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Story of the Month - March 2006    

"Goliath"   

         

In July of 2000 my dog Coca, a female German Shepherd, lost her battle to a quickly spreading cancer. It was a really painful experience, especially when I had to make the decision to put her to sleep when she became paralyzed. I swore to myself that my next dog would be a small one that I could carry if something bad happened. I have always loved dachshunds (my parents had two when I was a child.), so I convinced my husband that they would be the best for us. The day I met Goliath on a horse farm, it was love at first sight despite his being covered with fleas and with a few scars on his lip and ear. This little 10-week old long-haired dapple chose me and has owned me since that day. With my children far away, and my husband really busy, Goliath became my little companion and best friend. We traveled a lot, back and forth to Europe (he always flew with me in the cabin in his carrier bag even if he was a little more than 12 lbs..) and a move from the New York suburbs to sunny Florida.

He had never been sick until one Sunday morning (those bad things always happen on Sundays!!) in October. When I awoke at 6am I could not find him anywhere. Finally with the help of my other doxie puppy Lola, I found him hiding under a table in a far corner of the house. I will never forget the look in his big brown eyes and I knew right away something was really wrong. When I finally was able to retrieve him from under the table, he was not able to stand at all and was shaking like crazy. Luckily I knew about dachshunds and the back problems they can have, so we drove him right away to the animal emergency center about 20 miles from our home.

The vet did not really give us any option after examining him: he had no deep pain in the hind legs and no control. We were told surgery was the only hope, with a good chance of not controlling the bladder, the bowel movement and not regaining the ability to walk!!! We were lucky to be able to afford the surgery. Later that same morning, Dr Lyman a neuro-surgeon (I will never thank him enough for his diligence on a Sunday morning) who happened to have published a few books on dorsal laminectomy, performed a right hemilaminectomy on Goliath from L2 through L4. Prior to the surgery they put Goliath in an hyperbaric chamber to stop the spinal cords deterioration and did the same after surgery. The hard part was not being allowed to see him for 7 days because they did not want him to become excited for a few days the prognostic was not good, Goliath had still no deep pain and no bladder or bowel control.

The day I went to pick him up, he felt some light deep pain and the vet was much more optimistic. We came home and everything was overwhelming (the crate, the leaks and how to express him, the smells, the washing, the first bath therapy was a disaster, the fear of hurting him more, carrying him.) but I found the Dodgerslist and everything became easier. I crated him in a x-pen (I thought it was easy to take him out) and I started to exercise his back legs. The first time I saw his left leg move was a glorious day and then he started slowly to regain some control of his bladder and bowel. My Goliath was as strong as his name and was on his way to recovery!! One day the tail wagging came back and after a few times of bath therapy (we had to wait 3 weeks to have the stitches removed because of Hurricane Wilma), he was standing and starting to walk. Now nearly 3 months later, Goliath is walking and running (not 100% but who cares???). He still has a few leaks in the morning and when he is too excited. I knew Goliath was a fighter and with the help of a lot of caring people and supplements, he has accomplished a lot and has shown me no one should ever lose hope. So even if everything is not yet 100% back, in my eyes Goliath is the perfect dog he always was and always will be.

Josiane

       

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