Today we meet Hannah and her dog Gibbs. We talk about daily life caring for a dog with degenerative disc disease (aka intervertebral disc disease - IVDD).
Gibbs was found paralyzed and abandoned on the side of a highway in August 2017. He had multiple cuts and scars, and his teeth had been shaved down. This all pointed to the likelihood that Gibbs had been used as a bait dog in illegal dog fighting and was abandoned when he became paralyzed.
When Hannah adopted Gibbs she vowed to give him a life full of love. "I want him to know that he is loved, safe and it will always be like that."
Could you tell us a bit about Gibbs and his disability?
Gibbs has degenerative disc disease (IVDD), which has left him paralyzed, without the use of his back legs. However, he does have feeling in them. Gibbs doesn't have bladder control anymore so we express his bladder to prevent infection.
We used coconut oil for his skin because it was so dry. Also we used dry shampoo until some of his wounds had healed and we could give him a bath.
Until recently Gibbs would get around by dragging himself with his front legs. We used vet wrap and dog socks to protect his legs and prevent cuts and sores. Now Gibbs has his own dog wheelchair!
He has become my best friend and my side kick. He goes everywhere with me and he loves being my partner in crime... my huge 80 pound baby and partner in crime.
What is a regular day like with Gibbs?
Our weekday mornings consists of waking up, changing Gibbs’ diaper and getting him breakfast. I throw his bedding in the wash just in case he had an accident or the diaper fell off during the night. Then while he’s eating I get ready for work and then we go to work (yes he goes to work with me).
Our afternoons are mostly spent at work. He helps greet customers (he’s a hit and everyone loves him) and when it’s time to go home we pack up his wheelchair and take off. When we’re at home he stays in a diaper and we wrap his feet and legs so he can be on the carpet. He follows me around and helps with whatever needs to be done at home.
On the weekends we try to take Gibbs to the lake or the park. He loves a car rides so we try something new every weekend.
What advice would you offer to someone with a dog that has degenerative disc disease?
Patience. Gibbs is a lot to handle but I love him so much. In the first part of Gibbs' life he was dealt a bad hand. Now I try to give him the best day of his life every day.
See how Gibbs is doing by checking out his Instagram account.
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