It has been 7 weeks and 1 day since Gracie's Very Bad Day. She is doing very well. She is completely ambulatory - she walks, she runs (not a pretty sight however). She is happy! Gracie's back right leg is rather unstable and weak, it just doesn't work right. But she is able to get around, the big challenge is climbing and descending stairs, and staying upright when she "runs" or tries to turn quickly. She also can not wag her tail very much. Gracie was always a huge tail wagger - I do miss that, and hope it comes back. The thinking is that she may still improve over the next 6-12 months, but probably not as dramatically as she did in the first 5 weeks - where she went from paralyzed to walking. Thanks to you who have inquired about her progress - Lisa, Terri, Debbie, Daisey Dog, and others.
Gracie on the big bed. She can jump up there all by herself
Gus offers moral support.
As does Bill.
Napping with Gracie - cheering her to wellness! It's the least we can do!
Chris was telling friends about Gracie. He mentioned that she can not walk. They said "why don't you take her to physical therapy? Ha Ha!"
Well guess what? That is an excellent idea! I just tossed them my credit card (again).
Gracie in the underwater treadmill. Working those back legs!
Walking over the poles. She has to pick up her feet.
Walking - This is not as easy as it looks.
Of course the other dogs still have lives I can comment on. Bill, or Agilitybill, as Chris refers to him, is in the foundation/beginner agility class. Today a cute little Jack Russell girl got all up into Bill's face. He handled himself quite well and now they are best friends. It is so much different training a small dog than training a big dog. For one thing, my back is killing me from having to bend over to lure or deliver treats to Mr. Bill. But, on the positive side, if he is not cooperating with me, I can just pick him up and relocate him. Not so much with the big dogs.
Gus also had agility class today. He is in the level 2 class, which a step above beginners. He is doing very well. Usually (OK, even more often than usually) when he messes up on a sequence, it is my fault. Sometimes I just get lost on the course, or give him the wrong, or late cue. Agility is not as easy as it looks, either.
In addition to agility, Gus got lucky this afternoon when I was distracted by a phone call and left the bag of agility treats in the backyard. It is one of those square (actually it is a cube) vinyl lunch bag things with the zipper. Inside it was a bully stick plus several ziplock bags containing cheese, hot dogs, vienna sausage, and boring kibble. When I noticed the carnage all that was left was a tattered, zipperless lunch bag, + empty, ripped plastic bags, + a slightly chewed bully stick. He is sleeping it off now.
One more thing, to the person in class who is scared of Gus - really he is just a dog, not a chupacabra. Maybe he is a pit bull, or a pit bull mix - but I promise not a chupacabra.
Gracie is doing OK. She can't stand completely, she can't walk properly, she doesn't have control of her bladder or bowels, but Gracie is doing OK. She has made small improvements since Gracie's Very Bad Day. Gracie is now playing the wait-it-out-game. While improvements will probably not be measured by days, the expectation is that they will be measured by weeks and months. Gracie is not on strict crate rest, rather she is on more of a supervised activity schedule. The Application of Heat, Passive Range of Motion Exercises, Standing Exercises, and Walking Exercises are the prescribed method of healing, along with time - lots of time. Gracie seems to be happy with this turn of events. She's living in the moment, not concerned with what tomorrow may or may not bring. Probably not a bad way to approach life...
Gracie and Gus enjoying the warmth of the sun.
Gracie enjoying a good chew toy in the fresh hay of the outside kennel.
Gracie chewing, Gus chillin'.
Gracie taking a break from walking exercises. Notice the back legs - not working quite right.
Taking a walk, using the "walk a bout", to hold up the back end.
Gracie had a very bad day. Gracie is at the Dallas Veterinary Surgery Center, rather than snoozing here by my computer.
I was playing with Gracie and the other dogs this morning on our agility equipment. Gracie took 2 jumps, powered through the weave poles, and began dragging her right back leg, then the left as well.
I got her to the vet and she sent us to Dallas Vet Surgical Center, where Gracie will remain for a few days. The myleogram of her spine was normal, so it is not a ruptured disk, no surgery required. The suspected diagnosis is a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). An FCE is like a stroke of the spinal cord. Apparently some disc material enters an artery causing an obstruction of the blood flow to the spine. A piece of the spine dies. Lots of dogs recover from an FCE, some don't. It is a painless injury. The good news is that the left leg still has a reflex response as well as feeling. Although there is no reflex response in the right leg, it does appear she still has some feeling - which is good. Hopefully Gracie will be able to walk again one day.
P.S. For those of my friends and relatives who can not believe I would go to this much trouble and expense for a dog (you know who you are), look at it this way - just doing my part to stimulate the economy... Love you!
Our garden was abundant in its production of yellow squash. We are not real big fans of yellow squash. So, we thought of other ways to use yellow squash rather than cooking and eating it ourselves. We tried giving some of it away - not very successful, seems that other folks also had an abundance of yellow squash. Joey ate a bit of yellow squash. We played games with yellow squash. Finally, I let the squash grow and grow to see just how big it would get. It got pretty big - not championship size or anything, probably about 12 inches or so.
They say if squash gets big it gets too hard to eat and is good for nothing. My big dogs would disagree! Big, old squash is the best! Gus will take the squash, bite off the stem end the way the old men in black and white movies bite off the end of a cigar and spit it out before lighting up. He then takes little nibbles off that squash savoring each bite. Gracie hovers around him until he is distracted, swoops in, snatches the remainder, and chomps it down in as few bites as practical. Gus is left wondering what in the world just happened.
I've looked inside big, old yellow squash. It has a kind of pumpkin look to it. There is a thick hard outer shell, with fiber and seeds inside. The seeds look a lot like pumpkin seeds. I bet yellow squash and orange pumpkins are first cousins. In fact if old yellow squash was round it would probably be yellow pumpkin.
The dogs like it a lot. But there is one thing about letting them eat mature yellow squash. They can't have it 24-36 hours prior to agility class, or let's just say you might be embarrassed by their performance.
Despite the fact that after Chippy was adopted to a nice home and I said NO MORE FOSTERS, I have another foster. Meet Dylan the miniature dachshund, or possibly, Dylan the chiweenie. He was found wandering around in the city of Justin. I'm really surprised the coyotes didn't get him, as he is about the right size to be a coyote snack. Dylan is about 5 years old and fat! Dylan is on a diet. Dylan is not happy to be on a diet, but he is shaped like a football with legs. Sometimes Dylan has difficulty keeping his legs under him so he stumbles and falls. I hope losing some weight will make him more stable. He weighs about 12 pounds, but should weigh more like 10 pounds. Two pounds might not sound like much but it is about 17% more weight than his little body ought to be carrying around.