About a month ago my beagle/dachshund mix Olive started acting peculiar. She was shaking and crying. I thought it was a stress reaction to the new foster dog, Heidi, whom we'd just taken in. I worked to find Heidi a new foster home STAT. Unfortunately, Olive's condition worsened and within 24 hours she wasn't able to stand or walk. I now knew she was having an episode of IVDD injury. IVDD is a common disc disease found in many breeds of dogs including beagles and dachshunds. It causes the discs in the spine to calcify and age prematurely. This can lead to spinal injuries from common activities like jumping on/off furniture or play with other dogs. Olive had suffered a similar but less severe injury a year ago from which she recovered in a few weeks.
This time the vet felt that the injury was much more severe and cautioned me that she may not regain use of her rear legs or control of her bladder. I was crushed. My girl Olive is always on the go. She monitors the neighborhood from a perch atop the sofa and regular backyard patrols. Being stuck on crate rest and medication would be torture for her while healing and no life at all for her if she didn't recover. I prayed that I wouldn't have to make a heartwrenching decision about Olive's quality of life.
My friends from Dachshund Haus Rescue had always raved about the benefits of chiropractic care for paralyzed dogs. I rushed to get an appointment with the local dog chiropractor. When we rolled into the office in our red wagon I was nervous and expecting more bad news. What we found was hope. The chiropractor said they saw many cases similar or worse which turned into success stories with treatment and time. They counseled to give the medication and rest time to work and be patient waiting for the nerves to heal. At our 2nd appointment a week later they found a reaction to pain stimulus in the paws. By our 4th appointment, we had seen Olive wag her tail!
We are now on week 5 and praying every day for more signs of recovery. The path has been exhausting. I never thought I'd be changing diapers and washing load after load of soiled blankets daily. I never thought Olive would be in such good spirits despite limits to her usual activities. She teaches me about unconditional love, perseverance, and adaptability with her indomitable heart. I will continue to care for her with her disability for as long as she is a happy girl eager to greet each day. Whether God restores her legs or we get fitted for a wheelchair, we'll stay best friends for many more years.
This whole experience has taught me to be grateful for the good and carefree days with our pets and to be prepared for the worst. I'm lucky to have a dog so well tempered and loyal that she is happy to spend the day next to Mom while she writes and forgo her usual survey of the property. Whatever comes we'll snuggle though it and be glad to have each other. I wish everyone could experience the love of a good dog.