Two and a half years old and our running tally is:
- 1 ER trip after ingesting toxic plants
- 1 ER trip after ingesting a pack of silica beads
- 4 ER trips for bowel obstruction/gastroenteritis
- 3 ER trips due to bee stings and subsequent severe allergic reactions (usually involving her face swelling up)
- Repeated trips back to the doctor post spay surgery after which she had grossly unusual trouble recovering
- Fibrocartilaginous Embolism, or hind leg stroke, resulting in paralysis of her rear left leg.
So yeah. That happened. With no explanation or warning. In fact, it happened about a half hour after we brought home the new baby chicks. One second she was normal Phoebe, standing out in the driveway sniffing the lovely spring air, and the next second she was dragging her leg behind her, and then falling over and unable to even stand up on her own. The first several days afterwards, we had to carry all 60 lbs of her outside, set her down and hold her upright to go potty. Our backs were shot. Furthermore, she would be laying calmly, and then suddenly decide she wanted to get up, and then freak out when she couldn’t, which resulted in her flailing about, knocking things over, and hurting herself further. I was covered in bruises from having to tackle her and keep her calm. I cried a lot.
Long story short: it was awful. So awful. All she could do, our formerly crazy-happy-go-lucky puppy, was lay there and be sad.
White dog was very worried:
We did a lot of couch-sitting and watching TV during those days.
And a lot of Care Bear snuggling (a vital part of recovery):
But there is good news. And that is, with physical therapy, and time (and the fact that she has youth on her side), she may fully recover all use of her leg. Indeed, by about day four in recovery, she had figured out how to swing herself around and get up from the ground, and then drag her leg behind her. She was quite clumsy, and would fall a lot, but she was determined. Man, was she determined. It became immediately apparent that we would have to protect her poor foot, which was having the living sh** scraped out of it. So we went through every dog bootie out on the market; some would drag right off, some would wear through, and some were so bulky and ungainly that they further debilitated her mobility. FINALLY, we found one that not only stayed on despite all the drag, it cushioned and protected her foot 100%.
With her foot now sporting the latest gimpy-dog fashion, she was getting about pretty well, and slowly, slowly, slowly, bit by agonizingly little bit, her leg began to work again.
By week three or so, she was galumphing around and pretty much back to her normal self; playing, running, jumping up and down off of furniture, and being mischievous as hell. But the leg was still super wonky, and very weak. It just wasn’t slowing her down anymore.
We are now at week five. She is walking pretty well, and corrects her foot if she puts it down wrong. She still has to wear the bootie, but it’s no big thing. She has figured out that she has better traction when she is wearing it, and waits by the door for us to put it on her before going outside. We have started her in doggy physical therapy (yes, that’s a thing), where she will walk on a hydro-treadmill and do other therapy exercises to help her progress. So we shall see how it goes.
But in the entire scheme of things, she is doing fantastic, and it is such a relief. If this is as good as it gets, we’ll take it.