THESE DOG DAYS
A resource for disabled dogs and their owners
Today we meet Pearl and her family from Miami, Florida. Pearl is a super tiny teacup Chihuahua who was born without her two front legs. She is also missing most of the nails on her hind paws, and her tail has a bend at the end. These deformities are likely to have been the result of Pearls mom, who was also a very small teacup Chihuahua, carrying a litter of three puppies. This was likely to have been too many for her to carry without complications.
Pearls mom, Carrie tells us how Pearl came into their life and the daily challenges of caring for a dog with limb deformities.
One of my friends found out about Pearl shortly after she was born and heard she was going to be put to sleep. My friend called me right away because she knew that I am a big animal lover and that I have a soft spot for Chihuahuas. Pearl came to me just a few weeks old and we connected right away. It was love at first sight!
Her disability affects every aspect of her life. I tried looking for wheelchairs on line but could not find any for her size. The smallest one I found was for a 10 pound dog. About seven years ago I ask a friend if he could build her one and he did, but unfortunately she didn't like it. Every time I tried to put her in her new wheels she became afraid, insecure, and started to shake. So I simply discarded the idea until I could find something better.
What is a regular day like with Pearl?
My morning routine is to pick up Pearl from her crib and take her to the bathroom on her pee pad. She sleeps in my daughter's old crib that she never used, so I gave her to Pearl because I quickly realized from her body language that she didn't like her bed on the floor. I put her dog bed inside the crib and she loved it, so the crib became hers.
I close the bathroom door because she likes her privacy, otherwise she can't do her thing! I wait about three minutes, open the door, and she is usually done by then. I wipe her with baby wipes to make sure she is clean and fresh.
Once toileting is done I take her to her extra bed in my daughter's room where she exercises bouncing from one side of the bed to the next. I leave her in that bed with her toys while I get ready for work. Before I leave for work I put her back in her bed inside the crib with her food and water bowl. I also leave a pee pad inside the crib just in case, but she never uses it. She prefers to wait til I come home and take her to the pad in the bathroom.
When I get home from work the first thing I do is take her to the bathroom, wipe her down, and then we spend some quality time together. I lay in the spare bed in my daughter's room where the crib is with both Pearl and her Chihuahua sister, Emma.
Pearl likes to be hand fed, otherwise she doesn't eat. After her dinner we take some time play with her toys for a before we head to the kitchen where she supervises me while I cook. Once we have all been fed, I put her in the stroller and we go for a walk outside. Once we are done with our evening exercise we head inside for some water, bathroom again, and then it is bedtime.
Weekends are about the same but with a lot more quality time. We have playtime in the big bed, with me and her other Chihuahua sister, and all her toys. Then we're off for a walk around the neighborhood in the stroller, or to the mall or local park.
I'm use to this routine so I don't mind it at all. I love Pearl and the positive energy and great vibes that she gives out. She makes anybody that she comes in contact with feel good, even strangers. She has a special gift for making people feel happy.
What advice would you offer to others with a disabled dog?
If you have a special needs pet with limb deformities a stroller is a must. Pee pads are also a must. Other than that it is really just common sense. Use dog toys that are safe, don't leave your dog unattended with their toys, and be willing to be very loving and patient. After all patience is a virtue!
Be sure to ask other people with special needs dogs for advice. Start with your Vet. They tend to know other patients with special needs and you can get in contact with their owners to exchange ideas. Ultimately, it is trial and error to see what works for you and your family.
Trust me the love you give will be returned a hundred times more. Special needs dogs are a blessing for people. It is just that a lot of people haven't discovered this yet!
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