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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sandy's Inner Strength - Making Recovery Possible

By Rochelle Dickson

For the past year my partner, Jared and I have been discussing adopting a dog. We knew we wanted an older dog as we wanted to avoid puppy training. We also wanted our new addition to be good with other dogs, be well mannered and like to go for long walks. A six foot fence was also built in our backyard in hopes to bring home a furry friend. We began looking more seriously in July 2011 and followed Manitoba Mutts, Darcy’s A.R.C and the Humane Society. When we saw Sandy’s picture and bio on Manitoba Mutts we were instantly drawn to her. She was the perfect age, size and was absolutely beautiful! I filled out an adoption application and met her two days later.

I still remember that day, it was November 22nd and we were full of anticipation. We met her that night and immediately fell in love with her. She hoped into our car and was completely settled in within a few days – we think she decided to adopt us! Sandy was a bit overweight but the veterinarian gave her a good bill of health, she was a happy dog and loved to run.

In the new year Sandy started having trouble with her hips and is now treated with injections for her mild arthritis. She was still the happiest dog in the world until March 28th of this year. We were looking into obedience schools for her to help overcome her aggression towards other dogs when something happened. She was outside with Jared and jumped off the deck as she usually days. When I got home I noticed that she was sitting on the steps very oddly and was side stepping when she walked. At first we thought she pulled her muscle but it became worse as the night went on. We rushed her to Pembina Animal Hospital; she could not longer use the left side of her body. She went through a series of x-rays and was unable to stand. Sandy stayed at the hospital until Saturday, and was sent home diagnosed with ischemic myelopathy.

We had not heard of it before, and had a lot of research to do in terms of finding slings and other physiotherapy procedures for paralysed dogs. We were informed that as long as she retained pain in her paws, then it would be likely to recover some movement in those legs.We each took a week off to work with her for the best recovery, and to help manage her urination and excretion as the steroids she was on made her unregulated. We were running out of ideas on balancing her care and being able to go back to work. In the two weeks she had managed to recover her left front legs, and some control on her left hind. I sent out emails to numerous animal hospitals, kennels, and day cares, hoping that someone would be able to handle and care for our little paralysed Sandy.

Sprockett's Doggy Day Camp contacted us back on Monday, April 16th and we set up an appointment for the following morning. Theresa runs the day camp, and after seeing the facility I was very comfortable leaving Sandy in her extraordinary care (it also helped that Theresa and I both were part of the Canadian Pony Club, so I knew her growing up).

Sandy has since recovered the abilities to sit up by herself, wiggle around, belly scoot to all the places she wishes to go to. She is also able to stand up with only minor assistance and recently, began to walk with help balancing her hind end. The atrophy (muscle loss) in her hind end due to the paralysis is one of her biggest obstacles, but with Theresa amazing care, we feel fully confident she will make almost a full recovery. She may not have the full sensation and control over all, her right front wrist is still slow to respond, but it doesn't stop her!

Sandy throughout has been true to herself, barking at birds, going crazy for rawhide, as well as loving to cuddle. Her overly positive attitude, and dedication to getting better and being happy has been able to keep us staying positive and doing our very best to help her through her recovery.

I would like to thank Theresa, and Sprockett's Doggy Day Camp for every thing they have done, and are continuing to do. I would also like to thank my Mom for taking her for a short period, as well as Manitoba Mutts for the assistance in her day care bill.

I hope Sandy's story inspires you in the inner strength possible in dogs, and we know we will never take her walking for granted again! We are in anticipation of the day we can take her to the park!

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