I would like to believe that I am not so cynical to not believe in signs from above but this one, this one was so blatantly obvious that one could not help but NOT ignore it.
I lost my best friend, my light of my life, my “reason” on Monday 01/25/2021 and to say that I was handling it poorly was an understatement. I was on “autopilot”, masking my utter sadness and heartbreak behind a false smile and felt so incomplete that I felt would be permanent and just simply “who I was” from now on.
Until Monday 03/08/2021.
I heard commotion in my veterinary clinic I work for with my name coming up several times (which peaked my interest) as I saw a small crowd circling something … something tiny. I as made my way into the small group of women I saw him… meet Maxwell Walker (Maxwell after The Beatle’s song “Maxwell Silver Hammer”) an eight week old pug puppy (though the doctors suspect he may be younger) who is a “swimmer puppy”.
Swimmer Puppy Syndrome is a developmental deformity that results in a puppy having a flattened thorax/chest. They may have mobility issues that with physical therapy can be (for the most part) corrected it just takes a lot of patience and humility.
Max will never replace Maggie ever and in fact he may be nothing like Maggie which I accept and understand also (I used to often joke that I wasn’t a “pug person” but I was an avid “Maggie person”) but I can only hope that somewhere tucked deep inside that tiny little pug puppy is a quality or two that Maggie had for so long – that patience, that calmness and most of all affection.
I know it will take time for Max to grow on me (frankly he’s creeping into my ❤️) and it will take even more time to work on getting him to use his back legs and be more mobile (without my assistance).
If you’ve been wondering why the site and our social media platforms went on a short, short sabbatical it’s because of this little dude. We’re working with him constantly as far as physical therapy, hydrotherapy, puzzles and exercise regularly (in addition to trying to potty train) as well as care for the other part of the crew has managed to occupy the rest of my day (happily of course!).
Please be patient with us as we work to find a happy medium between Maxwell and the rest of the day’s agendas — I promise we will return with gusto! Stay tuned folks!
Maggie Mae with “Cheeto” (foster kitten)– August 2016
Maggie Mae was the product of an Amish puppy mill — full of disease, death and over breeding in cramped, filthy and inhumane conditions in Lancaster, PA and then ultimately sold to PetLand (Harbor Pets) in Boardman, Ohio in October 2006. She was pulled from her mother far too young and was alone, terrified in a dark, metal cage with no blankets, no toys and no human interaction as she was “DEFECTIVE” because she had an inguinal hernia so she was unable to be sold in the pet store so she was being sent back to the amish to ultimately either be over-bred or put down. The store was placing her in a black trash bag in which her “momma” noticed the heinous act they were performing and promptly asked a store employee why they would do such a thing, the employee callously replied, “If they go in a bag back to the breeder and do not make it then that saves them money in not having to put them down. They are the rejects, they are no good.” Her mother was not having any of this and immediately expressed interest in taking the small ball of fur home.
Sadly, puppy mill dogs have a reputation of their own — hereditary issues, ongoing medical problems and deformities due to inbreeding. Maggie Mae was scheduled for her spay July 2007 to which the veterinarian fixed the hernia as well in which after that she was a happy, healthy and vivacious young pug!
Maggie Mae continued from that fateful day to live a happy, spoiled life though the health problems would rear its ugly head–waxing and waning. Today, Maggie Mae celebrated her 12th birthday! She has a few teeth left (having over 20 removed due to her “pug mouth” and periodontal disease) and is now deaf and suffers on rare occasion petit mal seizures stemmed from being informally diagnosed with a tumor in the brain but without the proper (and expensive) diagnostic work it is simply the veterinarian’s professional opinion.
Though Maggie has slowed down, she cannot hear her momma anymore and sleeps more than she once did she was given a chance at life that was originally attempted to be taken away from her due to a medical condition that is easily repaired. Sadly, puppy mill pets are often subjected to these types of injustices every day — unsanitary, inhumane conditions with improper nutrition and often absent veterinary care they are viewed as inanimate objects instead of what they truly are– living, breathing beings with unconditional love and devotion to those who open up their hearts and homes to them.
Puppy mill pets, and pets with hereditary and genetic complications are categorized as “special needs” pets because they are often misunderstood and misinterpreted and badly need someone to be their voice.
Leo had an unfortunate disease of Degenerative Myelopathy. It is a progressive disease of the spinal cord and begins with the loss of coordination in the hind limbs. There is currently no cure for this unfortunate disease and no direct way to diagnose it. Veterinarian’s will perform diagnostic testing to rule out other injuries/illnesses by using testing such as radiographs and MRI’s. There’s no way to test if they’ll get it & no cure. Since there is no cure for this disease the only thing a family can do is keep nurturing the dog’s quality of life (good nursing care, physical rehabilitation, pressure sore prevention, monitoring for urinary infections and ways to increase mobility through the use of carts/harnesses). In Leo’s case it basically paralyzed his back end and initially started with him dragging his paw to having trouble even walking around. Leo started showing signs of Degenerative Myelopathy when he was 8 years old and seemed to worsen every six months or so. Leo’s “mom”, Jessica equated Leo early on in the disease to “walking, but walking like Bifford in a wobbly, ridged movement” and then progressed to dragging himself around until they got the wheelchair. Unfortunately Leo passed away 01/2019, a victim to this unfortunate disease. Jessica & Cody, Leo’s parents were kind enough to pass along Leo’s cart to another family who had a boxer, “Rocky” who was also suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy and they hope to continue on this “paying it forward” by educating families on this disease and helping families better understand the disease and care for their pets!