I joke that while I have one kid, really I’m only built for .75 of a kid. Even 1.0 is too much for me. I always thought my capacity for dachshunds, though, was infinite. Lately, 3 is feeling like a LOT. Life with 3 old dachshunds means three separate foods (two of which are prescription), various medications, dog diapers, baby gates all over the house to keep them from carpeted rooms, a stroller because they can’t easily walk far anymore, and lots of time spent lifting tiny dogs onto and off of furniture, not to mention the fact that some dog is always at the door waiting to go out or come in.
Then there’s Oscar. Sweet, toothless, urchin Oscar. A few weeks ago, his back legs stopped working. One day he was mostly fine, the next day he was dragging his legs behind him like a little mermaid tail.
He didn’t seem particularly bothered by this development. His tail was always wagging, and he was determined to still move around, like, It’s okay, guys, I got this! I’ll adapt!
Matthew took him to the vet, who was not nearly as chill as Oscar about the partial paralysis, and sent us to the emergency department at the U of M animal hospital. There, Oscar was thoroughly examined. X-rays didn’t show anything of note, so an MRI was scheduled for days later, with the assumption that after the MRI, he would undergo surgery.
Dachshunds are prone to a disc disease, and we figured odds were good we’d eventually face this. The hard thing with Oscar is that we don’t know anything about his life prior to him coming to us this past fall. We assume he was abused, just because of his reactions to certain things. He was certainly neglected. We have no way of knowing if he’d had episodes like this in the past. But, we’d promised him a good retirement home when we adopted him, so, after regaining consciousness after the shock of seeing how much the MRI and surgery would cost, we scheduled everything and waited.
And Oscar? He started to get better. He was full of all sorts of pain meds, but still so determined. We’ve spent the past week plus either holding him, having him sleep in a closed room with one of us present, or tethering him in his stroller.
He’s supposed to be on kennel rest, but he’s TERRIFIED of his kennel. Good thing I bought that dog stroller (take that, neighbors who have side-eyed me and commented on how “different” it is to put a dog in a stroller).
We’d take him outside to go potty and have to support his back legs because he couldn’t hold his own weight. But pretty quickly, he started walking a little again. He started using one leg to hold himself up and to move, the other leg dragging along behind. He would crookedly walk around the kitchen while we got his food ready. Through it all, that little tail wagged nonstop.
When we dropped him off at the U earlier this week, we were shocked to get a call just two hours later saying that he was recovering so well that the neurologist didn’t even think an MRI was necessary—it would just be a waste of money. The rest was working. He was healing. And so, he came home. No MRI. No surgery. And since then, he’s continued to do great. He still walks sideways or in a bit of a circle if he tries to move on his own. He spends a lot of time in his stroller. Edward, aka the nanny dog, is always snuggling him.
We can’t know if he’ll fully recover, or if he’ll have another episode, or will eventually require surgery or a wheelie cart. But for now, this sweet little dog who has already survived so much, is doing just great.