Today we talk to Alicia from Schwenksville, Pennsylvania about life with Quinn and Gray, two Great Danes born with genetic deformities. She shares their story as well as some advice on caring for disabled dogs.
Could you tell me about Quinn and Gray's disability?
Quinn and Gray have full body genetic orthopedic deformities including kyphosis, lordosis, angular limb deformities, and stunted growth. Both were normally developing until about 6 weeks of age. We had already chosen Quinn out of his litter. When he was unable to walk and began showing issues we didn’t faulter. He deserved our home and our family.
We took him home with a 4 month life expectancy. When he reached his “expiration date” he was doing better than ever expected. He went front being unable to bare any weight on all four limbs to sling walking and standing on his own when propped up. We decided to adopt his brother Gray at that point. Gray had just begun walking on his own. We brought Gray home to motivate Quinn, but we ended up falling in love with him. Quinn and Gray are very much best friends and brothers. They make each others lives complete.
What's a regular day like caring for two, big dogs with disabilities?
During the week, my husband takes care of the morning routine. He feeds both dogs, changes Quinn’s diaper, burps Gray, does cold laser treatment with Quinn, and monitors both dogs to make sure that they don’t bloat.
In the evening I come home from work and get both dogs outside for some physical therapy. We walk around the yard. Quinn sling walks and Gray runs circles around us. When we come back in Quinn gets to free-ball it (no diaper) after he eats his first dinner. I burp Gray and monitor him for signs of bloat. Then we all go to the living room. The dogs play and then Gray spends time on the couch with me. Then they get their third meal. My husband usually does that. With burping and wait time etc.
On Saturdays we do laundry, clean, and get chores done with the understanding that the house will never be completely clean, and that is okay! We follow the feeding routines and stuff we do during the week.
What products make life easier for your family?
Zymox products are awesome for skin issues. I also love baby powder rather than desitin, it’s less messy. We also love Big Barker’s orthopedic beds! They are awesome and protect our dogs joints. I definitely recommend Tena overnight pads for inside belly bands. Helping pads work better than puppy pads and are washable.
Have you tried any rehabilitation or treatment for your dogs? How did it go?
We go for acupuncture, underwater treadmill, and hydrotherapy (swimming). I highly recommend acupuncture as it has greatly helped both dogs with pain management, digestion, and nervous system issues.
What advice would you offer to someone with a dog in a similar situation?
Don’t let the opinions of others get you down. Many people don’t understand the value of a disable pet or are confused about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Don’t listen to that. If you are happy caring for your pet and your pet is happy existing that is all that matters.
I think my most important advice about owning a disabled dog is not to listen to the haters. If your dog is happy and well cared for, quality of life can look very different but still be a high quality life.
Just because a dog can’t walk doesn’t mean they aren’t worth saving or aren’t worth adopting. In reality, owning a disabled dog will change your life for the better. I have learned so much from their resiliency and will to never give up. In May, they both turn 2 years old when the weren’t supposed to live past 4 months. Never give up!!