An insight into my life with my handicap dog Snowy
When a dog enters our lives, we usually have a picture in mind of what the future with our darling will be like. A cheerful dog who runs through life joyfully and light-footedly with bright eyes on the walks we take together. An effortless life.
What does this mean for living with the handicap dog?
No matter if you have adopted a handicap dog, like I did with my Podenco girl Snowy, or if an accident or illness in the course of your life together leads to a handicap. Life with a handicap dog is different. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make a difference.
When Snowy came to me, she could hardly walk. She was marked, from the years she spent with a hunter in a wooden box. The hind legs deformed, severe arthrosis in the hips, both knees hardly recognizable as joints anymore, not to say if by accident or by external force. The back also showed initial damage in the form of spondylosis. In addition, she has an eighth lumbar vertebra and her elbows were damaged from constant overuse.
A handicap changes many things – but not everything for the worse
There are people who decide to adopt a dog with handicap directly at the time of adoption. And there are people who adopt a healthy dog and he becomes ill. Suddenly everything is different. A joint disease, a slipped disc, an amputation – and suddenly nothing is the same anymore. You can learn to adjust your life to it.
How we went about our daily life with Snowy handicap dog
Despite her ailments, Snowy was always in a good mood, enchanted everyone with her friendly nature and ran happily through life. Since Snowy lived with me, she was treated physiotherapeutically. This helped her body enormously. We made a lot of small and big steps. She moved much better and she felt more comfortable in her body. The gold acupuncture she got in 2015 and the numerous nutritional supplements also helped her a lot. .
Our walks were never as long as with a healthy dog. She was lifted into the car and given support wherever she showed me she needed it. However, she did not let herself be deprived of the jump on the sofa and Snowy also liked to sneak into bed without any help.
I was always aware that her health would deteriorate as she got older. Nevertheless, you can’t really prepare yourself – at least not emotionally. However, it was always close to my heart to pave every way for Snowy to make her life as uncomplicated, pleasant and barrier-free as possible.
The bad days handicap dog
I honestly admit that sometimes we had bad days too. When walking didn’t work well or she moved more clumsily than usual. Then fear sprouted up in me, too, and a sinking feeling arose in my stomach. Then fears and worries crept over me, whether I was doing everything right, whether she was still doing well, whether we should do something differently. And I was afraid of losing her. But I believe that these fears and worries are normal and human. Then I looked at Snowy and knew she didn’t need pity. I was allowed to be compassionate, but above all I was to motivate, love, accompany and enjoy every day with her.
We adapted (life) pace to Snowy
We walked at the pace she could and also adjusted the length of the walks. We often went for shorter walks and then more frequently, allowing ourselves little rest breaks along the way.
This did not diminish the quality of our walks and excursions. On the contrary. We experienced her even more consciously and tried one thing above all: to let Snowy be as “normal” a dog as possible and let her try things out. She should have her experience. And that could also mean that she stumbled and tripped. But by overprotecting her, I would only have made her feel insecure and restricted. And Snowy wanted to be a normal dog as much as possible. Testing her limits, not being overprotected, strengthened her. And when she handled a situation on her own, you could see the pride and joy in her face.
Life with Snowy enriched my life immensely handicap dog
Sometimes you were just forced to slow down and shift down a gear. Every day I admired anew her strength and good humor. She never let herself down, she didn’t whine, she enjoyed every second. She accepted her life as it was and she was content. This was a great enrichment because it made me live more consciously. Handicap dog
Even though some days it was more arduous, I didn’t want to trade for a second. I did not feel that we missed anything in living with Snowy or that it would have been nicer with a healthy dog. I can only encourage all people to take in a dog that has a handicap. Also with the knowledge that everyday life sometimes holds hurdles and you worry more.
Since I have often experienced in my practice that dog owners were usually completely confused when a handicap dog comes into the house, or the previously healthy dog suddenly has to live with a handicap, I like to share a whole series of tips with you, how you can make your life together easier
There are so many things you can do to make everyday life easier for your handicap dog:
- Elevated water/feed bowl
- a warming coat in winter
- orthopedic dog beds
- Dog ramps for car
- Staircase for the sofa
- Non-slip surfaces in the house
- Carrying aids when climbing stairs
Orthopedic technology has a wide range of solutions ready:
A physical therapist can assist your dog with:
- Manual therapy forms
You can support yourself with targeted exercises from physiotherapy:
- relaxing massages
- passive movement exercises
- active exercises for good musculature, mobility, coordination, balance and body awareness
We enjoyed every moment we had with Snowy
I rejoiced with all my heart when she jumped through the garden like a deer, when she climbed over hill and dale, forgetting that her bones were not healthy. And I was happy when I saw her blissfully lying in her beloved little bed in the evening and her whole face was full of joy. Handicap dog
And we knew every second how precious every day with her was. This article has been revised because Snowy made her way over the Rainbow Bridge on 2/15/2019, leaving a big hole in my heart.
Do you also share your life with a handicap dog? How does it affect your life and what are you doing to make your lives easier? Feel free to share your experience with me! Handicap dog