Phoebe: the Struggle is Real

Phoebe: the Struggle is Real

This dog.

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

And now:

  • 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.

Phoebe of

White dog was very worried:

The boxers of

We did a lot of couch-sitting and watching TV during those days.

Phoebe doing her best boxer-sit at

Phoebe and The Texan watching TV at

And a lot of Care Bear snuggling (a vital part of recovery):

Care Bear cuddles at

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.

Phoebe in the garden of

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.


This dog.






  1. Kathi

    That is so scary! I’m really glad she is doing so well. Good thoughts coming her way for a full recovery!

  2. Lisa

    Stinker girl! Glad to hear she is getting her mobility back! For her and you guys we have been there (broken leg) carrying a 60lb dog in and out (multiple times per day naturally) is rough work. I think our girl still expects that kind of treatment as we are her servants 😉 The PT will help a bunch, plus ours had TREATS!!! Hoping Pheobe has a full speedy recovery, good thoughts sent your way from all of us.

    • farmhouse38k8

      Thanks, Lisa! Yeah–you expect to kind of have to do this kind of work for an aging dog–but it was crazy to have to do it for a two-year-old! Oy! So emotionally traumatic for everyone! But I’m so happy we have, at the very least, gotten to where we are now. She’s back to being a little lunatic and that’s all that matters because the lunaticking is my favorite. 🙂

  3. Tanya

    So empathize with you…8 dogs over 15 years and more than our share of crazy vet bills. When our doxie Floyd fell off our bed and lost the use of his back legs, we took him to an acupuncturist. After 8 weeks of treatments, Floyd got full mobility back. Hope Phoebe has a full recovery soon!

    • farmhouse38k8

      Oh, so glad to hear yours fully recovered! That’s encouraging! Yes–part of the treatment at her physical therapy can include acupuncture and I’ve been considering it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ashley

    Could it be Breed health problems? Something the breed is predisposed to? I know they can get Woddlers, which is where the rear legs give out, usually Dobermans get it, & to lesser extent, Great Danes. It attacks the rear spine. & the dog “wobbles” around trying to walk. I would look into it as a possibility. (Predisposed health issues) . Where did you get her?? That can count for a lot. I wish you the best of luck 🙂

    • farmhouse38k8

      Yes! As a matter of fact, this is something that boxers are prone to. She is a rescue, and so god-only-knows what sort of breeding went into her, you know? But we will have to just take it a day at a time, and if it happens again, at least we know how to cope and what to expect now. Thanks for weighing in–I appreciate it!

  5. Megan

    Aww. Poor girl (and you). I’m glad she’s doing better.

  6. The Richards Clan (as in family)

    Phoebes is a trooper! She will beat this! She’s got excellent parents! We ❤️ You Phoebe!

    • farmhouse38k8

      LOL–thanks, Fam!!! Phoebe’s like: what’s all the fuss? I got this, bitches!!!!

  7. pam hansen

    Your dog’s story brought tears to my eyes. What courage these creatures must have and so blessed is pet to have your loving support.
    The health issues my dogs have experienced now seem trivial.

    • farmhouse38k8

      Awwww–thanks for commenting! She’s really doing great and we are just thankful that it wasn’t a worse situation!

  8. Mary

    Wow! That is crazy for that to happen to a 2 year old dog! So happy that she is on the road to recovery but I’m feeling your pain … expensive AND exhausting!!!

  9. Ashley

    Not a problem. Also, unfortunately, because the Boxer breed is so popular, another health problem they are predisposed to, is Cancer. They are Cancer factories. Blame the puppy mills & BYBs (Back Yard Breeders), along with other irresponsible “people” that only care about selling puppies.. 🙁 Am so glad you Rescued!!! You may not know her past, or the possible baggage, but Saving a Life is SOO much better than buying one.. You don’t buy a friend. . Thank You for keeping us posted!

  10. Judy

    Every time she greets you at the door with hyper excitement you is repaying you for loving her.. thanks for having the patience to wait for her recovery.

    • farmhouse38k8

      I so agree! That wiggly butt is well worth the struggle a million times over. 🙂

  11. Jane

    Just found your blog and since I’m a huge dog lover my heart was breaking hearing about all of the trials and tribulations Phoebe (and you and your husband) is going through. Pretty incredible but I believe it. I applaud you for hanging in there. My pup had a huge cancerous tumor removed last year…a few people I don’t have much respect for said they wouldn’t spend that money on an older dog. He’s fine a year later and we have many more years of fun together.

    Phoebe is precious to me, my grandfather bred boxers and I thought they were the only kind of dog until I was about 7!!! ;-D


    • farmhouse38k8

      Oh, thank you so much for your kind words! Yeah–we have been through the ringer with tumors, etc, in our older dogs, as well, but I so agree with you–I swear I would take a second mortgage on our house if it meant having the money to help one of our dogs. Without a moment’s hesitation. So cheers to you doing what you did for yours–I love it! As for Phoebe, she is a trooper, and you just can’t keep a good dog down! She is gonna be just fine–maybe not ever 100% but she is so close now that it’s not even an issue anymore. She’s back to being her normal, hilarious, lunatic puppy self! Thanks again for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it!

  12. I.Love.Your. blog! I read the entire thing today, in my bed, at a cafe sipping coffee and at home sipping wine. I’m terrified of birds but love Boxers, D.I.Y and drinkies. Best blog I have read for a long time, so entertaining! xo

    • farmhouse38k8

      OMG–Rachael–you are so sweet–lol!!! So glad you are enjoying it–that totally makes my day! Cheers! 😀

  13. Shellie Smith

    Hi I am Shellie. I love your blog (the flowers, home, and animals) anyways have a question for you? I wanted to send you a couple pictures and see what you think we got a white boxer mix with Bull dog. I was wondering if you think he looks like that mix. The reason I ask some people think a Pitt Bull, and it does not matter if he is, just wondering. His vet says could be she is not sure. But I have pictures of Boxer mom and a white Bull dog dad.. But I bought him from a second owner at 9 weeks old. Oh and I am not a stalker lol just love your dogs on the blog and do not know many people with a white boxer around here

    • Kate Richards

      Hi Shellie–found your Pinterest board. First of all–what a sweet little angel! It’s kind of hard to tell so young, but I do kind of think he looks pretty pitty. But all those bully breeds look so similar when they’re pups–especially when they’re mixed. You’ll probably be able to tell better as he matures. My knee-jerk thought was that he’s pitbull/boxer mix, but I really have no idea! Whatever he is–he is absolutely gorgeous!
      And thanks for the blog love–I appreciate it!!!

  14. Shellie Smith

    or I have a Pinterest that has pictures of him on there. My pinterest is Shellie Smith – the board is called Tessie, Freckles, Gus. If you have a chance.

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