THESE DOG DAYS
A resource for disabled dogs and their owners
Meet Gem! Gem is a two year old Husky from Thunder Bay, Canada.
Gem had a difficult start to life suffering abuse before finding a loving home with Erin. Gem's injuries included swelling in her back which hardened and left her paralyzed in the hind legs. Despite being paralysed you can see in the videos on Gem's Instagram that she still has some movement in the hind legs, however, most of the movement is involuntary.
Erin was told that Gem would never walk or stand on her own but as usual she has proved the vets wrong. In the summer gem swims every day for 20 minutes and this has greatly improved her movement and strength in her back legs. She also goes to the chiropractor every 2 weeks to keep her body healthy.
Describe your a normal day in your life
Mornings don't usually start until 10am for us. Gem and I love to sleep. Like most paralized dogs Gem needs to be expressed in order to keep her bladder healthy. I'm very lucky and have a lot of help with gem so she is expressed every 2 hours to avoid accidents. She is unable to use her cart in the house as her front legs are splayed and she slips. She has mats down all over the house so she can scoot around the house. After I go to work Gem finds her way to the door and sleeps until her dog walker comes to take her out for a nice long walk. Gem is a very active dog and loves her walks.
Generally I'm home from work by 3pm so she is never alone for very long. Usually once or twice a week Gem will go to work with me. I teach a grade 7/8 class and the students love having her around. They even know how to put her in the chair and she take yard duty very seriously!
Evenings are meant for dog hikes and Gem is never left behind. She has 2 sisters and a new rescue step sister. We are lucky to live in an area that we are only ever 10 minutes from a great hiking spot (as we live on the middle of no where). Recently we also bought Gem a safety back pack to insure she can always go with us and is safe if her cart breaks.
Gem loves to spend her evenings laying on the couch looking out the window. She has no idea she is disabled!
How do you spend your weekends?
Weekends are generally no different from weekdays for Gem. Except maybe slightly longer hikes and more cuddle time. Gem comes on all adventures and loves running around the softball diamonds at tournaments or visiting the old folks homes.
What products, tips or tricks would you recommend?
The biggest tip I can give to people with disabled pets is to ask lots of questions. The vets are awesome but the best advice I have been given is from other parents of disabled pets.
Mountain dogware has a amazing emergency back pack that has saved us many times.
What advice would you offer someone who has a dog in a similar situation?
There is a fine balance between understanding that your dog is special and understanding that your dog needs independence. Also remember that the opinions of others are not important. It's your opinion that counts.
Continue to follow Gem's adventures on Instagram at @a_dog_named_gem
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