3-17-05  Hallmark card

I found a card at Hallmark with encouragement for a long recovery. It talked about a bird who flew over a mountain and carried away one pebble every day until it had moved the whole mountain. I bought it for my dog.

4-11-05  New accomplishments

Yesterday my little friend did a head shake while standing up. Always before she's had to sit down before she did it. I'm so proud of her! Also she went down the curb in a new way. Always before she's gone down with one front foot, the other front foot, then both back feet together. Yesterday she went down with 4 steps like a regular dog, then did it again later in our walk. :)

4-14-05  Hash browns

It's a 40-minute drive each way and our appointments are always at 8 a.m. and I work the late shift so they never see me on a full night's sleep. You get used to it. We go through the McDonald's drive-thru afterward and get a hash brown to split on the way home for a treat. She wasn't sure what to think about hydrotherapy at first but she grew to love it. She squeals when I get out the carrier in the morning, and again when we're pulling into the parking lot.

5-27-05  How she stands

My dog stands, but she relies mainly on her front feet. She eats sitting, though she has twice gotten a drink of water standing. She does not respond by trying to kick if I scratch an itchy spot.

I have never stopped rubbing her feet and squeezing her toes, so I continue to stimulate her feet.

6-9-05  Extra muscle

My dog has one leg that is stronger, too. You can feel the extra muscle in her thigh compared to the other one.

6-14-05  Back legs in time with front

She is doing something new this week, she is walking part of the time with her back legs in correct time with her front. We are at 18 1/2 months, yet this is new.

6-18-05  We were nearly mugged

[Note: this is not about her progress walking, but it happened on one of our walks, and her life could have changed that day. This is the gravel path she had learned to walk on. We had come down this path on our way home and were nearly mugged a short distance later.]

Gravel path she could walk on

Sunday night at 7:45 in broad daylight we narrowly avoided a drive-by mugging. It would have been bad. We went through a broken fence and got away. They could have caught up to us if they tried but they didn't want to be that far from their car. Since then I've been thinking about it.

I now know I can't run like a rabbit carrying my dog pressed against my shoulder because she gets bounced and jounced too hard as I pound along the pavement. I was not running the usual way, I found a different stride in order to carry her more smoothly. I considered practicing running with her, but then I think of Dukie with his sore neck and can't risk it.

If the side fence hadn't been partly broken down in that spot, it would still have been our only choice to go over it, and I don't think I can climb a 4-ft fence one-handed. I should probably try it before I say that. Day before yesterday I experimented with putting her over a 4-foot chainlink fence so I could then climb over. I have long arms, but when I leaned against it the top bar wasn't attached and it gave way and bowed forward causing me to lose my balance but hang onto my dog. Now I know to watch top bars. If I try that experiment again I'll use a sack of sugar or something, not my dog.

Then I imagined getting robbed and they shoot or injure me. I'm down, my dog is scooting around me, eventually the cops come, and there's no wallet card to explain about my dog or other pets because they took it. So she needs to wear a tag which she hates.

I don't want her to wear a regular collar because she often loses her balance and I don't want her to get hung up on anything. I looked at cat break away collars but haven't found what I want yet. I'd prefer a harness but I carry her under the chest a lot during exercise so it wouldn't be good.

This morning on our walk I experimented with squeezing through another gap in another fence I knew about and it worked. Whatever happens, I want to carry her with me. I thought of shoving her through the bars of the 7' security fence we were almost trapped against, but she would sit and bark and be a target.

I've been rethinking our walking routes. Now even harmless seeming places look different because I've re-sized the speed and distance I can run carrying my dog. I ***always*** watch for stray dogs and carry pepper spray. Now I am watching every vehicle. New or crummy? How many inside? Male or female?

We have to walk fairly late because she overheats as she has to put more effort into walking than most dogs. That means most people are home watching TV and the streets are less populated and many businesses are closed.

I thank God for whoever broke that fence and whoever didn't fix it. We're both OK. The good news is, the dog that used to attack us going up to the school seems to be gone, so we're going up there instead.

6-23-05  We were nearly mugged (continued)

I don't see how I can carry rage and still give my dog enjoyable walks. Also, this is the hard part, when I'm with her we get to be girls together, something I never get to do in normal life. She's so petite and cute and bright, everything I like, and when I'm with her I get to be the part of myself I really enjoy--it's called happiness.

Back when we were having the trouble being attacked by loose dogs I was really stressed and on high alert. To this day I pat the pocket with the pepper spray from time to time during our walk to be sure it's there and turn it around to the right position. I even used to call her Madame President and tell myself at the beginning of our walk, I am the bodyguard. Well, where are we now? Pepper spray isn't going to do jack.

Yes, mornings are much safer and when I'm on the night shift we take our long walk about 10 AM and the 20-minute walk at 4:15. But when I'm on the day shift it's still 90 degrees at 8 PM. We've been going after 7 PM, this happened at 7:45. And yes, if I would have been walking in that same part of the block before 5 it would have been fine. There are a number of places I've crossed off our list for walks from now on.

I hardly ever walk the other two dogs, they can run around the big back yard, but my little disabled dog can't do that. [Note: the grass in the back yard was too thick for her to walk in.]

6-23-05  Motivation

You know, the thing that motivates my dog the absolute most to walk is having lots of sniffy smells to follow with her nose, either other animals or food. :) Slow walking when she's not thinking about it is what she does best, and if she follows her nose it keeps her at the right speed. She made great advances when we were staying in hotels while travelling. She was on very low motel carpet, and it had a million interesting smells for her to follow. I was absolutely amazed the day she walked out of the hotel room and into the parking lot to bark at somebody!

Now that we're not travelling, she loves to go over to the school where they have picnic tables out on a cement patio and walk around under the picnic tables sniffing for food. Walking around dumpsters can be good, too.


[Note: Often there was broken glass around the dumpsters and I worried as I watched her walking around among it, but she never stepped on the glass and I finally made a determined decision that I should trust her. She knew what she was doing and she never did step on glass with her front feet or her hind feet.]

7-7-05  Spinal walking (aka "reflex walking")

My dog does both reflex walking and real walking. She spends a larger percentage of time reflex walking I think.

7-9-05  Slow recovery

My dog took months to begin walking, but she is walking, and trotting, and jumping off of curbs. A slow recovery is still a recovery.

7-10-05  Nails

She wears down her toenails in back from dragging, so I have to be careful they don't go into the quick. If her front nails get too long they split because she puts so much pressure on them while balancing--better to keep them short.

7-15-05  Proud of my dog

Yesterday when she got out of the treadmill and the therapist began to dry her off, she pulled away from the therapist and stood there on all four feet and shook herself dry. :)

She had a spinal fracture and paralysis. She learned to walk again. It took her 9 months to walk a distance of 4 feet. It took her 15 months to drink from a water bowl standing up. Now it is 21 1/2 months and she can shake herself dry standing up. She is still getting more strength and balance.

7-16-05  Another accomplishment for my dog

My dog ran down 4 steps today, trying to catch a big dog. I had to catch her. She's fast!

7-28-05  Progress report 22 months

I still can hardly believe this. The therapist said this morning my dog was on the treadmill and she was doing really good. The treadmill faces the hallway and she can watch people go by (and they see her), but there is also a picture window behind the treadmill that looks out onto a lawn where they walk the dogs for potty breaks. This morning my dog wanted to watch the other dogs out the window and the therapist said she turned around and walked BACKWARD on the treadmill for about 2 seconds without losing her balance, then turned back around. It's just amazing.

In the past while on the treadmill she has also walked from side to side, walked in a circle(!), and figured out how to stand on the ledge in the front so only her back feet are going and in the back so only her front feet are going, and even on the side so only her feet on one side are going.

She also had another accomplishment last week that I didn't report. She does not like to walk over storm drains or metal drain covers. In front of the school there is a sidewalk with a metal drain cover that is the width of the sidewalk and about 1 1/2' across. It is in the middle of the downward sloping sidewalk we practiced on when she was first walking. She would always come to it and stop and I'd lift her over. Last week we came to it and I stepped on it and stood on it and walked around on it. I think she could tell it was solid from the sound. Finally I sat on the curb of the flowerbed with my feet on the metal. After a minute she stood up and walked over it. She has now walked over it 3 times. :)

Today it is 22 months and 5 days since her accident.

8-24-05  Still improving

Now she can walk the length of the shopping center or the length of the football field in the grass. She can run when she is really motivated--when she wants to catch a big dog, she can make me trot to catch her. She can go down steps, but she can't go up the steps yet. We are at 23 months and she is still improving in small ways.

9-10-05  Springing up

My dog is doing something new, and now that she's done it twice I will try to describe it. It is like she is learning to jump to her feet from a lying position. Actually, she kind of springs up. It reminds me of the motion of a mousetrap when you trigger it and it jumps. She is still learning how to control the spring, it's very fast and forceful. We will be 2 years post-injury in 2 weeks. She seems to be surprising herself when she does this and I can't see exactly what she's doing it happens so fast.

9-22-05  She also drags during our walks

My dog is paralyzed but has relearned to walk, but she also drags at times between walking. Like she'll walk over to a mailbox post to sniff it, stand and sniff it, then sit, then drag herself around it still sniffing.