I haven’t written much about Miah’s progress as of late – as it seems, it’s more depressing to write about digression than progression.
Several months ago, she had a dire episode after an herbal and acupuncture treatment went awry. She was sick for weeks, and in the end, we realized the several hundred dollars we were spending every few weeks was not helping in the slightest. Her last treatment was in October, and we have not been back since. It doesn’t seem to have changed a single thing. If I thought that it would help, I’d spend every dime I had making her better. But alas, I don’t think that is so.
In truth though, little girl is really holding her own. The last time I wrote about her in August, she was just beginning to lose full control over her hind-end. Now in March, she has lost everything from the waist down. I don’t take many pictures or videos anymore, because honestly, I don’t want to remember her like this. She has lost all of her muscle mass in her lower back and hind legs, and though I knew her body would change, it is startling to see it with my own eyes.
I use a sling around her back hips to carry her everywhere we go. She still has full use of her front legs and at times is too fast for me to keep up with her hind legs, which drag limp behind. We cover her feet with PAWZ, handy little rubber boots that keep her protected as they drag. If nothing else, I’ve developed a wicked strong upper body carrying her around for the past 6 months.
When she sees a dog or another animal, she lunges and runs as fast as we both can carry her. She is motivated to walk, and if she sees you move toward the door to grab leashes and boots, it’s as if she won the lottery. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks of herself as sick, or if in her mind, this is just what happens to dogs at some point in their life. I don’t know, but I always hope for the latter.
She is still alert, active, plays with her toys and can’t wolf down her food fast enough. She wheelbarrows through the apartment and spends every night curled up between us in bed. Because she can’t move on her own, several times each night she’ll lift her head and softly moan once, and I get up and help her shift, move to a new spot, lie on a different side. In bed, she is completely unable to move on her own, so I do it for her.
She can’t get to her water, so every few minutes I bring it to her. She has even developed several different sounds so I know what she needs. Because of her disease, her bark has changed, and at times is inaudible. So we have new forms of communication, and believe me when I say we share a language all our own.
Scott deals so well with all of this, and for the time being has reconciled with being #2 in the evening. He sits on our new couch, Ivan nestled on his feet on the ottoman. But if I try to sit with them, Miah whines uncomfortably until I join her on her futon. The moment I put her head near my lap, she’s out like a light and content with the world.
I choose Miah right now because I don’t know when I won’t have that choice anymore. Every move I make is dictated by her needs, and I still don’t know when the time will be right. Stress is the biggest killer for a dog with her disease, so I move mountains to keep her safe and happy, keep her moving on two legs if she can’t move on four. When the time does come, I don’t want to take her to a stark white room and have her lose her life on a metal table. I want it to be here, in our bed, with Ivan close by and her head asleep in my lap. How I make that happen, I don’t know. But I’ll find a way.
I don’t want to lose my best friend, and I know that time is closer than I want it to be (I suppose anything is closer than “never”…) For now, my little girl rests curled up next to her Mama in bed, and I’ll continue to be the extra two legs that she lacks. After all, you’ll do anything for your soul mate.