A Summer for Margie

I’ve been concentrating on my other blogs this summer and I have neglected this one.  Besides, Margie has been taking up a lot more time than usual.  She gave us quite a scare.

One evening in late June she refused to get down off the bed when my husband came upstairs.  This was part of our regular routine, so we wondered what had gotten into her.  Eventually, she did move, but the next day she was slow and seemed rather stiff.  After two or three days she seemed to get back to normal and I went to Atlanta for a week.  While I was gone, the crisis came.  One evening she stopped walking.  My husband and my son were afraid she was going to die.  She was shaking and was unable to move off the blanket they had spread for her.

My husband had just started a new job and I was out-of-town, so our son and oldest daughter took Margie to the Vet the next day.  They did some tests and x-rays and made a diagnosis:  Intervertebral Disc Disease and Arthritis.  Her doctor recommended conservative treatment and sent her home with lots of medicine.  If she didn’t improve, our only option would be surgery and we knew we couldn’t afford that.  We did lots of praying and some on-line research.

First off, we had to get the pain under control.  By the time I arrived home a few days later, that was accomplished.  Margie was taking pain meds, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflamatories.  We’ve become very thankful for Greenies Pill Pockets!

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And joint care will be a permanent part of her new life.

She wasn’t in pain any more, but she had little to no control over her back end.  We had to carry her out to potty and she had a lot of trouble doing what she needed to do.  Thankfully, she never lost control of her bladder.

On line I saw people using a sling to help dachshunds with disc problems.  I got out a scarf and we started using it to help Margie control her back end and to keep her from falling on the steps.

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It works well, and now she doesn’t really need it, but I like to use it just to keep her safe on the front steps. Eventually, we cut down the muscle relaxers and that helped, too.  Slowly, she improved.

We moved her kennel downstairs and she had to be confined to it for about a month.

20130806-212947.jpgShe was not pleased, but she did cooperate.

She had a really hard time on the wood floors, so we used mats and runners where we could.  We bought her a nice, supportive mattress for her kennel and she seemed to like that.  Every day she seemed to get better.  Eventually, I could take her out to potty by myself with the help of the “sling.”

There will be no more jumping up on the furniture or other “high spots” for Margie.  She’s learning to stick to the floor.  The hardest part for her is giving up her place in the bay window in the kitchen.  She feels responsible for neighborhood security.  We got her another bed like the one in her kennel and I put it by the front door in the mornings so she can keep an eye out and feel useful.

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In the evenings, we move it into the livingroom so she can hang out.

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She can’t go upstairs at all.  She hates this, but she’s learning to wait for me at the bottom most of the time.

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My son caught her up a few steps this afternoon.  She’s beginning to feel well enough to misbehave!

I am very thankful that for Margie’s healing.  Her doctor was amazed at her progress on our last visit.  She will have to be careful in the future, and so will we, but she has the chance for a pretty normal doggy life now.  She has even learned to “run” a bit.  It looks a little like a bunny hop since she moves both back legs at once, but it works.

Margie was my constant companion when I had cancer.  She was my bed and couch buddy on chemo weekends.  She helped me to exercise by taking her for walks even when I didn’t feel like it.  Many a time she curled up beside me, keeping me warm when I was “hairless.”  I was very scared we would lose her this summer.  I’m glad I got a chance to return the favor and help her find her way back to a healthy life.  She has a way to go, but we’ll keep on working on it.  Illness has changed things for both of us, but love doesn’t change, except to get stronger.

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6 Responses to A Summer for Margie

  1. Cathy York says:

    I hope she continues to improve. It is a blessing you had time off to love on her. The photos speak volumes. She seems very sweet.

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  2. Dorothy says:

    What a sweet story. I’m so glad she is improving and “learning” her limits.

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  3. Adrienne says:

    I’m glad to hear that Margie is doing better. I am impressed that she is more or less staying off the stairs. I have spent much of my summer thinking about Fiona’s health care. I taught summer school to pay for a surgery to remove 2 tumors & 3 cysts. She, too, is cooperating, but doesn’t like it. People keep telling me that Fiona is lucky to have me. I think I’m the lucky one. It seems you feel the same way about Margie.

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