THESE DOG DAYS
A resource for disabled dogs and their owners
Today we meet Barbarah and Silvia from Goiânia, Brazil, and discuss life with their paralyzed Siberian Husky. They share their experience caring for a special needs dog and some of the tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way.
Could you tell us about Maya’s disability?
Maya is thought to have been neglected and mistreated by her former owners. When she was rescued her legs were in a terrible condition from crawling around on concrete. She had a severe case of anemia and needed to have a blood transfusion to get her back on the road to recovery.
She was assessed by several vets and was ultimately diagnosed with a herniated disc (intervertibral disc disease, or IVDD). By the time Maya was rescued the paraplegia was irreversible. Maya was also diagnosed with early stage kidneys disease.
Could you tell us what daily life is like caring for a paralyzed dog?
We had little change at home when we decided to foster Maya. My wife chose to stay at home and take care of her as Maya needed 24/7 care. Our love for her was surreal. We knew we were meant for her. We no longer wanted to be just a foster home for Maya. We asked ourselves, "who else would dedicate so much to her?”. We were concerned that she wouldn’t receive the same level of care so we decided to adopt her.
I get up at 6am, I give food to our animals and at 7:30am I'm off to work. Maya is a sleeper, she sleeps with her other mom and her "brothers and sisters” until 10am. Our animals can sleep wherever they want, with us in the bedroom, or in the living room. Maya prefers to sleep in our room.
Once they are up, Maya takes her medication to control her kidney disease and 15 minutes later she can eat. Then Maya gets into her wheelchair for some excercise and a toilet break. We need to help her pee at least four times a day.
I go home for lunch, and at 6:00pm I return home from work. I don’t have the need to go home because my wife doesn’t work out of the house, so that care is up to her. During the evening we go out for a walk with our dogs. Maya looooves to play wrestle with her big brother.
Our weekends are focussed on fun, with walks in the park, a trip to the malls, or we go to the farm.
What products would you recommend for someone caring for paralyzed dog?
We do our best to keep Maya clean and very dry to facilitate good hygiene. We use diapers, baby powder, baby wipe, protective ointment.
We give Maya a bath every 15 days. In between these baths we wash her from the waist down whenever necessary.
What advice would you offer to someone facing life with a paralyzed dog?
I truly believe that nothing is by chance in our lives. Maya literally is a dream come true... a warrior full of life! She is perfect exactly as she is.
Whatever situation your animal faces, be 100% comitted to it. They are able to adapt so well to these challenges. Just give them time and they will show you how strong, intelligent and even independent they are. Dont underestimate them. Nowadays we can give a wonderful quality of life for our special animals.
Don’t give up! At first it may seem difficult, but there is nothing more rewarding in this world than caring for an animal with special needs. After Maya came into our lives we have developed a weak spot for disabled animals. They are perfect just the way they are! Dedication, patience, a good disposition and love are the key.
Find out what Maya and her family are up to by following them on Instagram.
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