Life with a paralyzed dog and the need for constant patience

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If you ever find yourself caring for a paralyzed dog, prepare to embrace patience. I am starting to believe that Chesney’s paralysis is a life lesson that I am supposed to learn – I admit, I have never been a patient person, but I have to be now.

Chesney needs someone to hold her water bowl and food dish – otherwise it pushes away from her and she can’t reach it. My husband, I have learned, has less patience than me because if she doesn’t immediately drink her water, he gives up and says that she isn’t thirsty enough for him to try again.

I have to be patient for the morning “poo” from Chesney – this one is an art. Watching the time and her body language and knowing when to head outside. Unfortunately, she likes to pee, and then pull back towards our house (I am certain it is because she is obsessed with our daughter, Lauren, and wants to get back to her as soon as possible) before she has pooped.

This morning I walked her to the yard (with the towel sling) and she peed – she tried to pull immediately back to the slider to come inside – I redirected her for a longer walk around the yard. After no poo, she again pulled back to the slider. I let her sit down on the patio while I ran inside to get a collar to put on her so that I can direct her more effectively (rather than the towel on her rear end) and when I get back to her (20 seconds later) I see that she has pooped while sitting on the patio.

Why does she pull to get inside when she has to poop? Frustrating to me – though I am grateful that the poop was outside and not on her bed. Patience I tell myself, patience.

Though I am happy that she has made some progress with moving her legs, I want to share a video that I watched a few days ago. This K9 is taking his last walk into a veterinary clinic to be euthanized because of his failing body. The dog being put down is at the stage that Chesney has progressed to.

It’s a reality check – I actually saw the video shortly after writing about my happiness that she could take three weak and stumbling steps. I realized that she is still FAR from where she needs to be.  Patience…I need to be patient to get through this time with her.

I truly hope that Chesney gains some mobility with her back legs – I am trying to be patient, truly I am.

Last article written about Chesney and her progress here.

Yesterday: Easy bone broth – a tasty supplement to your dog’s diet. More here.

More: Woman accused of leaving horses and dogs to starve to death identified more here.

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6 replies
  1. Bunny Peters says:

    We have been praying for Chesney (& you & your family).

    It’s very important to recognize that your family life is changing (& one must be flexible, like a rubber band to adjust). It’s NOT easy or smooth, to change how you do things. However if you are caring for a disabled furbaby (or person for that matter), it’s important to make these adjustments AND to keep the disabled family member’s spirits positive.

    There is a blog, “Lessons from a Paralyzed Dog@ that is VERY helpful. Lots of valuable information and tips.

    Also, some clinics will lend wheelchairs for paralyzed furbabies. We were able to borrow a wheelchair for MacKitty (we returned it to the rehab veterinary clinic after he passed away, along with all his unused medications).

    We hope Chesney continues to improve. We tried chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, laser therapy, rehabilitation exercises, & water therapy for MacKitty (sadly he remained a quadriplegic). He was a GREAT sport for all of these treatment “adventures”. We supported him and loved him no matter what…… & he KNEW he was loved!!!!!

    However, it was a very aggressive liver cancer that killed him within 3 months of his cancer diagnosis.

    • Penny Eims says:

      So sorry about the loss of your sweet kitty 🙁 We actually have a wheelchair for Chesney but aren’t allowing her to use it for two reasons. One, she is still within the restricted activity period if she has IVDD (we don’t know if that’s it or not) and also, we want her to use her legs, not learn to rely on a wheelchair and forget how her legs work (which I have read in multiple places that dogs do forget how to walk and they need to be taught again). I am familiar with the blog you mentioned it and have read several entries from the site.

  2. pennysdachshunds says:

    Being in the medical field for almost 30 years I see people that should Never I Mean Never have chosen a field that takes patience… I HOPE FOR THE SAKE OF Chesney you Really Do Learn this very important SKILL (because that is what it is) What if this had happened to your Child??? Chesney is NOW that Child and Believe me they know in their own mind when they are a burden to their Person, and Yes it does affect the recovery aspect of the One being cared for.. be it animal or human. Having had , and currently having a partial paralyzed four legged friend and companion… I have gone the Long Road of Grief and Sorrow… after taking care of our Mr Pickle , who refused to swim or use his custom made Dogs-on Wheels cart… We let him do it his way… and wrapped his legs and put little diapers on his and he “ran ” with his pack!! on his bottom… the other dachshunds still accepted him as their leader.. We lost him when two Rott’s from a mile away ran and jumped our four foot chain link fence and started to attack him . I was able to stop the attack almost immediately but a canine tooth penetrated his scalp… being concerned of infection , due to immune -compromise I called and my Vet told me to put him on Penicillin which I did … we went to bed and he slept in a little bed right beside mine. My husband a long haul trucker called me at 3am while on his way thru town to check on us , a first for him, and I reached down to find that Pickle had just passed within a few moments of the call.. OMG !!! It was determined he had an allergic reaction to the medication. I still believe the Higher Power intervened so I was not alone when I found my little man dead.. I miss him after 12 years, and I would do it all over again… Your honesty in your turmoil with patience is totally understood by me.. and I hope for a full recovery for Chesney , which may or may not happen . You and Your husband are the only ones that know if you can handle the journey as there are lots of good and then some NOT so good days… My Prayer’s are with you…


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