Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tell Me Tuesday

ForTheMomma's Tell-Me-Tuesday is about pets and/or kids. Since you all are probably sick of hearing about my kids already, I'll tell you about my four-legged babies...

This is Rusty and his pal, Bebo. Rusty was a rescue pup that we got when his other parents both developed cancer and couldn't care for him anymore. They trained him SO well, though, he is so incredibly SMART! I've never had a moments trouble out of him at all.

I joked with my husband on the way to pick him up that I was going to give him his first treat, and he would love me the most after that. Well, I was *joking* but that's exactly what happened. Rusty is my baby. :) He doesn't even really like anyone else in the house, only tolerates them. LOL He's getting up in age - he's 8 now - and likes to spend most of his free time in his crate listening to CNN. (no, I'm not joking. Hubby thinks it's silly that I leave the tv on for him all day, but I think he really enjoys it!)

Bebo is our little character. He's about 5 years old (we're not sure because his previous owners didn't give us ANY of his paperwork from the vet, and the vet had closed up shop by the time we got him). Hubby saw an ad in the paper for a "Free to a good home: Dachshund!" and fell in love the minute he saw Bebo. The previous owner said he was "95% house trained". WARNING: it's the 5% you have to worry about!! His nicknames are Pee-bo and Dribbles. LOL You have to laugh about it after awhile.

In January '09, we came home from church one night and Bebo wasn't able to walk. He was dragging his hind legs and falling down. This was NOT like him at all, he was always SO active! We took him to the ER Vet and were told that without $4000 surgery, he would never walk again. He has IVDD (Intervertebral Disk Disease) and was paralyzed from mid-back to his tail, including his legs. We struggled so hard that night, spending about 2 hours with him going back and forth about what to do. He was perfectly healthy, except for this! He was happy and still trying his best to get around, dragging his little legs behind him. It was heart-wrenching! We couldn't afford the surgery, but told the doctor we needed more time - we were going to take him home, spend the night loving on him, then probably bring him back the next day to take his place at the "Rainbow Bridge").

When I got home, I immediately got online and started researching. I found an AMAZING group of people at DodgersList.com and cried out to them for guidance. These people are incredible. They told me that we did NOT have to put Bebo down, that he didn't have to have the surgery right away in order to recover. They gave me the tools and support needed to get him through 8 weeks of crate rest (which meant 8 weeks in a playpen ONLY coming out to use the bathroom, which I had to assist with). It was like having an infant in the house again - changing diapers, feeding, late nights, exhaustion, and lots of tears. We checked into doggie carts, in case he didn't regain the use of his legs, and learned all we could about caring for a handicapped pup. The first week was sheer HELL on me. I remember calling my husband at work and saying "I can't do this. I just can't!" He calmed me down and we pressed on. 8 weeks was over and we let him out of the playpen for an hour or so at a time. We progressively gave him more time out of the crate/playpen as he got stronger.

His new vet said that he probably wouldn't walk again, and urged us to start looking into more detail about carts if we planned to keep him. But we kept the faith. At his last visit for his follow-up checks, she said "Bring him back in a year unless anything gets worse. Or if he starts walking, I want to see him!" but she didn't say it like she thought it would ever happen.

He is still wobbly, but he is not only walking now... he's RUNNING! I look at him sometimes with those big brown eyes, and think "You were almost a goner, buddy." I'm still going through so many paper towels to clean up after him that I'm surprised GreenPeace isn't banging on my door. But he's just SO sweet and loving, and there's no way we'd trade him for the healthiest dog alive. :)

Ok, that was probably way too much info - but maybe it will help someone else who faces a similar problem. Dachshunds are very prone to IVDD, so it's nice to have others around who have gone through it. If you find yourself in a similar situation, hit the Contact Me button at the right-top of this page and I'll be here to support you through it! I never could have gotten through those first few months on my own.

Anyway...here's more of our boys. :)

Doesn't Rusty look distinguished? :)


Joan said...

They are fortunate to have you.

Ginny said...

How cute!