Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Japanese Know-How Applied to Dog Wheelchairs

Kyoko, whose story of her Pembroke welsh corgi Cookie is in this blog, gave me links for dog wheelchairs made in Japan.  I found these fascinating and wanted to share the innovations available there.

Not only can the Japanese import most of the same carts we have available here, but they are designing their own.  Here are some notable examples.

This cart is made from aluminum tubing.  Here it is shown with front wheels for a corgi.

Another company offers the above cart, plus several others.

This first is apparently a close copy of an Eddie's Wheels cart.

Another four wheel cart from Animal Ortho Japan:  Note the front swivel wheels.  Also note the colorful carts.  One US maker told me that they began offering colors at the request of Japanese customers!

While my Japanese isn't good enough to tell you whether this next cart is available for corgis, I found it very interesting!  From

Somewhat remniscent of the UK's Dogmobile, which also allows dogs to lie down.

This company's cart has a little spring action.  Click through to see the video on their Facebook page.

The next cart isn't anything too innovative- but check out the colors.

And finally, this one from

Cookie, a DM Corgi in Japan 2000-2014

Cookie:  2/22/2000-6/15/2014

Editor's Note:  Through Kyoko, Cookie's owner, I first learned of the prevalence of DM in Pembroke Welsh Corgis in Japan.  Later, I read in a DM research publication that Japanese researchers have been able to study DM at a far more advanced state because dogs with DM there are maintained up to four years (as Cookie was.)  I am very grateful to Kyoko for being willing to share her experiences with Cookie in this blog.

I sent Kyoko the usual questions that I send for "Merlin's Friends" and also a few more that were specific to Japanese corgis, and then wrote Cookie and Kyoko's story based on her answers and when I could,  in her own voice.  My own comments are interspersed in italics in a few places, but the rest is my rewrite of Kyoko's words.

Cookie's Story, as told by Kyoko, follows:

Corgis are very popular in Japan.  The popularity peaked at about 31,000 registered corgis in 2002 and is now at about 5800.  They became popular about twenty years ago when a tea company featured a corgi on a TV commercial.  (See it here: )

Japanese breeders originally imported many corgis from the US, so it is not surprising that testing in Japan shows just about the same incidence of the DM genes as in the US.

I obtained Cookie (C.C. Cookie, or Chocolate Chip Cookie!) from my friend, who bred her female corgi Chappy to a male from a breeding kennel.  Chappy and her two other female pups died of unrelated causes, and Cookie's only brother has DM.

Four years ago, when Cookie was ten, she began showing signs of what I now know was DM.  It was not easy to get a diagnosis.  The family animal hospital first diagnosed her with a herniated disk, and prescribed steroids and quiet rest.  This did not help, and Cookie got worse.  My friend who owned her mother did some internet research and found out about DM.  The vet then referred her for an MRI, which showed that it was not a herniated disk.  Her blood was then sent to Gifu University, where Dr. Kamishina is studying the genetics of DM, and it showed that she had the genes for DM.

Within about nine months, by April 2011, she needed some support, and I got a sling for her.  Cookie hated the sling.  When I put it on her she gave up walking.  As soon as I put her hips in it, she said she couldn't walk.  So I had to carry her to the park.

  As soon as I put her down in the park a miracle would happen; she could run and play with her ball and Frisbee.  She forgot she was unable to move so she could move.  Of course, this didn't last for long.

A video of Cookie February 2011, playing in the snow with her ball:

 Cookie was very puzzled that she could not walk.

 I ordered a wheelchair  in June 2011, and Cookie was very happy to be able to run and play again.  She loved to play soccer.

 She used the rear-wheel cart for one year and four months.  For the last one year and eleven months she used a four-wheel cart.  During the last months she had her front feet supported in the cart.

There are now many choices for dog wheelchairs in Japan.  Cookie had a Doggon Wheels cart which was imported.  Other brands are also imported, and increasingly carts are being designed and built in Japan.  

Editor's note:  I was going to post some links and pictures, but I'm intrigued about the variety of new carts and ideas coming from Japan, and wanted to do a blog post on those separately, so see the previous entry.

For supplements, I gave her antioxidants such as blueberries and blackberries from the home garden, Rooibos no-caffeinated tea, cranberry juice to prevent cystitis, and a turmeric supplement.  I also used a supplement called Hepaact and another called Neuroact (editor's note:  I was unable to identify these supplements, which are available from Amazon UK.)

Her appetite remained good until the last six months.  She wanted to eat but became a pickier eater.  I made homemade foods, cooked and raw, and also made liquid food that could be fed with a syringe.  Cookie also liked to get water from a syringe.

Dogs with DM often lose weight.  My friend's corgi became very thin, going from 14 kg to 9 kg.   Cookie was a large female, and she lost some weight as her muscles atrophied from DM, but she maintained much of it.  It was important to keep her physically strong.

Cookie's Weght

2009 Autumn 14kg
2010   DM first time summer 13kg→Autumn 12kg
2011 12kg→12.6kg  
2012  13kg→14kg 
2013 January13.8kg→may 14.5kg→August 12.5kg
2014  march~June  12.4kg

About one year into her wheelchair use, Cookie became incontinent.   I designed a way to add a collection device to Cookie's cart.

When Cookie could no longer hold her head up in the four-wheel cart, I designed a support from a hanger and an oven mitt.  

For sleeping I used a product designed for humans called Breathair- a bedding that helps to keep a body cool or warm and free from bedsores.  

The material comes in many sizes and thicknesses. It is very convenient, and can be cut to fit and is washable in water.   Many people use it while caring for their pets.  I used it in the cushioning of this wheelchair as well.  It is also used for people, for example in the cushions  of the Japanese railway Shinkansen.

In January and April of 2014 she developed diarrhea and wouldn't eat and was in critical condition.  The vet gave her antibiotics and medication for her stomach and intestines, and I gave her a powder of lactic acid bacteria (the same bacteria found in yogurt and sourkraut) to help her immune system.  

Since immune strength falls when the body temperature falls, in Japan, the belly of a DM corgi is often kept warm.  This is a "Haramaki", or stomach band, knit from wool or acrylic yarn.

I wanted to find more information about the care of a corgi with DM.  I found some blogs, and became friends with the owner of one DM blog.  We shared and exchanged information and offered support in times of trouble.  I also found a bulletin board for owners of Japanese dogs with DM.  

I was able to attend a meeting for owners of DM corgis that was held in Kyoto.

I also met Bobbie through Facebook and Wheelcorgis and am thankful to her.

Cookie died from DM itself, when it compromised her ability to breathe.  Over her last six months her breathing became weaker and she mainly used her abdominal muscles to breathe.  However, she did not seem distressed until the end.

When she became sick with diarrhea, her breathing seemed painful.  The vet took X-Rays and found that one of her lungs was somewhat compressed, but she did not have pneumonia.  Her blood was tested at this time and the oxygen level was high enough.

Since DM is not physically painful, most owners and veterinarians in Japan would not consider euthanasia.   Since a wheelchair is available for a dog with DM, owners will use one and not euthanize their dog because it cannot walk.  They would not, however, do a life-saving procedure if a DM dog became ill, but they would treat any pain so that the dog was comfortable.

In Japan, a personal oxygen machine can be easily rented, and offers comfort to both humans and dogs with breathing difficulty.  This provides 35-45% oxygen.  But the vet did not think Cookie needed this.  I borrowed a Yamaha Oxycool 32 from a friend whose DM corgi had died last summer.  It provided about 30% oxygen.  Cookie used it from September of 2013 to June of 2014.

Cookie changed suddenly one day before the last moment.  She was unwilling to play and would not eat.  We went to the animal hospital immediately.  I felt it was the final stage of DM.  But she had signs of cystitis and the vet gave her an antibiotic.   She improved, but her breathing did not return to normal even with more oxygen.

I lost my father to pneumonia about a year and a half before Cookie died.  As he lost consciousness, to keep him comfortable, the nurse helped me to wash his hair and wipe his body with a warm towel.  

I asked my friend Naomi, who had DM corgi Ira, to show me how to do T-Touch.  When Cookie was dying I remembered, and wiped and massaged her body with a hot towel moistened with chamomile tea.

At the last: her breathing appeared to be stable.  It was time to carry out the pressure urination (expression of the bladder.)  

I have embraced her.

14:12.  Cookie died.

She was conscious until the last moment, her face smiling.

How did Cookie's DM affect my life?  I quit my job to care for Cookie.   I have no regrets about doing this or caring for her.  I became much closer to Cookie over these four years.  It is like caring for a baby- as I cared for her she only became more dear to me.

I was impressed by Cookie's ability to enjoy whatever she was able to do.  People would see her in her wheelchair and think it was pitiful, but she was by no means unhappy.

I was shocked when it got to know that life expectancy is about three years. 

However, worrying about the shortness of life is wasteful. 

It is not a face of sadness.   I  swore to spend the remaining time with her with a smile and happily.  I was four years caring for her.   It was always saved by her smiling face. 

Fortunately I could be very much together with her.  The next picture is from just before she died.  She was going to live until her death.

 For videos of Cookie, 


 2014 corgi's world cup   ★

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Book available: Corgis on Wheels: Understanding and Caring for your Corgi with Degenerative Myelopathy or Disk Disease

Available from CorgiAid for the discounted price of $25 plus shipping (list price $29.95.)

Written by Bobbie Mayer, this book includes photos of many of Merlin's Friends who have been featured here as well as other corgis with DM and IVDD. It's packed with useful information on how to care for your dog. A must have for the owner of any disabled corgi!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rio: 2000-2012

Colleen wrote this story about Rio.

"Rio entered our family in 2000 as a wild, curious, 100% adorable Corgi puppy. At that time Rio had two older siblings with whom he sometimes struggled to get along. From the very start of his life, Rio was a very solitary Corgi. He preferred to spend a lot of his time outdoors sniffing the breeze and enjoying the scenery of his backyard.

"Not to say he didn’t take part in an active lifestyle. He greatly enjoyed anything having to do with a tennis ball and would chase one until he was made to quit.

"Eventually Rio became an only dog until his sister, Ella, arrived. Rio and Ella, both ‘middle aged’ Corgis, spent their leisure time travelling and visiting family, as well as calling Florida their home during the winter. Regular walks on a sandy beach are not typically a cause for Corgi complaint.

"After February of 2012, walks became short strolls and chasing the ball became something that Rio could no longer accomplish. This was when he was diagnosed with DM. At the start of his diagnosis, Rio could walk (short distances) and transport himself around the house and the yard. As time progressed, however, his legs became less mobile until eventually he could not use them at all.

"Rio was given a cart to help with his mobility, but was never very keen on learning how to use it.

 "Rio died in September of 2012, having lived only 7 months with DM. It was decided that his quality of life was more important than any extra months the family would get to spend with him.

"Rio was a gentle, loving Corgi and was very special to all who knew him. Through our grief we realize that the best possible way of coping is to remember Rio in his glory doing what he loved: running at full speed towards a flying tennis ball, swimming in the family pool, and sunbathing himself until the shade of the evening took over. Rio’s shade had become too heavy of a burden upon him, and we’d like to think of him now in the sunshine of his life. Somewhere he is running, jumping and hopefully stealing many scraps off a never-ending Thanksgiving dinner table."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Buffy 1998-2012

Susan Entwisle wrote Buffy's story: It was Buffy who picked Bill and I out on that sunny afternoon, March 2, 1998 when we came to pick out our forever corgi. Buffy was relentless, following us around and barking at us every time we picked up a puppy or knelt down to see how they got along with others in the litter. Finally, it was obvious that Buffy wasn't going to give up and Bill and I knew she was the one we wanted.

Buffy was definitely a happy puppy, had a wonderful personality, she was very vocal, she knew what she wanted and was relentless until she got it, eager to please, playful, got along with her mates and people. Buffy also had a stubborn side. This stubbornness stayed with her through out her life time. She was adorable, fluffy and pudgy.There was no doubt in my mind that this little girl was going to be spoiled rotten.

When we returned home, and after setting up her travel carrier for her bed, Buffy went over to the door leading out to the backyard and started barking, asking to go out to do her business. I thought to myself, how wonderful, what more could I ask for, already house trained, There was also no doubt in my mind that Buffy was going to rule this household, a trait she lived up to for all of her young life.

We also had another Corgi at home, his name was Bo. Even though Bo was a few years older, he and Buffy were perfect together. Starting with her first day in her new home, Buffy mastered the art of teasing Bo with her toys and playing her game of hide and seek. They chased each other out in the back yard til both were exhausted, enjoyed long walks around the neighborhood, meeting new people and other dogs and squirrels.

But Buffy's greatest pastime was chasing the cats and squirrels and we had plenty around. There were many days I hardly had a chance to get a leash on her before she was off the deck and down the steps ripping across neighbors yards running after one or the other.

Another favorite pastime of Buffy's is when we would take her down to the lake where she could bark at the boats going by. People in the boats would yell out "hi Buffy" which would encourage her to bark even more. She loved all the attention. Our yearly vacation trips to Ocean City Maryland, were planned when dogs could go on the beach.

Buffy loved running free chasing the seagulls, playing "catch me if you can" with the ocean's waters. People walking on the beach with their pets would stop and acknowledge her, telling her how beautiful and cute she was, which by the way she already knew because she has been told that not only by us everyday, but everyone she came in contact with. In return for their compliments, she would shower them with kisses. She was also insulted if people didn't stop and acknowledge her, at any time or place which was funny because of the frenzy she would go into to get their attention.

Our walks on the ocean boardwalks were interesting because Buffy would also seem to pick out the elderly person(s) or couple(s) to want to spend time with whenever we passed by a bench they were sitting on. Buffy would sit at their feet and look up at them with her loving eyes while all the time they were petting and talking lovingly to her. It was hard at times to get her away from them.

This did not totally surprise us because she often got excited with the mere mention of going to visit our senior citizen neighbors where she displayed the same type of loving affection and concern for their well being. Especially if they were ill or had been ill. This prompted us to take the necessary steps to have Buffy certified to be able to go into our local retirement homes to visit with senior citizens which she thoroughly enjoyed and they loved seeing and spending time with her.

Now before I move on to Buffy's life with DM, I cannot leave this paragraph without telling you that Buffy was also a mother. Despite all of our efforts, Buffy and Bo had five beautiful babies who were all born very healthy. Buffy proved to be the wonderful mother we knew she could be. We kept one of the babies for ourselves because we knew Bo would only be with us for a few more years. While it was a sad day for all seeing them go, I think my tears were mostly for Buffy seeing her kiss and fuss over each one when they got ready to leave.

We did find out after living a very full and active life for 12years, one of the five babies was diagnosed with DM. He is currently taking daily walks in what use to be Buffy's cart. Here is Buffy's journey with DM.

To the best of my knowledge,and according to my notes, it was a morning in early October 2009 that I noticed when Buffy came out of the bedroom to get a drink of water that her right back foot was slightly dragging on the wood floor. When I went over to watch her drink, she was standing up, her legs were perfectly straight so I didn't think too much of it. Until we went for our morning walk that is. When we let her out the door, Buffy ran down the steps and down to the bottom of the driveway as usual. While walking up the street, I could hear her right back toe nails dragging on the asphalt. We didn't go far that morning because of my concern for her. When we got back home, I called and made an appointment with our vet to have her checked out.

Upon telling Dr. Campbell, our vet, what my concerns were and without further testing, we were told that Buffy was in the beginning stages of DM and proceeded to tell us what DM is and the effects it would have on Buffy's body as well as what the future would hold for Buffy with this decease. Dr. Campbell could tell by the looks on our faces that all of what she was telling us was so overwhelming and told us to go home and research everything we could about DM as well as join the WheelCorgis Support Group. To read over their questions, comments, concerns as well as responses and write down any questions we had. We were to do the same with any articles we found on DM and when finished, to call her to set up an appointment to discuss our questions and concerns.

We did what she asked and our questions and concerns were patiently addressed as hard as it was to accept. We also discussed measuring Buffy for a cart as was well as ordering one even though we didn't need one right away. It would give her time to get use to it if we alternated days of walking with the cart, but first try it in the house. She offered her technicians help with the measuring if we needed it. Bill and I along with a neighbor did the measuring for Buffy's new cart ordered through the CorgiAid Cart Program.

It was also recommended that we find a local vet that offered acupuncture to get her started right away. For us, it proved unsuccessful after several sessions. Since we had a lake available here where we live, we decided to take Buffy swimming every chance we could and weather permitting. Buffy seemed to enjoy her swimming outings more then we had imagined she would apparent by her big smiles and seeing both of her back legs kicking as she swam. Seeing other swimmers out in the water also encouraged her to swim longer. We kept this up for well over two years. We stopped when we noticed the enjoyment was no longer there.

There were also daily massages twice a day and when she was on the couch with Bill or myself (another part of the day she loved) which we were advised to start doing the day she was diagnosed DM.

It sure didn't seem like it was very long after being diagnosed, before Buffy was completely down in the rear, but her front paws were very strong. It started out gradually having trouble standing up and then dragging her back right paw and eventually falling over. We had covered our exposed wood floors with runners and pieces of carpet thinking she would scoot herself to where ever she wanted to go. But Buffy was not a scooter nor a seal walker.

The only time she would use her cart in the house was when she saw an animal in the yard from the sliding glass door or when someone came to the door to visit. Picking her up and placing her where ever she wanted to be, was a daily routine we quickly adjusted to. Buffy's bark was still very strong enough to tell you what she wanted as well as our communication with her.

In the beginning we would carry her out to the backyard and hold up her rear end so she could pee and poop. After she was done, she usually wanted to walk around on her front paws while we held her up to explore all of the great smells' We tried the bottoms up leash for support and others like it; they just did not work for us.

After several of these sessions in the back yard, I was motivated to get her to using her cart outside to do her business. We worked in our garage "finding the carrots", her favorite snack, and she did a great job finding them. It only took a few days of being in the garage when it was Buffy who headed out and walked down the long driveway and up the street where she greeted some friends of ours she knew. That day Buffy looked so proud. She wore a big smile and seemed pleased that she could get around on her own.

After that miraculous day, it was smooth sailing for her in her cart. She enjoyed the new places we took her to see and meeting new people as well as other dogs. These places included farm markets, pet stores, parks and dog parks. We continued our yearly visits to the beach where she still chased the waves in her cart and barked at the sea gulls, walked the boardwalk and around our vacation home. I think though that our many daily walks around our own neighborhood was her favorite place to be because she knew everyone and their pets. But where ever we happened to be, she warmed every ones heart she came in contact with.

When Buffy was first introduced to her new cart, we also purchased a couple of strollers from various flea markets that were taken with us during all of our outings. Whenever she tired from walking in her cart, she eagerly welcomed the rest in her stroller while continuing our ventures.

For the first two years after being diagnosed with DM, Buffy's appetite was a typical Corgi's appetite. She would eat what you gave her in her bowl and still look for more. As long as I can remember, Buffy was in the kitchen with me while I fixed meals, at the table hoping we would give her something from our plate or better yet, when we had company over for dinner wishing they would share their food with her. We could always depend on her to help with the clean up after wards. Because she enjoyed being in the kitchen while I fixed meals and after she went down completely in the rear, I made sure she had a special bed to lay on so she could be near me and fed her her favorite vegetable's, frozen green beans and carrots.

Our vet had warned us that this might change. Her appetite started to diminish as she approached her third year with the disease. That was also when she started having UTI"s, ear infections and what I called "green junk" in her eyes caused from the pollen. She was placed on various medications for each. The medications would suppress her appetite as well as make her groggy or sleepy. Just to mentioned a few, the culprits were Bethanechol, Metoclopramide, Leviquin, Cefpadoxime, Nizoral, Baytril, Thyrozine and cephalalexin. Buffy took her one daily vitamin, gluclosomine twice a day along with a dose of Aminocaproic Acid, enalapril tablet for a minor heart condition detected some years ago along with a daily Prilosec tablet up until her last day even when she would not eat any of her food while on medications.

Her not eating was a big concern for me because I could see and feel she was losing weight. I would continue to fix anything I thought she would eat just to get food into her. Many of the foods that she would normally eat, became of no interest to her. She would turn her head away even when I tried to hand feed her. I never let her go without something in her tummy. When this happened, we were off to our vet where Dr. Campbell would give her a Minstrel V injection (steroid) along with a B-12 shot to help boost her system so she would start eating again. Some times this shot (Steroid) would work but sometimes it didn't. The only problem with this steroid was it took a few days before it would take effect.

In August of this year, Buffy started to develop a respiratory problem for which she was put on 100mg daily of Draxxin. It was also during this time that her daily walks in her cart became shorter and that we were using the stroller more to complete our daily outings. We already had several beds for her around the house but because of her respiratory problem, we made a special bed using orthopedic foam mattresses with an egg crate mattress on top to prop her up to make her more comfortable and to help her breath more easily. Since she found this one to help with her breathing, we adjusted all of the others so I could carry her into any room so she could be with me and they would all be the same.

Several other disturbing problems were becoming more noticeable during this time frame. Buffy was beginning to lose muscle mass in her chest, front legs and front paws. Her right front paw was beginning to knuckle . She would even stumble while walking. After seeing this, we only took her out in her cart so she could pee & poop with a leash attached to the cart to help her move for small distances. She also stopped smiling as much as she use to even when she knew people she had always greeted with her beautiful smile and eagerness.

It was only in her stroller did she appear to be the happy little girl we had always known. For this reason, our walks and trips to different places in her stroller increased because of her love for the outdoors.

It was because of of the short walks and lack of exercise in her cart, that I began expressing Buffy. It also seemed like we were going out more to pee and even if she went on her own, I always expressed her to make sure all of the urine was out. However there were times she would leak urine usually when I had her up on the table cleaning her up. So Back outside we would go where I would try again.
Expressing her soon became an everyday routine because she stopped going on her own. Buffy never wore diapers.

Buffy had always slept with us in the bedroom, usually laying up against Bill's side dresser by the bed. Now she had her own comfortable bed to lay in the bedroom and just like clock work every morning around 2:30am, she woke us asking for a drink of water and to go out. Her next outing would be at 4:30am when I got up for the day and every two hours after that for the remainder of the day.

By Mid-August, Buffy's bark now was more of a squeak and seldom tried to bark (squeak) at anything or anyone unless she was annoyed or I wasn't looking directly at her when she was trying to get my attention. Even though I had read that it was alright to let her continue to try and bark, I kept my eyes on her all the time only to see if she was tryng to tell me something.

By now, Buffy's eating habits are becoming sporadic. She would only eat a very small amount of food at any given time. Even when I tried giving her food through the day, only a couple of bites were taken She is also wanting to sleep more and has even slept while on our stroller walks. My heart was breaking even more everyday to see her slowly leaving me.

By the beginning of September, Buffy was becoming more and more frail,continuing to lose more weight and looking very small. Her once wide open bright eyes were now sad looking, she could no longer even take baby steps in her cart because both of her front paws were now knuckling causing her to trip when she tried. Stroller rides were now for only five to ten minutes because she had fallen asleep before we could complete the nine tenths of the circle we had traveled and walked for years.

When I spoke with the technician at the vet's office to give her Buffy's condition, I was told on her call back that Dr. Campbell wanted to see her and would probably give her another booster shot to wake up her system. This appointment was scheduled for September 9th, two days away. The following day, I called the clinic and changed that appointment to saying good-bye to my beautiful, sweet and wonderful little girl with the gorgeous smile who left a lasting impression on everyone she met.

Bill and I wanted one more day with her to tell her how much we loved her, how much she meant to us all these wonderful years with her in it, the joy, devotion and love she gave to us everyday and how we will treasure her memories forever. We also wanted her to know how sorry we were that this disease had robbed her of a healthy life she so much deserved. We did a lot of hugging her, holding her close and giving her as many kisses she could handle that day.

When we left the following morning for our 10am appointment, Bill took the long way around, we arrived late but we didn't care. As I held Buffy, I think she knew that we were going to say so long for a while and she was ready to meet Bo and Barkley at the bridge. Saying good-bye to our little girl Buffy, was so heartbreaking for both of us

I want to thank Bobbie, the CorgiAid cart program, and the Wheelscorgi group for being there when I needed you and helping Buffy live a longer, happier life while battling this disease. I couldn't have done it without you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweety: 1997-2012

Woodlands Sweet Apple Cider - October 18, 1997 - November 12, 2012 (Sweetie)

Still young and healthy

I lost my 15+ year old Sweetie dog.  She was out of my first corgi litter and lived here for her forever life.  Although there are still 4 children and grandchildren with me, her passing has made a hole in my heart and house.  Although she was  very sweet with people, she was quite tough with other dogs and ruled the roost till the day she left us.  She always made her little bark when people came to visit so that they would come and pet her first.

Sweetie was out of my first Pembroke litter.  She goes back to the Shaferhaus lines.  She had one litter, and her daughter Deedee is still with me at age 12. Deedee has not been DNA'd for DM, but is still moving well and able to do her walkies in the park.  Sweetie did some conformation shows and had some points, but I decided that she was not really going to finish her championship title.  On top of that, she was NOT willing to learn obedience…stubborn should have been her second name!  So she lived her fifteen years as a good companion and guarded the house and yard against chipmunks.

To the best of my memory, Sweetie started to show obvious signs of DM around the summer of 2010.  I had her tested January 18, 2011 and she came up At Risk.  On 4/9/2011 I got her a cart and some time before that her WalkAbout - size Small/Medium from Scout's House.  She could use her cart until beginning 2012, and then only her walkabout.  


Sweetie was my "bed" dog, but she could no longer jump up.  I used to call her the "Pillow Queen" because she would sleep next to me right on top of a pillow.  She knew how to make herself comfy.  I loved having her company.

When she became urine incontinent (25mg Proin helped), she slept in a large wire crate in the bedroom, along with the other girls.  It was not long till she just could not make it up the steps by herself, so she wore her walkabout for the staircase and up we went together….going down in the morning was always exciting as I had to make sure she did not tumble down the steps.  The walkabout was necessary going down also.  It seems I spent a lot of time, putting on the walkabout and taking it off!  At that time I told myself when she could no longer pull herself upstairs (with my help, of course) I would put her down.  But that is not how it went.  Although she was "planted", she still seemed to have a will to live and enjoy life as it became for her.  She could still be in the dog yard watching what was going on and snoozing in the sun.

She never complained about her unlucky lot in life.  For a while she managed to scoot around.  I did get her booties to save her rear paws from scrapes.  She liked her cart and had no problems from the get go.  She knew to bark for me if she got stuck somewhere, which happened often.  We could only use her cart outdoors as my house has too many steps.

2-1-12 - probably around the last time she could use her cart.  Luckily, a mild winter.

Sometime in spring/summer of 2012, she lost all use of her legs.  About the most she could do was a little rotation to turn around.  Instead of upstairs at night, she slept on a nice comfy bed in the kitchen with the boys.  She only complained for a couple of nights….."wait! you forgot about me!"  But she quickly adjusted.  During the day, she was in the groom room, or sunning herself outside.  Evenings she spent in the family room with us, enjoying her popcorn.  She became totality incontinent and started to develop UTI's, even though I expressed her as often as I could.  I got her Huggies diapers, size 5, which where a God Send!  I also bought hospital wee wee pads on EBAY. I never had to express poop….it just fell out.

It was when family would exclaim how awful she was looking that I began to think the time is coming.  Although her eyes were bright, mind good, appetite good, she had lost a lot of weight and I would see her shivering a lot.  She had a huge cyst/tumor on her tummy.  And she started getting blood in her urine even though treated for UTI.  Sweetie was a strong minded, cantankerous girl to the very end.  We will all miss her presence. I cannot say that DM killed her….I believe that age was a factor and that something else was going on.

How did DM affect my life?  I became a care taker, always worried about leaving for too long.  I know that down the line, one of my dogs may come down with DM and at this point I would say, never again.  I cannot go through this again.  But who knows, when it actually occurs, just how I would feel then.  The big difficulty with DM is the fact that the dogs don't seem to complain.  They still have light in their eyes and expectations of good things to come.  So we become their care takers with love in our hearts and grieve when they have to leave us.

Run free, my Sweetie.  Chase those chipmunks at the Bridge.

At the end… pretty old girlie

Monday, September 17, 2012

Precious 8/21/2001 – 7/3/2012

This story is based on Tammy's remembrances of Precious, and is
mostly in her own words.

" First, it is amazing how we learned to cope through each stage of the
disease. The wheelcorgis website was a tremendous wealth of knowledge
& emotional support. It helped me just knowing that others had either
already or were going through the same experience.

"Precious was four when I adopted her. I found her on Petfinder
and she already had the name Precious, so I kept it. I had her for
six years and nine months.

"May 2010 I emailed the vet about noticing Precious dragging her
back right leg. Precious was almost 9 years old when we visited
the neurologist (Aug 2010). The neurologist confirmed it was
definitely a neurological issue & that Precious didn’t appear to be
in pain. I chose not to do the MRI. When our vet & neurologist
spoke about a month later, the neurologist suggested trying
steroids & if no improvement was noticed then the diagnosis is
most likely DM. We tried the steroids for two weeks & noticed no

"Precious lived with DM for almost two years. We went through
the usual. She had a cart.  We coped with UTIs & incontinence with the help of puppy pads, shower curtain liners, baby wipes & waterless shampoo.

"We had a fan to calm her at night. We supplemented her diet with
D-mannose for the UTI's and green beans and pumpkin and
yogurt (to keep her weight down and stools firm.)

" We continued our daily walks although they progressed from her
wheelchair, to her red wagon, to her Goodwill baby stroller. She loved
humans & she got even more attention from her “fan club” when she was
in her red wagon or baby stroller. Using the sling to take her outside to
pee & poop was very helpful. (Thanks to Deena & Rosie for “passing it

"My world revolved around taking care of Precious during her last 6
months. We didn’t travel, did loads of laundry, focused on keeping
Precious clean & happy. We enjoyed just being together!

"Precious was drinking tons of water her last few weeks & would lose it
almost immediately. On her last morning, she appeared to be having
difficulty breathing. At this point, I decided it was best to let her go. I
took the afternoon off and we enjoyed our final day together.

" Living thru DM created an even stronger bond between us. Watching
Precious graciously & courageously accept what life had dealt her was an
inspiration to me & many other folks that crossed our paths during this

"She was amazingly happy even to the end & asked very little in return.
She taught me to live each day to the fullest. Every day is a gift!"