Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for so many things and so many people.  Family, faith, friends, business, children’s giggles…I could go on and on.  In fact, I might come back and do that.  But tonight I just learned that Rudy won a photo contest for an article on how pets are good for your health.  I just wanted to share what I wrote and the photo I entered.

In August of 2010, I fell in love again.  I had been avoiding it for 2 1/2 years since the loss of our 14 yr. old lab mix, Nikki.  This, however, was unavoidable. 

He didn’t come running to me.  He had far to much dignity for that.  He just looked at me with these concerned eyes that said, “You’re not my person.  I don’t belong in this little cage.  What is happening?”  I had very small children to consider.  I own an in-home daycare.  This wasn’t just about me…or him.

My husband still wasn’t ready to set himself up for another potential heartache but he loves me and agreed to come back and take a look.  When we arrived and we saw each other, my husband knew it was all over but the signing.  He was literally jumping horizontally over the boxer that was in the run with him.   He recognized me and was smiling at me!  There was no denying it.  “Rudy the Wonder Dog” was already mine.

Less than two years later during an early morning thunderstorm, tragedy threatened to break our hearts again.  Rudy and I were both awakened by a huge clap of thunder.  I heard the familiar barking and called for him to come upstairs and join me.  Instead of hearing him run upstairs I could hear his nails scratching the floor repeatedly.  Confused, I got up to check.  Rudy was sitting with both of his rear feet sticking straight out in front of him.  I tried to help him get up and he yelped.  He was hurt.  He scooted across the floor in that position.  My he-man husband came around the corner, realized the problem and hit his knees.

Within 30 minutes we were at the emergency vet, me still in my pajamas.  A myelagram and CAT scan later we still had no answers.  The next day he was worse, having lost all deep pain sensation in his legs.  We were advised that they believed he had myelomalacia, an ascending paralysis that would kill him within the next 72 hours.  We had a choice to make.

I’m not going to lie.  I freaked out.  I melted to the floor like someone had told me my child was dying.  My husband freaked because I was.  Then something in me snapped.  They were wrong.  I just felt it all the way to my bones.  We drove to the hospital and I checked out my dog.

For the next 3 days I didn’t leave his side.  We’d been told we would have to watch for weakness in his front legs which would indicate that the paralysis was indeed ascending.  In that case his diaphram would be next, causing him to actually suffocate to death.  I think I held my breath for the next 72 hours.  And then, it passed.  And Rudy didn’t.

I learned to change a catheter and how to safely carry my 50 pound bundle of joy outside.  He learned to manuever with only two working legs.  He was still my happy, I love you always, Rudy.  There was just one thing, he really wanted to take a walk.  I had learned to put a towel under him to take him out, but he kept trying to walk down the street.  This is a 50 pound dog, and even with only two working legs, he was fast!  I needed to figure out a way to take Rudy on a walk again.

This is our solution.  A beautifully personalized cart made especially for Rudy from Eddie’s Wheels.  He loves his walks and all the extra attention he gets.  He might not look like a typical dog, and the truth is, he’s not.  He’s Rudy the Wonder Dog!

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