Thursday, January 20, 2011
American/Canadian Ch. Caralon Brookehaven Hearthrob
(Ch Brookehaven Pfeif and Drum X Ch Caralon's Lana Lee)
December 7, 1995 - January 11, 2009
We met Guido several years before Merlin developed DM, in fact, I'm sure it was before Guido showed signs of DM although I don't remember him before he was in a cart. As a result, Guido was in a way Merlin's guide through the disease, and one of my favorite pictures of Merlin is Merlin resting in Guido's stroller at the 2010 PNW Corgi Picnic.
"Guido came to us after a successful show and agility career, and quickly became a pet, a companion, and as we like to say, our 'love sponge' - ready to accept any and all loving attention available. He stayed that way to the end."
Guido's owners, Leo and Kathy, got him a cart fairly early on. " It took Guido a full six months to accept the cart as something that was worth using. It was very helpful, and much less frustrating for all, that he could still move around without it; that allowed us to take a much more casual and less stressful pace."
They also kept Guido active with warm water swim therapy and later with rides in a stroller. Leo wrote, " Your dog may not be able to do everything he or she once could, but that doesn't mean that they can do nothing. Find activities that he can still enjoy. Guido still loves biting at the hose, but he also still likes riding in his buggy and meeting people. (He'll complain if they fail to pet him :-). Even bed-based activities like barking at the vacuum cleaner attachment he used to chase can be fun for both of you. Be it exercise in a cart, warm water therapy, even a modified play time while in a bed, activity is key to maintaining both your dog's physical and mental health."
Leo emphasized that in particular, they believe the warm water swim therapy contributed significantly to the quality of Guido's life.
As the disease progressed, Leo learned to express Guido's bladder and bowels. " Finding and knowing how much to press the bladder can be a little difficult to get the hang of. Getting used to bowel assistance is mostly a mental thing but can go a long way to avoiding constipation or just generally keeping your dog more comfortable."
Like many corgis with DM, as Guido became less mobile he whined more. Leo said, "I have learned that Guido whines for a reason. Sometimes, yes, it's because he just wants attention. More often than not, though, it's because he needs a change of position, or an opportunity to go to the bathroom. I try to pay attention." To help keep Guido comfortable once he was immobile, they turned him at night and periodically during the day. It was also important to keep him clean and to keep him drinking lots of water, flavoring it with dog food juice, to prevent UTIs.
Guido died at 13 not of DM directly, but of stomach issues that caused him discomfort that could not be alleviated. He had been a quadriplegic for about a year.
Leo wrote, " And finally: enjoy your time together. Mobility issues will naturally change the relationship with your pet, but it doesn't have to be a completely sad or depressing thing. Being there with and for each other, working out creative solutions to life's challenges, having fun and simply enjoying your dog is not only possible, but can be a very positive experience."
Parts of Guido's story were excerpted with permission from
http://notenboom.org/d-aginggracefully and http://notenboom.org/d-guido