Puddy's Road To Walking
In April 2012 during a walk Puddy suddenly, and without any prior sign of injury or illness, began to wobble, lose his balance, stumble, and drag his back foot - although he exhibited no signs of pain whatsoever. We thought at first he’d had a stroke and rushed him to the vet. A disc had ruptured in about the middle of his back – exploding and striking his spinal cord with a massive amount of disc material. He had surgery. His recovery progressed very (and atypically) slowly. He would make some small improvement but then plateau; then just when we thought his progress had stifled he would turn another corner and regain some new function or movement. During this time we were using a sling because Puddy was able to assist in walking and it was good physical therapy for him in relearning to walk. At the six month mark post surgery, with 100% use of his back left leg, and with nerves just showing signs of awakening in his right ankle and foot, Puddy had a second disc blow out. This time, however, Puddy was not a candidate for a second surgery since he had not recovered fully from the prior surgery. Puddy lost all his prior progress and he was once again totally paralyzed in both back legs. We hoped Puddy would progress like before, however, two months after the second disc rupture it was obvious that Puddy was not going to make the same recovery. At that point we knew we wanted to give Puddy as much mobility as possible, and we could not continue to sling him as a permanent solution, so we researched canine carts. We decided on the Walkin’ Wheels. It took Puddy several weeks and some major coaxing – following the suggestions in the materials provided to start slow and built up gradually – to get the hang of using the cart. (At first if the wheels so much as brushed a clump of grass or he rolled over a pebble he would stop, but now he bulldozes right through bushes and brush, over rocks and limbs!) Now, when he sees us grab the cart, his tail wags and he gets very excited! (Puddy never lost the ability to wag his tail.) He is even slowly regaining some muscle movement in his thighs and his left leg. Thanks to his Walkin’ Wheels Puddy is back to being able to walk along with our other dogs and be part of the pack; he can run and chase with the neighbor dogs and kids, and he has more freedom to explore; and, he can once again resume being a stubborn, ground sniffing hound.
The funniest thing is everyone, kids and adults alike, asks “how does he poop in that?” We simply say “You ever see a horse pulling a carriage or wagon? Like that.”