friends and lights up everyone's world when she is around. We are so blessed that she came into our lives because she is a special little girl with so much to teach and so much love to give. We've never given up on her and never will.
Here is a poem her Daddy wrote for her:
A CHRISTMAS WISH FOR OLIVE
Some things we take for granted in a life that moves so fast
The simple things we have aren't always meant to last
To walk the beach at sunset to run and jump and play
Can be taken in a moment and forever locked away
For someone sweet as you are I can't believe it's true
To simply walk and stand is impossible for you
I pray for my "little girl" a miracle might come
To bring back all the feeling in your limbs so weak and numb
We really truly love you more than you could ever know
Your image fills our minds every single place we go
You are whole in our eyes Olive. You are perfect and complete.
Not an inch of sweet has left you from your head down to your feet
Our beautiful girl, shiny treasure from the sea
She's our "Belle of Sanibel" our little sweet Olive B
If given just one wish for Christmas, do you know what it would be?
To see our Sweet Pea run and play underneath our Christmas tree.