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Help With a Special Needs Furbaby

June 23rd, 2006, 09:47 AM
Hello all,
I have this posted elsewhere but not sure if anyone is seeing it, so I thought I'd repost here.
I'm here to ask if anyone has adopted a special needs dog, or more specifically a Pekingese, with neurological damage that effects the rear legs?
I have fallen in love with a 2 year old "special needs" Pekingese named Pickles.
Nobody wants her because of her handicap and it breaks my heart. My partner and I feel like we can give her the forever home that she needs but we don't want to take on a challenge like this one, without being prepared for it. Pickles was turned over by her owners, after being diagnosed with some sort of neurological damage that causes her to drag her hind legs, and the vet clinic gave her to a rescue. Pickles has been with her foster mom for a few months and is lucky enough to be able to go to work with her as Mom is a groomer. This would not be the case with us, as we would not be able to bring her to work. She would be at home with our other rescue, Nicky.
Here is the link to Pickles' Pet ad :

So, I want to be prepared and fully capable of taking care of Pickles. On her ad it says that she has a dribbling problem that is getting better.

1.) Has anybody dealt with this kind of handicap/situation?

2.) Do you think that she will forever dribble due to her hind leg handicap or is it possible that it really could get better?

3.) Do you think that she would do better with someone who could take her to work, just like her foster mom can? I've asked this question to one of her caregivers and he said she'd do fine being left at home and that the reality is that whoever adopts her probably wouldn't be able to take her to work either, but I would like your opinions, as I want what's best for her.

4.) We are going to try a test period to see how we all get along, and to see how she and Nicky get along. What is the proper way to introduce Pickles to Nicky? I want this visit/transition to go as smoothly as possible.

5.) Do you see huge vet bills in our future?

Thank you!

June 23rd, 2006, 09:55 AM
I think there may be a problem with the link. Could you repost it?

June 23rd, 2006, 09:56 AM
When I lived in Red Deer there was a gentleman at the dog park that had a german shepard with the same kind of condition. The vet had recommended that the dog be put down, but the guy wouldn't hear of it. Instead he made the dog a wheelchair. That was the happiest dog I ever met! I think Pickles is very lucky you fell in love with her. She needs a caring mommy like you to give her the forever home she deserves for whatever time she has left. Go get her.

June 23rd, 2006, 09:58 AM
Here is a picture of what the wheelchairs look like.:)

June 23rd, 2006, 10:02 AM
Awe, thanks brought a tear to my eye with your encouragement. I haven't even met Pickles yet, but I feel some kind of pull towards her and I'm not sure why. I just have this overwhelming feeling of love and warmth for her when I see her pictures and I just can't imagine walking away. I just need to make sure that I'm the best mommy for her. We don't have a lot of money and we can't bring her to work with us, but we have a lot of love to give and I also think she'd be absolutely adorable in a little wheelchair! lol
Here is the link again:
Thanks again everyone, in advance.

June 23rd, 2006, 10:07 AM
Very cute profile!!

Although I haven't ever had an experience like this, here is the best advice I can give you: Always expect the best, but plan for the worst. That way you aren't caught off guard and will be able to keep her forever

June 23rd, 2006, 10:30 AM
Hi I think it is great that you are considering Pickles she is very lucky. I know a boxer who uses a similar wheelchair. He does really well with it. He unfortunately has a degenerative disease that will eventually progress. But his mom loves him and was not going to put him down as long as he is not in pain and can still get around. Do some research into the wheel chairs or carts also. You may be able to find a used one even cheaper. Also if you can speak with the foster and find out exactly what the name of the problem is so you could speak with a vet(s) in your area and find out there opinions. I think the dribbling may be something that you will have to deal with there may be a lack of muscle control due to her illness hey but they have little doggie diapers you could use inside. When introducing a new dog to the mix you want to do it on neutral territory like the park or somewhere that is not going to create territory issues. Both dogs on leads and let them get to know each other sniffing etc. Then when you feel comfortable that they are okay with each other. If you can do this a few times before bringing Pickles home even better. Always feed Nicki first she must remain the top dog and you will need to give Nicki a little more attention. Even treats Nicki first this will let her know she is still your baby most problems stem from jealousy. Keep them seperate when you leave them alone. Why look for a problem to come home to. Eventually they will become pals and you will no longer need to seperate them. I found it is never a set amount of time I had one dog that took about 3 weeks to adjust to the new one and then one that they were best buds right off but I still seperated them when I went out for about a week. Till I came home and found both had managed to get out of there rooms and they were sleeping on the couch I knew we had arrived at peace and harmony.
Keep us updated I hope it works out for you and pickles

June 23rd, 2006, 10:35 AM
Is the neuro damage causing the problem with Pickles' rear legs at all due to calcification of the discs in her back causing pressure on her spine? I ask because this is what happens with Dachshunds and the surgery is performed by a neuro. At this stage surgery may be to late to help her condition by restoring some feeling if pressure is removed by removing calcified material - but at least Pickles is alive and can move using front paws - often the paralysis is full body. Many disabled Dachshunds live very happy lives with "wheels" as shown in the cart posted above - as do other breeds. If you search posts by Golden Girl - there are two posters with similar names - the one you would be looking for has a Dachshund named Valentin as well as a disabled Dachshund she rescued named Heidi Ho. Heido has "wheels" and apparently is quite the road racer. If incontinence is a problem, you can use diapers - Heidi does. And Heidi is left with Valentin when Mom goes to work. Not sure about the dribbling problem. Perhaps you could have your vet do an assessment to determine possible future vet bills related to Pickles' condition. Hope things work out for her. My last little guy regained 70% use of his hind legs after surgery - which was enough. But surgeon warned me that within a year he would have a second event and that surgery would not be an option. Full paralysis would set it. Had this not been the case and his hind legs had not functioned, absolutely, no question, we would have bought him wheels.

June 23rd, 2006, 12:17 PM
Thank you both for your input, I really appreciate it. I asked the rescue representative if Pickles' neuro damage had a name so that I could research it. He said he didn't think it had a name, that it was most likely caused due to an injury but he wasn't sure. Why he doesn't know is beyond me. I asked him about a million questions until he finally told me to call Pickles' foster mom since she would know more. I have mulled this thing over for 2 weeks before finally calling "Stacy" yesterday afternoon. She hasn't called me back so until she does, I'll be doing a lot of guessing.
In the petfinder ad it says that when Pickles gets excited, she dribbles. That's a whole other issue as opposed to her dribbling due to her injury. It also says that she has got better over the past few months so I can't tell if it's an injury side effect or if it's behavioral. I was expcecting to hear from Stacy right away but as of yet, I haven't heard anything from her. Maybe I'll email the rescue rep again and try to get some more out of him.
I'd have no problem strapping some wheels on that sweet baby, but I see that they are expensive. I wonder if there are foundations that donate wheelchairs or carts to people like me who take on special needs pets?

By the way, I didn't specify but Nicky is a 5 year old male Pomeranian, if that makes any difference in the advice I get as far as introducing the 2 dogs.

June 23rd, 2006, 01:05 PM
Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that there are a TONNE of Yahoo email groups for people who have special needs dogs. I really suggest joining a few to get support, advice etc. I think there are a few really big groups, they might even have suggestions for affordable vet care in your area.

June 23rd, 2006, 02:50 PM
Ok, I'll check it out. Thanks, Boxers!

June 24th, 2006, 11:11 PM
One of the things I would do if I adopted is to take her to a "certified" animal chiropractor

It could be as a result of an alimemtt problem of the spine that is pinching a nerve that affects her hind legs and possibly the bladder

Here is an example of a case where a dog had spine problems that affect bowels and bladder

My own dogs chiropractor got his start as a result of a dog that had similiar problems, the story from his website

My own dog had a bad fall racing in which he fractured his leg, he also had spine problems and joint problems from compensating, I adopted him when him after his racing career ended, when I realized how much problems he was having I took him to a chiroprator which help immensely.

If the dribbling is due to excitement, confidence building may help, I used games allowing nikki to win much of the time to help build her confidence and it really helped in the dribbling department,

This site has low cost dog carts should you need

June 24th, 2006, 11:21 PM
Not sure how much help they are willing to offer but you could check them out.

June 26th, 2006, 06:33 AM
Thank you soooo much for the helpful information Ontario. And thanks for the link Mafia Princess. I have posted my same questions on the website so we'll see what happens. I still have not heard anything from Pickles' foster Mom and I'm not sure why, so we'll see. I'll keep everyone updated.
Thanks again,

June 26th, 2006, 09:00 AM
Well, I've been trying to contact "Chandler" from the rescue group and "stacy", Pickles' foster Mom, but nobody is returning my calls or emails. So, I went on to Pickles' Petfinder page and I see "Adoption Pending".
I guess somebody is adopting her out from under me. My heart is positively broken :sad: This sucks! :mad:

June 26th, 2006, 09:29 AM
Ok, it's official. Apparently Pickles went home with a family last week and nobody bothered to tell me. I've been doing all this research and asking all of you for your input and I guess it was all in vain. As I'm sitting here at work crying my eyes out, I'd like to say thank you for everyone who gave me some input, advice, and encouragement about adopting Pickles. I know that there are a ton of other dogs out there that need a home, but this little girl was meant for me, I just know it. Anyway, I hope she's happy in her new home.:sad:
Thanks again,
Mahealani :(