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Story of the Month - May 2005    

"Flint"   

    

On April 15, 2004, I returned home from work to find Flint unable to stand. He would not pee. He would not eat carrots. We went to the vet immediately. My vet called the hospital and I brought him over there. He had surgery around midnight that day. Many of you know the emotions I went through. That first week he stayed in the hospital, I visited him every day after work for an hour (luckily the hospital is only a half hour away from my home.) Just sat with him and tried (in vain) not to cry. Even worse than the sight of my baby with stitches, pain patch, tubes and bandages was the persistent thought that I might have to put him to sleep.

Then my husband found Dodgerslist. You people taught me that there was hope. I was so apprehensive when I brought him home from the hospital – he was still paralyzed. They taught me to express his bladder but I had a difficult time with this. My vet helped me out for the first week or two. Then by about 3 weeks later, I finally really knew how to express him. Dodgerslist was a wonderful source of advice, encouragement and ideas. You pulled me through the worst of the crisis.

We got his Eddie’s Wheels on June 25. It took him about 2 or 3 days before he would really move on the wheels. Now I can’t stop him. When he spots a rabbit, cat, bird, squirrel and sometimes another dog – off he goes! Before Flint’s injury, walking with 2 long-haired wiener dogs was often a conversation starter. Believe me, a dog in wheels is a huge conversation piece – lots of inquiries and everyone looks.

I have adapted fairly well to life with a disabled dog. The routine is different: he needs to be expressed, I do regular physiotherapy, he gets supplements, and when he’s dying to get into the backyard to chase away a squirrel he has to wait 30 seconds while I get him in his wheels, struggling against his pulling (those front legs work fine!). My back is sore from frequently having to carry this 30 pound boy around, especially up and down the stairs. But I still have my baby. He whines for attention now; that has changed. He sings a lot more than he used to. He’s quite expressive - sings lots of different notes and melodies to get my attention. But he is still the super-affectionate couch potato who loves to eat and chase birds, rabbits and cats. He and his sister Cheyenne don’t play as much as they used to (admittedly she does have an advantage in the maneuverability department) but they do still get going from time to time, and they often lie down next to each other for companionship. So they still love each other.

We got through our first winter in wheels. It was not as bad as I expected. Only 3 times could we not walk for all the snow. The day might still come when he can use his legs again, but even if that does not happen, he’s still a happy boy. He knows how much I love him, and often when we walk he is smiling as his nose twitches with the scents and the breeze blows his ears inside out.

 

- submitted by Mary Rutherford
 

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