Today we talk with Jana from Zanesville USA about life with Tinkerbell, the nine year old Chiweenie. Tinkerbell became paralyzed during 2015 following an intervertibral disc disease (IVDD) related incident. Jana tells us about her daily routine with Tinkerbell, bladder management and the challenge of keeping a diaper on a dog that has proven to be quite the escape artist.
Could you tell us how Tinkerbell became paralyzed.
Tinkerbell was originally my parent's dog. In the fall of 2015, as legend goes, Tink tried to chase a squirrel up a tree. The next morning, she was unable to use her back legs. My parents took her to couple different specialists and she ended up having surgery at MedVet in Columbus, OH for a slipped disk. My parents, both in their 80s, and living 2 hours away from treatment, didn't pursue any more rehabilitation for her.
By the start of 2016, my mom's cancer had returned. I decided to have Tinkerbell to come stay with me while my mom recovered in the hospital. The intent was for Tink to go home once my mom got better. June 2016, my mom passed away after a 15-year battle with cancer. Knowing my dad didn't have the mobility to walk her, I decided it would be best if she came to live with me permanently.
What's a regular day like with Tinkerbell?
A typical weekday morning is me waking up to squirming, talking and kisses. This can start anywhere from 4 am to our actual alarm of 6:30 am. Tink is all about breakfast! Once out of the family bed Tink goes to her dog bed in the kitchen and waits patiently (Ha!) while I take care of my cats wants/needs and let my other dog outside. After that it's time to take off her diaper and clean up any mess. Then it is finally time for breakfast. Tink enjoys chilling on the couch while I get ready for work.
Since I do not work from home, Tinkerbell and my other dog are kept in the kitchen. Her bed is on the tile floor. Due to her habits of escaping or chewing off her diaper, she doesn't wear one during the day. This leads to a lot of washing of her dog beds.
Evenings consist of me feeding everyone THE moment I walk in the door. Everyone is happy and ready for dinner. Depending on the weather, we then go for an evening walk.
Tinkerbell is the reincarnation of Harry Houdini. This little dog can get out of most anything - diapers, onesies, dog kennels - you name it. A lot of her care with diapers has been improvising ways to keep it on. Right now, at night, she wears a disposable diaper, children's suspenders that I have modified to cross in both front and back, and then a Surgi Snuggly Diaper Keeper over top of that. Needless to say, even that is not 100% successful. Because she sleeps with me in bed, she wears a diaper at night. As an extra precaution, I place large puppy pee pads under the sheets.
Each night, due to a couple urinary tract infections, Tinkerbell gets cleaned up with baby wipes before I put her diaper on. She knows when I pick up her suspenders that is time for bed. Normally she rushes for me to pick her up and patiently lets me clean her and get her ready for bed.
Weekends are spent going for longer adventures than our weekday walks in the neighborhood. We go to a couple local parks. She especially loves going to Black Hand Gorge State Natural Preserve where there is a paved path that she really loves to cut loose on. If the weather doesn't cooperate we spend time at my Dad's.
What products, tips or tricks would you recommend to someone else with a paralyzed dog.
I purchased a wheelchair for Tinkerbell, the first month she came to stay with me and it has opened up a whole new world for her. Between April 2016 and February 2018, we have logged in over 400 miles. Not bad for two little short legs.
All care for Tinkerbell has been learned from trial and error. Not having a lot of local resources, I have googled a lot for care.
My advice is to have a lot of patience. You'll be cleaning up a lot of messes. And don't give up on your pet if they aren't perfect. Tinkerbell, even though she can't walk, has so much life left in her. She is a feisty little firecracker. Pets deserve all the love that can be given to them, no matter what their issues are.
Jana is looking for recommendations for the best washable diapers and tips from others on how to keep their diapers on. Please leave your suggestions as a comment below.
Follow the adventures of Tinkerbell and Jana on Instagram.