Chesney – be careful what you wish for

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In the days following Chesney’s sudden paralysis, I swore I would be satisfied if she could just regain bowel and urine control. After all, using a sling to express her bladder and cleaning up poop every day was overwhelming…but truth be told, it isn’t enough.

Call me greedy, but Chesney regained bladder and bowel control this week and after I stopped celebrating, the realization that she still can’t stand or use her legs at all settled in and I thought “this isn’t good enough.” Don’t get me wrong, we are over the moon that she can pee and poop on her own – it’s epically amazing, but we want more. We desperately want our healthy, mobile dog back.

There was no slow lead in to Chesney’s major disability – it was BOOM, she’s paralyzed. Crazy and unexpected – with no time to wrap your head around the huge amount of care she now requires. Chesney has always been an extremely low-maintenance shepherd…she doesn’t have any behavior issues and is well behaved. She’s always been up for going on walks, car rides or simply laying around the house.

Poor girl spends all of her time laying around now – rotating between her beds and heading outside to “walk” in the yard for potty time. I take her out almost hourly and she really seems to be embracing the “hey I can pee now!” phenomena…every time we go out, she “squats” and pees. Before we were lucky if we could squeeze urine out of her even after 4-5 hours.

We are lucky because I work from home – if this happened to a family without a care provider at home all day, there wouldn’t be a chance for the paralyzed dog. She needs someone here all.the.time. We have a good rhythm to our days now…things are as okay as they can be. I do worry about her care when our family goes away – we don’t do a lot, but we do travel as a family and this is a big deal for us. Who will provide Chesney with the intensive care that she requires? Somehow we will figure it out I suppose.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate her baby steps and keep hoping for more.

Prior article about Chesney here.

Original article about Chesney’s sudden paralysis here.

More news, updates, funny videos and memes on the National Animal News Facebook page.

Yesterday: Man stopped to help stranded woman and his puppy was stolen by thugs – more here.



11 replies
  1. Sue says:

    From what I’ve read, it takes 8 weeks with conservative (non surgical) treatment. And strict bed rest (except for necessary things like potty) is indicated all during that time. You probably know that, though.

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    Glad to hear she is regaining some of her functions, will continue to keep you in our prayers for a full recovery. I have German Shepherds and I can’t imagine what you are going through. Such a life changing situation.

  3. Pamela Garlisch says:

    I agree with Jan, baby steps are good! It would be disheartening if you were not seeing ANY improvement at all but you are!

    • Penny Eims says:

      Getting her in and out of the SUV alone is a deterrent – going to allow her to continue to heal for a few more weeks before attempting anything like that because she could get hurt if I tried to maneuver all 85 lbs of her into the car by myself (I am just not strong enough to do that)

  4. Sherry Daniels says:

    My heart goes out to you. It is so very hard to watch them struggle. Have you thought about getting her a wheel chair? A lot of dogs with serious/permanent mobility issues scream around like Mario Andreti once they have wheels! Might bring some joy back to both of your lives while you continue to work on her physical rehab.

    • Penny Eims says:

      we have one but she hasn’t been allowed to try it yet – we don’t want to undo any healing that she has accomplished so far (we aren’t outside of the 6-8 week window for healing)


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  1. […] December 18, the world stopped turning for our family when our 8-year-old shepherd, Chesney, suddenly lost the use of her back legs. Speaking for myself, I was sick to my stomach and […]

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