Today we talk to Dave from Mountlake Terrace, Washington about his experience caring for his Dachshund, Anderson Pooper. Dave tells us about their regular daily routine and offers his recommendations on dog wheelchairs and diapers.
Can you tell us a bit about Anderson and his disability?
Anderson became paralyzed when she was about 3 years old because of intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). When her owner could no longer care for her, she came to live with us about 5 years ago.
When we got her we had her fitted for a properly sized Eddie's Wheels cart and she has been unstoppable ever since. Because of her condition she has to wear a diaper and have her bladder expressed a few times a day. She is able to get around the house easily by dragging herself around with her front legs. We normally don't put her cart on her when we are in the house because she prefers to get around without it indoors.
Just recently, Anderson was diagnosed with diabetes. This requires us to give her two small injections a day that don't really seem to upset her. She was acting lethargic for a week or so and that was when we took her in for blood work. It is still early, but she seems to be much better and her energy level is back to normal.
Could you describe a regular day with Anderson?
Once we drag Anderson out from under all of the covers that she can burrow under, we give her diapers a change and its time for breakfast. We have other dogs in the house, so it is a whole production to get everyone fed and give medications to a couple of the other dogs. During feeding time is when we give Anderson her first insulin shot of the day. Then for her, its back to bed for a few hours.
Throughout the day, there could be a couple more diaper changes if needed. When I get home she's bouncing up and down happy to see me. Luckily for us, Anderson is happiest when she is under a stack of blankets fast asleep. Like most dachshunds, going outside in the cold or rain is not really an option.
In the spring/summer time, we might head over to the dog park to socialize and get some exercise. After my wife and I have dinner, we feed the dogs their dinner. This is the time that we give her the second insulin shot also. From there, its lap time and being with us. With the other dogs we have, everyone has their spot on the couch an they all get along great. When it's time for bed, we do one last diaper change and she comes to bed with us and acts as a space heater for us the rest of the night.
We like to get Anderson out in the public as much as possible. We look for dog-friendly events in the area that we can take her to. One thing about Anderson is that she is a good sport letting us dress her up in different attire. We like to go to Mariners and Everett Aquasox Bark in the park games, Oktoberfest, Weinerdog races and she is always dressed to the nines for the event. What we love about going to events with her (or anywhere for that matter) is that we get to tell people about her condition and educate people about disabled animals. We let them know that with just a little extra effort, you get an amazing companion that deserves that chance to succeed in life.
What products would you recommend for other dogs with IVDD?
We think that Eddie's Wheels makes the best cart you can find. They were great getting the right size for her.
For diapers, we just use Huggies size 2 from Costco and cut out a tail hole. We find that these work better and are less expensive that they specialized dog diapers that you can buy. If we need to put a cover over them for going out, we use cloth G-Diapers and cut a tail hole in those.
What advice would you offer to someone else adjusting to life with a paralyzed dog?
Even if it seems overwhelming at first, giving these dogs the chance that they deserve and seeing them flourish fills your heart 10 times over. As we know, most animals when they have an injury or disability don't take the time to feel sorry for themselves. They just want to go on to the next thing. We can learn a lot from that.
When people come up to us to ask about Anderson, some say "Aw, poor baby!" and we always nicely correct them that she does not feel sorry for herself and we don't feel sorry for her. She doesn't know that she is disabled. Different is beautiful!
Dave and Anderson would love to connect with any dogs and owners in the Seattle area with a similar story. Get in touch via Instagram!