Buddy lives in the kitchen of our house. It’s not only because he loves to eat. He’s confined to the kitchen because he has special needs. Buddy needs to be kept away from stairs. He needs to be kept away from the front door. And, for our sake, he needs to be kept off carpet. (Sometimes he has accidents.)
Buddy suffers from degenerative disk disease. His first episode with the illness occurred in 2013, when at age three, a disk in his back ruptured. This event might have been triggered by jumping on and off furniture. The ruptured disk pressed on his spinal cord. Within twenty-four hours Buddy’s hind legs were paralyzed. My husband and I were faced with a life or death decision. Do we sign for emergency surgery to remove the ruptured disk material, or send him to doggy heaven?
We chose the surgery even though it meant months of physical therapy for Buddy to walk again. His recovery became our joint project. It meant keeping him in his crate for six weeks. It meant driving him to the animal hospital for sessions on an underwater treadmill. It meant practicing exercises to strengthen his hind legs at home.
His recovery happened in stages. After the six weeks of crate rest, there was the “walking him with his back legs lifted off the ground in a sling stage.” Eventually we entered the “walking him with a skinny strap under his belly stage.” And finally the “Yay, he can walk on his own stage.” Five years later he still drags his back feet and needs to wear booties to prevent sores. But Buddy’s still walking.
Looking back, I don’t know how we did it. I was fortunate to be retired at the time, and my husband was working part time. We became known in our neighborhood as people who really love their dog. Our experience with Buddy became the inspiration for my first children’s book.
Buddy shares his life story from his point of view in Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street, a children’s chapter book for ages six to nine. The book has been released by Elk Lake and is available through Amazon. Click Here to purchase.
Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street is a Must Read
“Children will fall in love with this mischievous but lovable little beagle. Adults will also fall for the little guy as they get to see the world through his eyes. We watch him race in the dog derby, watch him deal with Blitz, a bully of a dog, and persevere with Buddy as he recovers from his accident. Buddy teaches us lessons about handling adversity and others. A delightful must read.”
Sherri Stewart, author of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire