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Story of the Month - January 2007    

"Heidi"   

                               

My name is Heidi, and I am a 5 ½ year old miniature dachshund. My Mommy and Daddy asked that I write my story to Dodgerslist because they say that I'm inspirational, not sure why, I'm just being me. The story of my injury starts Thanksgiving Day of 2005. Me and my sister Josie woke up like any normal day, only expecting that we would be patrolling the floor for dropped turkey scraps come dinnertime. Mommy and Daddy were upstairs when I got hurt, all I did was jump off of the sofa, felt the most excruciating pain that I've ever felt. I was crying and shaking, partly because of the pain, and partly because I was so scared… my back legs wouldn't work at all. My Mommy heard my cries and came and scooped me up. She was devastated when she saw that I could move my back legs. Before I knew it we were rushing to the emergency vet to get me help. They diagnosed me with a slipped disc and recommended emergency surgery; only problem was that they didn't have a surgeon available because of the holiday, so we drove three hours to Philadelphia for the surgery that evening.

The Dr. in Philadelphia told my Mommy and Daddy that I only had a 50/50 chance of the surgery being successful because I had lost deep pain sensation. Mommy and Daddy just wanted to give me a chance to get better, and didn't really even care what the odds were. I know that Mommy and Daddy tried to be strong when they left me at the hospital for the surgery, but I could tell that they were just as upset and scared as I was, but I tried to be strong for them when they gave me kisses goodbye. It was as scared as I've ever been in my life, I didn't know if I would ever see them again.

The next few days after the surgery are kind of a blur to me. I know Mommy and Daddy picked me up after I spent a couple of days recovering in the hospital. I was happy to see them, but I was just so confused from the pain medication that I was taking. Mommy and Daddy have told me since that they weren't sure if they made the right decision to do the surgery those first few days that I was home. They said that I seemed to be so depressed and still in pain from the surgery. They felt guilty for putting me through the experience, but I'm so glad that did. They realized at about day five that no matter if I ever walked again or not, they had made the right decision. After the pain medication started to wear off, my old personality and zest for life came back. I just hated staying confined to that darn crate. I have always slept in the big bed since I've been a puppy, but couldn't for a long time after the surgery. Daddy would sleep next to my crate on the floor to try and keep me company and let me know that they still loved and care about me and were only keeping in the crate to try and help me.

The first few weeks after surgery were rough. The whole family was scare and confused, not knowing how to deal with a paralyzed puppy. I didn't regain any sensation in my legs, and my Daddy had to squeeze my belly to get me to go pee pee. We did lots of leg exercises, went to a guy who stuck needles all over my body, went swimming in the bathtub, and tried just about anything to help me walk again. We eventually developed a routine, and things got a lot easier. I just felt like I disappointed my Mommy and Daddy since I wasn't getting any better, though they always told me otherwise.

About ten weeks after my surgery, I got my first cart. It was a little scary and awkward at first, but WOW! I was able to run again, and I haven't stopped since! Mommy and Daddy take Josie and I for walks a couple of times a week. I still try and catch the rabbits and squirrels in the yard, and still enjoy roughing up my little sister Josie when she gets out of hand. I even finished in second place at the “cart dog” races at a Dachshund picnic, though Mommy and Daddy should have let me run with the healthy dogs…I can still keep up.

Mommy and Daddy say that have learned so much from me because I have never felt sorry for myself. What can I say? I'm a dachshund…my main goal in life is to love and protect my family, even if my back legs don't work anymore. I still keep trying to work hard, and maybe, just maybe… I'll walk again one day. I started trying that “spinal walking”thing a couple of months ago. I can take two or three “drunken sailor”steps sometimes. It's HARD work, but it's progress… and I like to hear Mommy and Daddy cheer for me when I take a few steps. Even if I never walk again though, I'm thankful for the family I've been given. Don't feel sorry for us dogs that don't walk again after being injured. We don't need your sympathy, because we can do just about everything we ever did. I can give all of the love then any other dog can give. You don't need to walk and run again to be a success story, just be happy and keep the dachshund spirit alive!

 

6/4/09 Heidi has been completely paralyzed in the hind end for almost 4 years.....The heart, soul, determination and zest for life continue to be as strong as any "normal" dog....She has no idea that she has any limitations or is different in any way than any other pup....



Keeping the other families dealing with terrible disease in our thoughts,

Mike and Becky
Mom and Dad to Heidi and Josie

Have a story you'd like to submit? Send an email to lindox5@yahoo.com



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